Thursday, October 31, 2013

Oct 31 2013

October draws to a close and November looms. For the second year I am attempting NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writers Month. It is a personal challenge to write a 50,000 word book in 30 days. I completed it last year, and have high hopes to do so again.
Last year I wrote a pretty smutty romance, but this year I'm thinking of trying to write something with a bit more depth. The main thing with NaNo is not to get hung up on rewriting or reworking sections, just let the words flow. To successfully complete it you need to write around 2000 words a day, which doesn't sound like much until you try to do it!
I am hoping that November is on the whole positive, as October was. If I was to take my mood for the last two day as a barometer then it will be a pretty shit month, but I'm not going to do that. I may have spent the best part of the last two days in bed, but that doesn't mean it has to be like that for the whole month.
Part of dealing with mental illness is not letting the bad days colour the good days. You have to accept that you've had a bad day or two, but that that is ok. Tomorrow is a new day. The next hour is a new hour. The next minute is a new minute.
So bring on November.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Oct 28 2013

Today was counselling day. This is like a spring cleaning day. I offload a month or so's worth of accumulated stuff, epiphanies, thoughts, feelings etc. I really think I'm getting a handle on things. It's not great, it's not even close to 'normal' but it's progress and that is the most important thing.

Today I am feeling positive, even if nature has decided to hurl all it's assorted weapons at me in the last three weeks.. flu, gastro and monthlies. Oh it is sooooo much fun! And I want to stay positive today, so there is no deep and meaningful, no spewing forth of 'stuff'. Just a 'hello, I'm here' and a smile.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Oct 23 2013

Blimey, where the heck did the last three days go? It doesn't feel like 3 days have passed, if you had asked me I would have said I just blogged yesterday. Must be going senile....oh.. wait.... nevermind, it's just my mental illness.


A few years ago I had an almost photographic memory, now I struggle to remember things and have to write things down if I don't want to forget. It is what I find to be one of the more annoying aspects of my illness, and impacts my family a fair bit. They came to rely on me to remember important dates and appointments, and then suddenly I was forgetting even some really basic stuff (like paying bills).

So yeah, I forgot that I hadn't posted. So now I have.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Oct 20 2013

I was feeling ok, and then Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U started playing on my ipod. It is one of those songs that reminds me so much of my best friend. We used to sing it together. Damn.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

17 Oct 2013

I didn't blog yesterday.

Something happened and there was a rush of relief, then some anger, then more relief, then .. well it has been a bit up and down.

You might remember I said that one of my sons had been accused of a serious crime. Yesterday he was found not guilty on all charges. It has been almost 12 months since he was initially charged. 12 long months of doubt, and fear, and stress and a myriad of other emotions. The problem was that he didn't know if he had committed the crime. He admits to being very intoxicated at the time. And someone else took advantage of this, and used it against him by accusing him of a despicable act against another human being. They have spent the last year continuing on the farce, dragging him through the mud and putting him through hell.

My son is no angel, and you will never hear me say he is, but he didn't deserve this. He has made lots of mistakes and made life choices that I don't agree with, but he didn't deserve this. And even though he was found not guilty he will bear the scars of this for a lifetime, that someone thought so little of him as a human being that they could do this without remorse.

I truly hope he can move past this and have the life that he deserves, one filled with happiness and fulfillment.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Oct 15 2013

Not going to be blogging much today. Yesterday's blog brought up a lot of stuff and I have spent a lot of today trying to process it and take the next step forward. However I do have one thing to say.

If you know someone with depression or PTSD or any other mental illness and they make a move to socialise, even in the tiniest of ways, be sure to acknowledge them. When you are feeling low and you reach out for human contact (physical or verbal or written) and noone reaches back it makes you feel even more alone, more unhappy and tends to make you feel like it isn't worth reaching out. The more it happens the further back the sufferer drops until it is very hard for them to even make the attempt.
So if someone reaches out to you, grab hold of their hand and walk with them a while, let them know they are important, special, wanted.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Oct 14 2013

Bloody hell my ears are giving me the irrits!

