Hysterectomy Grief

It has been 5 years since my hysterectomy and yet I still have moments of grief. the words above came to me during my morning yoga. In tears, I lay on the living room floor thanking and grieving for my entire reproductive system.

I struggled many years with endometriosis, unbearable pain and bleeding so heavy I couldn’t leave the house. I took all the pathways my state insurance required, suffering immensely the whole way. I didn’t want any more children but it still took a few more years, until I was finally granted surgery. First they took my uterus lining, endometrial ablation.

I didn’t do well with that procedure, continuing to bleed and awful pain brought me back to the doctor, where she was perplexed and almost angry that I was having trouble. She reluctantly wrote out a prescription for a few more pain pills and had nothing else to offer. I was disgusted with how she treated me and sought out a different OBGYN.

Finally I was heard, really heard, from a wonderful doctor and she scheduled me for a complete hysterectomy. After the surgery she told me we were just in time. She explained how much of a mess it was with many precancerous fibroids and how lucky I was.

Lucky I did not feel, spending my 48th birthday recovering; but I knew that I did what I had to do to move forward. I was grateful that the potential cancer was removed, but sad to hear how “how much of a mess it was”, my poor reproductive system. It held all that disease. I visualized it returning to the Earth and being free.

I had been working out in therapy that metaphorically my womanhood was holding trauma. I learned about the connection between rape and vaginismus. and other effects rape can have on you. I never did EMDR for healing this like I had planned, I simply do not want to relive these experiences. Though my prior EMDR had opened pathways in my mind and memories came anyway. I am still working on healing this area of my life, body, mind and spirit. (Which is probably why I still have these moments of grief).

I wonder how many other women share this journey. According to NCBI, one in nine women in the United States will have a hysterectomy. How awful. Are their wombs holding trauma too? How do you heal from the trauma? And how do you heal from hysterectomy? Besides the physical healing, there is mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic healing that must accompany the process. Feelings of less than, broken and dysfunctional.

Instead of thinking I am empty and can no longer bring life into the world, I choose to focus on the fact that I still have energetic womb space and as a woman who is caring and creative I can and will give life to new projects.

I am ever so grateful for my physical womb for bringing my daughter to this planet, for holding and carrying the pain and trauma for me, and for understanding what I had to do. I will continue to heal and create from that healing.

Life and Love are always stirring in my womb space that nobody can take away! I AM WOMAN!

A Model’s Nightmare

naked_by_very_nice_girl

I met him while I was working at the Mall. He approached me and gave me his business card. He said he worked with a company in New York called Portfolio. He thought I had real potential and wanted to work with me. I was 18 years old and very naive. I had graduated Modeling school and was working a few jobs. I thought this was my big break.

The first step he instructed was to create a portfolio and when it was finished, he would send me out to agencies. We spent the next year or so doing photo shoots, building my portfolio, and building trust and friendship, so I thought. Eventually, he convinced me that I needed lingerie pictures in my collection. I had to show that I was versatile. I was uncomfortable and unsure. He bought me alcohol to ease my worry.

He increasingly became controlling. There was a woman and her husband that I used to hang out with and drink beers. He lectured me about hanging out with successful people and he didn’t want me to see this woman anymore. He even had someone call me that claimed to be the actress Mia Sara, to lecture me as well. He said he knew Justine Batemen too and was going to have her call me; but she never did. When I went to hang out with this woman again, she was gone. Her apartment was empty. I didn’t know what happened. Could he have made her go away?

He also started to become very mean. When I suffered from a miscarriage, he forced me to do a photo shoot the very next day in the middle of Boston. I was emotional and bleeding and he didn’t care. He explained I had to learn how to work despite the circumstances. During photo shoots, he made me work for hours on end, without breaks. We would go away for weekends for location shoots. He never made inappropriate advances; but, there was something very wrong, and even my naive self knew it.

I finally asked when was my portfolio ever going to be finished, trying to call his bluff. He soon presented me with a contract to move to Japan and work for a year. I was afraid. My mind and nerves were frazzled by this point. My rebellious nature was fed up and I felt I had to try and back away from him. Something wasn’t right.

