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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 16, 2010 08:40AM) (new)

Going Gold

My morning started with a wake up call from Bill. “It's a boy, he says. We're having a boy.” This is so exciting. My two daughters have given me 6 grandkids. Now my oldest son is starting his family. “Lucky number 7, Liam?” “Yep, Liam Anthony.” I'm so happy for them. This is a great start to a day. I'm not used to this. I've just recently realized how relaxing laughter is. Even just listening to it. Now I have to get moving. Two appointments today. Into MGH for my shots then home for a nap and over to my psychiatrist this afternoon. I can do this. I don't want to or even like to. This is how it's been lately. Monday spent at Social Security. Tuesday group therapy and then to Moms. Wednesday Lawyers, Social Security, Lawyers. Today Mass General then Dr. P. This is what I get for taking a vacation.

The shots are routine at this point. But today the second one stung and burned and made me nauseous. I made it home and crashed for two hours. When I got up I realized I also had to go to Kristine's for some cash. Jesus! Two hours to get across town by bus, walk a mile, give her her mail and take some cash, walk back a mile, get on a bus and make my appointment. Caught the 3 o'clock bus and made it to Kristine's by 3:40. Got back to the bus stop by 4. And waited 20 minutes.

I got on the bus at 4:22. Eight minutes to get to the center of town. No problem. Sit down and relax. My eyes keep moving to the scrolling info up front. Six minutes and not even over the town line yet. Relax. I know this, I've timed it. My shoulders tense every time the stop requested bell goes off. God, just relax. He's never on time anyway. And he's my doctor. He's on my side. Four minutes. We turn onto Main St. I can see his office two blocks ahead on the other side of Rt. 60. God please don't let there be an accident. Two minutes and I hit the stop button. I move to the back door and wait. The front door opens and the driver is yelling ”this bus is going to Malden Station. Malden Station.” “Back door” I yell. Nothing. A couple of young guys yell it again. The back door wheezes but sticks. I'm in full panic mode now. I've still got to get across the street, into the building and up 6 floors. I'm doomed, I'll never make it. I give the door a good kick and it opens half way. I squeeze out and head around the back of the bus.

This is where the world goes gold. Everything slows and becomes too yellow, too bright. I walk straight across 4 lanes of traffic. At the other side I take a huge breath and the world comes back. From here on, I know, the strangeness will hover. Incidents and coincidences. Deja Vu and premonitions.


When we were kids Kat and I called this flying. Mostly we did it in our dreams but I have one clear memory of real pure happiness and a couple of seriously scary incidents. I once told Henry about one of the scary incidents. He believed me. Henry's my therapist. I've had him for 10 years. I really struggled in the beginning. I had a couple of therapists who made me do stupid things that didn't work for me. So I hit the library and read everything I could about my conditions. Then I went and got Harry.

There are three very large men in desert fatigues and berets standing in front of the building. They're all turned away from me but as I head for the door they turn as one and beat me there. One hits the auto door button and they go in ahead of me. I won't listen to them, I hear their voices but no words. My Sox cap is pulled down preventing any eye contact. I'm in step behind them as they cross the lobby. No security at the desk. The two elevators are stopped. One on the 6th floor, one on the 1st. Without breaking stride the soldiers veer off and take the stairs two at a time. I hit the up button and the doors open. I can still hear their voices. Hit 6 and then the door close button. Safe.


message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 16, 2010 08:39AM) (new)

Safe

I step off the elevator and move to the waiting room. A woman is yelling. Oh God. Not now. The receptionist opens the glass when I tap. “Dr. P” I say. “Name?” “Margaret” “I'll let him know.” “Is he on time?” She nods as she slides the glass back. Stepping back into the hall I try to tune out the yelling. I have to go to the bathroom. Do I have time? She's arguing with her mother. Dear God. She comes out to the hall and brushes past me, still yelling on the phone. I eye the ladies room door and calculate. Two minutes tops. GO. Push through the door, into a stall, empty my bag, flush, hand sanitizer and rinse, back to the hall. Haha! Two minutes easy.

The waiting room empties so I slouch into a chair. And breath.

