La over at Letters from Exile, recently posted “The Tongue-Tied Blogger“. I relate so much to it, I couldn’t contain myself to a couple of paragraphs on La’s blog.
First of all La – you’re fantastic. And if you’re falling apart, I think those who read your blog are more likely to understand than others. Write what you need to.
I blog anonymously for protection and privacy. I write here in-depth the way I’d never dare verbalise to most people. The content and intensity is scary sometimes.
And I write because this blog is lancing a boil, allowing the pus to seep out so it stops infecting my life, my mind, my body.
It has singularly been the best thing I’ve done for myself other than finding a good therapist.
Yet, if I put my name or face to what I’ve written, I don’t think I could be so open. I know I wouldn’t. I’d be embarrassed beyond belief. So my name is Svasti.
Just like La, whilst you’re privy to intimate thoughts and experiences of mine, you don’t know what I look like or what else goes on in my life. What I’m up to day to day, other thoughts and feelings I don’t share here. These writings are just snapshots in time and space.
A handful of friends have the URL. People I trust. Only some have read what I’ve written. A smaller number have given me feedback. I don’t think any of them subscribe to my RSS feed.
Sometimes I wish I hadn’t told anyone. Knowing there’s a chance a friend might be reading causes me to hold back on things I dearly want to write.
Other times, I’m supremely thankful – I could never express half of what I’ve written in person. And it’s very nice to feel like your friends see you, really see where you’re at and what you’re going through.
There’s a part of me that knows some of those friends will judge me, find me wanting. I’m terrified of that. But conversely, some think what I’m doing is fantastic and I know because they tell me so. I have their support.
But unlike La, I’m not ambivalent about my blog. It’s both helped with my healing process and reignited my writing passion. No matter how average it might be! The creative urge drives me to continue and the more I write, the better I feel.
I definitely don’t want my parents to read this blog, ever. They wouldn’t like it at all and they would definitely judge me.
And certainly, I’ve refrained from talking very much about my parents. Partly because I believe no matter what’s happened, how you live your life from there is your choice and responsibility. But also because I love them no matter what.
Sometimes I write about how I feel right now, other times I’m writing of the past. Sometimes its felt like the past is here in the moment thanks to PTSD. But thankfully much of that has subsided thanks to my therapist and a rather large epiphany I had in Thailand.
The challenge here on my anonymous blog, is keeping track of emerging lines of thought: the chronology of the assault; related side issues; other parts of my life; poetry; rants and everything else.
It’s not chapter by chapter neat and orderly. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by stories that seem to have lives of their own.
But I write because I must and I’m glad to have connected with a number of virtual friends in my bloggy pixelated world. Zeros and ones to you all!
Possibly, it may seem like a strange choice to some… to write a blog about such an intensely personal experience as being assaulted and having depression/post-traumatic stress disorder.
I thought that in this post, I’d paraphrase an email I wrote to my friends to help explain the path that led to the first keystroke of Svasti.
If you’ve read any of the posts here or my About page, you’ll know I went through a pretty traumatic experience at the end of 2005 – being assaulted by someone I thought I knew in my own home. Nasty stuff.
I’ve had counselling, energy/other healing treatments galore, done plenty of meditation practice etc. But trauma doesn’t go away as easily as you might think – and I’m just learning how much work it takes to really shift.
From January-May 2008, I developed incredible pain in my shoulder that wouldn’t go away. The sort of pain that meant I couldn’t do much exercise. In fact, it hurt to breathe sometimes. I had numerous chiropractic, massage and acupuncture treatments but nothing helped. I then had x-rays and CT scans to see if anything could be picked up that way. All to no avail… which was most frustrating.
In early May, I took my scans to my chiropractor to see what he could make of them. Basically he told me all they proved was that the pain didn’t really have a physical cause. He started very gently talking to me about depression by asking me what else was going on in my life.