I brought my portfolio to a local modeling agency, that was run by two women. They sat me down and gently questioned the lingerie picture. They explained that I didn’t need this in my portfolio. I unleashed and in tears, I told them the whole story about the man I had been working with. They took it upon themselves to investigate. A few days later, they called me into the office and said that he was not who he claimed to be and didn’t work for Portfolio like his card stated. Then they nervously went on, and said he was wanted for child pornography, rape and possibly murder!

For the next three days, he parked outside of my apartment. I was terrified. I thought to myself. I got out just in time. What would have happened if I had gone to Japan, surely never to be seen again. Then he disappeared. I never heard from him again. I never knew what happened, Was he prosecuted? Was it true?

About five years ago a picture of me that he took surfaced on the internet. It wasn’t an inappropriate picture but just the thought of him made my heart race with anxiety.  The picture was listed under a different company and I couldn’t find more than his name for the pic credit anywhere. I was concerned that he was back in business and could be dangerous; but, I din’t know what to do. I just buried it too afraid to revisit.

Last week his name came up again when the family of Carrie Moss contacted me to ask about him. Carrie dated my brother in the eighties. In 1989 she went missing and her remains were found in 1991. Unfortunately, due to decomposition the case was never solved, and her family is still trying to piece it together in hopes of some peace. It’s a very sad story.  My sister had mentioned to them, this photographer I worked with and now they wanted to know more.

Shaken, first,  I googled him. Much to my surprise he became quite successful. I found a video from nine years ago, with NBC interviewing him about his art. Just seeing him made me nauseous. I wondered, did he turn his life around? I thought, he finally got what he wanted, success. Then I found his obituary from 2014. Only 55 years old and died suddenly. A part of me was instantly relieved. I felt safe. A little more research and I found a collection of pics of him and various celebrities. Justine Batemen was one of them. It wasn’t a pic of them together, just her. Did he really know her? Where was the info on the crimes he was accused of? Was he innocent? Did he buy his innocence? An array of mixed emotions washed over me.

I broke down and cried and cried, releasing years of fear, pain, betrayal and anger. I was a young woman who was made to feel that all I had to offer was sexual images. I was betrayed by a person who I thought was my friend. I was in shock and terror for so long. I hashed it out in therapy and then wrote Carrie’s family back. Realistically, he is a logical suspect. I still don’t know what to think about it all. My therapist assures me that it’s not the narrative of the story that offers closure; but instead it is the young 18-19yr old inside of me that needs to be heard.

Only by embracing her thoughts and feelings will I be able to put this behind me. I am hoping the more I write about it and share, the healing will happen, and this model’s nightmare will be put to rest.

 

 

Rape Trauma and Vaginismus

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I have been waiting to heal from my hysterectomy before beginning EMDR therapy again for my rape traumas. I have been putting it off because I know it’s going to be difficult work. It feels scary and dark. There are big chunks I don’t remember and EMDR will take be there to retrieve the fragments of my memory and emotions. Like it did to retrieve the abuse from my grandmother.

I have endured these horrible traumas early on in life and then spent a lifetime burying them with alcohol and drugs. From being a young teen into my early twenties, I was often sexually assaulted and raped. There is a large history of abuse that I have to visit.

Despite my fear, I recognize how necessary it is to heal. slide_32

I want a healthy life, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and sexually. These traumas need healing in order to get to where I want to be.

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I shared in my post Preparing for Surgery, that I had I come to the awareness of my vagina clenching as I read about the vaginal hysterectomy. I made the connection that I have often clenched when threatened, whether it was a pap smear exam or making love.

I googled ‘psychological trauma to the vagina’ and found vaginismus.

Vaginismus is a disorder that occurs when the muscles around the outer third of the vagina contract involuntarily when vaginal penetration is attempted during sexual intercourse.

There’s not always a reason for vaginismus. The condition has been linked to past sexual abuse or trauma, past painful intercourse, and emotional factors. 