“Maggie, my dear! Are you waiting on a bus?”
I whimper out a small haha and follow him to the secure door.
“What have you been doing? You seem all stirred up and beaten.”
Another whimper escapes. He's coded and opened the door and I pass through as he holds it for me. A couple comes towards us down the hall.
“Congratulate him, says the woman. It's a boy”
“How exciting, this is great” as they shake hands I slide into the office and sit. He settles in behind his desk, opens my folder.
“Besides waiting on buses and trains and planes what have you got going on?”
Heavy sigh. I haven't seen him or my therapist since before my vacation. “I have an appointment with another psychiatrist on Monday. Social Security is re-evaluating my disability.”
“So, it's not enough for them seven professionals have declared you disabled?”
“Well I guess they just need to do a redetermination. It's been five years since the last.”
“So you're defending them?”
Haha. “What am I supposed to do? I'm going to be asked whatever questions and I'll give whatever answers.”
“Maggie, here's what you do. Whatever he asks you just answer from our sessions. You have been traumatized throughout your life. You are depressed and have at times thought about suicide. You are not suicidal now. You suffer from anxiety and panic. Stress and fear limit your quality of life. You are on medications. You are in treatment. That's just the mental and emotional condition. All of this is compounded by your physical and spiritual deterioration. Access your records and print out your past and future appointments, list of medications and some of your journal.”
“Sure, I can do that.”
He tilts his head and waits.
“OK” I say. “I know. What if he just decides he doesn't believe me.”
“That's right, he might not believe you. What will you do?”
“Nothing! What can I do?”
He waits. I wait back. We've done this before. He's been mine for 10 years. None of my doctors has lasted more than 2. Some of the women in my group have had him and hated him. They switch to someone else after a couple of months. Sometimes I wonder if I'm his only patient. There's never anyone else waiting. Something about him makes me feel safe. Maybe it's that he believes me. Or maybe he knows the truth.
I win.
“What if we talk about something else. We've never talked about this note from Henry.”
“I don't want to talk about it.”
“Even if I can make it help you?”
“No I take it back!”
He laughs. “It doesn't work that way, Maggie.”
I didn't win. I curl into myself a little. I've broken eye contact and am staring at my hands. My blood pressure's up a little. Don't freeze I tell myself. Just don't freeze.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Beginnings and Ends

The first time I met Dr. P was a Thursday night at 8 pm. As I'm typing this my phone rang and I jumped about a foot in the air. Then I got the nervous giggles and Kat had to calm me down. Yikes. This is how close that whole year is still in my head. I was a basket case. Running and hiding for my life. Scaring the crap out of my family. Defending myself from my own children trying to get them to understand. Quit my job. Lost about 30 pounds. Cried at the drop of a dime. Whew. What a mess. Anyway, back to Dr. P. I sat on a couch facing his desk. He sat down pulled a stack of papers out of his briefcase and started asking me questions. Rapid fire. No eye contact. Do I remember any of the questions? No. For an hour. Yes. No. Sometimes. Maybe. I don't think so. What? What? No? Then he was up handing me prescriptions and ushering me to the door. “Make an appointment for 6 weeks.” And the door shut. I went to the ladies room and cried until the security guard knocked and asked me to leave.

I was referred to Dr. P by Greg. Greg was my social worker. He was about 16 I think. Right out of school working for the state. He'd come to our house a couple of times because the kids were having trouble with school. He was scared to death of my husband. For good reason. We both knew as soon as I walked {or really sneaked out in the middle of the night with a bag of clothes in one hand and my youngest in the other) Greg got bumped to #2 on the lunatics hit list. I bounced around hotels, a new one every night for two weeks. Making phone calls to let people know I was still OK and then hanging up on them when they started with “Just come back”. Finally my youngest went back and I went to my mothers. She had just moved so I was kind of safe there for a week or two. Then I found some roommates and hid for about a year. I went to see Greg about a week after leaving. He was so scared. He got up and left the room a couple times. I think he had to cry a little then come back and help me. He kept saying “I knew you were going to do something, I knew it!” He stuck with me for about a year. Then he left for Mexico and wandered around for awhile before going back to school. I think I may have broke him. I think about him sometimes and I just shake my head and want to cry. You know, Greg? How the fuck were you supposed to help me?

