Category Archives: Unbearable

Process of Recovery…Part 1

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So the number one thing I do in my life when I’m coping with or recovering from a difficult situation is ‘I use my words.’

I talk.

I vent.

I write.

I haven’t written regularly in a very long time, and much of the past five years, I haven’t written more than a brief blip about politics or religion here and there, whether on this blog or Facebook. I’ve written a little about the reality of what it was like to take care of my quadriplegic brother, but between not wanting to dwell on something I was still struggling daily with, and feeling like I was indulging in a damn pity party or fishing for compliments, I mostly decided to lay low.

I used to write compulsively when i was depressed, but something about the combination of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion prevented me from being able to string together a coherent paragraph about my life, and while putting thoughts into the ether used to help me process and get over whatever emotional turmoil I was going through, writing about taking care of Jeremi mostly made me feel trapped.

And alone.

And miserable.

Truth is, I love my brother, and that never stopped, even during the most difficult days, but an equally valid, yet far more difficult truth to write about and admit, is that I absolutely hated taking care of him.

And maybe that’s the crux of why I haven’t written much about it. It’s hard to admit that in spite of the fact that I chose to take care of him, I hated and resented it almost every single day. And eventually, I resented Jeremi as well.

The truth is, I’m not some spectacular example of self-sacrificial love.  I never wanted to move back to this town to take care of him. I never wanted him to live with me. I never wanted to have to be the main person responsible for his care.

Steve had always dreamed of having J live with us later, but I never did. I grew up feeling like a horrible person because I used to hide out in the kitchen or bathroom eating snacks, because I knew if I went into the living room where J was, he’d want some of whatever I was eating, too, and he was likely to drool on me or bite me or choke and spit or vomit all over me, and I hated all of that.

I hated being stuck at home, of never going on a family vacation, never going anywhere as a family because it was so much work to take J with us that it was just easier for one able-bodied person to stay in the house with him, and everyone else to go on outings alone.

It sucks to love someone and resent them at the same time. I grew up feeling like a selfish, hateful, resentful human being. I grew up feeling guilty every day of my life because there was always something I resented that happened.

I felt like I never got quite what I needed because J took so much of the energy my parents had that there just wasn’t much left over for me. As a young child, too young to understand what was really going on, I just felt like he was the ‘favorite’ because he got most of what they had to give.

And all of that was before I was 12.

So fast forward 25 years and there he was. Sick and dying.  My parents were also not in the best health and would have killed themselves trying to take care of him, and in my eyes, the only option was for me to uproot my family and take care of him.

But I didn’t want to.

Because I knew.

I knew there would never be enough help. I knew we were on our own, and that I wasn’t going to be able to do it all. I knew I was going to be miserable.  But I couldn’t see a way out.  I knew that if I said no, I really would be that awful girl who’d hidden out in the bathroom so she wouldn’t have to feed her brother a damn snack, except this time, he would die because of my selfishness.

Even knowing what I know now, having lived five years taking care of him and wishing most days I wasn’t, even having nearly destroyed my mental and physical health, and because of it, endangering the well-being of my family, even knowing that the best choice for Jeremi’s health was not the best for mine or that of my family…I’m still not sure I could say no if I had to choose again.

Because the guilt of that little girl is still there, and stronger than ever, thanks to the constant reminder of the past five years that I still can’t take care of  him without feeling resentment, anger, and self loathing for feeling resentment and anger.

He’s moved out now. He’s happy, healthy and safe, and I am SO glad that is true.

But I’m not.

I’m exhausted and broken, and I’d love nothing more than to  run away to Costa Rica and pretend, even if it’s just for a short time, that I have no obligations or responsibilities to anyone but myself.

I don’t know how to process 30 year old self-inflicted wounds, and I don’t know how not to hate the fact that I absolutely do not ever want to be the primary caregiver of another adult again as long as I live.

 

And here’s where the processing begins.

The truths is, if I had to do it all over again, if I had to make the same choice today that I made five years ago…

I would say no.

That little girl who hid out in the bathroom was a child.