Nevertheless, today I soldiered on (without Codral) and did some baking. I also had a shower, got dressed and let the house (under slight protest.. it wasn't in my plans for the day). But when I made my plans I didn't realise I didn't have enough eggs for my proposed baking.

I actually feel relatively good, which is nice, however I am aware of a fairly high level of dissociation.

My son, the one who allegedly committed a very serious crime, has been uncontactable for a bit. I have had two phone calls from his case manager. It would appear that he left the youth shelter he was at and is sleeping rough. It is difficult on many levels. On one level I want to 'save' him, but I know he has to want to be saved. Up until recently he was following along with his major obligations regarding his bail, but in the last week he would appear to have thrown it all out the window. On another level I know I have to step back, he is legally an adult and as far as he is concerned I have no say in his life.

It hurts to be a parent, for a lot of people. The strain and upset that familial issues cause is often a trigger for me, leading me into depressive episodes, anxiety attacks and sometimes full blown meltdowns. So far in the last couple of weeks I have avoided these things, even whilst being ill (which reduces your resistance normally) and I know that it is because I am dissociating from it in order to protect myself.

I don't like dissociating, it took me a long time to break the habit when it first became apparent. At that time I had basically been dissociated almost permanently for more than 10 years. It contributed to my marriage breaking down, and before that to an inability to form good relationships. 9 years ago I first started seeing my current therapist and he was the one who pulled me back, or helped me pull myself back. Learning to manage my emotions was a hard road after not dealing with them for so long. I would make comments like 'how do you people deal with all this emotion, its so hard'. I was virtually robotic for so long it was like learning to be human again.

Learning to deal with emotions again allowed my man and I to rebuild our relationship (there were other issues as well). Not many people get a second chance, but we did.

So for a few years I was almost 'normal', to the point I stopped having therapy and things were going quite well. And then my best friend died. She had been by my side through a lot of my abuse, and was also abused by Griff as well. She was like a sister to me and the pain of her death tore me apart. Then one of my son's friends committed suicide, a former doctor committed suicide too (he was a staunch supporter of mental health issues, yet didn't deal with his own), another friend got murdered and a long time family friend died suddenly. All this happened in the space of about 6 months, as well as some other fairly unpleasant stuff.

I wasn't mentally equipped to deal with such a massive onslaught of trauma and it led to where I am now. The trauma of my childhood became tied to all this new trauma, especially because of my best friend. We had banded together to bring Griff to justice, and after she died I wanted to get justice for her as well as myself. When Griff was 'spared' I was devastated. The trauma he put us through was one of the reasons behind her death. She never learnt to deal with it and she began escaping via drugs and alcohol. At first it was just dope and a bit of ecstasy, but eventually she became addicted to heroin.

She used to joke that I was her only 'straight' friend, and nothing I could say, nor nothing she experienced with friends overdosing was ever quite enough for her to quit completely. She tried lots of times, she was even on the methodone program for a while. But in the end the demons were stronger than she was. I'm not sure she intended to kill herself, but I know at the time of her death she had just suffered a betrayal, and it may well have been the final straw.

I still haven't really come to terms with her being gone, and it has been 3 years. I see her face on my facebook page sometimes, I don't have the heart to remove her. I can think of her and smile now, but I still cry inside.

The fact that drugs took her life makes what my son is doing even harder to endure. He swears he will never touch harder drugs than dope, but I have heard that before. I truly hope he is stronger than his demons. I already have one scar on my heart that will never heal, I do not want another.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Oct 13 2013

Stick, unstick, stick, unstick, stick.... for pete's sake make up your freaking mind!!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Oct 12 2013

I thought my ears had cleared... apparently not. I hate having sticky Eustachian tubes.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Oct 11 2013

It is late in the day, an hour before the witching hour. I'm tired, but I know when I go to bed I won't sleep. My man is not home tonight. Sometimes you take it for granted that people are there, and it isn't until they aren't there that you realise how much you come to rely on them.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I do realise how much I rely on my support network, which is made up of my man, my kids and my mum. My man is my rock, my go to guy when I need a hug or a shoulder. I hate it when he isn't here at night. I have enough issues with sleep without the anxiety that comes from him not being here.

