Rob’s Letter to His Friend

Ben and Robby have been friends for practically forever, and even though they don’t see each other more than once a year, they’re still as close as they ever were. Rob decided to write to Ben and tell him what he’s dealing with. This is what he wrote

After 10 years I am finally coming to terms with what happened prior to my breakdown in 2007. I have never spoken of this before until last week when Laura and I talked about it. I have been carrying shame and anger for over 10 years now.

I fell apart not because of the end of the relationship but because what happened inside of the relationship. Let me set the stage. I was drinking a lot and not always in control. I met her again while I was out at the bar. I had never had sex and was planning on waiting until I got married. I’m not going to go into details as I’m not sure you want to hear them and it’s very painful for me to relive them. The gist of this is that I got so messed up after the relationship because every time that intercourse was had during that relationship, I was either raped or sexually assaulted. The choice was taken away my first time. I wasn’t held down but I had said no and it happened “Accidentally”. I was so ashamed and felt so guilty because I should have been able to stop her. I should be stronger than her. I keep telling myself it wouldn’t have happened had I not been drinking but I think it would have happened regardless. After that every time anything happened it was after I drank and could not fight it off. I thought it was normal and I had the problem because I didn’t want it. I also drank more to cope with what was going on. I never got drunk enough that I blacked out and didn’t remember. Unfortunately I remember all of them. This cycle repeated itself the night that things happened a year later with my cousin Jen’s friend Falon. I was actually held down that night and it was the text book definition of rape.

I’m writing this to tell you what really happened and I need someone to talk to other than Laura about this. I have been in therapy but have never talked about this because I was repressing so much of this. This was all opened up again because I was trying to explain my intimacy issues to Laura. Throughout our marriage this has caused so many issues. My porn and masturbation addiction started because of what happened. Porn let me be in control and it was easier getting intimacy from that and masturbation than trying to be intimate with Laura.

Feel free to share this with Kelly, I would like to hear from both of you on this. I would also like to see if we could work on strengthening my faith together. I have a horrible relationship with God because I constantly think how can he let this happen to me. Also I start with a new therapist Wednesday morning. She is the therapist that worked with Laura on her abuse as a child.

He also really surprised me and sent it to his dad. Neither of them have gotten back to him yet, but I am so proud of him for reaching out. I just hope it turns out well.

Not Him Too

It’s been almost a year since I’ve written. To be honest, I haven’t really felt the need to write this last year.

But now I do. I need to process this.

Robby has been really struggling. He’s always kind of struggled with physical intimacy, but recently it’s gotten pretty severe. He started getting help for sexual compulsions (masturbating) and had been seeing his regular therapist, but he’s just continued to struggle. And now he’s putting things together.

I always knew that his first time having sex was sort of an accident. From what he had told me before, he and his girlfriend (whom we title “It”) were naked and humping and he just kind  of ‘fell into’ her. I had always assumed it was one of those “mistake but not a mistake” on both of their parts, but last weekend I found out otherwise. He had never wanted to have sex with her. He’d planned on remaining a virgin until he got married, but she took that choice away from him. After they’d had sex, he felt that since he went to that level of intimacy with her, he had to stay with her. So he did for a while, but he never felt comfotable having sex with her. She would pressure him, and demand sex of him. Yesterday, he told me that his first time she was on top and he doesn’t completely believe it was an accident that they had sex. He thinks she did it on purpose. She raped him.

It’s just so awful to write that. He said that alcohol was involved and that every time he had sex with her, alcohol was involved again. I don’t know if he was getting drunk and she was taking advantage of him, or if he was getting drunk to try and numb himself from what he knew was happening. I don’t know that he even knows.

And his one night stand with her, I always thought it was lust- and passion-fueled, but it wasn’t. He was drunk and she threw herself at him. He wanted to get out of the car, but she held him down. Oh God, she held him down.

It’s not right. It took him until this last week to realize what they had done to him. It took until he read this article to understand. He always thought he was ‘weird’ for not liking sex. He thought he was supposed to ‘be a guy’ and enjoy any sex, no matter what. But it wasn’t sex, it was rape. Oh God, why did it have to happen to him. He doesn’t deserve this, no one deserves this.

