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The light and the dark

Posted by crazysanegirl , 24 May 2014 · 163 views

[Trigger for reference to prostitution]
I haven't had much to say for a couple of years.  I think I've been on here once every six months.  I'd type up an entry, save it as draft, go on and live another six months without saying anything.
I'm in a Ph.D. program now.  I'm not sure how I got there.  I've never really understood how I've ever gotten anywhere.  Coming from where I come, I'm not supposed to find my way back.
Prostitution and education.  What odd partners.  You know, that's how I ended up working as a prostitute in the first place.  I was 17 and didn't know how I'd pay my Cegep* fees.
*Cegep is the equivalent of grade 12 and 13 in Quebec.
Then, prostitution paid for my BA and MA.  Well, I got loans and bursaries too, but I've never really been good at managing (my) money.  As a 17 year old, or as a 24 year old, or even now, as a 37 year old, I've never been able to live the life equivalent to the one I left.  My parents never made much money, but I had everything.  It seems no matter how much I make, I never have that security.
It's been a hectic few years.  Job to job.  Quitting really good jobs.
Then, last April, I quit the latest job and returned to the big city to be defined again by the job title I know best: escort. 4.0 GPA; sleeps with men for money.  Doesn't know anything else.
But, there's always been this will to survive.  I did it - becoming a prostitute again at 36, after a 6-year hiatus - by convincing myself I needed to save up for when I'd be back in school - January.  Yup, because along with quitting my job and becoming a "courtesan",  my plan also included applying to a Ph.D.
In retrospect, what happened there was likely what my doctor describes as hypomania.  It happens to me every year, every six months for a couple of months.  I've just come out of the latest episode.  What happens after, is you crash.
So right now, I'm crashing; just as I did shortly after applying; just as I did the last time I came here and saved my entry as draft.  Because "You'll never get accepted".  Yet, I was, and I did so well in my first semester that I have a new collaboration with a professor who thinks I'm all that.  Yet, I have no comprehension as to what he could see in me that's "all that".
I feel like a complete failure.  From cloud of dreams when the term ended to feeling like I'm falling in an abyss.
I dropped the "courtesan" act in April - when it started filtering in my brain that I actually had an academic future.  And that I'm my only barrier to achieving it.
Now, my world is falling apart.  I can't help but be drawn back into the story I know best; because I just can't keep it in my head that I deserve to be where I am.  I know it when I produce more and more for the people who praise me, while loving every minute of it.  I can work 16 hours a day.
And then, bang.  Crash.  I no longer know anything.  I'm no longer able to function.
Since yesterday. A mountain of work likely the trigger; can't put any of it in order...
So, onto beer #2.  Smoking.  Curtain closed.  Summer outdoors.
Can't be out there.
Can only be in the darkness.  Don't know how to be in the light I somehow seem to have the touch to create, too.
I just don't know how.
Not saving as draft.  Whatever.  

I read this with interest. I crashed out of my phd two years in. Totally relate to what you say about finding yourself there and not understanding how. Are you in therapy at all? I'm a little short on words for the sex stuff. My early experiences of being 'whored out' as a 17 yr old find it too triggering. But being able to uncover the 'self' that is separate to our sexual identity is key to moving out of this cycle. So easy to write - so very very very hard to do ..... Tgc - be kind to yourself. Mand
May 24 2014 03:29 PM

I've been seeing the same T on and off for about 18 years.  I'm pretty functional generally, but I always seem to fall back into the same patterns.  I don't deal well with high stress over long periods.  I'm crashing now because the term ended, the next term started, I had no time off in between and have about 8 projects in my mind/proposed by prof-who-thinks-I'm-all-that at the same time.  For the past two days I've been trying to send him an email to explain that I'm not as good as he thinks, I'm damaged, don't work with me.  It is completely f-ed up.  I'll probably be ok in a few days but in the meantime, it's hell.  I just hate it so much.


I hate more specifically that for the past few days I've found myself back on the escort review boards.  I started seeing my T again recently.  I told her I was back because I so really, really, truly want to understand the draw.  So this chapter in my life can be closed once and for all.


I couldn't see her last week.  Lots of changes happened last week.


I just can't seem to DEAL with change.  


Maybe I'm insane.  Bipolar that needs to be on meds or something, like the doctor says.


I don't agree with him because I'm functional 90% of the year.  The rest of it, I just feel is a result of all this damage.  Not neurochemistry. 