He did good though. He got me to a therapist, went to court with me, kept an eye on my kids. I cried when he left. My first therapist was Bob. He was a psychologist. He was weird. I would talk and then he would say something that had nothing to do with anything. I know I was ranting but he could have focused a little. I think he was writing a paper or something. One time he told me I took what people said too literally. We argued about this. Then he told me I had to throw out my dictionary for my own good. So I did. I didn't last a week. My brother had to come get my sobbing ass and take me to get a new dictionary. I left Bob for the library, he left counseling to teach. Just as well. This drove me to Henry.

On our third visit I made Henry put the note in my file. I know what it says.

My first visit with Henry was mostly me telling him what was wrong with me and how I thought I could “fix” me. It was a Tuesday. He said “come back Thursday.” Ahahaha! Totally fucked. The second visit was mostly him telling me how “lucky” I was being smart enough to know what was wrong with me and pointing out the “flaws” in my treatment plan. Of course I argued “knowing is worse” and that was half my problem. Then he did me a favor and scheduled me for 2 hours every Monday morning. Fuck you Henry. That became my standard parting shot for the next couple of years. But I kept going.

Dr. P is still waiting. I can see his knees. He's got his legs crossed and is gently swaying in his swivel chair. I raise my head just enough to see the rest of him with out making eye contact. He's leaning on the right arm of his chair. In his hands he's got his gold pen. Twirling it between the fingertips and tocking it back and forth. I watch for a bit, calming myself. I look up and he's staring right at me.
“What if I could make it work for you?” He's still holding my eyes and his body rhythm is keeping a steady pace. I'm sure I'd be mesmerized if my heart wasn't racing. He's got my attention. “What if?” he says quietly. My brain can't do anything with this question. It doesn't make any sense.
Barely perceptible, he tips his head. I freeze. Holding my breath with my heart pounding to get out of my chest. “He got me” I think. “Now I have to talk about it.”
“How?” I whisper.

That first two hour session with Henry was pretty intense. I told him a story. He asked some questions. I told him another, he asked the same questions. Then I told him the third story and he never asked me those questions again. Never. Not in ten years. I made him write the note and put it in my folder and we moved on to things we could change. Things we could work on. Things that would help me.


message 4: by Shel (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 54 comments Please keep writing. All I can think as I read is, How brave. How brave.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Story #1

We were just kids, Kat and I. Two siblings older and one younger. My dad was in the service and we moved around a lot. Dad always had a second job and Mom always found a day job. This left us kids pretty much on our own. My earliest memory is of being watched. I can still see the fence around the yard. The dog is out there with me. I'm wearing a dress and sitting in the dirt watching the dog run in circles. I look up and see the top of someone's head over the fence. He(?) is staring at me. Not making a sound. The dog keeps running in circles. This memory goes on for a long time. I think it happened a lot and my memory's made it one long event. Later I was told the dogs name was Trixie. We were living in Japan and the house girl watching me would put me out with the dog while she cleaned. After Japan we moved to New Mexico. Near White Sands the sun was relentless. Most days I spent indoors or in the shade of nearby bushes and trees. I have one early memory of Mom. She's sitting at the kitchen table talking to someone. Her father or mother maybe. I'm under the table with my dolls and I'm not sure if she doesn't know I'm there or doesn't care? There is some concern about the kids safety. Mom just keeps going on and on repeating herself. “We are so lucky to be a part of the service. The kids are the first to get vaccines and fluoride treatments and it's all monitored by the government so we know it's safe.” I have two memories of this testing. Both times we are dropped off by Mom in front of a hanger. We walk toward the soldiers and are divided up into different lines. There are lots of kids there. But I'm only 4 yrs old and don't know any of them from school like Kat does. Us four are never in the same line together. Once we got a shot. Once we drank something. Sometime in this three year period Kat and I start meeting in our dreams. Everything slows and becomes too yellow, too bright. We move through rooms into hangers and fly. Sometimes we chase and catch balloons. Sometimes we recite words. Always we wake at the same time and look at each other. “Do you remember?” she asks. “Yes” I reply. There were two incidents that happened outside our dreams with no one close by. The sun was behind a solid cloud bank and I had gone with Kat because I wouldn't get burned. We were digging in a sand hill out at the edge of the playground. We'd been told not to play there because the sand would shift and collapse. It was dangerous. We didn't care. We'd dug a fair sized cave when we hit on what looked like a tunnel. We followed it for a bit and slowly the roof of the tunnel receded. When the air became gold we started flying up and down the sides of the sand walls. Floating, flying. Then the alarms sounded. We moved back the way we'd come. Slowly, terrified as the walls crashed down behind us. When we came out to the cave, dusted with white sand, we both crashed down at the same time. Kat looked at me and I'm sure she was thinking “remember this”. Soldiers took us home where Dad was waiting. Then Dad took us to the Doctors. This was very unpleasant. All of my insides hurt and I cried for a week. Then one day Kat and I went to the park after supper. I think Mom was in the hospital and Dad had his hands full. Anyway there was this patch of clay on one edge of the park where the older boys use to challenge each other to run across barefoot to prove how tough they were. The clay was called fire clay because it was a deep red and absorbed the sun all day and stories were that it would burn the skin right off the bottom of your feet. Kat thought we could run it by flying. We stood together holding hands and willed the world to slow. We floated out and I remember laughing because it was just too easy. Then Kat let go of me. We fell into the world and Kat ran the rest of the way crying. But I froze. And started to scream. Then my brother was there scooping me up and running all the way home. We sat on the edge of the tub with our feet in water while he looked at the melted bottoms of his sneakers. “Don't ever tell” he said. “Ever!” Soldiers came anyway and Dad had to take us to the Doctors again.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Story #2