And I’m so scared for him. He’s starting therapy with Lori to address this stuff, and I know how hard that is going to be. I’ve been there. And I wish he didn’t have to go through it. I know that it will help him in the end, but I know the pain he is about to start feeling, and as broken as he feels right now, it’s nowhere near as broken as he will feel soon.

And part of me is worried about really inconsequential things in the grand scheme of things. How is he going to get through therapy and work at the same time? If he can’t handle both and he has to quit his job, how will we pay our bills? If he has to quit his job, like I did, will it destroy him? Make him feel as damaged as I felt? How will he re-enter the job market if all that happens? I had a built in excuse of TTC, but I don’t know how it will work for him.

And one of the worst things, is that he doesn’t feel like he has anyone to talk to. He doesn’t think his dad will understand, and I agree. And he already has such deep issues with his mom, that talking to her would just make things worse. He can talk to my parents, I know they’ll understand. But it’s just not the same and having your own mom and dad to lean on. And he deserves to have that. To have parents who love him and appreciate him and will be there for him, even if they don’t understand. I want that for him so badly.

I want him to not hurt. I want him to know he is taken care of. But I don’t know how to be there for him. Because I’ve been where he is, where nothing feels safe, even the people who are supposed to. And he couldn’t fix things for me, couldn’t really do anything for me, because in a way I was scared of him too. And now he’s scared of me. I know logically that it’s bleed over from his trauma, but I feel so helpless. I want more than anything to take this pain from him, but I can’t.

And it wrenches my heart to know that there were plenty of times when I pressured him for sex. I didn’t understand why he was rejecting me, all I felt was the rejection. All I felt was that I wasn’t good enough. And I really hate the fact that I was pressuring him. I pray that he never felt that I was abusing him, because I never meant to. He said the only times he ever felt ‘forced’ were after we lost Jamie and were TTC, and I completely understand. To be honest, I felt forced too.

I know things will get better. I know we will make it through this. It was bad enough that I was sexually abused. I got used to a part of my identity being an abuse survivor. I learned how to live with it. And now he’s having to learn to deal with it, when no one should ever have to learn this. It was okay that I was broken in this way, but it’s not okay that he is too.

7 Years Ago

Seven years ago today.

Seven years ago I chose to tell someone. For the first time I didn’t feel compelled to tell, as if the words couldn’t stay in any more. Seven years ago, I wanted to tell.

Seven years ago, I opened my heart, just a little, but more than I had ever done before.

Seven years ago, I decided something- someone- was more important than my fear. I decided to listen to my heart instead of the destructive voices that had controlled me for years. I decided that the regret of saying nothing would be worse than the fear I was feeling.

Seven years ago, I received love, patience, and understanding. Seven years ago, I was accepted for the beautifully broken person I didn’t know I was.

Seven years ago, I started down a path that would not only change my life, but save it too. Seven years ago, I finally started to live.

Seven years ago, I made the best decision of my life.

Happy 7th anniversary Robby. Here’s to 70 more.

Dear God,

God, I’m struggling. I don’t want to be bitter or resentful, but I keep feeling as though every one around us is being blessed while we just keep waiting. We want a child so badly. We know that you meant for us to be parents, but it just hurts so much. To see people having babies, to see kids who would be Jamie’s age. It just hurts. And there is nothing we can do but keep waiting. I’m trying so hard to hold onto my faith, to the knowledge that you have a perfect plan. But I need hope. I need reassurance that we will get our blessings.

And I know it’s not fair to ask You for blessings, when You have given us life and love, and all the other blessings that I know we have but right now don’t seem that important. I want to be thankful. I want to rejoice in you, rejoice in life. Please carry my heart for me, because it’s hurting. Fill it with hope and peace and thankfulness. Let me appreciate instead of resent.

And, oh Lord, please please bless us. But until you do, let us be happy in the moment.

So Lonely

I’ve been feeling very lonely lately. Struggling with the feeling that I matter, that I’m worth something. That I’m important.

And I’ve talked to Robby about it lately but it hasn’t helped. He’s been sweet about it, telling me that I matter, hugging me, but it just hasn’t helped. Because he’s been the one making me feel lonely. He keeps withdrawing from me, putting up this wall that I can’t get through. So I just keep trying harder. Trying to be noticed. Trying to do everything, and do it all right.