Thanks for reading and commenting.



I wonder if you suffer from the same disintegration anxiety that I do. The need for external validation to ensure we know we exist. Sex and sexual arousal mean that you are in existence- you 'are'. Maybe that's the draw back into the industry. Gaining the requisite skills and mindset to survive on internal validation is hard. Fucking hard (sorry, I tend to swear) I am struggling, but I believe I am getting there. Although at only 1 yr in to therapy after the first 20 years of my life being one of physical and sexual abuse- it ain't easy! (I am in my 40's now). I am lucky, my DH has been amazing, as have my kids. My personality split as a child and left me very high functioning, but completely unaware of my 'wicked' side. It was a shock when I integrated my children just what had happened and what I had been up to- even when so happily married!!!

I'm glad you have a good T. Don't be hard on yourself. You clearly have the intelligence and insight to understand why you might be feeling as you do , as well as the strength and self care to reach out to your T for help.

Stay strong and kind to yourself. Having time out is ok. It is ok to say "I can't do this at this time". The world doesn't end.


May 24 2014 03:54 PM

I don't know what it is.  Disintegration anxiety - never heard of it (I'll Google).  I've heard so many things in the last decades.  I always argue with the doctors because there is always something that doesn't fit.  I got the bipolar and my favourite - the borderline diagnosis.  I'd rather just be ADHD and get the Ritalin.  I'm pretty sure I would be highly functional all the time if I could get my hands on that drug :)


I'm joking.  I just feel as though this is medical science's response to people who are screwed up by their personal experiences - that they have some mental disease.  That it has to be about brain chemistry.  It can't be that they just developed survival mechanisms that become daily-life-mechanisms because they're so well-learned.  And if they acknowledge it, they'll suggest cognitive psychotherapy or whatever, but then, I've met some of these people and they really have BS advice to give because they've never dealt with victims of the sex trade.  I.e. Please, don't ask me about my relationship with my father.  I'm beyond that at this point.


Thanks for caring.  I just needed to put it out there.  I'll see the T on Tuesday.  Hopefully by Monday I can be back to functional again so I can not have to drop out of this class.  I'm feeling better already.



May 24 2014 04:00 PM

Ok, so I've googled it.  Yeah, pretty much.  I feel as though I have two personalities and the "bad" one is always trying to get me in trouble.  Though I really don't associate this to any form of multiple personality problem.  I don't "withdraw" from one state to the other.  I'm aware of myself in both states. It's just that there are times in my life where some personality traits seem to come out more strongly.  It's stress related.  Eg. we're May and I'm technically good financially until December but I'm already worried because I quit the escort thing.  HOW am I going to manage.  This monopolizes a lot of my thought.


I refer to it as my brain 'splitting'.  Like I'm going to break and this other personality I created that can manage being an escort will take over.

I don't have much to say. But if this is a regular pattern for you then maybe you need to plan ahead for when it does happen rather than to react to it once in it. 


I just can't keep it in my head that I deserve to be where I am.



You probably deserve to be there as much as most of them. Just ride it out and eventually you will have enough credibility that it won't even be a question.

May 24 2014 04:09 PM

I can't plan ahead.  I only realize as I start crashing that I've been in a hypomanic phase.  Like "oh, that's where all this energy and creativity has been coming from."  It's distinct from full-blown mania because I wouldn't be as functional as I am.  I'm only dysfunctional when I crash.

Yes- I have a split that I recognise. I have managed to stay totally aware of my self since my T got me to acknowledge and integrate the two thirds of myself I was rejecting. I'm guessing you aren't uk based.

I have not gone on any medication. I deliberately chose a T who wouldn't label me. I don't 'do' labels. I am who I am because of my experiences - end of (I totally agree with you there). My T is a humanistic integrative one. So she has constantly adapted her therapy style to suit me. I have done everything from mindfulness and CBT (to initially make me safe) to psychoanalysis, transference stuff, transactional analysis- the works really! For me, exploring my erotic transference issues has been the most revealing. As you can imagine, as transference goes, it's not surprising that this one has revealed the most!

Have you read: counselling adult survivors of child sexual abuse by Christiane Sanderson? Chapter 9 is about the shattered self and explains disintegration anxiety beautifully. I shall post this and then edit it with a link to the online PDF for you.


Hope it works!

May 25 2014 11:57 AM

Thanks for the link Mand...

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