I was thirteen when my I had my first taste of freedom from living
under the constant threat of a physically abusive father. I had run away from home and finally returned after my father had been ordered by the courts to leave our home and allow my mother to begin divorce proceedings against him and have a restraining order against him. I was no stranger to violence. I thought at this point though that the nightmare will behind me and that now I was free and I would be able to live my life the way that I wanted to without someone constantly trying to hurt me. Little did I know it was just the next chapter of unimaginable abuse.
I was playing on some swings on the top of a little hill when a young man that hung around the neighborhood I had seen before, he was one of the older guys, came up to me and started talking to me and he said hey it’s my birthday tonight we’re having a party in the woods. Well I had never been to a party I was only 13 I wasn’t allowed out at night. I told him that I didn’t think I could make it because I wasn’t allowed to go out at night and he said why don’t you just sneak out? I had never thought of this before and he said look this is were going to be. He gave me the location down in the woods. He said meet us down there at 10 o’clock and you can celebrate my birthday with me it’ll be a lot of fun we going to have beer. Then he said you know I’ve seen your father running down the street after you chasing you with the belt. I thought that was kind of a strange thing to say I said well he doesn’t live with us anymore. He said oh really? Yeah he’s he’s not there anymore. He said oh good. Littl I know this was the beginning of grooming, cornering me to attack me.
That night after my mother went to bed I did sneak out. I snuck out the back door and I ran I felt so free and so in control and so fun I couldn’t believe what how luky I was that the older boy invited me to his birthday party an gosh I felt so special. When I got there I was offered beer I felt so grown up here I am hanging out with the older kids. I think I may have drank two or three beers when suddenly flashlights started coming and there were some yelling hey you kids! It was the police. I started running and I ran straight into a tree. That young man that had invited me to his birthday party he picked me up and carried me and ran with me we ran out of the woods and got to the front of one of our friends houses. Finally we had ditched the cops at this point I was so drunk and dizzy I lie down on the ground and began to throw up because I was drunk.
The young man held my head and my hair is like puke in front of my friends house on my friend’s front lawn. After I was done throwing up another older boy who had a car said hey let’s go to Lake Auburn and we can go in the woods there nobody will bother us so we all climbed into the car and headed off to the lake. I sat on the young man’s lap and he put his hand down my pants I did not get even have pubic hair. I felt silly and nervous and strange he said peach fuzz and I just giggled I was scared but I didn’t want to seem like I wasn’t cool so I just sat there kind of frozen. When we got to the lake I had to go to the bathroom so I said I’m going for a walk into the woods I have to go p and he said I’ll go with you so you don’t have to go alone we walked little deeper into the woods. Suddenly he said get on your knees. I did not have any idea why he would say that but I was scared in the way that he said it I knew it I better do what he said. He unzipped his pants and pulled his penis out if his pants. Suddenly the whole world went blank.
In the morning I woke up sleeping in the basement of one of the boys parents house I felt like the whole world had gone from color to black-and-white I knew what happened and I felt deeply deeply hurt and violated . I walked up the stairs to go into the house and the door to the top of the stairs of the basement open and there was my rapist standing there looking at me he laughed she smiled he said oh you’ll be OK. I started crying and he came up to me and put his arm around me. I was stunned.
The next day I made a couple phone calls to friends and told him what happened. Word got around to him that I was telling people what he had done to me. His girlfriend called me and told me that he told her that I had seduced him and that everything that I was saying was a lie. I didn’t know that what he had done to me was a serious crime and that the repercussions would be even worse than I could ever imagine. What I now realize happened was I lost my childhood I lost my innocence I was no longer a girl. I don't know what I was going on...I began acting out I began accepting drugs that were offered to me, LST, booz, anything. I began skipping school running away from home. I was out of control.
