A Model’s Nightmare

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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.

 

 

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In a Slump

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I’ve been in a slump. Weeks of utter exhaustion, mild depression and a complete lack of motivation. The first week, I chalked it up to still recovering from my surgery and allowed myself the rest. Though that Friday I managed to gather my strength and go out with some friends from school to see another classmate sing. It was a lovely, normal evening out and I am so glad I did it; but, the anxiety and socializing was draining. I was down a few days from that alone.

The next week, my daughter was depressed after a break up. We both spent a lot of time playing video games and being in bed until the end of the week. Realizing the unhealthy, depressive, codependent vibe we were creating, I vowed next week would have to be different. Sunday we drove to my niece’s to celebrate her birthday and spent the evening. It was a lovely time but Monday was right back to the shit.

My daughter and I got into an argument, probably needing space and independence from each other. We are so close that when we argue it is painful. That night I discovered my breast was disfigured from the surgery. The large indentation starting at my scar and going down the bottom of my breast was not any better and now there were two more lines across. I cried myself to sleep.

Tuesday morning, I had an appointment with the garage to inspect the car I am borrowing from a family member. I woke up to a group message regarding an upcoming brunch meeting with old friends. A change of plans. Could we meet near the hospital because my girlfriends mom was in the hospital. I was concerned for my friend and her mother whom I am close with too. I inquired to learn that it is Leukemia and she doesn’t have long. I offered anything I could do to please let me know, and I got ready for my appointment in tears. My appointment didn’t go that well either, I need all four brakes and rotors replaced and a side view mirror to even get a rejection sticker. Then I will have to identify the light stuck on to get inspected. Depleted. I cried on my exes shoulder whom I met because he is local to the garage. I have been completely independent from his help for a long time; but, I needed help. I asked if he could fix my brakes. Presumably, a “friends with benefits” comment surfaced in our conversation. I questioned silently, is that where we left it? I came home to a message from my daughter’s father asking if she was okay. Apparently, she had called him the evening before upset. I replied yes, just growing pains. He responded and then sent a dick pic. One with contraptions on it. I told him he was a perv, and he apologized and said it wasn’t meant for me. Between that and the comment from my ex, I now was depressed  AND angry with men.

I still had my breast to deal with, so I called the doctor and they made an appointment for me. Then my girlfriend with the sick mom called and asked me to call her as soon as I can. I was scared. I didn’t know if I had it in me to be as good of a friend as I tried to portray. I knew her situation would be triggering for me, and I feared breaking down. I poured a glass of wine and called. She wanted me to find someone who could perform a spiritual blessing at her service. I agreed. Then I poured another wine and called it a day.

Sunday, I gathered my strength again and drove to Burlington Mass to meet my girlfriends and her sick mom in the hospital. It tugged my heartstrings to see her sick. I am so glad and proud that I could be there to see her and be there for my friend. I have really grown! I came home and collapsed.

This week, I feel much of the same. Exhaustion, depression, repeat. My appointment with the doctor didn’t make me feel any better. She explained that she had to go into the capsule area to get the calcification out and it could have caused a reaction with the implant, now I have to see a plastic surgeon. Then another blow comes my way. The family of Carrie Moss contacts me to ask if I could tell them about a photographer I worked with. Carrie Moss is a girl that dated my brother in the 80s. In 1989, she went missing and later her bones were found but the mystery never solved and they are still trying to piece it together. The photographer came into question because my sister recently mentioned him to the family. This guy was wanted for child pornography, rape and possible murder, so he was a logical suspect. Shaken by just his name, I researched him only to find he finally became successful and then passed away in 2014. I hadn’t even heard his name in years, and here I was looking at his face and trying to process multiple emotions at once. He is something I will have to write a separate post on. I cried and cried. Here I was sitting with traumas from almost thirty years ago. It’s strange when the past catches up with you. It slaps you in the face and then curls up on your lap waiting for your attention. I will be working on that little gift today in therapy.

