Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Writing Process!

I started my therapists appointments and started to journal each visit I had. I memorized what was said so that I could include the dialogue between me and my therapist in my journal so I could remember what she said to do for coping and also the kind and reassuring words she said. It wasn't my fault. She was sorry all of these abusers hurt me, etc.

My memories were repressed for 20 years. I had the outline of my life but no details to support what I knew happened to me. I had no feelings connected to it. I was numb. I didn't feel a thing. My first visit with my therapist was strange because I started out by telling her I think you will think I am crazy but I have had nine abusers in my life. She looked at me and said, "I believe you because children that grow up with abuse don't know how to find non abusive relationships so they get abused repeatedly"

Right away I felt better and that I could trust my therapist. She explained that people with PTSD live in the past with flashbacks, body memories and smells, sounds sight can trigger more flashbacks because all those memories during trauma were not processed correctly in our brain.  Those memories remained on the right side of our brain where their is emotions that tell us it is in the present and we are still in danger.  The left side of the brain is where their is logic and this tells us that it happened in the past and we are safe.  She then explained that EMDR and Brainspotting therapies that takes these memories from the right side of our  brain to the left side to reprocess the abuses and trauma so our brain will recognize the traumas and abuse happened in the past which takes away the PTSD symptoms, and makes us realize it happened in the past and those people can no longer hurt us. This is how I was able to recover and heal.

When the EMDR and Brain spotting therapies started, that is when the memories instead of coming one by one, it flooded all at once and it overwhelmed me. The pages I wrote in my journal was actual events I was reliving through the flashbacks, body memories, and out of control symptoms of my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My environment around me became unsafe to me because it felt like the abuse was happening in the present because for a victim of PTSD you are stuck in the past while under flashbacks and are feeling the child within as she feels unsafe. You regress back to her.

An example, I was at a picnic with my family for my daughter's school.  They all went out to play on the playground.  As I was enjoying watching the children play, I had an overpowering smell of wood chips and the panic set in as I scanned frantically for my friend's dad seeing if he was there to hurt all these children.  I panicked as my flashback came and I witness again my friend being molested by her dad and him repeating the words daddy loves you. I could see his creepy actions and hear his voice. I had to leave immediately and it ruin the time with my kids.  They were angry because they couldn't understand what was happening.  I kept looking behind me because I felt like he was chasing me and I was in danger of being hurt. What they didn't realize was at that time I was only 8 years old.

The only time I had to write in a notebook was when I was in the hospital and had no computer.  The rest of the book was free flowing naturally on the computer.  I would spend sometimes four hour just to write one chapter about the abuser I was dealing with at that time in therapy. Describing in detail the abuse, layout of the room, smells, the hurt my body endured and how I coped.  During this time of writing, I was releasing tears, grieving my childhood, feeling angry, sad, etc.  When I would get tired, dizzy and disoriented, I would take a break to sleep.  Then I would get back up and continue.  Also I felt  how alone I was because I told no one, I kept all my abusers secretes locked away for 20 years until I kept becoming ill.

When I got to the emergency stage of healing it became clear to me that I had to write my story and to publish a book to help others like me.  Teach parents not to blindly trust other parents with their children unless they really personally knew them.  Show them that sexual, physical, emotional abuse, and parental neglect has lasting affects on the adult that grows up abused with no self worth, self esteem and because of that makes bad choices and ends up abusing themselves with repeating destructive patterns.

I feel this is what made my book really good because it really gives the reader a first hand experience of what I had to endure to fight back and to survive the flood. 

Leslie Raddatz
Ultimate Survivor

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  1. As your editor, I am happy to help you shape your story and think it is very important to have a first hand account of PTSD. It's very brave of you to write it and be willing to share all that you have gone through in an honest way. Trauma is never easy and so many have gone through it and have been limited. It's important to know that you can survive and survive well. You show you can! Best, Janell Moon

  2. Thank you Janell! I take one day at a time and remember all the coping skills I learned and follow through on what I learned when I need it.

    I think it is important for people to know that PTSD will never go away. There are times you may have a trigger that flashbacks you to a memory but since you have healed and have coping skills it doesn't affect you to the point of disrupting your life and taking it over.

    I am so thankful for my therapist that helped me through the emergency stage because it was so difficult. Today I am doing great and am enjoying life to the fullest.

  3. A word about the writing process which is so important with a book on your own experiences. I have seen survivors write a book of their PTSD and other trauma states and get so much clarity and healing from simply writing the experiences down. It is never simple as survivors know! Even to journal experiences, allow experiences to become more in the past although the process may feel sad at first.

    Remember the journal can be a witness and most difficult experiences happen alone. Once you have a witness, you may want to find a counselor or therapist to be your witness. It
    depends on how you feel. Best of luck. I've been through it and life beyond survival is so much more enjoyable. You can actually make other things happen!!! Janell

  4. That is so true that when you are in the emergency stages of healing it is hard. Journeling my feelings and sessions helped me to get it all out. The more people I told about my experience, I felt supported and that helped alot.

    I am aslo on the other side of healing. I am no longer sad but I still have some work in breaking some patterns such as overeating and drinking large amounts of soda.

    Even though I have some work yet to do I am living life happily with my kids and am finally not living in the fight or flight mode anymore. I can relax and enjoy life's little adventures with my five year old.

    Leslie Raddatz