When you feel anxious things are multiplied or exaggerated. The sound of the wind in the trees becomes something to fear. Leaves blowing across the ground sound like footsteps. Moths fluttering against the window screens sounds like knives cutting. The creak of the house settling is someone breaking in. And my kids look to me to be brave and in control and inside I am freaking out.

This is where my mastery of dissociating comes in. On the outside I look perfectly calm, in control, confident. On the inside I am a screaming mass of goo.

Some would say that it is 'faking it until you make it', but it isn't. It is putting on a mask for the sake those who are innocent. Whilst my older kids know about my illness, and to a certain extent the cause of it, my youngest child has no idea. She is protected from it by those around her. We strive to maintain as much of her innocence as we can. There will be plenty of time for her to be a grown up later on.

The older kids know varying amounts, mainly due to their personalities. We try not to burden them, but they also need to be aware of things like triggers. My illness isn't their fault, but it does impact their lives. My oldest kids knew me before my PTSD became debilitating (delayed onset is normal with PTSD). They remember when mummy used to do most of the cooking, cleaning, washing, ran a business, created every day, studied and was basically superwoman. I am a very different person now. It is a good day if I cook dinner, or bake bread, or do washing, or create, or get out of bed before noon, or get dressed etc.

I really hope that they see that I am taking steps to deal with my illness. I take my meds, I get regular therapy, I make the most of good days. I hope they see that mental illness doesn't make you a bad person, or a lazy person. I hope they grow up with compassion towards those with mental illness, and that if they ever find themselves suffering that they know that help is available, that there are things you can do.

On a bright note, I got out of bed today, got dressed and made bread. :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oct 10 2013

Today has been a good day. I am still recovering from the flu, so I slept until about 1pm. But then I got up and had a shower and got dressed. I spent most of the shower coughing up a lung, and felt a bit shaky and tired after, but much better than I had done for several days. I even washed my hair!
Then my mum and I had a girly afternoon..of a sort. I was completely exhausted when we got home, but at least I got out of the house.

These random days of 'brightness' are what make you continue on when you have PTSD/anxiety/depression. They are what remind you that there is something different out there. Unfortunately the illness is such that often these good days are overshadowed and ignored or used by those outside of the situation as proof of a lack of a problem. They will say things like 'oh, so you are having a good day' in such a way that you end up feeling guilty that you dared to have a good day whilst claiming to be depressed.

Many people who haven't had clinical depression think that it is like when they are a bit sad. But it isn't. I have days when I'm a bit sad, and I had them before I descended into hell. There is a vast difference.

A bit sad doesn't make every bone in your body ache.

A bit sad doesn't remove the colour from everything around you.

A bit sad doesn't make you wish you didn't exist.

A bit sad doesn't make you feel alone in a room full of people.

A bit sad doesn't make your bed your best friend.

A bit sad doesn't hang around when everything is going great in your life.

And that is the crux of it. Depression is being miserable on the happiest day of your life, when everything is going great, when you are successful, when you have tonnes of friends and everything going your way. Depression is not a symptom of your lifestyle. People who have nothing, who struggle every day, do not always end up with depression. Nor does money and success shield you from the possibility of getting depression. Depression is an illness that can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Today happens to be World Mental Health Day. It is ironic that we have a world day for it, and yet it is still an illness with a lot of stigma, that many do not understand. And it isn't their fault they don't understand. Many sufferers of depression do not really understand either.

I am a highly logical, analytical, intelligent and educated adult. This illness doesn't 'make sense' to me in so many ways. I have struggled to accept that I have PTSD/depression/anxiety. I cannot understand how everything can be really positive around me and yet I feel miserable, anxious, exhausted and hopeless. The day I realised that my illness isn't a symptom of my life, but an actual illness was a light bulb day. It hasn't magically made it go away, and it hasn't made it any easier, but it has helped me not be so hard on myself.

Sufferers are often their own worst enemy. They think they should be fine, or happy or whatever, and instead of being kind to themselves they will beat themselves up (emotionally/psychologically) which makes matters worse. The internal dialogue of a depression/mental illness sufferer can be one of the most damaging things in their lives. And if anyone in their lives says anything similar, due to a lack of understanding or compassion, then the sufferer will take this as a conformation of their own worst thoughts.