When I was 19 I almost died. I may have actually died and come back. Kat and I were going to the airport to pick up Mom. Before we left I called her into the bathroom and showed her my leg. High up on the inside of my thigh was what looked like a blood blister. “We'll show Mom” she said. When we got back to the house with Mom we pulled her into the bathroom to show her. When I pulled my jeans down there was an angry purple welt around my hips and the blister had doubled in size. “Let's go up to the ER and get someone to look at it.” This scared me because Mom was more the type that says “get over it”. By the time I got to an exam room and removed my boots, my toes to my knees were that same violent purple, I had red spots on my eyes and a band of red around my bra line. And the testing began. By 2 am the testing had to stop. Everywhere they'd touched was bruised and turning red. An Hematologist was called in. He had everything removed and put me in a padded bed. Sometime while it was still dark I woke to the sound of someone crying. I opened my eyes and saw a lab Tech trying to fill a vile with blood. He could only get about a quarter of it. Then he looked at me and I recognized him. He had been my first boyfriend. I closed my eyes and drifted off again. In the morning the parade started. Doctors, nurses, lab techs, med students. A constant stream of people “just having a look”, one guy stuck his head in the door and said “ Wow! You must be the lady with the spots!” The housekeeping lady, who lived on my street, yelled at him to get out and pulled all the curtains around my bed. She left crying. That evening the Hematologist came back with a group of students. At this point I could barely see or hear or speak. I bet I looked scary. They all huddled in around my bed with the curtains pulled closed. He had a long thin metal tube and a mallet. He pulled the blanket and johnny down to my waist. Put the tube against my breast bone and whacked it with the mallet. I left. And watched the rest from somewhere up on the ceiling. Two students fainted, one puked and the other three stood frozen with their hands over their mouths and tears streaming down their cheeks. Then I was gone for a while. Later I was told I'd been unconscious for about a week. At some point my platelet count hit zero and stayed there for 12 hours. With nothing left to try they decided to overdose me with prednizone and cross their fingers. I spent another week in the hospital getting tested and gaining my strength back. Then they sent me home. I looked like a badly beaten junkie. Every piece of me was bruised. I had needle marks all up my arms. The whites of my eyes were a solid red. I had a big fat bottle of prednizone with instructions for weening off this possibly harmful drug. Three times a week I walked to the hospital, got blood drawn at the lab and met with the Hematologist. He asked a lot of questions. Mostly about my family and where we'd lived. This went on for 3 weeks. Then one day I walked up the hill, stopped at the lab, then went to the Doctors office. There was a lady there. She said the doctor was no longer working in the Boston area. There would be no further need for blood samples. Just follow the directions and get off the prednizone. That was it.


message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 22, 2010 05:57AM) (new)

Are You Paranoid?

“I have an idea” he says. Dr. P leans forward with his elbows resting on his knees. Face to face we are. “But first I have to ask you a question and you have to answer.” Oh boy.