And tonight was a catastrophe, which I won’t get into, but I ended up telling him how I’ve been feeling. That he makes me feel lonely because he shuts me out. That I feel like if I don’t try and connect with him, that we will just be here but never really together. And how it’s so confusing because some days he will want to be intimate, will really be himself, will be comfortable with our relationship. But then the next he will act as though he’s just going through the motions.

And I want to take care of him, to love him, but it hurts so much to feel like he just takes and takes without giving back. Without being sincere.

Because he never follows through. He says he’s going to make changes, says he’s going to do this and that, and for a little bit he does. But then it stops. He stops being a partner in our relationship. Stops trying. And it just goes back to the way it was, with me trying so desperately to bring him back.

And I shouldn’t have to bring him back. All I want is for him to be here, really here. And every time he pulls back, or stops trying, or leaves me emotionally, it hurts.

It hurts so much.

And to be honest, I don’t know how many times I can go through this. It seems like it happens every year. But words are just words, and I have to look at the actions. And I don’t want to reach my limit. I don’t want to have to accept that it’s never going to change. So I’m going to keep trying, keep loving him, and most importantly keep telling him when he hurts me. And maybe it will get better and be real this time. But I’m so afraid that I’m going to end up alone, whether alone in our relationship time and time again, or truly alone. Without him.

Have a Sweet ’16

I’ve seen lots of posts about how people hated 2015, or about their resolutions for 2016, but I’ve only seen one post that I like.

Make a list of things that make you happy. Then make a list of things you do every day. Compare the lists and adjust.

And I love that. It’s such a better idea than a resolution. To me, a resolution is telling yourself that you have to live up to a certain standard. That you have to be a certain way. It almost feels like you are telling yourself you aren’t good enough. As if you need fixing. But this way seems like you are working toward joy.

So I guess my joy list is something like this

  1. Art- I love art, but I don’t usually give myself the time to do something so frivolous
  2. Being strong- I love knowing that my body is capable of greatness. I love surprising others with that greatness. Gym, here I come!
  3. Robby. We spend lots of time together, which is fabulous, but I really want to work on just enjoying the moment with him.
  4. Education- I love to learn. I really do, and always have, so I want to learn things this year. Whether that means learning a skill, going to a museum, or reading a book, I want to learn things.
  5. Nature- I love everything to do with nature, and I want to spend more time in it. Plants, animals, the great outdoors, I want to enjoy it all.

And I guess that’s it. Those are the things I want to focus on in 2016.

What about you?

I’m Scared

Yesterday, something scary happened to me.

Rob and I went out to breakfast at Steak n Shake, and I ordered a Peppermint Chip Milkshake (one of my favorite things by the way). I hadn’t eaten anything yet, and I was super excited about the shake, so I pretty much downed it. A few minutes after I finished it, I started feeling really weird. I was trying to cut out a coupon and I could make my hands line up the scissors. I couldn’t turn the paper. My eyes wouldn’t focus. Then my hands started shaking and my head felt unattached from my body. I managed to say “Some thing’s wrong” to Rob, but when he asked me “What?”, I said “I don’t know, just some thing’s wrong”. I had a really hard time talking, but I managed to say that my head and my stomach felt hollow, that the insides (the bones?) of my arms felt cold, that my eyes weren’t focusing, that I was confused. That I couldn’t move. My brain was trying to tell my arms to move, to and they weren’t responding. It was like nothing in my body was working. I felt like parts of the room were zooming in and out.

I was terrified. I felt like I had lost control of my body, and I didn’t know if my body was going to keep shutting down. I was scared I was going to lose consciousness. Rob said he thought my blood sugar had dropped drastically and that I would be okay, to just breathe. I asked him to hold my hands, and he did. He said I was pale. Nothing was making sense. Rob had me drink some water, but it was hard for me to move my hand and I had no strength in my grasp. Then I couldn’t figure out why I was cold until Rob pointed out that I was still holding my cup of ice water.

Our food finally came, and Rob told me to eat some chicken, that it would help me bring up my blood sugar if that was what the issue was. When I tried to pick up the chicken, my hands were shaking and I had to put it down and try again. I had a really hard time holding onto the sandwich because I had no grip in my hands. After a few minutes of eating, though, I felt like my brain was clearing. I didn’t feel normal, but I could focus my eyes again. My stomach hurt really badly, and I would feel cold off and on, but when we left I was able to stand and walk on my own. Before I ate the chicken, I could barely move my arms, and there was no way I would have been able to stand.