So if you know someone who has any sort of mental illness, be compassionate, let them know that their illness doesn't define them, that you love/like them just the same regardless. Don't pity them, don't undermine them and for God's sake never ever tell them to 'just get over it.'

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Oct 9 2013

Polish Archbishop Jozef Michalik has stated that divorced parents are to blame for the pedophilia carried out by priests. Apparently parents divorcing creates 'lost' children that priests cannot resist. "Many of these cases of (sexual) molestation could be avoided given a healthy relationship between parents. We often hear that this inappropriate attitude (pedophilia), or abuse, manifests itself when a child is looking for love. It (the child) clings, it searches. It gets lost itself and then draws another person into this." In reality he is blaming the victims.

Whilst this is very upsetting to me, I have heard the same or worse leveled against myself. There were people in the community in which I lived who blamed me for the abuse I suffered at the hands of Griff. They could not believe that this church going, helpful man could possibly be a pedophile and child abuser. The only way it made any sense to them was to cast me as some pre-pubescent Lolita. At the age of 6, having been sheltered completely from sexual matters until that point, I seduced a much older man and made him rape me, molest me and use me for his sexual pleasure. And I apparently kept him under this spell for the next 9 years.

This idea of blaming the victims is not new, nor does it only apply to child abuse. The stoning to death of rape victims in certain corners of the world is the same philosophy, that somehow the victim is to blame for the actions of the attacker.

No child asks to have their trust betrayed. No child asks to be hurt and humiliated. No child makes an adult into a sick, perverted sexual predator. The idea that someone like Jozef Michalik is trusted with the spiritual well-being of anyone is sickening to me. To me it is further proof that organised religion is a dangerous and evil thing.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Oct 8 2013

Flu. Socially justified reason for doing what PTSD/anxiety/depression makes me want to do regularly... stay in bed.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oct 7 2013

I have the flu. But I 'feel' ok otherwise.

My daughter is the age now that I was when my abuse started. I sometimes look at her and compare her to how I was then. I was quite sheltered growing up. Sex wasn't something that was every discussed, at least not around me. I didn't really know how babies were made, and as the youngest in my family I hadn't ever seen my mum pregnant which often leads to questions on reproduction. The watching of TV was highly regulated in our house, no TV until the news came on at night after my Dad got home from work. The only time the TV went on during the day was if you were home sick from school, or if motor racing or cricket was on on the weekend. We didn't watch violent programs. I had a steady diet of The Muppets, Young Talent Time and The Goodies. We also didn't have the kind of computer games that my kids have access to. We did have an Atari at one point with Pong on it. We spent a lot of time outside, playing cricket in the street or riding up and down the road. We felt safe, secure, comfortable.

My daughter has seen violent programs (not on purpose usually), one of her favourite movies is Alien (she is a bit weird LOL). She has heard lots of cussing, she plays video games like Fable and Halo. She is quite a bit younger than her brothers, 7 years younger than the youngest of them and as a result she has been exposed to things I hadn't been at the same age. My eldest brother is only 5 years older than me. So she and her brothers have had lots of information about age appropriate behaviours and language. She knows that shows with sex and lots of violence are not appropriate for her to watch. In fact she will come and tell us if her brothers are watching something that she shouldn't see. Due to my own background I have also talked to her about telling me or another safe adult if anyone tries to make her do something that makes her feel uncomfortable or that involves her girl parts.

She doesn't have the innocence that I had. It some ways that makes me sad, in others it makes me hope more that she would kick up a stink if anyone tried on her what was done to me. I hope it never happens, with all my heart, unfortunately I cannot help but fear that it might. I watch unknown people around her, I cringe when older men start talking to her. But somehow I have managed to keep the majority of my fear to myself. She is not the type to jump at shadows, is gregarious and friendly, whilst being very definite about what she will put up with.

Comparing myself to her I can see that I was much much much less equipped to deal with the abuse that occurred than she would be, and she isn't equipped for it. Maybe it isn't a surprise that it has affected my life so much.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Oct 6 2013

I feel sick.

I have a cold, but that isn't the sick that is getting to me.

I can feel the anxiety bubbling in my stomach.