It’s really all I can do to just keep going sometimes. The last few weeks, it seems I’m up and then I’m knocked back down again. I am hoping with Spring coming the hints of hope will break this dark and gloomy slump cycle. It has been weeks now, and even though I am functioning, I feel heavy and depressed. I am overwhelmed with the sensation of my inner child just wanting to curl up and cry. I don’t want to be brave today. I don’t want to look into the darkness. I am afraid. I am tired. I just want to color, and play and be innocent.

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Wounded Woman

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Wounded Woman

You can tell by the look in her eyes.

A beautiful sadness, silent cries.

The lines of her face

mark passages of time.

The scars and stories, she can’t erase.

Wounded Woman

She carries immense weight

on her shoulders.

A lifetime of trauma and pain;

but, the heaviness doesn’t stop her

from dancing in the rain.

dancing in the rain

Wounded Woman

twirled and thrusted

until she broke through

to the other side.

Alas, in Great Spirit she trusted,

and set herself free,

never again to hide.

Wounded Woman

She wove her wounds

like an intricate web of Grandmother Spider;

as she journeyed deep inside her.

She found the truth and beauty

of her own old soul.

Her spirit held all the selves, the keys.

Thus, Wounded Womanbecame whole. …<3

 

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Update: Chaos, Upheaval and Change

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Happy 2017 Everyone!  I feel like I am still purging 2016. I hate that I haven’t blogged in so long; but, my life has been in a constant state of chaos.  If you read my last update, then you know last year was a rough one for me.  After my meltdown, I regrouped and started prepping for winter by going back on my antidepressant (Wellbutrin) and increasing my Vitamin D. I always get depressed in the winter, so I figured preparing better might help. The holidays were around the corner which has its own stress; but, somehow wipes away when family gathers and laughter and love fill my heart.

I had a few good months after my last update; but, then December hit me hard. My daughter was sinking into a depression. I believe part of it was because she was feeling anxiety and pressure becoming an adult. She turns 18 in June. She dropped out of her DBT group, and then her dance program. She loves dance, so this was a big red flag. We started talking about residential treatment; but, here in NH there isn’t much available, especially if you don’t have money. She decided to try medication. The psychiatrist put her on Seroquel. She hadn’t slept in weeks, and the first night on the medication she slept like a baby, and it warmed my heart. She also started seeing her counselor twice a week instead of once. Things felt better for a second. Then she started talking to and meeting up with a couple of older men she met on the internet. Talk about a mother’s nightmare. I absolutely insisted on meeting the first guy who was 22years old. I had them meet in the mall figuring it is a public place, got his full name, address and telephone number. The second guy she snuck out to meet.

I woke up in the middle of the night to a person laying on my floor with their arm outreached for what I figured out later was my purse. They had a black hat on and a flannel. I reached down and touched their head, and questioned, Serenity? I thought it was my daughter and she couldn’t sleep again, and came in to  curl up as she has so many times before. The second I touched their head, they took off swiftly, ran down the stairs and out my back door which was left open a crack. Not fully awake, I quickly assumed it was Serenity and she was sleepwalking on her Seroquel. I searched the neighborhood, calling her name. After about 15min of trying to find her, I knocked on my sisters door and she and her son came over my apartment as I called 911. Shortly the police were over taking her description. I said she was wearing a black hat; but, then I saw on our stand the only black hat either of us own, and her flannel was hanging in the hallway. Now, I was confused and unsure what she was wearing. The officer took my info and went searching with flashlights through the neighborhood. To no avail, they had to call in a dog to search. I gave the officer her pillow case to have the dog sniff out. Again, no Serenity. The fire department came and used thermal imaging to try to find her. No success. They finally concluded that she must have took off and they left. I remembered her saying she met a 25yr old online, and now I was terrified what may become of her. About 5am, Serenity came through the back door. By this time, I had picked up my other sister too. As hard as it was adjusting to both my sisters moving close to me, I sure was happy to have their support.

