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GaryP - RA Survivor

 Memories - path to recall

My journey to the point of recall began over a decade before I got there. The entire time I really had no idea where I was going, and not too much of anything else either.

CAUTION: the material in this section may be very triggering to survivors, as well as distressing to some readers. Please take care - ensure you are in a safe place and state of mind - and not about to have a meal.

Leading up to the recovery of repressed memories - significant events that affected my path in self-awareness

1985 - 10 seconds of rage that changed my life.

That 10 second event in 1985, where I finally struck out and attacked one of those that were bullying me, I had a new awareness. I could influence how others treated me. Over the following years I learned how to make friends, socialize, and look at how others responded to my behavior. Having the psychological problems I did, made it very difficult to work things out. But I made gradual progress.

1989 - "The Science Show"

In 1989, I listened to a radio program that planted the seed of a new understanding, although that understanding would be postponed by a university counselor amongst other things.

Jul 1989 - "On Saturday morning, for the first time in Months, I listened to the Science Show on 3AR. It was on Schizophrenia, and I gradually, as the show went on, came to the conclusion that I am schizophrenic. I listened to the interviews and the discussion and I'm pretty sure that I fit in the criteria that they set down. So now I have to work out what I should do about it."

Nov 1989 - "I know there's something wrong with me, I have for a while, and schizophrenia is the only thing that comes near explaining how I am, and it does it well. I'm not absolutely sure, but pretty sure. I will have a look at other possibilities though, practise the scientific method. I already know that its a behavioral disorder."

I didn't have a great awareness of my childhood before my recovery began. My awareness of my childhood was pretty uninformed, but still accurate.

Nov 1989 - "I don't remember much about primary school. People always amaze me with their great memories of their childhood, and I always wondered why I never remembered anything. Here they are reeling off one of their fun childhood experiences, and going on about the good old days when things were simple & life was great. I realize now that I dont remember anything for a good reason. I wouldnt want to. I was a nut of a kid, and this really stuffed my childhood. I never really had any of those good times. The only ones I remember seem to be when I was alone.

Nov 1989 - "I'm getting a much better idea of what goes on in this little head of mine. I reckon that learning about myself has let me release more of my feelings and let me enjoy my experiences more. ... I wonder if some memories will come back, or have they gone forever?"

1993 - leaving home

Leaving home in 1993 was a very important step. For the first time in my life I was away from the constant psychological interference of my mother-figure's presence and manipulating. My progress increased tremendously.

1995 - psychiatrist, rebirthing

I had established in my life a practice of self-analysis, as wide as my awareness allowed me to see. In Nov 1995 my view was increased greatly by a therapeutic weekend away. There I participated in a mens therapy group, and learned about looking to my childhood to explain what was happening in my life - sort of a new idea for me. Breathwork that I did on this weekend was a shock to my system. After doing what is called 'rebirthing', I was exhausted. I spent much of the half hour session screaming, but not knowing why. In the week following that session, I discovered that I could draw well all of a sudden. My conscious mind had an enormous wake-up call. There was definitely a lot going on in my mind that I had no idea about. I was curious. I had also recently begun to see a psychiatrist about my poor memory. I tried to further my education, but couldn't remember enough to learn easily. In quite a few sessions, the only help he gave me was to point out the possibility of my having ADHD.

1996 - ADHD diagnosis

In early 1996 I was diagnosed with ADHD, and started on medication for it. This allowed me to sustain thinking on one issue or topic, for more than my usual 10 minutes.

1997 - parental implication, and crying

In Feb 1997 I began to look into a book about bullying. Having been to a few joint therapy sessions to try to fix my relationship problems at the time, I became more interested in finding out about myself. From this book I learned that bullies and their victims are associated with absent fathers and over-controlling mothers. Especially significant was the description of the child at their first day of school, too afraid to leave their mothers side, and crying, not wanting to be left alone. I related this to my memory of my first day at school that was just like that. I began to see that there was a very important association between my suffering and the nature of my parents.

I was really starting to analyze my behavior and the way I interacted with my partner. Looking at the reality of the way my parents treated me revealed a lot of understanding - finding information that described some of the things my parents did as associated with bad parenting was really important. I helped my overcome the taboo of thinking badly of my parents.

Then I read "Celestine Prophecy", and this assisted my self-analysis. Then I had a visit to [...] with my mother-figure, and stayed at my old home. There I had a very detailed dream that communicated a large amount of information about what was happening in my mind, in a symbolic way.

