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i've been one busy bee in the past couple of days so i didn't get a chance to write until now. friday was kind of scary for me in that i had a pretty serious asthma attack that woke me up and continued to become more severe until i broke down and purchased my inhaler refill. i would prefer not to lose my entire life by not spending 50 dollars on the medicine i need to catch my breath.
as a direct result of the worsening asthma situation, i spent a large part of friday engaging in some cleaning to further reduce the allergens in my apartment. after that, i had an enjoyable and relaxing evening with michael. after a long and much needed discussion with him on thursday about sex and intimacy, we have made an agreement that we are committed to working through this problem together.
some very profound insight was captured during that talk. michael broke down and discussed his difficulties as a co-survivor and shared with me that the pain he watches me go through becomes his own. that what had been done to me has also been done to him indirectly. we discussed the problem of 'the wall between us' and not each other. we stayed in present and on task and we took breaks when either of us started getting overwhelmed.
michael is a very interesting person to me. part of what brought us together is that i immediately sensed that he understood the very important things. what i have come to understand is a little more about why that is. michael is a survivor, not of sexual violence, not directly speaking, that is ( i will write further on this, but i think that its a society problem, not a victim problem, like many myths try to propagate.) instead, michaels direct experience of trauma is derived from the sudden and unexpected death of his father at the age of ten and the loss of this very important part of michaels life has led him through similar channels after he developed ptsd around that loss.
michael told me that there have been times that he has been afraid to lose me the same way he lost his beloved father. there is a background to this fear as i began a strong period of crisis between october 2011 and july 2012. during that entire time, i was without agency and was actively suicidal. we tried to 'go it alone' during that time and there were many 'almosts' on my end that were stopped by him intercepting in the middle of an attempt. one can only imagine that this has caused created a lot more complexity to his trauma and his reactions at times really caused me to question if he really wanted to end things.
that had been my previous perception and our talk clarified that this is not the case. michael explained that he is working through the fear he has had witnessing the various times where i battled with my own life. i have a great amount of compassion for how terrible that must have been watching me self-destruct and this strengthens my resolve and love for him to overcome and keep working at healing. i am fortunate that i have someone who is willing to see me through this. michael told me that he doesn't give up on the things that matter to him and he's right. the evidence exists in his commitments, his work ethic, and his dedication to the things in life that he believes in. i am fortunate enough to be one of the things he believes in.
in response, i told him about my problems with intimacy. in fact, what i started to realize as we were sitting very close to one another, with my hands in his hair, is that i have been really terrified of intimacy for most of my life. sometimes, when you're almost rock bottom falling in the lows of healing, you convince yourself that the abusers have taken everything and that there is nothing left for you to stand on. truly, it seems so bleak at those moments. however, i realize now that i do have something to offer foundationally that the abuser could NEVER have and take from me: my ability and choice to have a healthy, intimate, and sexual connection with another being. that's right, the real deal!
no one can EVER destroy that part of me, even if they tried! and what's awesome, is that its always been there, dormant and waiting to be shared with people who are deserving. there were many, many times in the past with previous companions where i would start to check out of the relationship and begin terrifying dances with my trauma and anxiety. around the time i started to accept that this person was committed was when the flashbacks, body shame, overall dis-ease and severe sensitivity to triggers would begin. when that happened, i would find it difficult to share my living space and my thoughts with someone while also engaging with them sexually at the same time.
truth, i always got very sick inside about six months deep into a relationship and then check out in an attempt to find some inner relief.
i would get this sick feeling that they were too much like family and too little like the various users and abusers who would take stabs at my power and run. i became afraid at what i did not recognize and didn't fit into those two limited categories. after all, that was all i really knew concretely and i was not yet ready, willing and able to confront that part of myself.. so, instead of running with the fear, listening to poorly articulated therapists, and acting out; i am running toward that fear and challenging it. i am going against the grain with michael because i have decided that i can handle 'staying still', to see what this whole thing with intimacy is about with him. i am noticing that its enabling me to go places in a physical and sexual way with him that are much more satisfying than anything i have ever known.
progress is being made right here. i am untying the knot of confusion within myself about where to go and i am learning and then changing. this is one of the coolest times of my life and i am happy that i have the sense to document it somewhere. i have no unrealistic expectations about moving forward with michael- this is not some overnight miracle. i know that we both must take our time through this and it is great for both of us that we are actively in counseling right now to remain stable through this beautiful period of growth and transition. i know that there will be days and times of challenge ahead and i am willing to move forward and see it through with him. i also know for a fact that michael feels the same way.
after we spoke, i feel closer to him and i can tell that michael was a lot less withdrawn than he has been for months now. some of the things i originally came here freaking out over are being addressed so my mind is being cleared to reflect on other matters. i have been incredibly creative and efficient lately in my actions. my mind is getting more grounded now that the shaky withdrawal period is over from the ssri's. i don't feel nearly as anxious as i have around this time last year. i really think that the EMDR is helping me in very profound ways to assist in making such posts possible.
next year, i have the career program and DBT to look forward to. let it be known, i am kicking ass and i am making progress!!