“Serenity!” I screamed and threw my arms around her. Where were you? Why were you in my room at 1am, on my floor? She admitted she had snuck out to meet this guy; but, she swore it wasn’t her on my floor, and that she had left around midnight. It dawned on me that there was an intruder in my room and was reaching for my purse. I called the police to report she was home. The officer came over and gave her a gentle lecture about the fact that nothing good can come out of a 25yr old man meeting a 17yr old girl in the middle of the night. He went on to tell her that I swore by her and believed she was sleepwalking, and that they used about $5000. worth of resources trying to find her. Serenity at this point was crying. She gave us the guys name, and my sisters and I went on the internet to search for him. He had a lot of dark stuff on his Facebook page. I was extremely concerned. I wondered if somehow the intruder in my room was connected to him. Regardless, I told Serenity that it IS connected; because of she left the back door open. I could’ve been robbed, raped or killed. I grounded her and we had an appointment the next day with the psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist wanted to increase her Seroquel. He explained that the medication isn’t at a high enough dose to help with her mood disorder. At this point I am a mess, and she is out of control. I know medication isn’t going to solve this. We saw her counselor right after the psychiatrist. She told us about an intensive outpatient program for teens. Great. Serenity and I were arguing and when we got home she ran up the stairs, smashed her full length mirror, grabbed a shard and cut her arm all up. I hear her screaming mama, and I see the blood, the mirror, I fall to my knees, and call 911….again.

At the hospital, Serenity is as sweet as pie. I am angry inside and not falling for it. I can’t believe this is where we are at. She hadn’t been this bad since 12-13yrs old, when she had to be hospitalized 5 times for self harming and suicidal thoughts. The good thing was she was ok. I was hoping she would get admitted somewhere so they could help her stop this path of self destruction; but, Serenity knew what to say to keep herself out of the hospital, and we agreed on trying the outpatient program that her counselor had mentioned.

At this point I am feeling distant, angry and hopeless. We are normally very close; but, I couldn’t even talk to her. On Christmas morning, she breaks down because I had been so closed off from her. I hold her while she cries, and outpours her emotions. I cry with her. Then we agree that we will try this outpatient program, and that we will get through this. First, we are going to have a great Christmas. After we have our Christmas morning we are all heading to my brothers and our family will be together.

My sister video calls me and says her son fell down the stairs and they’re going to the emergency room. All I can see is my little nephew with a neck brace on in the back of an ambulance. I honestly snapped inside and went on auto pilot. We got to the hospital and thankfully my nephew is okay. He got a staple in his head. My daughter and I are starving and went to the cafeteria. She looks at me and says she wants a turkey sandwich. We’ve both been vegetarians for almost 2years. Let’s do it I replied. Finally, we are all leaving the hospital and head to my brothers where we had an incredibly beautiful Christmas.

The day after Christmas, my other sister who wasn’t feeling well enough to make it to our brothers, says she is moving back to Pa. I was extremely concerned that she would move back and use drugs again. It was too much to handle and I told her to give me a day. The next day I managed to go say goodbye to her and hear her out. She explained that financially she could be making strides in Pa. and she had a safe, supportive environment to go to. She missed her kids. My daughter and I exchanged hugs and tears with her and she left.

The very next day pesticide control was coming to inspect my apartment and confirmed my fearful suspicion, bedbugs. We had less than a week to bag up every belonging, and were instructed to buy mattress covers, and get ready for treatment. I dug into my small savings to purchase the covers and then went into physical exhaustion bagging up and laundering our entire apartment.Not to mention I was already emotionally spent. My BFF/brother in law was now staying in the living room with us for a few days, because he was having trouble at home

The morning they came to treat, I was throwing up. I had to get my 3 cats into the car and stay out of the apartment for 6 hrs. I asked them if I should throw away my furniture, and she said she had no opinion and that they were going to treat it. On the third and what was supposed to be the last treatment, I am informed that both mattresses, and my living room chair and couch are infested, with adult, babies, and larvae, and that they had been feeding. Now, I had to throw away all my furniture. Plus, they said I had to relaunder everything, and my place was too cluttered. I had to move my things into a storage. I was exasperated. Why didn’t they tell me this before? How was I supposed to afford a storage? Even if I could afford a storage, I knew I had clutter that needed to be tossed. IMy sister made an appointment with the health inspector for me. I went in circles trying to get some answers. Basically, the landlord was doing minimal action in order to be legally compliant. In reality, they should be treating the whole building and preferably heat treatment. Regardless, it didn’t change the fact that I had 5 days to complete these instructions. I spent 4 days, from morning to night sorting, tossing, crying. They came to treat again last Monday.