After my relationship really collapsed, I really started to have more thoughts about my relationship with my mother-figure. In fact, whenever I grieved about relationships, I ended up grieving something relating to my mother, sometimes my father-figure.:

Feb 1997 - "I was a bit upset about [name] behaving inconsistently with what she was saying about what was OK for us to do now that we have split up. We talked about this for a bit and this triggered me to start grieving the way my mother was inconsistent. I cried intensely for 20 mins. This is the most upset I can remember being. I was crying so hard I actually had to stop myself from screaming. I never knew how incredibly strongly I had been hurt by mum. I truly expect to experience worse pain than this. I feel that I havent yet got to the heart of the trauma that my mum gave me, in relation to its size, and maybe still its nature. ... I'm really starting to dislike my mum. I feel like I really dont want to have anything to do with her and dad anymore. I'm starting to feel hate for her."

In April I began to read the book "Homecoming" It has some very triggering questionnaires in it. They really got me thinking.

Then my crying really started up. This was the beginning of my really big period of crying without much awareness of why.

May 1997 - "Last night I had a very big cry, even bigger than the night before, which I haven't written about either. ... The night before last I had a big cry about my mother and how I was affected by the way she treated me, in relation to my self-esteem, and consequential self-ability and confidence."

1997 June - first recall

So there it was, my period of crying a lot had begun. At the time I was absorbed with the topics of crying that related mostly to my thinking processes and how I went about my life. Soon after my birthday, I really started to cry a lot more, and then it happened. I wasn't just crying any more about being mistreated, hit a bit.

30 June 1997 - "... As far as I can see, these are all psychological reactions consistent with sexual abuse. I think I can no longer dismiss the possibility anymore. The evidence that is consistent with it is growing, although all circumstantial. There is also the way I feel at the moment, thinking about it. I feel unhappy and want to cry."
"I started to cry and I then imagined myself in a darkened room lying on my stomach, being penetrated by someone I couldn't identify. I think I was quite young, I didn't recognize where I was. When I started to visualize this, I really started to cry hard. I think this is an indication that it did happen, but I'm having a lot of trouble admitting it to myself. It's not something I want to be aware happened to me, but at the same time I think I'm more motivated by the desire to be in a position where I've dealt with it, and it no longer affecting my life.
What I know now, is that I need to work out whether it really happened or not. I can no longer assume that it didnt. The possibility is now firmly established."
"I'm pretty spun out at the moment, about all of this."
"I feel that I'm doing the right thing, and that I'm not just imagining that it might have happened when it really didnt. My self-doubt comes into it here, to say that whatever I think, it could be or probably is wrong. But I dont go for that anymore to the degree that I did even a few days ago."
"I've been feeling pretty vagued out since crying this morning. I havent been able to really get my mind off it."
"I just had a bit of a cry. My mind was a bit vague about what it was crying about, although I know it was about being sexually abused. I think this may be an indication of a lot of emotional pain that needs to be reconciled."
"... In some ways I'm a bit stuck about how to go about dealing with it at the moment. I'm hoping that I can keep crying about it and the right path to follow will continuously make itself apparent. It's worked so far. The grieving of one aspect leads to the awareness of the next. I've found that whenever I've grieved something and that next step doesnt become apparent, there is still grieving to be completed at the 'current step'.
"I've been going through newspapers, instead of crying, Now I'm hungry. I wonder if that makes sense.
Anyway, I should really be asking myself why I'm going through newspapers when I should be crying. I think its the distraction thing again. I do feel less spun-out and less 'numbed' by the thoughts of being sexually abused constantly knocking on the door of my conscious mind and wandering in.
But come in, come in, I say. Lets sit down and have a chat. Tell me about yourself and let me learn more from to knowledge you provide me. But it can be a bit much at times."

01 Jul 1997" ... Some part of my mind keeps telling me it was dad. I really would like for that not to be true. I'm not sure yet."

And that was just the beginning. I had no conscious awareness of what was to come in my life, what to expect, even though it was there in my own mind.

Importantly, my relationship problems were a very significant factor in my starting to recover, and looking to self-awareness as the way of fixing my life. [...] was, of all the people I had a relationship with, the one most like my mother-figure. So I owe her this - she triggered my healing. I expect I would have eventually got around to it anyway, but she definitely accelerated the process.

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