I am on edge.

Too many thoughts.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Oct 5 2013

I had all these thoughts I was going to post, about an hour ago.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Oct 4 2013

Today I can feel myself peeking through the dark shroud that currently surrounds me. This may well be largely due to seeing my amazing counsellor yesterday.
My counsellor is the kind who doesn't pull his punches and I have been his patient for about 9 years on and off. Funnily enough when I first starting seeing him I wasn't anywhere near as bad as I am now, which is one of the curious things with PTSD. It has a kind of delayed onset. Back then I was seeing him predominantly for depression.
One of the first things he ever said to me that had a huge impact was to 'get a life'. Some may think that is a bit offense coming from a therapist but he wasn't being mean. I was living vicariously through my sons and he was telling me to live my own life. It was after a few sessions with him that I started at TAFE (like community college, for those not in Australia) and filed charges against my abuser. That's right, I originally filed 9 years ago. That is how long the system took.
I see my therapist about once a month and I am lucky that I don't have to pay for the service. I probably wouldn't be able to afford to even have therapy otherwise, which would frankly be a disaster for my family. When I'm having a rough time I will count the days until the next appointment. I then spend an hour spewing out thoughts and feelings and events and everything. He gets told the things that I can't tell anyone else. It's not that I don't talk to my partner, but there are things he doesn't need to know, and doesn't want to know, about my past.
My partner's anger towards my abuser is a palpable thing. He finds it really hard sometimes. I don't blame him, I find it really hard. But he supports me so much. He does his best to be understanding of me and my moods. I find it hard to live with myself so I can only imagine what it is like for those around me.

I wasn't this bad a few years ago. Looking back I can see that things really took a turn for the worst when my best friend died from a drug overdose. She had been abused by my abuser as well. She had joined me when I pressed charges. I lived in a fog for a year after she died, a fog compounded by the suicide of one of my kids' friends and one of my doctors, the murder of an online friend and the death of a long time family friend all in a short space of time. At the point all this hit I was a relatively successful artisan selling online with lots of drive and motivation. In less than a year that all changed.
My business pretty much went into hiatus, my mojo went on an extended vacation and all the old demons came back. The biggest difference was that I wasn't dissociating anywhere near as much as I used to, which meant I felt the pain a lot more and found it a lot harder to deal with. Around the same time we started to have some serious issues with one of our sons, issues that led to a lot of tension and unpleasantness.

So fast forward to now and I am at a standstill, encased in a shroud of darkness where the moments of joy, lightness and sunshine are rare and beautiful things. No longer are day to day things trivial. Every moment that you feel 'ok' is a big deal, because they don't last very long.

People think it is amusing when someone says 'well I got dressed today'. For someone with severe PTSD/depression/anxiety this is a major achievement some days. Hell, getting out of bed is a freaking miracle. It is not unknown for me to spend more than 20 hours in bed, only getting up to pee and maybe find something to eat, preferably chocolate.

We have codes in our house now. If I end up 'in the closet', then I have reached meltdown point. I literally sit inside our walk-in robe in the dark, often rocking back and forth and howling. It is a good month if I don't end up in the closet. It is a great month if I don't even come close to that. I've had two months of no closet time. I've come close a few times, but frankly my partner has caught me before I fell. So instead of going in the closet I just lay in bed and howled and then slept. That is usually the step after the closet.. so I will take it as progress.
Our other code is my ipod. If I have my ipod plugs in my ears then I am wordlessly telling everyone that I am not coping. This happens a lot if the house gets noisy (not unusual with 4 kids at home). Too much noise means anxiety, my filter doesn't work so well these days. So I drown it out with music. I'll often be on the computer whilst wearing the ipod. It's like I don't want to deal with everything, but I also don't want to be shut away in the bedroom.
The last code is the bedroom door. I will often go and sit in bed and watch Dr Who or cakey shows (my daughter's term for shows like Cake Boss and ChoccyWoccyDooDah). If I leave the door open I am 'still available', if the door is shut it means 'fuck off'.
6 year olds don't do codes and my daughter will ignore all indicators that mum is in a bad place. But I don't yell at her, I usually give her a hug and she curls up next to me and we watch tv together. My illness is not her fault, or her problem. It is hard to be a parent and be mentally ill. In fact some think you cannot be both. I know people who have had kids taken away because they are ill. I'm lucky I have a support (my partner and my mum), but frankly without my kids I would be worse. They are proof that I can do great things.