Two years later there was a knock at my door. I was home skipping school that day. I opened the door and there he was standing there - the rapist. I was still a child and I thought he’s here to apologize to me and he asked if he could come in and so I let him in. He had a look in his eye it was a very strange look you gave me a sick feeling in my stomach and I began to feel frozen and paralyzed he began saying strange things to me and he asked me if I wanted to have sex I was frightened I didn’t know what to do I just said yes to everything that he said and he raped me again I was only 15. When it was over he looked me in the eye and he said now you remember you are nothing good for than just a blowjob and he left. I was never the same after that at that point the damage was completely irreversible.
FIGHT, FLIGHT, FAWN OR FREEZE
I was a robot I was just a shell of the person that I had once been I was under his complete control and command he came back to my house many more times. He ordered me to steal my mothers car to come visit him in the country so he could sexually abuse and rape me over and over and over. No one knew this was happening. I was alone I was completely under his psychological control. My behavior became more a radical. I had a complete mental breakdown and put a bunch of clothes and a plastic garbage bag and hitchhiked down the East Coast to get away from what was happening to me I was nearly raped again by two truck drivers in Florida. I went to a church and ask for help but I couldn’t trust anyone every time I turned around to trying get help I just couldn’t trust anyone that said they wanted to help me. I ended up meeting a guy on the beach and he let me come and stay with him at his apartment and got me a job selling timeshare condominium on the beach. This went OK for a while but my behavior was very risky and I got myself into a lot of situations with men where I would expose myself to possibly being raped again and again and again I did not understand what was happening to me.
I finally turned myself into the police as a runaway and I was transported back to Maine. My mother didn’t understand why I had run away and had no idea what I was going through I have no idea what I was going through.
When I returned he came after me again for another year more abuse until finally I got pregnant. Still no one knew what I was going through and what he was doing to me.
So I made an appointment with Planned Parenthood and it was confirmed I was pregnant I told my best friend and then I told my mother told my mother who it was that we contacted his mother he was 23 years old by now I was now 17. My mother and his mother talked me into getting an abortion so the four of us piled into my mothers car and drove to Portland Maine to Planned Parenthood or I would have the procedure to terminate the pregnancy but at this point now I had bonded with my rapist. This is Stockholm Syndrome and I know felt like my life was connected to his and that my survival depended on him. I told them I couldn’t go through with the abortion and I carried the child to term and gave birth to a beautiful 7 lbs. 3 oz. baby boy.
My abuser moved into my mother’s home with me and we began looking for an apartment to become a family with this new child that I just come into the world I was still pretty much a zombie. I was as if I was acting in the movie that was written it wasn’t a real life I was just going through the motions mother partner trying to keep it all together I began having terrible migraine headaches and anxiety I had no idea that I had developed post traumatic stress disorder the relationship was psychologically emotionally and mentally abusive. Living with an abusive sociopath took its toll I lost so much weight I look like a skeleton after a couple years of living like this one day I woke up in a pure shock what was I doing what was going on oh my God I have to get out of here.
I immediately made a phone call to a local domestic violence agency and explained that I was in a terrible violent situation and I needed shelter I demanded that I go to section 8 housing certificate immediately the woman on the phone said we don’t work that way I said well you’re going to work that way today because I have to get out of here. I don’t know how she did but the very next day I had a section 8 certificate and I found an apartment and within two days I was out of there.
I started having horrifying anxiety attacks and nightmares are you sought help I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder I was given Xanax which did not help me it actually made me feel depressed if it was just awful. I thought therapy and through talking about my childhood I was then diagnosed with a dissociative disorder along with anxiety PTSD was not as well understood back then as it is now. I live for several years with bouts of anxiety and depression flashbacks and nightmares one day when I was working in Silicon Valley I received a letter that the rapist had saw a court judgment against me because he had sued me for custody of my son I owed him $27,000 and the court order was final. Nearly fell to my knees. The world started scanning the human resources assistant was yelling at me because now she was going to have to process the deductions from my paycheck it was all surreal I couldn’t believe what was happening I had a complete mental breakdown at this point.