It wasn’t her responsibility to take care of a brother who couldn’t take care of himself.  We shouldn’t have had to be alone in the house in the first place.

Now understand me here. I’m not placing blame.

My parents did the only thing they could given the resources that were available at the time, and there are no good options in a situation like that.

But as the child who lived through it, I had a lot on my shoulders that I wasn’t equipped to handle, and that I never should have had to deal with in the first place.

I wasn’t a villain. And I was exactly as selfish as every other human in the history of mankind was at that age. I was certainly no more selfish, and probably a little less so.

Five years ago, it wasn’t my responsibility to nurse J back to health. I didn’t have to do it.

And had I been thinking clearly, I would have taken a more objective look at what my kids were going to have to go through.

They’ve lived the same life for the past five years that I had for my entire childhood and adolescence.

On some deep psychological level, I think I was trying to make up for what I believed were wrongs I had committed against Jeremi.

And I was trying to do what I’d been taught from a very early age: when it comes to family, you do what you gotta do. You make the sacrifices necessary to support family, even if it means destroying yourself in the process.

But when you have kids who depend on you, who rely on you to be the safe landing spot when they have a problem or crisis, who depend on you to help them know how much they mean to you, sacrificing your own health and happiness means that you also sacrifice their safe landing spot.

My parents did the best they could to support both of their kids, but the truth is, two people just don’t have enough energy and personal resources to support two kids’ physical and emotional needs when one requires most of their energy just to keep him alive.

It wasn’t that they were inadequate, it was that the load was too big for anyone.

And that’s the thing I didn’t realize until I lived it.  My parents pushed past physical and mental exhaustion and burnout for decades because it was their child and there wasn’t anyone else to do it.

Steve and I did the same thing, but J wasn’t my child. I already had three kids, and they were taking up everything I had just on their own.  I never had enough to give to J without sacrificing what my family needed from me, but I didn’t realize it until I was falling apart.

I’ve broken myself, physically and emotionally, and I’m working on picking up the pieces and starting again.   I’ve learned some valuable lessons, but man, sometimes I wish I could learn things without having to go through hell in the process.

So the process has begun.

Wish me luck.

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Having a Moment

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Wow. I joined Facebook in 2009, and in that time, became FB friends with three of my former pastors’ wives.  I wasn’t very close to the first one who left, so I wasn’t all that surprised when she defriended me.

The second one left after I disagreed with her about politics. She posted a comment on something I’d written, and I disagreed and told her so.  She got completely irrational and was using a lot of exclamation points by the end of our conversation, and a few days later, I noticed that her name had disappeared from my friends list.

Your number of friends is listed right on your front page, so if you knew how many friends you had, you can’t help but notice when the number gets smaller.  If it’s someone you talk to on Facebook quite a bit, you remember them and just have to check the list to see who’s missing.  If someone leaves that I haven’t spoken to in a long time, I don’t worry about it too much. But I knew I’d pissed off my former pastor’s wife, so I naturally noticed that she’d gone.

Yesterday, my list got one person smaller. I looked at my list and noticed that the people I care about the most and could remember in about ten minutes were still present and accounted for. But this morning, I remembered I hadn’t seen a post by someone who posts quite a bit, so I went to her page to see if I’d missed an illness or something.

You guessed it. The button said, “Add Friend.”

This was the third and final former pastor’s wife.

Now, I know better than most that Christians are just people, and they’re all human, but this one was shocking because when last I’d spoken to her [and not that long ago] we’d been fine. I knew we disagreed on politics, but we just didn’t go there.  We had enough other stuff to keep in touch about, so I just figured I’d avoid commenting on her completely batshit crazy political posts, and she would continue to ignore my occasionally obnoxious, but amazingly fact-based ones [don’t even start. I never post anything I haven’t double checked to be true].

Here’s what gets me, though. I’m a liberal, and such a minority in my group of family and friends that I think I’m beginning to understand how the one biracial kid in my school must have felt being outnumbered and hated by virtually everyone around him. In fact, I’ve let it affect what I post on Facebook, because as much as they’ll deny it, conservatives [and especially conservative Christians] are positively venomous when they disagree with you.