Well, that was a huge ramble. Today is actually a pretty good day, even if I have only had a few hours of sleep. I'm the kind of tired that hurts, but my mind feels 'ok' today. I will make the most of it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Beginning - Part 3

This is the final post of the content of my former site. It is the last post I made there, the first in a blog format and it points to where I am now. Every post after this will be new content and I apologise for any confusion the older stuff may cause with it's references to the site.

 After leaving this site wallowing for quite some months I have turned my attention back to it and decided to continue the story in blog form. Hopefully this will make it a bit easier to follow along as a reader. As before there will not be a definite chronological order. My mind does not work in that way. Since beginning this site I have had a major setback with my PTSD/depression/anxiety issues. There are probably several reasons for this, and perhaps starting my story was a reason, and running away from my story was another.

 A bigger reason was the arrest of one my children for a serious criminal offense, which led to a lot of anger, tears and anxiety. He has since become an adult and lives his life away from his family by his own choice. His case is unresolved. So my goal is to revive this site and face my story, for my own good. Whilst I continue to let it control me and my thoughts I seriously doubt I will be able to truly move forward. I know this will not be an easy process, but it is one I am determined to progress through.

New Beginning - Part 2

I decided to break up the posts from my former site. There was more than I realised.

 So Part 2 -

 I leave the story for a little today. Some recent events have occurred that make me mad, that hurt me deeply. In 2004 I decided that for my own mental health that I finally had to confront what had happened to me as a child. It had been over 20 years since the abuse had started. I didn't know if I could press charges, call him to account. One phone call later and the ball was rolling. I made a long statement, spending 3 or more hours recounting flashes of memory. It was emotionally draining, terrifying and excruciatingly painful. It was then handed over to a local police officer. He rang me once, told me he had the case and would call me again to let me know what happened. A few months later I began to wonder what was happening, so I rang the police station. The officer in question had resigned. All his case files were packed up and dumped on to other officers. My file ended up buried and unattended.

 Approximately 3 years later two of 'Griff's' biological daughters filed charges. Around the same time someone in the local officer discovered my file and forwarded it to the Investigating Officer. Suddenly things seemed to start happening. Other important witnesses were interviewed and it looked like things would finally go somewhere. 5 years later it has all come to a screeching halt. Charges have been laid, court sessions have occurred, legal argument has flown. He is unfit to stand trial. The 'justice' system says it would not be fair on him because he has a disease now that affects his brain. The system says that 'justice' is not best served by continuing. He gets to forget his crimes as his brain deteriorates, whilst me and my fellow victims get to relive it over and over. This is apparently 'justice'.

 Then to add salt to an already painful wound. I discover that prior to my own abuse, Griff had admitted, to a government body charged with protecting children, to abusing his biological daughters. His penalty? Psychiatric counselling. And a promise not to do it again. The police were never involved, no public record was made, no follow up. A child protection agency let a self confessed child abuser walk free to commit his crimes again.

 My abuse could have been avoided. My best friend may not have taken her life, unable to deal with her memories of him abusing her. My brothers may have been spared their demons. My mother could have avoided the years of domestic violence at his hands. I hope that we, as a society, have changed enough for the better for something like this to never, ever happen again.

 With my parents separation we moved from our suburban Adelaide home in a country area in the Adelaide Hills. From a modern family home we moved into an old stone house that had had additions that made it somewhat rabbit warren like. Many of the rooms had fireplaces and high ceilings. From a manicured easy care garden to a huge rambling yard that ended in a leech infested stream. Everything was different.

It is one thing to be ripped from your home and transplanted into an environment that is largely similar, and quite another to be transplanted to a place that was like an entire new planet. We were enrolled in the local school, which was tiny. My city school was enormous with hundreds of children, this one barely had 50 students. I struggled to make friends, I struggled to adjust and found myself bored more often than not. I was so far advanced, in educational terms, to the rest of my peers that they considered jumping me straight from year 1 to year 3.

