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About pianogirl

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    She plays piano like she spatters paint.
  • Birthday 10/13/1971

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  • Location
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Interests
    Theater (Acting, Playwriting, Crew), Creative Writing (Poetry, Short Fiction), Music (Singing, Songwriting, Piano, Guitar), Running (Currently into 5 milers, but working up to a half-marathon)
  1. Yuck *May T*

    I am having signs of a bacterial infection (vaginosis) again. Although it's easily treatable and common, it doesn't help that it brings up the dirty girl syndrome in me. My CSA was not really sex-oriented. It was more like the people had a fascination with checking out my sex parts and poking around the crevices. My sister was my primary abuser as a child, although she was a year and a half older than me. I mean, yeah there was the stranger I foolishly mistaken for a friend's dad (Actually, that's a lie. I went with him because I wanted 5 bucks to spend at the carnival and my mom wouldn't give me any money) when I was nine years old. He just wanted to know if my nipples were pink or brown and later wanted me to squeeze his penis. I just touched and said, "I gotta go just give me a dollar." Don't ask me how I got out of that one with no fight. My college situation was a sexual assault, not rape. No pentration. Just a humiliating experience of him performing cunnilingus after me saying no to sex and slipping up his name (His name was Eric and we were both drunk), and him scaring me by gripping both my wrists hard and pinning me to the bed and him yelling,"Eric! My name is Eric!". OK. Sorry I changed my mind and I drunkenly fucked up your name. OK, so I just named my major CSA events... well the events with my sister involved her thinking and saying I smelled and I would have to drop my drawers and she would sniff around and check if I peed or soiled my panties. She said that she was allowed because "Mommy said so" and threatened that if Mommy found out, that Mommy would be doing it. She did this quite a few times from when I was about 8 or 9 'til I was about 13 years old. Then one time while I was lying on my side reading a book in my parent's bed and she asked me if she could put her finger in my vagina, and I said no, but she did anyway. She then said, "Don't tell Mommy." Our mother was a pretty unstable, violent woman. Don't get me wrong, she provided and all, was a nurse, an upstanding member of the community and a devout Catholic. However, my sister and I were afraid of her, that's for sure. Basically, my mom was very strict and my sister was put in charge of me (You see, people thought I was retarded and my sister was pretty much put in the role of my overseer and narc). I pretty much did a lot of things to avoid being beaten. Well, my stupid vaginosis (God, I feel dirty, like I'm not hygienic enough) came back in about a year after my first bout with it. I really, really don’t feel like calling the doctor. Even though my private parts are normal, I still, still after all this time feel such a grossness and revulsion with them. I have such issues with sex (don’t have much of it, either), but enjoy pleasuring myself. But this. Ugh. This just brings such triggers and ugliness back. I don’t know what else to say. Yuck.
  2. Meh

    Meh. You know, that's a simple, simple sound, saying, expression, spelling. It is a step about depression, I think. Dysthymia, maybe? Lately, I've been feeling the symptoms of depression popping up. The sudden crying fits or mood changes. The lack of motivation tand enthusiasm. The desire to drink more. The ache to sleep more. The sudden mood changes are my biggest signal. That's when I know I need to keep an eye on things. It's different than my sudden reactions in PTSD symptoms. Those I feel a distinct fear or protective or defensive response and pain then numbness from my spine. The sudden mood changes from depression feels like something just came out and pours down in weight. Usually I just go to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and print out a mood check-list from their recovery toolbox. Here's the link: http://www.dbsalliance.org/ It's a good resource. It really is. I hope things start lifting rather than weighing down.
  3. Shooting Tragedies this Week

    I am having a very difficult time understanding personal accountability and mental illness. This week had three shootings: The high school in Omaha that killed two (the shooter killed himself) and injured one, the standoff at an Arizona Mall (no wounded or killed), and today's shooting in Tuscan, Arizona killed 6 and injured 12. When the Omaha shooting happened, I felt badly that the student killed himself... but... he killed one person and could have killed more. The mall shooter could have killed workers and shoppers. Today's shooter could have killed more. Of course, shootings occur regularly in our cities... I consider myself a mental health advocate, but I reaching a point where mental illness is not an excuse. Thing is, it's sort of putting mentally ill people in a pigeon-hole as being potential shooters. Yes, there's signs and symptoms and that person's misfortune and illness, but that doesn't take away the fact that a shooter took lives or potentially took lives. I honestly don't give a damn if someone was bipolar or depressed or had PTSD or had schizophrenia. They put innocent people in harm's way and killed others. I want people to be responsible for their actions. I just hope that all those traumatized, wounded, affected by this week's events and other violent incidents heal. I wish you healing.
  4. Holly Branches