About how physical pain can be a symptom of emotional pain (oh der! I knew that!!). But I assured him that I’d been there, done that. I knew what depression feels like and I was positive I wasn’t depressed. I just felt… very flat. And as though life was pretty much pointless. That something was missing…
Although I’d been a patient of my chiro for over three years, I’d never told him about my assault. But right there and then… I did. At this point, our conversation changed. I could sense a much greater energy working through him (I felt the atoms in the room change!). There he was, telling me things that I already knew but needed to hear. Things that some of my dear friends had tried to suggest. But this time it hit home… Hmmm, I’m still depressed?? There’s still possibly more to deal with here??
As he talked I started bawling, but the tears were completely unbidden. I couldn’t feel the emotions behind them. My chiro however, had all the right words – You must have so many trust issues, no wonder you haven’t been in a relationship since that time, it must be so hard to feel safe… Its very important, what you’ve just told me. You’ve been very brave and strong, but now its time to take another look. Depression, he said, has many guises – it doesn’t always look like “I can’t get out of bed”.
And then this… he just ‘happens’ to work with the director of psychology on some board of health and he would help me with a referral. And he did. Convenient coincidences perhaps? Or perhaps some kind of sublime synchronicity?
Luckily for me, I’d driven to work that day. Which saved me from crying all over strangers on the train on the way home.
I felt as though a band-aid had been ripped off and now it was time to let the air in. I felt good, and at the same time, incredibly fragile. But now I wanted to preserve that state of openness/fragility instead of push it away. Allow it to be, to express. Most of that evening was spent in a flood of tears, which I tended with the care of a new born child.
Now, it feels as though I’d been carrying around an improperly healed wound, and through grace, I’d been given an opportunity to open it up once more, so the healing work can be continued (properly this time).
The very next day after my chiro visit, the pain in my shoulder dropped off by about 80%. Its now almost 100%.
I’ve started seeing the psychologist to whom I was recommended (a trauma specialist). To date we’ve had three sessions, and all appears to be going very well. I won’t pretend that it’s easy to sit in a room and re-live these experiences, because its not. But I do know it’s very necessary if I am to move forward in my life.
So, down to this blog. I’ve always loved writing, but its been a while since I wrote anything substantial. Mostly because I’m extremely hyper-critical of my own work. So I decided that I wanted to turn this journey into a blog. Mostly to project outwardly the things I need to look at (in order to see them objectively). But also, hey – if it can help someone, anyone else – that’s brilliant.
P.S. The deal I struck with myself in order to write this blog was to give up caring too much about the quality of my writing. And whilst I can’t entirely ‘not care’, I’ve sacked the ultra-critical editor in my mind and I’m just letting it out…
So here it is – my first post on a blog I’ve been meaning to create for some time. Without further ado…
I’ve labelled this journal of mine – “Svasti: A Journey From Assault To Wholeness”.
I’m not sure if this will change, although the “Svasti” part of it will stay. Let’s just call it a working title for now.
“Svasti” is a Sanskrit word meaning “blessing”. Sanskrit is the root language of all modern Indo-Aryan languages and these days, its mostly used by scholars and yogis. I chose Svasti because I feel strongly that all experiences in life can be viewed as a blessing, even if the virtue of a given situation is not immediately apparent. Take it or leave it!
And yes, I was assaulted. On the 29th September 2005. I’ll refrain from telling this story in my first post, but I will say that it was a single incident. It was someone I knew, and it was completely unexpected.
Despite this being an isolated incident – attacked by someone I thought I knew in my own home – it has had an enormous impact on my life.
I did get help at the time, but like many people who experience trauma I think I did my best to suppress most of the pain. For many reasons, it’s no longer possible for me to do that (suppress things). It’s time for these things to come out, to resolve.
My reasons for creating Svasti are as follows:
- Chronicle my own path, step-by-step, out of a rather nasty trauma
- Handling and overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder
- Finding ways to trust again – both myself and other people
- Regaining confidence in my own judgement
- Following my counselling process
- Most important of all: Getting to a place where I can be in a relationship again
A beautiful thing about the human race is that everyone is different, and how we deal with trauma is very individual. So I am not suggesting that my experience is the same as anyone else’s. But if perchance, someone reads my words and gains insights about dealing with their own emotional pain… then great!
If nothing else, Svasti allows me a creative outlet for my inner world. And my goal is to eventually reach a place where this assault no longer has a negative impact on me in any way.
Wishing you many blessings,