It wasn't all bad, I had the most amazing teacher. I loved him to bits and I remember my time in his class fondly. In the end we were only at that school for a year, but it had a profound effect. The home front was a whole different story. One that was rapidly turning into a nightmare for me. It started innocuously enough. An invitation from Griff to check out some books and magazines he kept in the greenhouse behind the main house. The main book was 'The Joy of Sex'. I was 6.

The image of me sitting on the wooden bench in the greenhouse while Griff went through this book is burned in my brain. I had never seen anything like that. I doubt at that point I had ever really seen a naked male body at all. Then he showed me magazines full of naked women. I didn't know why he was showing this stuff to me, why he kept talking about what the people were doing, why they were doing it. It made me scared and uncomfortable, but I had been brought up to do as I was told and this man was apparently to be my new father. It was just the beginning, worse was to come.

 I was born into a family that was not really physically demonstrative, that valued privacy and where children were taught to unquestioningly follow the directions of those in authority or positions of respect. Suddenly I found myself in a house where privacy didn't exist, where physically demonstrations of 'love' were prevalent and where some of the directions being made were uncomfortable or unpleasant.

Griff didn't believe in wearing underpants unless it was a 'formal' type occasion. He preferred short shorts.. loose short shorts. And that was when he felt 'forced' to wear clothing. He preferred nudity, for himself and for those he lived with. This was a man of Caucasian descent who was nut brown on every inch of his body. I can honestly say that other than my brothers I had never seen a naked male before. And little boys do not really compare to a fully grown male. I was not comfortable with nudity, my brothers were not comfortable with it. It was upsetting to be subjected to it on a daily basis with no say in the matter.

Sexual literature was left in the open unless company was around. Images of sexuality were commonplace, such as statues or models of naked people. Griff would get angry when one of us refused to parade around in the buff, calling us prudes and going on about how 'natural' nudity was. Nudity is natural, but the sexual overtone that pervaded Griff's idea of nudity is not natural around young children, especially ones that barely know you.

New Beginning

Over a year ago I started a website to tell my story. Things happened and it didn't work out. So I am going to transfer the content from there to here and get on with the journey. So this first post will be disjointed, and long. But after that it should settle down.
The one thing I will be here is completely honest. I am going to attempt to blog every day, and that may well mean that some days you will get a two word blog and other days you will get a novella. My story will come out in fits and spurts, but by facing it I hope that I can finally get back my mind, free it, at least partly, from the depths of PTSD/anxiety/depression.

So, here is what came before.

Part 1 - The End is the Beginning

 I start my story at the end of one chapter, the most recent chapter. I have learnt a painful lesson. Justice is not always possible. Justice is not always fair. Sometimes bad people get away with horrible things. I was abused as a child, and as an adult I sought justice. I wanted him to pay for his crimes against myself and others. However, nature has decided to rob me of that. My abuser is unfit to go to trial. The evidence is there, all the other ducks are in a row, but apparently it is not fair on him to be tried in his present condition. A condition that will never get better. He gets fair, whilst he was never fair to me. This is our justice system at work. I understand the reasoning, but it does not make it easier to stomach. And I am angry, hurt, disappointed and despondent. I am still processing this development in my story, but it has made me consider how I move forward.

 I have decided that in order for me to move on, to get some sort of closure, that I need to share my story. Maybe it will help someone else who has suffered as I have. Maybe it will give someone the courage to continue on despite the pain they feel. Maybe it will give someone the strength to call to account those who have betrayed them in the most heinous way. I know telling my story will be painful, and not only to me. I have decided that in the interest of protecting the innocent that all names will be changed, including the name of my abuser.

Whilst he doesn't need protecting by naming him I risk the privacy of my family and friends and I wish no harm or upset to befall them. Some will then wonder why I am telling my story publicly if I feel that way. I do so because it is important for my recovery and I have their support in that. That doesn't mean that they need to be touched by it any more than they already have.

 How the story will proceed I do not know at present, but I feel it worming its way into existence.