Meanwhile, my daughter started the outpatient program. Because she refuses meds, the insurance won’t cover it, so we have to pay each day she goes. Last Friday, she called me from school with thoughts of self harm. I picked her up and she went to her program. A few hours later, I received a call that they feel she needs a crisis evaluation, she is having suicidal thoughts. We spent two nights in the ER and Sunday she was admitted to a treatment hospital in Vermont. I was hopeful that finally she would get therapy she needed; but, again because she refuses meds she is being discharged tomorrow.

This past Monday, pesticide control came to do an inspection and finally got the good word that they didn’t see any bedbugs. However, I am leery, and will be very careful unpacking our things. I am also wondering when I do get furniture again, will they resurface? Are they hiding in the walls waiting?

So, my friends, this is why I haven’t blogged in awhile, and these are just the highlights. Presently, I am sitting on my bean bag chair next to my air mattress with everything I own in clear plastic bags. I await a family meeting over the phone with my daughter, and the hospital staff. I am on my third cup of coffee, and feeling more tired than ever. Last year was hell, and this year feels the same thus far. Outside my personal life, it seems the country is feeling some radical chaos itself. President Trump and all the upheaval is felt by all of us.

I pray that soon the sun will shine on us again. That all this change will even out and life will be bearable. That the chaos and upheaval will pay off in a way that was never suspected. Here’s to 2017.

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Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

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After ten years of therapy, I was taken by surprise with a new diagnosis. I was expecting to begin my EMDR therapy for rape trauma; but instead my therapist diagnosed me with DID, formerly known as MPD, multiple personality disorder.

She explained that there are three phases of therapy; 1) Stabilization, 2) Dissociation and 3) Trauma. Reassuring me that I’ve done a wonderful job at stabilizing; Once stabilized, we then started to delve into trauma, using EMDR therapy. This is where the disassociation presented itself. First as a frightened child, then an angry teen, then later two different aged self beaters. One ten years old, the other in her twenties.

With my prior therapist, we had sessions embracing my inner child and my inner teen. Therefore, I thought the appearance of these other selves was the same kind of therapy; but, technically DID is the appearance of two or more personalities.

My first reaction to the diagnosis was relief. It made sense to me, and I was accustomed to working with different parts of myself and welcomed more of that thinking. Learning that there are parts of me stuck on some traumatic event and I needed to heal and integrate them into myself as a whole.

I spent the next few days in tears. It felt like parts of me were grieving and they were relieved to be acknowledged as they released the trapped sorrow.

Then I had a denial and disbelief phase.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it. How could that be? How could I have different personalities? I binge watched United States of Tara on Netflix to try to pick up clues. It’s a show about a mother with DID, and her alters/personalities, vary from Alice a perfect domestic housewife from the 50’s, to Buck a foul mouthed, gun shooting male. Her alters dressed up differently and went out and got into all sorts of trouble. I am not like that, I thought to myself. Shoot, my personalities don’t get to dress up and do what they want!  I  remembered my therapist telling me she dislikes having to use the diagnosis because of the way Hollywood portrays it. I stepped back from the theatrics of the show and did some self analyzing.

I looked back on my life and observed how many times I easily shifted gears from one personality to another and how I have chunks of time I don’t remember, or how I’d be doing one thing and an hour later be doing something else and not remembering how I got there. I thought it was ADD, but could it be, it was DID?

I googled and found that DID is a disorder characterized by identity fragmentation rather than a proliferation of separate personalities. My therapist explained it this way too. That there doesn’t have to be full blown personalities, some are just fragments.

At first, I was frightened that I’d be taken over by someone; but, it has actually been entertaining and useful to let parts of myself come forth and express the individual emotions and thoughts of that self.

The diagnosis threw me for a loop; but, in reality, it feels like progress, and I don’t think it will be too long before I can integrate all my parts.

I plan to deal with this information the same way I’ve dealt with learning about depression and all the other diagnoses since my breakdown, and that is to learn as much as possible, be non-judgemental of myself, and continue my healing journey.

 

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.              
                                        
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