Rob called his dad when we got to the car and his dad suggested that we get some orange juice, so we went to Walmart. In the car, my arms wouldn’t stop shaking and I wasn’t sure if it was because of being cold or because of what was going on. I didn’t want to be left alone because I was scared by what had happened, so we went in together. I walked very slowly, and I was still very confused when we were in the store. I drank the juice as Rob drove us to the doctor, and I was still really weak and confused. We went in, and I couldn’t really explain what happened so Rob took over and I asked if I could sit down. I could see the concern on the nurses’ faces.

They took me back right away, and took my vitals. My BP was a little high, but I think that was mainly because I was so scared. They tested my sugar and it was 106, which is within normal ranges. They said they would expect it to be a little higher, but it was still normal. They decided not to send me to the ER, but to send me home since my vitals were back to normal. They said I shouldn’t be alone and if it happens again, I need to go to the ER.

I’ve talked to a few people and done some research and everything points to hypoglycemia in response to food. It looks like my body over-produced insulin and sent my blood sugar way too low. I was told by my girlie doctor just last week that I should be tested for insulin resistance, and now this happened.

I want to get tests done to figure out for sure what happened, because aside from losing Jamie, that was the scariest medical thing I have ever been through. I had no control over my body and if Robby hadn’t been there I don’t know what I would have done. I’m planning to call the doctor tomorrow and ask for (demand?) blood tests for insulin resistance, diabetes, glucose tolerance, and postprandial hypoglycemia (my friend who is Type 1 told me to ask for that test). I’m just worried that the doctor is going to brush me off. Or that they won’t order the tests for me. I’m just scared that I won’t get answers and that I will be at the risk of just waiting for this to happen again. I think I’m scared of being out of control. Of knowing that I’m just waiting for something to go wrong. Plus, I had to call in to work, and that makes me nervous. I guess I’m just scared to be kept in limbo. Not knowing what to expect, not knowing what is wrong.

Just not knowing.

Can You Slap A Pregnant Woman?

A co-worker of mine is pregnant. They got married at the end of August and the baby is due at the beginning of June. I don’t have a problem with that.

What I do have a problem with, is this: the whole summer when she was planning her wedding, she kept venting to me and saying she wasn’t sure why she was going through with it. That she wasn’t even sure she wanted to marry him. She was angry and frustrated and questioning their relationship. And now she has been saying that she is regretting getting pregnant so quickly. That she wishes that she would have planned better, that she should have thought things through.

I hate the fact that she is pregnant already, but I hate even more that she is regretting having the baby. And I doubt that she actually regrets the baby, because she’s talked about being a mom for a while. I just feel like she’s rushed into this, which she admits, and is just setting up the baby for a rough life.  After losing Jamie, it just hurts so much to watch this unfold every day at work. To see someone regret the child growing inside them. Because it’s something we would not regret. She gets pregnant super easily and is now bringing a baby into an unsteady relationship, and Rob and I want a baby more than we can say and we have very little chance of having a baby. It just sucks. It makes me want to walk up to her and slap her for being so ungrateful. For not cherishing that little life inside of her. I would give almost anything to have Jamie back again, or to have another child, and she is complaining.

It makes me feel twisted and dark inside. Like I’m filling up with bitterness. And I know I should pray for her, for her situation to improve, and I am trying. I really am trying. Because I do want her to be happy, and I want so badly for that baby to have a good life, but I am so angry. I am so hurt. And oh Lord, I am so bitter.

Baby?

It’s hard not to think about having kids. It’s something Rob and I both want, but at the same time feel we can’t have. At least, not right now.

We tried to conceive several years ago after we lost Jamie, and found out that I don’t ovulate, at least not with any regularity. That, combined with several other factors, led us to the decision that we should hold off on having children for a few years. When we talked about it again, we both kind of mutually agreed that we would adopt.

But now the subject has come up again, and I’ve been thinking about rainbow babies. Carrying a baby inside of me. I know it seems irrational, because we have all these good, logical reasons why adopting makes more sense, but maybe this doesn’t have to be logical.