 I was born into a blue collar family. My father, Bob, worked in the car industry. My mother, Mary, was a former nurse who by the time I came along was a full time stay at home mum. I'm not really sure my parents ever really loved each other. My mum wanted a family, my father wanted someone to take care of him and they appeared compatible. My mum's first pregnancy resulted in a full term still birth, a little boy, Shaun. The second pregnancy resulted in my brother, Sam. The third pregnancy was a miscarriage. The fourth pregnancy was my brother, Alan. Then mum was told not to try and have any more kids. My father was happy with his two boys. Then she got pregnant again. The doctors offered an abortion, my father pushed for one. My mum refused on the grounds that 'this one feels different, it's a girl'.

And it was. I made a rather hasty arrival at the end of Summer in 1975 in a coastal town in Victoria. My mum was overjoyed, a girl was always her dream. My father had no idea what to do with a daughter and yet as a young child I idolised him. At the end of my first year of life we moved to South Australia due to my father's work. My early years were fairly normal, although I was something of an overachiever. I drove Alan mad by learning to read by watching him learn when he started school. It must have been annoying to have a three year old reading as well as you do at 6. I was precocious, intelligent and completely unaware of the undercurrents in my family life. Everything just seemed to go along, my father worked long hours and barely seemed to notice us, my mum kept house and looked after us.

 In later years I found out that things were nowhere near as rosy as I thought. My father controlled the money and barely gave my mother enough housekeeping for her to do everything she needed to do. She was smart though. Every time she needed an increase she would write out a shopping list for my father to buy, including all the expensive brand names. My father would buy exactly what was on the list, he never looked for cheaper options. He would then be horrified by the prices and realise he needed to cough up more housekeeping. Mum would then go back to buying the cheaper stuff and use the extra money to buy material to make us clothes.

 I also found out many years later that they fought a lot. Always behind closed doors, always after I was asleep. My brothers later told me they often heard it, but I honestly never did. My mum told me once that they fought about decisions. Apparently my father was bad at making them. For example, we went on holidays every year. We always went to Halls Gap in the Grampians, where we would stay in a caravan or a tent and spend time with my Grandparents who lived in Victoria. My mum would ask him where he wanted to go for the holiday, he would say he didn't care, so Mum would organise to go to the Grampians because it was familiar and about halfway between our place and my grandparents. Then he would complain because 'we always go there'. So mum would again ask where he wanted to go and he would say he didn't know. He wouldn't look for anywhere else or offer any suggestions, he'd just complain and be angry with my mum.

 My mum was involved with the Scout and Guide movement, sometimes going on camps, often taking me with her. My first camp was when I was six weeks old and all the girls got a 'Mothering' badge for feeding and changing me!

When I was 6 she went on a canoeing trip with a group of other leaders and met a man called Griff. She invited him to dinner one night with my father and all of us children. I didn't like him. Neither did my brothers. I often wonder if my father realised then what was going to happen.

 There were some things that were static in my early years, things I knew I could count on. The front lounge and dining were out of bounds unless it was a special holiday or you were sick. School bags had to be put in your room after school, not dumped by the front door. Fruit juice, cakes, biscuits etc were treat foods, not every day foods. And Alan would test the boundaries every day. It was like a tradition. The day everything changed was a day marked by breaks in tradition. We came home from school one afternoon and as always Alan dumped his school bag by the front door. My mother didn't say a word. She was sitting in the front lounge room waiting for us. Alan obviously realised straight away something was up because he asked for Orange Juice. We were all expecting a no, instead Mum said yes. That's when I looked at her and noticed her eyes were red and puffy. This made me start crying, which made her start crying again. Once Alan had his juice, which he barely touched, Mum sat us down and told us that her and our dad were getting a divorce and we were going with her to live with Griff in the country. There was a lot of crying and displeasure from us kids, especially about the Griff part.

 When my father came home that afternoon he was carrying boxes. I went up to him for a hug and asked him if it was true. He pushed me away. For a girl who worshipped her father this was heartbreaking. Luckily for me I didn't hear until many years later just how little I had meant to him. When my mother had told him she was leaving he'd said 'I'll take the boys, you can have her.' My mum refused to split us up. I'm glad I didn't know it then, because it would have made what was to come a lot harder to deal with.