I have clenched so tightly it feels like I am bruised. It is very painful and I surmise it is associated with the trauma of being raped and forcefully entered on more than one occasion. I believe it is why I have recovered a little more slowly with my hysterectomy and the ablation I had last year.

If my body is holding that much trauma still, I can only imagine where else those memories lurk.

Healing is hard work but so worth it to get to the other side,

survivor-teal

Darkness in the Labyrinth of My Mind…

            In the labyrinth of my mind
                                                          I’m running down a blackened hall                        
                                  Searching                              
                                             fearful of what I may find.                                                                     
                                                                            I see a little girl                                                         
                                                            rocking in the corner                           
                                                                                           trying to calm her world.       
She’s bruised and beaten,                               
                            yet she smiles.               
                                                      “The hitting only lasts a little while”           
                                                                                        she whispers,                         
                                                                                                                   and retreats into a  closet.                 
             Darkness envelops her.                            
                                                                             Demons stir.                                               
                                                                                    Suddenly, I hear laughter echo,        
                                                                                             I turn to go                                          
                                                               A teenage girl                                   
                                                                               is fighting for survival.
                                                      It’s a bloody battle.                
                                                                       She screams, then laughs again                     
                                                                despite her pain                           
                                                                                 and drinks and drugs it all away.
    Monsters hover over her,                       
                                    smelling and probing her.          
                     Their insatiable appetite
rapes her.                                                                 

                                 Her innocence feeds them,
                                     and they suck her dry.        
                                                  She looks to me and smiles,  
                                                                   “It only hurts for a little while.”
                       There’s a candle lit            
                                     far down the hall.            
                    I investigate.    
                              There sits a young woman,                                                                            
                                                                                             up straight and tall 
         consumed by pain and hate.                      
                                                    Her light is a tiny spark of a dying flame.             
                           She performs her duties 
      and sheds her soul.              
                                            Her heart feels empty and cold.
                                                                    She downs a handful of pills               
                                                              chased with vodka,                                         
                                                                                  and mournfully wails,
         “Please, make it all go away                
                    just for a little while.”                   
                                               I’m running to find another passageway.                            
                                                            An exit out of here                              This is too sad and dark.                                              
                                     I can’t stay.                 
                           I hear screaming and crying                          
                             from afar away
                                         No one is there.          
              I fall to my knees.    
                                              I cry
                 and pray,
            for the light to set me free,
                                           heal these wounds of mine! 
                          I open my eyes and find          
 I have awoken   
                        from and to                          
                                                  the darkness                                 
                                                                 in the labyrinth of my mind.              
                                        
Pictures found on Deviantart and Google Images, Click pic for link

My Grandmother and My Abuser

Presently one of the images I’m dealing with in my EMDR therapy is of my grandmother and the abuse she descended upon me.

The image of her on top of me, beating me.

The ugly in her face.

The crazed look in her eyes.

Her flailing hands and evil glare

as she grabbed my hair.

Pulled, tugged, slapped, and bruised.

She then put me in the closet

until my parents were there.

This image has haunted and taunted me my whole life. I even began to wonder if they were real memories or confused realities. EMDR is helping me finally release the emotions and associations related to this experience.

Embracing the bruised inner child.

You are safe now.

Why did she not care? The child asks.

Then I hold her and we cry.

When my friends had grandmothers that were loving and sweet and associated with soups and cookies, I had one who hated me. When I finally became too big to hit, she abused me with her words. Yelling and calling me a whore, when I was not even 12. Telling me that if my mom loved me, she’d be home and not working. These are just a few memories of my grandmother and my abuser.

I grew up thinking abuse equaled love.

No wonder I am an abuse magnet.

Including self abuse.

It’s been three weeks since my first round of EMDR, and I am still working on processing and releasing this one trauma. Overwhelming and healing, simultaneously.

Forgive my scattered writing, as I post this during an anxiety attack.

Though the memories of my grandmother are not as panic inducing as they once were, (thanks to therapy) I still have much anxiety with the process.

No child should have to hurt

or be unloved.

I shed tears for my inner child.

It is over now. I keep reminding.

Now it’s disassembling the connections intertwining.

This is where the anxiety and the journey continue.