A co-worker of mine is pregnant, and when I saw her ultrasound pictures today I was just filled with this deep sense of longing. Not anger, not jealously, but deep, heart-filled longing.

And as I was leaving work tonight, I was so sad, because having a baby is something I want so badly. And I just kept replaying the other day when Rob said “Now I just have to not get my hopes up” in reference to us being pregnant. Not that we’re trying, but we’re also not not-trying.

And I guess there is always a chance, but I just don’t really see how we could conceive. Actually, I guess I’m concerned that we wouldn’t conceive a healthy baby. If I rarely ovulate, what are the chances that we will randomly have a healthy pregnancy? And if we do decide to try, I need to switch medicines because some of the ones I am on are not safe for TTC. I am so scared to conceive while on dangerous meds. I can’t even describe how scared. In all reality, I could be pregnant now (highly unlikely, but possible), and I have even been wondering about it the last few days.  Things like, ‘huh, my breasts are sore’ and ‘man, I am really hungry’ even (sorry if this is TMI) ‘woah, weird discharge’.

Part of me wants to test and find out, and the other part of me just wants to ignore everything. I don’t want to get my hopes up. I don’t want to find out I am. Because if I am, I have been on meds I shouldn’t be, and I could be hurting the baby. But if I am, I need to know sooner rather than later to stop the meds. But then I think I am just being paranoid and tricking myself because I want it so much.

I just don’t know what to do. Should we try again? Can we even afford a child? Are we ready for a baby? I feel like we are ready for a baby, but does being ready for a baby mean that you are ready for a 7 year old, because I do not feel ready for that. Can we handle it if we lose another child?

Dear Jenny

I cannot even say how excited I was to meet you Friday night when you came to Dayton. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you since, well since I first started reading your blog several years ago. Because honestly, everything you’ve written sounds like something I would (or have) said.

And when I thought I wasn’t going to get to meet you Friday, I was pretty much in tears. I was #128 and around #25 our friends who were driving in from Cleveland texted me to say that they were almost there. My husband and I knew we’d never get back in time if we waited, so I went and asked the post-it lady to trade in my books, but they didn’t have a copy of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I thought for sure that meant that I just wouldn’t get it signed, but the kindness of your fans floored me. I’m explaining that I need to exchange my copy of Furiously Happy, while trying not to cry, and they offered to let me jump the line.

Every. Single. Person.

They all stepped aside and with kindness in their eyes told me to go ahead. They all told me not to worry about it, that they understood. And I got to meet you. I got to tell you how much it meant to meet you. I would have loved to talk to you for hours, but I am so glad that I got to tell you I submitted a writing for the Furiously Happy video. It touched my heart to see that you were so moved.

But if I could have said everything I wanted to, this is what I would have said.

You write about depression and mental illness the way I hope to write about abuse and bullying. I want to bring the awareness that you have brought, create the community and support that you have created. I want to spread the hope. And I just want to tell you how much I admire you for that. When you signed my books and I told you that what you do means so much to me, that was what was behind those words.

You truly are an inspiration to me, in all that you have done, and it gives me hope that one day I can write my own book that will (hopefully) create a home for those people who have been trapped by abuse and bullying.

You make me snort and giggle while I read your writing (which makes it really hard for my husband to sleep). You are completely the type of person that I would love to have lunch with and get to know. Swap crazy stories. Shake our heads about how or husbands don’t understand our awesomeness. Play board games. Build each other up. You can never have enough of those people in your life. I love that you embrace life and live FURIOUSLY HAPPY, and do the crazy things that make you happy. I try to live that way too. I have licked a volcano, taken a sword fighting class, danced in the rain, and done tons of other stuff like that. Because I have been struggling with recovering from being severely bullied for most of my life. And some days the voices that say ‘you’re worthless’ win, and some days I dress as a queen and play flamingo croquet.

Hold onto the love of the people you have helped, and when the struggles come, we will always be there for you, even if being there means writing notes to you as you hide under your bed.

Thank you for all you do

Laura

PS- When we were kids, my dad, sister and I totally ate milk bones. The green ones tasted the best. My dad used to pack them in my lunch as a joke when I was in Elementary School and my one friend still randomly brings it up.