My doctor put me on temporary disability and I took some time off I lost my management position but I was able to go back as an engineer I could barely function I began drinking heavily and I quit my job. My relationship with my boyfriend ended I lost my cottage and moved in with a close friend I couldn’t function I tried to get new jobs and I just could not hold onto them the drinking got worse. Finally I had to do something to move on so I moved out of my friends house and into a homeless shelter because I had to get help so I could move forward but nothing was helping going from shelter to shelter and just trying to survive was not helping at all finally a dear friend suggested I stay with my parents for a while which I did that was a blessing because it turned out that my step father was dying of cancer and he died later that year. I stayed with my mother so she wouldn’t have to go through this alone in four months later one of my brother died of a heart condition that he had had since he was born threw up going through all of this with my family I started feeling on the verge of another breakdown fortunately for me as a musician with the catalog of music under my belt I reached out to the Grammy associations Musicares foundation that helps musicians in need and they transported me and my music equipment to New York City where I began the process of recovery. I went into recovery from alcohol abuse and that all was going well but I still had the post traumatic stress and therapy was not helping at all it would not stop.
I was filled with fear and shame, self-loathing and helplessness. I could not make it stop. The hopelessness, I hadn’t slept in over three weeks literally. I overdosed on over counter sleeping aids and I figured I better stop doing that since it wasn’t working and I might actually OD and died one of these times. Ambien made me hallucinate my body parts floating on the other side of the room. Valium did nothing. My doctors office closed down and I was out without medical care for six months I could barely leave my apartment except to get food.
The illness I suffer from is Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and had a complete mental breakdown several years earlier that left me unable to work. I lost my job my boyfriend and became homeless. I drank a lot. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I had been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and dissociative disorder in my early 20s but I was highly functional until my breakdown - that’s the “post traumatic” part in PTSS or as it is known in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) C-PTSD – Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I had been severely depressed for six months and lost the final ability I had been able to retain through all of this which was writing music.
At this point I knew I was in trouble. I knew about MDMA assisted therapy.
“MDMA is a psychoactive drug of the substituted methylenedioxyphenethylamine and substituted amphetamine classes of drugs that is consumed primarily for its euphoric and empathogenic effects.” Wikipedia
I had applied for the clinical trials through the MAPS organization, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.
“In MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, MDMA is only administered a few times, unlike most medications for mental illnesses which are often taken daily for years, and sometimes forever.
MDMA is not the same as "Ecstasy" or "molly." Substances sold on the street under these names may contain MDMA, but frequently also contain unknown and/or dangerous adulterants. In laboratory studies, pure MDMA has been proven sufficiently safe for human consumption when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses.” ~ Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies - maps.org
I was not accepted at this time I think that’s when I really began to deteriorate. I gave up. I was sleeping at all. Finally I said goddamnit you have got to do something or you’re going to be a zombie for the rest of your life.
RAY OF LIGHT
I picked up my thousand pound cell phone I called an ex-boyfriend who I’m very close with I said I need help I’m in really bad shape. I need to do MDMA with a guide he said hold on one sec. Within five minutes he said get a hold of this person. Within an hour the person got back to me and he said let’s talk tomorrow. He said I’ll find someone near you. Within a week the work began.
The work began with a brief phone call then Skype sessions. To prepare to undergo an MDMA session involved talking a lot about the traumatic events that caused the post traumatic stress syndrome and the problems that resulted from all of that. We did this a few times to get to know each other and establish trust.
A week before the session I was sent some instructions and information about the session. It went basically like this: (Note: I share this only as part of the story I am telling. Do not attempt to do this by yourself and do not attempt to do this with a friend or someone who is not an experienced guide it could be harmful.)