They also assume that you can’t possibly be a good person or a Christian if you’re liberal. Now, I’m not a Christian anymore, but I became a liberal WAY before I deconverted.  One may very well have led to the other, because in order to be a liberal, you have to be willing to admit you’re wrong.  Once I realized that so many things I’d been told and believed about politics were blatantly false,  [and since those things were told to me by my religious leaders…that led me to question Christianity, too] I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Oddly, I’m actually more considerate and genuinely care about the people around me WAY more than I did before, but very few Christians will even admit the possibility that what I say is true.

So this final pastor’s wife de-friending me shouldn’t surprise me, because I’ve known on an intellectual level that she was extremely judgmental and very likely disagreed with me about politics on a very deep level. I suppose I should be happy she just defriended me instead of yelling at me before she left, but on an emotional level, I’m pissed. And I’m pissed because I’m also hurt.

I guess on some level I really really want to be wrong.  I want to believe that everyone can rise above hatred and prejudice and love each other in spite of our differences.  I keep hoping that we’re moving forward instead of backward, and every time some dumbass state passes a new law aimed at subjugating women, or the GLBT community, or some other historically marginalized group of people in ‘God’s’ name, I just sit here flabbergasted as people on FB applaud and scream craziness about taking over the country for God.  And with the same breath, they condemn Muslim theocracies for being evil…seriously?  Talk about the pot and kettle.

All the evidence seems to be pointing to religion being the instigator of all this evil, and that goes against everything I want to believe.  There’s a part of me that wishes I’d just stayed asleep, uninformed, and brainwashed.  Because now, I’m stuck in the middle of a bunch of maniacs who would probably like to beat the hell out of me [or at least get me to shut the fuck up] and I’ve never felt so unspeakably lonely in my life.

How can one person ever make a difference when they’re so outnumbered and considered less than intelligent for disagreeing?  And the damnedest thing is, I’m not wrong, and I’m not stupid. But my voice is being systematically chipped away at.  I can’t even count the number of things I don’t post because I’m actually afraid someone is going to start yelling at me. Or calling me on the phone to beg me to stop talking about what I believe in.

How is it possible that the people who say they love me want me to lie about who I am?  And if I say something they don’t like, they de-friend me?  Is that what love looks like?  Seriously?  How can anyone love their opinions more than they love a fellow human being?

 

Right now, I pretty much hate everyone.  Thanks for nothing.

Mission Accomplished

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Shower, Ibuprofen, nerve pill. And even though I wanted to take lot of nerve pills, I only took one.

I think it’s pretty sad when things look so bad you use substances to numb the pain. It’s not really numb, though. Mostly I’m just too tired to cry anymore. Well, almost.

I think this is called despair. I first found this thing when I was very sincerely a Christian. It might have been a year [maybe less] since my conversion when something started to go wrong. I was doing the things I was supposed to, I was loving God and trying to grow closer to him through prayer and study, I was going to church and taking a class on discipleship.

What I honestly don’t understand, and what destroys me, is that the more I studied and prayed, the more miserable I got. Why? How did something that was supposed to be so wonderful, that was supposed to make me holy and perfect, end up making me so incredibly miserable?

What did I do? Why wasn’t I worthy enough for God to help me? Why wouldn’t he show me the way out? Why did the church I was in start out a loving place to be, and by the time I left, it was completely dark there? Did I cause that? How could my sincere heart cause something so horrible?

I stayed there, hoping that my ‘dry spell’ would finally come to an end. I waited over seven years. Then we left the church and moved to a different church. It had a completely different atmosphere, but nothing changed.

I had begun to be suspicious of the church, I guess. I just know that when I went into Christianity, I was fairly happy. When I came out, I was in a chronic state of clinical depression that lasted for three years, non stop, and a few more with intermittent spells of it.

So many people testify how God changed their lives and made it better. How he’s helped them to deal with issues and heal. If God is real, he made me do it myself.

There’s one lady who talks about how God reaches down and rescues you from ‘the pit’ I prayed, believed in faith, prayed some more, and even tried to get counselling [but financing fell through] but nothing changed. The pain in my soul was so great, it almost destroyed me, and yet… nothing.

So we moved after Steve got his assignment, and I was feeling better because I got on medication for my depression. It was a temporary fix, but it allowed me to function, although from a numb place. I looked at churches here, knowing that God would lead us to the right church.

We were here to start over in a way, and I figured, maybe at last the drought would end. Maybe I would find some people who could guide me and help me find where I had gone wrong earlier [this was before my search into other religions].

I found a decent church, and some good friends within that church, but still the issues within the church detract from its purpose. And still, the drought.

I began to learn about self-talk through reading books, and eventually was able to largely control my depression without medication, just through the power of paying attention [and controlling] what my dominant thoughts are.

I read some books on post-modern thought, and how to be relevant to the current times as a Christian. I kept thinking that there has to be a way to be so close to Christ that you just glow, or have some kind of something like he did, and then people would see the light and, you know, go toward it like little bugs or something.

I was dealing with my depression on my own, and figuring out how to direct my own life because most of my life has been about waiting. And things started to come together.

But my spiritual hunger was still there, and Christianity, whether through a fault of my own, or of the religion, failed miserably. And that’s completely backward from what you hear people say about it.

Maybe it was my own fault, although I would think that a true conversion, a sincere heart and a willingness to trust and learn from my ‘elders’ would count for something?

My anger has come out as being aimed at the church, because if it wasn’t me, and it wasn’t the church, then it must be God. And if it’s God, is he unwilling to help me because he loves me and wants me to learn something from this?

What I’ve learned is that if anything is going to be accomplished, it will only happen through my own efforts. Shit. That’s not Christianity.

If it’s God, is he unwilling to help me because I’m not worthy?

Is it because he really doesn’t care about me at all?

Is predestination true and I’m not invited?

If God did this. Wow. Then he really, really hates me, and that really hurts and brings me back to despair.

Exhausted

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I’m supposed to go to church in the morning.  I’ve got the shakes from being hungry, tired, and borderline hysterical for a while.

I don’t know what I want.

I need a shower, and some ibuprofen, and a nerve pill.  I want to wake up tomorrow and know.

I’ve tried different ways to find answers, and it’s just not working.  Things only go so deep, and I hit a wall.  I look elsewhere to find the answers to the questions my heart is asking, and I find more confusion and loneliness.

I know there has to be more than this, but I don’t know what else to do to find it.

My head hurts.

Stupid conscience.

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So my mom offered to keep my three year old daughter at her house for the eleven months that I go to LPN school.  She lives three and a half hours away.

Mom e-mailed me and said, “Sometimes you have to sacrifice to succeed.  Is this one of those times?”  And I thought of my baby daughter, who will only be this age once, and I realized that I can’t possibly bear the thought of letting her go anywhere for a year.

I looked at her today, and noticed every little mannerism, every cute thing she did, her gorgeous eyes and smile, and I realized that in a year, all of that will be different, and a new child will have taken her place.

So now I’m thinking.  Do I have any other options?

I am incredibly picky about who watches my kids.  I’ve had friends who I thought would be good with them, and they were complete jerks to my babies.  It wasn’t anything horrid, but if they were harsh for no reason, or didn’t seem to enjoy them [or love them] I couldn’t do it again.

No one will love them like I will.  My mom and dad come close, and if we lived closer, she would be my babysitter, no question.  But 180 miles is too damn far.  And the one person that I would have trusted from here to take care of my kid  is not doing daycare anymore, and the other person already has a job, working days.

I need to talk to Steve and he’s asleep.  Dammit.  I really think that I’m going to put it on hold until she goes to kindergarten.

The thing is, we are surviving on what Steve makes.  The budget is incredibly tight, but we have enough money to take care of all of our needs [most of the time], and a few of our wants.  If it was an issue where we were going hungry, the sacrifice would be a no-brainer, but this is really about trying to reach a point where we’re comfortable.

We live on the edge of financial ruin, and have for over ten years now, but we’ve always made it through.

My desire to get a job is partly to give me something to do that will help me feel worthwhile in society, with family and friends, but mostly, it’s so we don’t have to worry so much about finances.

So if I send Michaela to my mom’s, am I sacrificing watching her grow up for money?  Is it worth it?  Is money more important than spending time with my child?

That’s kind of a no-brainer, too, isn’t it?

Blindsided

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Well, this is a surprise.  For the past few days, I’ve been more irritable than usual which is usually the first sign of depression for me.  Last night, I realized I felt sad.  I don’t know why it takes me a while to figure this out, but it kind of sneaks up on me when I’m not looking, you know?

So this morning [this afternoon, actually] I was pissed off for no reason.  It was bad.  I felt the same rage I do when I’m on steroids, which is white hot in intensity.

I’ve been wanting to run away again.  This has happened before, and it scared the hell out of me the first time, let me tell you.  I’ve made a commitment to my husband and kids to be here until the end of time, so wanting to run away and start a new life can be, um, disconcerting at the least.

I don’t really want to find a new family [been there, done that, you know?] but I want to run away and start over by myself.  Minus the pressure, I guess?  Only being responsible for and to myself sounds like a dream.  It would be for a week or two, maybe a month or two, but then I’d want to come back to my family.

I think I need to get away for a while, and I don’t really see any way to accomplish it, you know?

I’m having a lot of anxiety about these damn scholarship applications for nursing school.  I’ve been out of the workforce for over ten years, so letters of recommendation have to come from friends, ’cause that’s all I have.  Also, I’ve only got until July 2nd to get the forms mailed out to people and get them back, which makes me nervous, too.

I was excited about actually having a career and being a ‘professional’ and making a decent wage only a week ago.  Now I’m scared as hell and just want to be an artist.  Maybe writing and art are my fallback dreams when real life gets too difficult? Fuck if I know what the deal is.

Depression also makes me want to write.  Not being depressed makes me want to get out and live.  It looks like I can’t have it both ways, doesn’t it?  I’m just sad and confused about life.  My religion [well Christianity] is pretty much gone.  I still believe in God, but I think I’m more agnostic than Christian now.  I guess I’m just not wired up to be closed-minded.

I should have known it was a bad fit 13 years ago, but I loved Steve and figured since I didn’t really have a religion of my own, I’d try his.  It seemed to work for a while, as long as I didn’t ask any of the hard questions, as long as I just accepted on faith that the Bible was true, that it was God breathed.  Well, maybe it was God inspired, but men wrote it, and in my experience, men [and women] are a pretty fucked up lot and their heart issues tend to run over into other areas.

So I think some of those men had preconceived ideas about right and wrong and stuck them in there, thinking they must have come from God.  I think most people have a picture of God in their minds that is really a big mirror.  As I’ve gotten less judgmental and more loving, ‘God’ has begun to care less about a person’s religion and more about their hearts.

It just makes sense to me that if an Atheist is a great humanitarian and does a lot to help out the human race, then they’d be a helluva lot better in God’s eyes than a lot of Christians I know.  That totally takes Jesus out of the picture, and that’s what would get me into trouble with Christians, but somehow I think Jesus himself would approve.

He was all about ripping the religious leaders a new one by telling the general population that they could all come to God and didn’t need to be great followers of the law.  And yet, many of the Christians of today have begun to make the faith all about obeying the laws.  Even making it so that no one who doesn’t accept Christ as savior gets to heaven is following a ‘law.’

In my eyes, it’s just as evil as the people who said you must be circumcised to become one of God’s people [interestingly, the Jewish faith acknowledges that non-Jews can go to heaven, and they have fewer rules to follow than Jews do.  How the fuck did Christians get so backward?  Jesus came to show that anyone could come to God, and we’ve made it that no one can, except the ‘few,’ which of course doesn’t include any other faiths.]

