Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Here's To Us (explicit content)

   I just finished going back and reading all of my posts on this blog to date. All of them. Every. Single. One... It took a minute...

   My Mutt and I have been married a little over 5 years now, moved last summer, and have a lot more cats than we used to. Our new house is a run-down fixer-upper that was being held hostage by several squatters when we were first offered the place. It needs work. Lots of work. But it's ours, or at least it will be once we finish paying it off. We're not in the country like we'd like, but we have enough land for an ounce of privacy and the freedom to (mostly) be ourselves.

   As for our marriage, it's had its up's and down's. Don't they all?... The last year and a half has been a massive roller coaster. I got a phone call with a very dark and gruesome reminder of the past I'd left behind. Then the nightmares started. Then someone close to me betrayed me and the nightmares got worse. Needless to say, sometimes the past has a tendency to not want to stay buried. And it almost wrecked our marriage. Not because of things my Mutt didn't know (we have no secrets), but because of how badly I was coping with life. Depression and anxiety hit in full swing with max pressure.

   After a little over a year of trying to "move on" again, I stumbled across a book entitled, "Healing The Wounded Heart", by Dan Allender. It's for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. There's even a workbook to go with it. This has been a major game-changer for me. I'm still having anxiety and depression problems, but I'm learning how to accept myself as I am. Or at least I'm trying to. I'm trying... It's a very long and very hard journey, but my Mutt has chosen to walk this path with me, and together we're working on it. For anyone that has dealt with this kind of trauma, read the book. Use the workbook. It's hard. It takes time. Lots of time. But it seems to be helping me find the strength to grieve and reintegrate that broken part of my soul.

   I read the book. Then I read it to my Mutt. Then we started doing the exercises in the workbook, which is divided into two halves: one for the survivor, the other for their spouse or support person. The workbook has been slow going. We started with half an hour, twice a week (per the book's suggestion). I couldn't handle that. So we kept modifying the schedule, and are now just focusing on it for 15 minutes, once a week. It's hard for me. I'm doing the exercises out loud, saying my answers as I write them. And I'm still terrified that my Mutt will be too ashamed of my shame and walk away. That's what years of shame does to us. It builds up. It eats away from the inside. And you mostly don't even notice it, because you're so used to it being there.

   I have some other updates, but they'll come later. This post isn't fit for them. Some things are meant to be kept separate from the rest of your world until you can drag the entire tangled, half-rotten mess out all at once. THIS is one of those things. To anyone else in a similar boat, keep rowing. You'll make it to shore eventually, just have faith. All storms come to an end in due time. Peace.

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