Have been reading a great book by Eckhart Tolle called, ‘The Power of Now”. It talks about staying in the present moment no matter how uncomfortable, to avoid a mind fixated on the past or the promise of a happier future. I am finding it hard to stay in the moment right now.
It’s hard to know what is going on. The flu or IBS or PMS or maybe I am pregnant, or is it the appointment I had yesterday. After waiting six months, I finally had my consultation with a gynaecologist about my pelvic prolapse. I was already feeling ill when I arrived, the night before I had chills and aches and I looked at my face with shock in the lift going up to the fifth floor of the hospital. My eyes looked puffy and dull and I was feeling weak from fighting the cold I caught over the weekend.
On the surface I was the polite, smiley and articulate woman I always show the world. In the consultation room the attending nurse and doctor were calm, professional and experienced. I obediently undressed and had to lay with my legs wide apart with both feet on stirrups at the edge of the hospital bed.
The doctor told me to cough and push and throughout I was frozen; doing as I was told but a smaller me taking centre stage. A quiet, small, voiceless and powerless me. It was not my body anymore. I don’t even know if he examined me internally, I couldn’t feel a thing, yet my mind was working and thoughts were running across it. It was over quickly and the nurse gave me two wipes. What were the wipes for? I was so unaware of what was happening down there.
The doctor told me my options; a hysterectomy (which he felt I am too young for) or a uterine prolapse operation in four months after blood tests and keeping records in a bladder diary. I left clutching leaflets and papers and was completely disorientated. I had to be told twice which way to leave the hospital. I couldn’t find the lift that I had come up in. I felt so lost and small like I was going the wrong way even when I did find the flight of stairs.
I had the rest of the day off and came home and slept and then picked my son up from school. I didn’t go in to work today as I am still feeling weak and feverish yet I am wracked by guilt and anger and confusion. Maybe I should have dragged myself in to work like a soldier. We all get colds don’t we. But I have retreated, I need the space and the peace and quiet to be safe again.
My stomach feels bloated with all the trapped feelings I am afraid to feel. A kind of frozenness has taken over so that I don’t feel like myself. I am much smaller than myself and in this state I don’t feel loveable at all. I feel ugly and fat. I feel useless. I am trying to find the centre but maybe I need to stay here for a bit in this frozen place. I have to remind myself that it will pass and that I am not the feeling. That of course it would be very triggering for me to lie in that most vulnerable position on the hospital bed and be examined. That it put me back in that powerless position. That position when I did just disassociate and leave the room while my father did what he did to my little body.
All these years later, a 41 year old woman who is well-travelled and fiercely independent reduced to a little girl who is frozen with fear and can’t find her way out of the hospital. These are the terrible, very real effects of being sexually abused as a child. My harsh inner critic and any parts of me that believe I was in any way conspiratorial in the abuse rear their ugly heads. I feel them as they lash away at my insides. No it was not my fault and harsh critic those days are over. It’s time to work with me. I have done nothing wrong, there is nothing wrong with me. I didn’t ask for any of it. The frozenness was to protect me when I was little. I am loveable and beautiful within and without and I have kindness, awe and respect for everything I have been through. The trauma of the forceps delivery caused the prolapse and my father caused the other pain.
Underneath the layers of frozen and irritability, I can almost feel the sadness and pain. It is that sadness and pain that I am so afraid of feeling. Embracing and feeling that wound will give me my centre back.
For now I just allow myself to breathe and stay in the moment whatever it brings. It will break free out of the frozenness.