It’s been at least a month since I went to church.  I had to go to a ladies’ Bible study a couple of Thursdays ago, and it was difficult.  I’m not angry at Jesus or God, ’cause I know that they didn’t cause their followers to become stupid shits.  Like I said, a person’s religion is just a mirror of their own hearts, and if their hearts are judgmental, closed-minded, or vengeance oriented, then their religion becomes that, too.

That’s why some people of all religions [even atheists] ‘get it.’ They believe the same basic things because their hearts are true.  The names they give their ‘creator’ or higher power are irrelevant because at the heart, the beliefs are the same.  And some people of all religions are idiots, and their religions follow suit.

The sad thing is, there are a lot of sincere Christians [like I was] who believe the crap they’ve been taught and embrace the ugliness of another person’s heart, accepting it as Truth, when it’s just a pitiful lie.  They try to make it fit, but end up like I did: depressed, miserable, and desperately thinking/praying, “There’s got to be more than this.”

I think a lot of people wrongly begin to believe that following Jesus, or believing in God is evil.  It’s not the divine that is evil, it’s the heart of the person spewing the bullshit that is evil.

It’s funny, because Jesus said you have to be ‘born again’ in order to be able to see the kingdom of heaven.

The kingdom of heaven is right here, and after you have the ‘epiphany,’ a point in your life where you embrace love over hate, you can see pieces of heaven everywhere.  Your heart has joy because you begin to be able to look upon even the unloveliest with love and compassion.

Jesus was a magnificent example of what that looks like.  He loved his enemies and accepted his fate, probably knowing that by dying his teachings would live on.  He probably hoped that as time continued, that more and more people would look at his example of love and see the truth in what he did.  He wanted others to experience the kingdom of God as much as he did.

The church of 400 or so CE wanted to control the people, so they distorted his message and used it to control people, the same way the Pharisees did in Jesus’s day.  Sad, but true.

Jesus was a son of God the same way that we all are sons and daughters of God.  He ‘got it’ more than we do, and that’s why he is such a great example to aspire to.  That’s it, though.  Any one of any religion can look at Jesus, or Buddha, or Gandhi, plus various other great souls, and find the truth.  If you follow Buddha, guess what?  You’re following what Jesus taught.  And if you follow Jesus, guess what?  You’re following what Buddha taught.

And I didn’t make that up, either.

What sucks, though, is as you can see, I don’t really fit in at church anymore, and that’s where my friends are.  So I’m alone again, and that makes me depressed.  I can’t go back to the way I was before, because I know better now.  But that leaves me floundering about because my husband is still a Christian [although a good one] and wouldn’t go into a different religion.

My kids ask about going to church, and I feel guilty because I don’t take them.  But hearing what they teach makes me angry, and I don’t think I can deal with it on a regular basis, you know?  I certainly don’t want my kids exposed to the negative side of Christianity, either.

I could go to a Unity Church if they had one here, but the nearest one is an hour and a half away.  I guess I could ‘attend’ an online church, but that doesn’t answer the need my kids have.

It’s funny how when I’m depressed, I always struggle with religion.  I know that I need some kind of faith/religion in my life.  I’m ‘spiritual’ I guess 😉 but Christianity in evangelical terms doesn’t fit me anymore.

I think I may be nearing a ‘coming out’ post/talk/e-mail or something to my friends.  I’ve broached the topic with one of my friends, but I lose the words in anger.  I still feel betrayed by the religion, I guess.  I’ve been trying to reconcile my beliefs with continuing to attend my church, but my church bases its entire faith on believing that Jesus is the only Son [capital S] of God, the Savior of the world, and the only way to heaven.

Is it even possible to reconcile myself to that?

Jeez.

Well, I’m still depressed, still confused, still angry, and still.  So I guess I’ll probably be blogging again until this lifts.

Ouch.

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We survived the youth retreat this past weekend, and I actually like teenagers!

Steve and I were youth leaders a looooong time ago, and we were horrible at it, but I’m finding out that we also had a horrible group of teenagers.  They were very critical of us and our techniques, and they didn’t really participate, but we might not have sucked as much as we thought, because the group of teens this weekend actually liked us.

Go figure.  I’ve been avoiding teenagers for ten years or so now, not realizing that the group of teens we had were not representative of all teenagers.  Live and learn, right?

In other news, my joint pain is back.  It hurts as bad as it did before I took the steroids.  Apparently, the prednisone I was on is out of my system.  I started hurting over the weekend and now it’s bordering on ridiculous again.

We’re not doing steroids again [maybe never, those things suck BAD] but ibuprofen isn’t doing much.  Um, actually, I can’t tell that it’s doing anything.  I went to the Doctor yesterday and he said that I have some kind of inflammatory joint disease, but we have no idea which one it might be because all of my blood tests are normal.

Nice.

At least he believes that there’s something not right, though.  The hardest thing to deal with is when you tell someone that you hurt and they act like it’s all in your head.  This may be a psychosomatic thing with me, I honestly don’t know, but the pain is real.

In a way, I’m hoping that this is just a mental thing, because if it is, then maybe it will go away, right?  I don’t know.  I’ve been making plans about going back to college.  I’m planning to go to nursing school, and maybe I’m more nervous about it than I think.

There are a lot of issues, that’s for sure.  I’m having guilt for not loving being a stay at home mom.  I’ve been doing this for almost nine years, and I’ve never really enjoyed it.  I did it because I felt like I had to.  I felt like it was the best thing for my kids to have me at home and always available to them.

Now, I don’t know.  I’m pretty miserable, which makes me grumpy, resentful, and not very nice, so maybe it wasn’t the best choice after all?

I also have some issues with agoraphobia, and the thought of getting out every day by myself is both exciting and scary.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m scared of going out, and I think part of it is probably from being raped.  I really thought I had worked through all that crap, but now I’m realizing that it changed a lot more about me than I originally thought.

It doesn’t make sense to me that I should still be having issues because I feel like my rape wasn’t as, I don’t know, serious? as someone who was beaten, or raped by a stranger, or something.

I’m conflicted about the whole thing, because I went to the guy’s house intending to have sex with him.  I didn’t know it was going to hurt as bad as it did [I was really nervous, and he wasn’t very good at helping me relax] so I made him stop, and he did.  At first.

But I still wonder if he intended to ‘rape’ me, and if he didn’t, should I have reacted differently? Is my reaction to it what made it a rape?  During the sex, I felt like I wasn’t in my body anymore.  I remember laying there, staring at a digital clock with a red readout, wondering how long it would take for him to finish.

I could hear myself whimpering, but it was like it was happening to someone else.  After it happened, I went to the bathroom and cleaned the blood off my legs, and then I went out into the living room and talked to the guy until my friend came and picked me up.

A few days later, he called me and I broke up with him.  I don’t think he ever had a clue that he had done anything wrong.  Hell, my best friend told me that night that what had happened to me couldn’t be called ‘rape’ because I had gone there intending to have sex.

So now, some fourteen years later [good god, has it really been that long?] I’m still thinking that maybe it wasn’t rape in the strict sense of the term, so therefore it shouldn’t still be affecting me, you know?

But I’m afraid to go out by myself [or alone with my kids] because I know I can’t protect myself, or the kids, and my biggest fear is that something will happen to them.  I’m terrified when I take all three of them, because if two or three of them are walking, I can’t keep them all within arm’s reach, and someone could take one of them.

I’m terrified to take road trips to my parents’ house because if the van breaks down [it has 225,000 miles on it] something could happen to my kids, or something could happen to me and they would be all alone and vulnerable.

I never feel completely safe, except when Steve’s around [he’s a state trooper, which in police terms is a little like being a Marine in the military.  He knows a lot of ways to hurt people if he has to, and he’s usually armed, too.]  The rest of the time, there’s a low level of anxiety, and if I go out, it increases.  A lot.

So I wonder if this joint pain is a physical manifestation of my anxiety, and if so, how the hell do I get rid of it?  ‘Cause I hurt like hell.