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A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hidden Pieces ~ Noise

***TRIGGER WARNING***  ***TRIGGER WARNING***

I decided to begin retelling what I wrote to my therapist and I in the Winter/Spring of 2007 after four years of intense flashbacks and repressed memories emerging. [Current commentary is in brackets.]  I wrote my seventy page "biography" because I needed to write out what I remembered and what I experienced to make it more "real" rather than a "story."  I am ready to take the next step and putting more of it in my blog.  This was the original reason for starting my blog and using my journal as a starting point.  I am still struggling with believing that the following is the truth of my life:

In general, noise really agitates me or I have panic attacks. Which is mostly due to the noise that was violent and usually meant I was going to get hurt from before I was born until I moved out of the house as an adult. Additionally, any power tools are extremely difficult for me to handle due to the frequency of them which is the same or very similar to the Kirby vacuum. Also, idling of cars brings back flashbacks especially the anxiety I felt. Just thinking about these sounds makes me feel like I’m leaving my body. [Some of my physical and sexual abuse occured in my step-father's van.  I write about this later.]

I always had to assist my mother with vacuuming from the time I could had her things until I was out of high school. Vacuuming or house cleaning, in general, always meant that I was going to get yelled at and/or probably hit or slapped in the face for not being quick enough or doing something that was not to her liking. Kirby’s have lots of different attachments and my mother would ask me for different ones. I tried really hard to remember, but I couldn’t remember what they were all called. If I gave her the wrong one, she would start to scream at me, “that I was stupid” and it would escalate into her throwing the attachments at me, to hitting me with the vacuum tubes on the head, shoulders and back.

If she did a through job of cleaning the house it would be four to five hours of this. But, it was hard to determine when she was going to clean house and she would not tell me ahead of time, but somehow I was expected to know. If I heard the vacuum start, I would hurry to get ready or I’d get screamed at and possible slapped in the face or slugged in the back. Or the worse one was being awakened by her suddenly throwing my bedroom door open and screaming at me to help her.

It did not matter if I had a guest, one time, a friend spent the night and we were woken up to this and I immediately got dressed and my mother began screaming at me, so my friend packed her things and walked home. I never did ask if anyone could spend the night after that and never asked anyone over to my house. I was so embarrassed and humiliated, but too scared at the time to feel this. My friend and I have never talked about this to this day. I guess in some ways I am afraid of the vacuum and have not been able to vacuum much, hardly at all, since the memories began. My husband does it when I am not home.

Cleaning house in general brings up so much anxiety. My step-father and my mother used to argue about him purchasing the pay per view boxing matches for which he would invite all of his friends and expect my mother and I to clean for the day, clean up after and purchase the snacks and drinks. There was arguing which my mother directed at me. There was agitation and arguing leading up to the purchase, once the purchase was made, about how many he was going to invite, how many he invited, the food purchases, the cleaning the house before the match, cleaning up after the match and for having the party in the first place.

This occurred quite frequently and I had to stay to help clean up before, during and after which also meant listening to my mother complain and take her anger out on me. This made me extremely anxious due to the arguing, waiting for my mother’s anger to become directed at me, and the “sport’s” type yelling and loudness during the match and people becoming drunk. After the match, while my mother and I cleaned, Gene and his buddies would go out to a bar or play basketball and then to the bar. I hated boxing matches and still do.

The sound of cars idling flashes me back to many different things including my father’s car, my mother’s car and my step-father's van. Vehicle's idling always meant someone was angry, arguing, wanting me to hurry up or being trapped in the van with my step-father.

[To this day, I still have difficulty with any type of noise.  I am getting better as I work through issues in therapy.  The more stressed I feel or if my senses are overstimulated, I have more difficulty and become fragmented.]

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