Henry's questions:

Do you believe that other people intend to harm you?

Do you have a total lack of trust in other people?

Do you feel you are in danger from everyone else?

Do you get angry over perceived offenses?

Do you believe that you need to correct the behavior and beliefs of others?

Are you very defensive, sometimes to the point of being aggressive, constantly questioning the motives of others?
.
Do you isolate yourself?

Have you lost your sense of humor?

Are you hypersensitive?

Are you unable to identify and recognize a particular person?

Do you have auditory hallucinations?

Are you being persecuted or otherwise in danger?

Do you believe you are under constant surveillance by the government?

Are you convinced the rest of the world is going mad, but you are perfectly sane?


Actually I think Dr. P is kind of a Whack-O. But I try not to think of him as anything. I guess I just have a kind of blind faith in him. That's a scary thought. I'm not big on faith. I think he might be married and his wife is maybe a doctor. He's definitely a Republican. He likes lame jokes. I know he talks to Henry. I'm pretty sure he consults with my other doctors. I see him every six to nine weeks. Our sessions last from five minutes to an hour. “How are you doing? Anything going on? Are you sleeping? Seeing Henry? Going to group? New meds?” Ten years and that's all I've got. I think that says something about me. Probably not something good. But it's not personal. I don't want or need to know him or even like him. He just has to work for me. And he seems OK with that.

Henry's group is a whole other animal. I've been in and out of group for I think 8 or 9 years. I left a couple times cause I thought I was fixed. Hahaha! No, I never really thought I was fixed. I just thought I could pretend to be. Anyway, Henry has three PTSD recovery groups. At three different levels of recovery. Never more than ten people in a group or less than five. Hand selected by Henry and presented to the group for approval. Which means he tells us your story then we decide if we are going to let you in. People have been booted and some like me have been let back in. I tend to want to be careful, not so much who, but when we let someone new in. I want to know they have a solid year of individual therapy behind them and they have their chemical addictions under control. The booting I'm not so happy about. The first time someone got booted was because they came to group high. All jittery and crazy. I was OK with that one. Henry dealt with it personally. Then after a couple of years a couple of people decided they wanted some say in when someone should be booted and for what reasons. Why do people insist on having democracy in the wrong places? You always find out later. So the new rules were: If you are going to miss group you have to call in and leave a message for Henry, If you miss three sessions (not necessarily in a row) you are out. But here's the kicker. Henry has to do it so nobody has to deal with the unpleasantness. Ahhhhh, no. That's not right. I expressed my opinion and was out voted. And sure enough in three months two people were out. Two people who were struggling the most. Maybe a little less smart or educated or motivated than the rest of the group. I think that was more damaging than saying we as a group see you're struggling and maybe you should take a break and get in a couple extra individual sessions for a while. The group isn't perfect. It can let you down big time. I was having a really bad time once and struggling and brooding. Not so much participating. Henry's about to get us to do an exercise and I just said No. I don't want to do an exercise that's going to make me feel worse. No. Did the group suggest I get some individual? Nope, they joined me in the rebellion. Two weeks in a row, Henry was mad at me. Then I apologized and then I yelled at them. Not one of them called me on my shit. Not one of them said get some help, take a break. They let me down. I notice when someones falling. I say stuff. I'm blunt and direct and honest. I'm also the only member who's not friends with any other members. It's not personal, I just want to keep it separate

I'd missed three weeks by going on vacation then another because of my shots. In theory I could be booted. But I've been good. I've participated and even took my hat off every time since coming back. So this week in group I'm not feeling so good. Nine people sitting in a circle so everyone can see each other. Henry's on my right. Couple people are talking. One describing an experience the other affirming based on their own experience. I'm listening. And Henry is staring at me. So being me I blurt out “Why are you staring at me? What?” My joints are killing me from this malnutrition diet. My knees are popping, my calves and feet are cramping. I'm thinking about getting a pill out of my bag. But I'm listening. “Are you OK?” he asks. “I need a pill” So I get a pill and take it. The conversation goes on and then Henry asks for feed back from the group. And he's staring at me again. Oh My God! But I get my anger under control and give some feed back and Henry's got this huge grin on his face. Like I said exactly what he expected (or wanted). Some others pipe in and then group's over and Henry's out the door in a flash. Weird.