    Merry Christmas--lord knows,I hope it's merry. As many people at Pandy's and elsewhere know, Christmas isn't always merry... downright traumatizing for many. My father and I went to my brother's house for Christmas Eve. My brother and sister and their own families were there. That's when we all open our gifts for each other. This year and gatherings over the past few years have grown to be very pleasant. I enjoy watching the kids growing up and how all of us joke around and tease my dad during dinner. Humor has become a savior in this family. This holiday season was one of sentiment. Although I don't have a family of my own, I've been going to a lot of family-oriented events with my friends who have children: a live Nativity outside the local Baptist church with colonial period musicians and church members dressed in colonial garb (they made their costumes!); Longwood Gardens; a Christmas bazaar at my old church; light shows, Dickens Village, Christmas Village shopping in Philadelphia; a friend's holiday variety show... I crocheted and made several hand-made gifts this year, too. I suppose this year was a season of revisiting. Christmas without the drama, without the pressure of it being perfect. I remember growing up and the stress of things having to be perfect--even baking was stressful. As much as my mother tried to make Christmas festive, the stress of it brought out her violent side. With that, I have come to look at Christmas as a thing of religion, stress, anger, and impossibility. Now, I guess Christmas is like a holly branch: a thing of beautiful berries and piercing leaves.
  5. Back after a Looooong Hiatus

    It's been a long time since my last entry in this blog. Actually, I don't think I want to call this a blog until I start posting in it regularly. I guess I'm currently in a stage in my life where this sexual assault stuff--MY issues with this stuff has gone dormant. Funny, during the beginning stages of my healing journey, I never thought I would type such a thing--my body memories and other episodes were so contant. Unfortunately, with it being dormant, I doubt myself and wonder if all those episodes really incapacitated me like I thougbt they did. Sometimes, I actually wish for a flashback, a good, nasty one, to throw me through a loop. Also funny is that I FINALLY have an excellent therapist I've been seeing for the past 5 years, and I haven't had a big episode in front of her, or have needed her to talk me down after one. Now, my mental discomfort, enemy, what-have-you, is my depression. I've not been visiting the forums at Pandy's mucb in the past few years. I have been at a loss for words in replying to posts or posting myself. It's almost like I turned the faucet off. Don't get me wrong, I still yearn for a lot of things that have been affected from my "bad experiences." Believe me, I still yearn and know how I've been effected by them, but words do not come. Just all this superfluous language and nonsense. Maybe, maybe, I can grant myself permission or give myself reminders that I could write here, in this blog. I mean, "it" does still bother me. Maybe I will write more on the specifics on how it does still bother me soon. I don't know. Permission is granted. That's all I need right now.
  6. Soundless Open Mouth

    I saw an ER rerun called "White Guy, Dark Hair" and it was about a woman brutally raped and beaten. Sam, the nurse tries a procedure which allows the woman to speak while being on a ventilator even though it was very risky. When they did the procedure, all the woman could whisper was "white guy, dark hair" and then she went in to complications and died. ... ack the frustration and tragedy of helping a woman speak, and it took so much for that woman to do a little. Then I thought of the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and how difficult it was for Melinda to speak as well. It was even difficult for her to express herself through art, too. Although I'm dealing with PTSD and there are some things that I either don't remember or become so ... choked up?... that I'm left with my mouth open and no sound passing through and then left with a mouth closed and throat curled in a ball to keep quiet. I know that unlocking silence is a common theme of empowerment and to get survivors' stories told, but sometimes it's more literal than telling a story. It's just the ability to SPEAK. I guess what's striking me is the observation that trauma literally forces victims/survivors to be silent even when they want to speak.
  7. I have more to write on this topic, but I wanted to post the link to my thread about anger issues. It was really helpful for me when people replied with their stories and comments. Does anyone have a problem with rage/temper/anger? Even though I posted the following links in the thread, I'm going to post them here, too. Anger and Trauma from the National Center for PTSD: http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/ncmain/ncdocs/fac...s/fs_anger.html New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault (similar content): http://www.nycagainstrape.org/survivors_factsheet_92.html PTSD info's Anger Exposed presentation (I thought it was interesting reference to an over-filled cup): http://www.ptsdforum.org/learning/anger-ex...er-exposed.html and PTSD info's Anger Management Thread: http://www.ptsdforum.org/forum14.html About.com's PTSD site: http://ptsd.about.com/ I do have a lot of issues with anger and I'm so ashamed of myself because of it. It makes me feel like I can't handle things. It's embarrassing because I hate that I end up behaving so awfully--it makes people so uncomfortable. It has affected much my confidence in myself and my inability to believe that I can have a healthy relationship with someone. I was talking about some of this with a friend yesterday, and I think the most frightening thing is my ability to possibly hurt myself or others... though I tend to be violent toward myself. When I described to my friend how sometimes I'm angry enough at myself to stab myself... it scared me. I might scream and throw things, but I also have such strong urges to stab or beat at myself. Sometimes it's terrifying to have images in my mind with the urge to smack my head against a brick or cinder-block wall. *ugh* I'm not talking about a specific event right now or my desire to do anything. It's just an observation of myself when my anger and rage set in. Yes, it scares me. I don't want to become my mother who was violent to her husband and kids, and I don't want to be a criminal of some sort because of my blinding rage, and I don't want to be some mental case in a straight-jacket about to get stabbed in the neck with a tranquilizer because I am yelling or ranting or crying in rage. I really do hope that I can somehow work this out. I will definitely write more later in the next couple weeks or months.
  8. One Itty-Bitty Step

    I bought a copy of The PTSD Workbook by Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula. It's the book that my therapist uses with her clients. She's started using a few of the exercises with me. I bought my own copy so that I can revisit and redo some of the exercises later on if I want to. It looks like a good book. I also have a copy of I Can't Get Over It by Aphrodite Matsakis. That is a good book, too. This is the first time I'm getting a book with the knowledge of my therapist. I was secretive about what healing books I bought while I was seeing my old therapist. I was afraid my old therapist, who I will call Em, would think I was feeding my mind with false things or adding to my troubles. I asked Jay (that's what I will call my newer therapist) if it was OK that I buy it and that I look around it on my own, even though we'll look at specific exercises together. She said it was OK. It will be nice to be able to be honest with a therapist this time around. It will be nice to finally talk about the PTSD stuff and even some of the weird, alarming, unexplainable things to her and not worry so much about feeding my psychosis when I reach for resources. Also, every time I buy a new book about PTSD, it feels like a small, small, but tentative, step to accepting that I have PTSD and that I actually can heal, or at least learn to live a full life despite having it.
  9. Today is the day I'm opening up the curtains, pulling away the heavy drapes and parting the sheer off-white curtains that dull the sunlight. Yes, open those curtains wide and let the sunlight land on my shoulders. I will force the window open, and inhale, and let my lungs fill with light, air, and hope. I need to make, I need to greet, I need to keep a brand new day. I've decided to start a blog here. I have another one for the IRL me, but I decided to start one here at Pandy's for the part of me that needs to heal. I need this place so that I can somehow put the words together, the thoughts together that I otherwise would keep to myself because it's too much for the boards or because it's just so hard for me to categorize. I've felt so alone in my healing... and in my experience, it's been so hard to really talk about things with friends and even other survivors. Maybe I can explain it this way: I was abused when I was a child. It was mostly physical abuse, though there was also sexual abuse. The child abuse from my mother and my relationship with her has messed me up more than the sexual abuse that occurred in my childhood. I think the sexual assault in my sophomore year was impactive as well, but the truth is, I think the abuse from my mother laid down the plans and the markings that led me into being abused later. I've been dealing with PTSD since 1998. I've dealt with depression since 1983 (officially since 1993). I went through the "Emergency Stage" and flooding of memories via flashbacks (mostly auditory and sensory--body memories). While I will always have a startle response, and flare-ups here and there, I am not as inhibited from that part of the PTSD as I was in the late '90s. In the early stages of my healing and dealing with PTSD, I was desperate to find connections with other survivors to get through all the intrusiveness of the flashbacks and nightmares. Now, I am still unstable, but I need to address the things that have resulted from the abuse and trauma in my life. I guess I will list them here: 1. I have a hard time saying "no" to friends, projects, changing my mind. 2. I react like someone will hit me even if it's a mild disagreement. 3. I'm terrified of being abandoned. 4. I get very intimidated and insecure, though if you looked at my resume, you would disagree and see that I have a lot of skills and abilities. 5. I am unable to have long-lasting intimate relationships. 6. My sexuality is greatly affected. 7. My ability to make friends is good, but to keep them, or to believe they really enjoy my company is definitely a rocky place for me. 8. I have the inability to see that I am a worthy, competent person, and that has affected my choices in finding jobs (underpaying, underchallenging). 9. I have issues with drinking and still fight my old issues of self-injury. 10. I try to please people, sometimes to the point where I wonder where my common sense is. I hope this new blog thing will work out. I hope that this will help me start opening up with people in the Pandy's community. I've been needing connection with others lately and it's been hard. Really hard. Well, here goes. I'm throwing open those curtains and throwing open this blog. pianogirl