Saturday, December 18, 2010

not sleep

I have trouble with basements, but out of practical necessity live in one. In mine. From time to time, I find myself not wanting to sleep there, and very patient room-mates eventually find me passed out on the couch.

The nightmares tend to obvious symbolic content that grows increasingly disturbing as I wake. In the last one, a doppleganger was picking off my friends and family, starting with those I loved the most; I killed her over and over, but nothing I could do would keep them safe. Every time she died, I had to smother her till there was a sharp exoskeletal crunch and her blood would burst out all over me. It was exhausting, tracking her down and crushing her time and time again. She would re-materialize from the blood on the floor, laughing, and sprint away far faster than I could follow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


They spend a day or three in rape crisis training teaching you about long term recovery. Group therapy is the norm for sexual assault survivors, because often there are certain things a rape victim won't believe from anyone except other rape victims. "It's not your fault," for instance.

CWCIC (which also provides services for men, despite the name) runs a sixteen week closed group for sexual assault survivors. The group covers a fixed curriculum; some people will go through it more than once, but there's a specific progression that takes place. One of the counselors I didn't get along with well was telling about something they do a few weeks into group, and laughing. "We do a spa day," she said with a chuckle. "Before the funding got cut, we used to take these women out to get their nails done," she said, "and they resist the idea so hard. They refuse. They start crying. It's almost impossible for them to do anything for themselves, to take care of anything beyond their basic needs. They feel like the should give it all to everyone else." The therapist found this infantile incompetence hilarious.

In retrospect I can see a certain morbid humor, but I was staring at her completely raw, serious, wounded, incredulous, and fully experiencing the thing she was making fun of--and she looked away, reproved. I felt there was a flashing neon sign above my head screaming BROKEN! and I couldn't turn it off. After all, normal people don't fight violently back when you make them a free, legitimate offer of professional pampering. Even now the, the concept strikes me as excessive, even offensive or obscene. I can't explain why, really.

The first seven months or so of therapy succeeded in convincing me that, though perhaps no one deserves to live, at least I don't deserve it particularly less than anyone else. Probably. And there's irony. When you don't believe you deserve anything for yourself except bare bones survival, you self-maintain so poorly that your ability to contribute is greatly less.