Dr. P flashes this huge grin and asks “Are you paranoid?”


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Story #3

In that first year after I left my lunatic, at the age of 38 years, I set myself some goals. The top priority was getting myself checked out. Who knows where a lunatic goes right? I had a complete work up. Lots of appointments with doctors, dentist and therapists. While I was doing this one of my daughters became pregnant. We went to the local hospital clinic. All our records were there and we both felt comfortable with the group of doctors. My pap smear came back positive. Then I went for a biopsy. The week I had a colposcopy my daughter had a miscarriage. The co-incidents left us both stunned. While working on me my doctor, a nice little Greek woman, requested all of my med records. The cancerous growths or lesions were not common. After the procedure she asked me if I was sure of the hospital and Dr.'s name from when I'd had the blood disorder. She had been told there were no such records. She then tracked down who she believed had been the Hematologist, left several messages and received no response. My daughter in the mean time had spent two nights in the hospital as the miscarriage was hard and scary. The doctors treating her wanted to keep her while they looked into what happened. The baby she lost was malformed. It had two faces and six limbs. The doctors were concerned that she'd been exposed to radiation because the defect or malformation was almost entirely exclusive to women from the Marshall Islands where nuclear bombs had been tested. When each of us went back for our six week checkup the doctors who'd treated us were no longer practicing there. There were no further inquiry's or tests.


message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 25, 2010 03:28AM) (new)

Henry's Note: Leave out

"What!?! Are you kidding?!? Of course I'm paranoid! How could I not be?!? I'd have to be crazy not to be!?!"

"OK, Maggie. So suppose we do something about that? What if I give you a prescription? We could diagnose you with paranoia and medicate you for that!"

"You're going to give me a pill? You've got a pill that will make the government leave me alone?"

"You don't have to take the pill. You'll just fill the scrip. If we treat you for paranoia maybe they'll leave you alone. They won't have to do anything because you're paranoid and just ranting!"

"What!?!" I stand. All of my alarms sounding. Danger! Warning! Fight or flight! Is this right? My psychiatrist wants to conspire with me? Against the government? "No! Never mind! I take it back! I don't want to do anything about it! I gotta go!"

Dr. P stands, "OK. Never mind," he says. He opens the door. "Rewind that last part and tape over it", he says to the office.

I can't get away quick enough. I don't even remember crossing any streets to get home. I'm suddenly in my bed, on the phone, crying to Kristine, "What else can they do to me? How much worse can it get?"

"Oh, Ma, you know it can get worse!"

A couple of years after my breakup Karen died. My heart still shudders at this news. She was a tender, loving, tough as nails bitch. That's what she would tell you about herself. I always admired her honest appraisal. Once, I was crying about having done something mean to my Ex. She put her arms around me and said, "He's not worth it, he doesn't cry for you." She was a Believer. In Nostradamus, in psychic abilities, in an afterlife and other side. She said if she died she would come back or let us know she was OK. She hasn't, so I don't believe. My heart stutters.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Worse
“Of course they know who I am”, I sit and look at John. He's in the hospital where his sister died. When I got here he said the nurses had only checked on him twice and the Dr. once. He's being treated for ulcerative colitis complicated by diabetes. Since I arrived nurses have come in five times. It's getting annoying. John doesn't have much patience. “I wont stay long. I get stressed and don't want to stress you.” I'm already ready to go. I hate it here. Why does he keep coming here? He could go to Medford or Winchester, anywhere but here.
“You don't have to go, Ma” he's already loosing patience. “I'm going home tomorrow if this works so stay a little” OK, we talk a little, look at the TV. Heavy sigh!
“I gotta go”, I'm too stressed and getting a headache. I walk the two miles home. Crazy thoughts jumping around my brain. DE-stress. Thanksgiving will be sad. John is going to Em's relatives in New York, Bill is going to Bobbi Jeans mom's, leaving me and Kristine missing Karen. I don't even get to eat properly. It's just sad.

The next morning I get a call from Bill. They are at the hospital, yes the same one, and something is wrong with the baby. “Get out of there,” I say. “Get out, go into Boston. One of the big hospitals.” “That's where they're sending us,” he says. “Boston Medical Center.” “OK, keep me posted.”