- ● No recreational drug use● Avoid any sexual relations for 3-4 days prior
● Take some walks in nature for preparation for the work.The day of the work:● Bring comfortable clothes
● Organize your week so that you do not have a super charged work week. Begin to create time to slow down, time for contemplation and rest
● Develop your intention around the work. What are some questions you would like answers to? What are some ways of being are you ready to retire, what are you ready to let go of? What are you willing to open up to and accept and what do you seek clarity around? Give your time to explore what this work is for you.
● Write your intentions down and bring them with you
● Eat lightly, avoiding red meat, pork, spicy and creamy foods● No alcohol for one week prior
● Consider bringing photos from your life, family, friends, images of significance to oneself or around which you would like to do some work
● If there are objects that are important to you feel free to invite them into the space. You may bring them with you.
I will be there with you throughout the work to be available for all your needs and managing the space. We are creating a safe space together so that you may enter fully into the inner exploration at at.
3 agreements as your guide:
● As your guide I will announce the conclusion of your journey, you agree to not leave the space without my permission until the conclusion of the work together
● As your guide I will not allow you to hurt yourself, the space is otherwise yours for your expression
● As your guide I will not be sexual with you
At the completion of the work there will be some light snacks and an opportunity to rest and get grounded prior to our parting. I will be checking in with you in 2-3 days to provide an opportunity for integration of the experience.
Suggestions for returning to daily life:
● Have the next day to be a slow re-entry, do not jump back into high energy environments
● Eat lightly, get sufficient sleep, avoid a lot of time around TV and computers and other electronic devices.
● Some individuals experience some restlessness or difficulty falling asleep for a day or two. Lie in bed and rest anyway.
● Have a small journal around so that you may jot down, draw whatever i significant to you. You may have dreams through this period.”
I was very happy with this information and guidance and felt completely prepared. When I arrived at the location it was very comfortable and well-suited for an MDMA session I felt safe in my guide told me that whatever came up for me or need it he was there to provide a week before the session he sent me some homework to contemplate and preparation. We gathered on a seated cross legged on the floor and quieted our minds and spoke of our intention. We used sage smoke to ceremonially cleanse our energy. I want to note here that I am an atheist, I told my guide this very clearly, and I do not claim any metaphysical or shamanic beliefs that I cannot provide evidence for.
After this little ceremony I took the capsule. I felt slightly anxious but not terribly fearful or anything. Soon I began to feel tired and lightheaded so I lied down. He gave me an eye covering for my eyes and put a blanket over me.
Memories started rushing through my mind like a tornado. I sobbed uncontrollably. My guide gave me a smooth rock to hold. I hung onto that rock for dear life. The pain, the pain I had dissociated from during the many abuses I survived came to the forefront of my mind, heart and body. It was brutal. All I kept thinking is I NEVER WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN. MAKE IT STOP.
This level of intensity I experienced for at least 3 hours.
I was paralyzed with fear every toxic feeling that have been pushed into be by your sociopaths criminal was coursing through my mind and body tears were streaming down my cheeks I was gasping for air I was gasping for life I’m not going to survive this this is too much. I don’t want to see this I don’t want to remember this please why did you do this to me? Why? WHY? Evil things of been speakable horror swirled around me while I blew through time and inner-space. His face, his mind spoke directly to my mind. “I own your soul!” “I own your body. You are not a human. You are a piece of shit. You are nothing good but for a blow job. You are now my property and every command you will obey. You are my slave.”
When the intensity calmed down I turned around and looked at my guide. I said I think I understand why the people that hurt me did what they did but I am not ready to forgive them. My anger and rage were just beginning to surface. But at least I was no longer numb. I never wanted to go through that again.
After a few days I began sleeping again. This was really the only thing I had wanted from this session, I wanted to sleep. Just this one thing was like a miracle to me! I was so grateful for this. But after a few months I realized I needed to go deeper. I did not know what that meant but I realized I was not healed yet, my life was not moving forward and I was beginning to feel depressed again. I knew only one thing.
I had to do it again.
To be continued...THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH