Really feel this song has a lot of meaning in my life at the moment. Plus, it’s sung by Anna Kendrick, what’s not to love?
I often share this video at this time of year and that’s because for me it shows some of the traditions of Beltane.
There’s the maidens dancing around the maypole, symbolising fertility. There’s the union of the Goddess and God, the video shows their handfasting. We see the maidens again, washing their faces in the early morning dew on Beltane morning so as to receive the magickal properties that promise a beautiful complexion, and even for luck.
Messages from the divine, or if you’d rather, from spirit are always on point for me.
On Saturday I had a bit of a revelation and felt it was exactly the kind of kick up the backside I needed.
At the beginning of the year I promised myself that I’d embrace the spiritual side of my life and live a more balanced life.
Of course the intense therapy sessions meant I wasn’t in the right head space at first, but the past couple of weeks I’ve been much improved and just dithered about when it came to embracing the spiritual.
As today is the full moon I pulled the corresponding card from Yasmin Boland’s Moonology Oracle Cards and the message on the card was just so spot on.
That’s what I love about messages from spirit, they are always so relevant.
Today was my first session of reliving my trauma.
It’s weird, I have discussed my trauma with relevant people before, but I have never actually talked about the violence that was inflicted upon me. Today I didn’t exactly do the reliving part, because I couldn’t go there. My therapist told me this was a hot spot for me. We had an in-depth discussion about how I was going to move forward, I chose to do everything I could to pick this trauma apart and stop it ruling my life.
During the session I discovered a couple of forgotten memories – one is distressing, the other was wondering what happened to my shoes. Back in the days when I could walk in high heel shoes, I would take them off whenever I got drunk. I’m sure many of you can relate!
After the attack, I knew I had lost items of clothing and this was documented by the police, who, despite me not reporting the crime for around a month, searched the area to see if they could locate my clothing.
My shoes, on the other hand, have been forgotten about until today. I have no recollection of them. My skirt, torn and ruined, I kept for some morbid reason, but my shoes were forgotten about.
After the session I had to go to another appointment before I could go home. Now I’m at home and I’ve had time to process the session I have to admit I feel completely dead inside. Not being able to let the reliving process run through is very normal for people going through this kind of therapy, it takes as long as it takes.
I have pushed the dark, blobby monster back inside and that has left me feeling drained and empty. I guess this is a normal response. I talked with my husband about what had come up in the session and that’s as much as I have managed.
What the therapist did decipher was one reason why my fear is so rooted. My initial reaction to being grabbed was that someone I knew was playing a trick on me, but very quickly I realised this was not someone I knew, but a stranger intent on doing me harm.
I actually believed I would die that night. My blood ran cold and fear rendered me helpless. I was acutely aware of the knife and feared my throat would be cut, or that I would be stabbed. So my initial thought was not that I was about to be raped, but that I was going to be murdered.
The flashbacks that I have are always fragmented and are very much of the attack. With the exception of having to detail the attack to the police and telling my husband, I have never actually spoken about the attack in its entirety.
This means I have never dealt with that fear of being killed. OK, yes, I know I wasn’t stabbed, but being held at knifepoint while a sick bastard defiles you is extremely distressing. That fear of my life being snuffed out that night is actually rooting me in a place of fear, not just concerning the rape, but the threat that was posed upon my life that night.
My therapist thinks that I have never been able to process the attack because of this fear. That makes so much sense, presented like that. The sessions with other professionals I have had have all been designed to make me safe – with the child psychiatrist I was drinking, sniffing solvents, and forcing myself to be sick. She, the psychiatrist, did go over the attack, but I didn’t go into graphic details with her. Besides, she had the police report so it was never necessary for me to go into too much detail.
This is the first time I have attempted to work through these memories and trauma. This is the first time I have wanted to face this shit head on and deal with it.
I am going to spend the next few days being kind and gentle with myself. I may have recurring flashbacks and nightmares now that we have prised the door open, but I will hopefully be able to deal with all of that.
Readers of this blog will undoubtedly know I suffer from PTSD. Some of you know why, some of you may not.
I was attacked. Brutally attacked. Violently attacked. I was held at knifepoint whilst he invaded my body, brutally, violently, against my will. I had no will. He took that from me. My voice left me during that harrowing ordeal. My power was taken from me.
If you want the ugly truth, I was raped at knifepoint when I was 16 years old by a serial rapist.
I’ve tried to blog about this in away that isn’t harrowing so many times. But the truth is that it is so very harrowing, there is no way to make it less so. I’m not going to detail the attack here, it’s too much. I’m establishing a space for myself as I go through the next part of my therapy – reliving my trauma.
My therapist has encouraged me to write about this process in a way that I feel comfortable with, mostly this will be done in a private journal. As you can imagine, some of what will come up will be excruciatingly challenging for me to deal with, therefore baring my soul to the world in such circumstances isn’t going to be the best thing for me.
That said, as we are here, at a new year, I wanted to share my journey and see how I evolve over the coming weeks and months. I know this is going to be tough, the reason we haven’t started the hard work yet is because my therapist wanted me to be able to enjoy the festive season with my family.
But now the new year is here I am ready to face this challenge.
I’ve had therapy several times before for this trauma. After the attack I spent almost a year receiving treatment from a child psychiatrist. She taught me how to control my flashbacks and triggers. But I think I took her technique a step too far because I switched a lot of my emotions off completely. I also managed to block out huge chunks of that period of time, the attack, the aftermath, the subsequent days, weeks and months afterwards. Yet snippets of memory play out in my mind, mostly when I least expect it. Quite a lot of the time I get triggered by TV and social media and this often brings about another snippet that I have unsuccessfully blocked out.
I’ve had a couple of counselling sessions for issues that were kind of connected to the trauma, but looking back now I can see those treatments were inadequate for the monster that hides inside of me. Yes, we’ve established I have a huge monster simmering away inside of me, who let’s rip every now and then, but gets squashed back down.
The monster needs to be released. The monster prevents me from experiencing life on all levels. I’ve been dead emotionally since 1987. I’ve been operating at a hyper vigilant state for 31 years and I am exhausted. In simplistic terms I switched my emotions off so that I could deal with the trauma inflicted upon me. I became emotionless and hyper vigilant. That meant I was in control.
But we all know what happens when the tipping point is reached. And yep, you’ve guessed it, my tipping point was reached when I had the MRI. This time I couldn’t get it all stuffed back inside, it just wouldn’t fit.
And so that is how I’ve landed on this path, the path that will finally deal with the trauma that almost broke me so many years ago. The path where I have to face the huge, scary monster that lurks within and terrifies the crap out of me.
It’s time to face my demons and slay them once and for all.
I have to admit, I am really not looking forward to the upcoming sessions, what needs to come out is dark and ugly and nasty. But I need to let it out, to release it and let go of it completely. It’s time to heal the young girl inside of me who hurts so badly from what a sick and evil bastard did to her. She’s still writhing in agony inside of me, seeing the trauma, feeling the trauma, reliving it over and over again; she needs healing and only when she heals will I heal.
I need to reconnect that young girl with me, the me in the present. My therapist told me that it’s interesting how I often talk about the young girl as if she were someone else. Logically I know she’s me, but I fear her. She’s hurt. She’s battered and bruised, both outside and inside. She’s afraid.
I fear her.
And so the journey begins………
I normally share ideas and pics that tie in with whichever sabbat I’m blogging about, but this time round I felt it wasn’t right. I usually feel that I need to share sabbat cheer on my blog, regardless of what is happening in my own life.
I’ve always done that, put on a brave face to the outside world. You would never know there was anything wrong with me, both physically and emotionally, if we were to ever meet anywhere.
OK, I have a disability (or two), but I’m just trying to make a point about how I keep everything bottled inside. You see, the truth is I’m scared. Scared to let the emotions spill out. Scared to lose control. Scared to go back to the place I was in before I got so good at pretending I don’t have my shit together.
Things have gotten so bad in my life I’m actually having to have therapy. I’m not ashamed of that, just pointing that out in case anyone thinks I’m slating anyone in therapy. I’m not. So, I’m in therapy and it’s going to take a while to sort out my problem.
I have complex PTSD – Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s a psychological disorder and the mental health charity mind explain what it is here. My therapist is hopeful that she can help me process the trauma and learn to deal with it.
I’ve only been working with her for a short time and already I’ve remembered two things that I’d buried so deep inside of my mind. So far we haven’t gone deep, and by this I mean I haven’t gone through the re-living process that should allow me to process the trauma by reliving the experience and then allow myself to deal with it all, and also to recognise it as a past event.
Part of my C-PTSD means I have spent 31 years being hyper vigilant. I constantly scan my surroundings for threats. I never fully relax at home, I’m always listening for something. Being hyper vigilant is exhausting, I really would like a break from it all.
With that going on in my life I’ve been less present on social media. I’ve felt a mix of emotions with regards to social media and because I don’t want to lose it altogether I’ve avoided so many things.
But what has any of this got to do with Yule?
Well, for me, Yule marks a time of rebirth. It’s also a time where I reach the pinnacle of my inward spiralling – as summer comes to an end I have noticed that I feel myself spiralling within, becoming more reflective in my life and preparing for the long, dark days of winter. At this time though the light begins to grow, ever so gradually at first, but enough to spark a flicker of hope inside of me.
This year I feel it is even more poignant and I’m gradually feeling hope return to my life. It is just a flicker, but it’s there, and I have a tiny flicker of optimism about the coming year that has been absent in my life for a very long time.
Yule falls on or around December 21st and other religions have similar festivals around this time of year; Hanukkah is celebrated by Jewish people. Kwanzaa is celebrated by Africans, and of course Christmas is celebrated by Christians and many, many non-Christian people too.
For me, Yule is about reflecting upon the past year. It’s about making plans for the coming year, not too far removed from traditional New Year’s Resolutions. I may perform a ritual, it just depends on what I have planned, but if I don’t do anything remotely like that I still mark the occasion in some way. Besides, I class Christmas as Yule anyway. Some of the family celebrate Yule in the traditional sense, others just celebrate Christmas in the non-traditional sense. I never get hung up on celebrating Christmas, even though I am a pagan. We see this as a time to come together and celebrate us. To exchange gifts and have an absolute blast.
Whatever you’re doing this Yule time I wish you much love, peace and happiness.