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I planned my escape two years in advance. For two years I separated our finances, cut up credit cards, let the mortgage default, moved to an apartment, let my license expire and car get repossessed. I kept the kids and myself as safe and alive as I could manage. For two years my answer was “I don't know.” “I guess not.” For two years I held my breath and prayed.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Spilled Milk

I promised I'd never write about “The Spilled Milk Incident”. I'll keep that promise. I will say this. I had no actual memory of it, just a memory of a story I'd told about it. When I asked my grown children about it they each had an entirely different memory of it. The only thing they agreed on was the spilled milk. In my head this story was always sort of amusing. Funny even. Not to my kids. I think this says something about my mental state as a traumatized adult. After getting each of their memories I find there's nothing funny about any of the shit that happened back then. I think this says something about my mental state on my current medications. So this past winter was tough. John hospitalized twice, Liam born premature, my physical deterioration and mental depression. When I did finally snap I'm awful glad Henry and Dr. P were around. And I'm thrilled there really is “A Pill for That.”


message 13: by Shel (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 54 comments Memory is a funny thing. Four different people lived in the exact same space and the exact same "things" happened... but if you set a tape recorder in front of each of us, you would hear stories so disparate it would seem that the events didn't happen at all. And in no space of memory and time does this happen most than in the abusive episodes.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

My Divorce
(The last time I saw Ray)

Ray was my lawyer. Appointed by the court to represent me in the battle between my husband and DSS over my youngest son. He wanted nothing to do with me so I was out of the equation. So the court gave me a lawyer and I showed up every time. Later he told me that had made a difference to him. He learned he could count on me. But first he didn't talk to me for two years. That was tough. Ray offered to represent me free of charge in my divorce. We had plenty of long talks about my history. She was really nice and tough. She reminded me of Karen. Anyway, about a year after I escaped, Ray got a date for divorce court. This was over at the Cambridge Court house. Probate. During that first year I had seen my husband at least once a week because of my youngest. Always in the safety of a court room. When our case was done they would hold him for an hour to give me time to get far away. A little head start. But this time was different. I was going to have to stand in front with our lawyers between us and make my case. I was scared and in a constant state of panic. Because it was uncontested and we had no property or dependent children, (at this point my son was in state custody) we were appearing before a Magistrate instead of a Judge. This was supposed to be quicker and less costly. OK, I was ready. I got to the court house at 9. My soon to be Ex and his lawyer and Ray were already there. Ray called me outside to have a smoke and talk some things over. We stood out in the court yard smoking and talking about my kids, my life, my safety plan. She was worried about me. As part of the divorce she was requesting a permanent restraining order. That would probably really piss of my husband. But, hey, this was “MY DIVORCE”. I wanted it my way. Ray went in to talk with them and I went to the laddies room. The Probate Court is old. It's made of stone with dark wood, tile floors and lots of glass. I was the only one in there when Ray came in. She wanted to talk about the grounds for divorce. “Cruel and abusive treatment.” Well”, she said. “The other lawyer is asking me to drop it to irreconcilable differences because he is pleading no contest and giving me the restraining order”. “But the court won't give me a RI without cause. I wont get that”. “Well” she said “I think maybe he's learned his lesson and will leave you alone now.” “What?” And we had it out. Probably the whole courthouse heard us. Just the two of us in there with me yelling and her booming court voice. She said “Magistrates just want to check off the easy ones, they don't want to take up much time with reasons. And besides he's not contesting the divorce.” “Oh,” I said, “so he's being a nice guy so I should play nice now? I can't believe you're asking me to do this. This is my divorce, I am divorcing him. He was cruel and abusive. This is my one chance to stand up for myself and be heard. I have to do this for myself, Ray. For me!” I stayed in the laddies room till we were called. Then I stood before the magistrate and gave examples of cruel and abusive treatment. I only gave a couple of examples before the Magistrate said,”That's enough.” I was granted my divorce on grounds of cruel and abusive treatment with a permanent Restraining Order attached. I left the courthouse with Ray. We had lunch and a drink. She shook my hand and gave me a hug. And that was the last time I saw her. She sent me a couple of documents but I never talked to her again. Thanks Ray. Thanks for letting me stand up for myself.


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