Past in the Present


My heart is beating very fast – my thoughts are racing – I’m on the verge of tears – and hopelessness attempts to smother me…

The pain of my past has once again reared its ugly head and my day is now ruined.

These days are becoming less but they do still happen. Will it always be this way?  Will I ever truly be free?  If so, will I be an old woman who can no longer experience freedom and life to the fullest?  I lack motivation to write today but then it dawned on me – this was a driving force in sharing my story – to tell the truth.  Painting a picture of how my past is deeply woven inside me now  and lives in the present.  Some days I feel strong and on top of it and others I’m choking on the salty, ocean water swirling around me as the waves attempt to take me under.

Today I am in the ocean.

Why?  Because I’m trying to decide on my next step in therapy.  My counselor suggested a different method and sent me home with information to help me make a decision.  I have done some research on it and two weeks later I’m still unsure.  It requires that I dive into the most painful memory of my abuse.  First of all, how do I even pick one?  Which one will prove to be the lucky winner?  This requires me opening that catalog of memories and then deciding which one rates the worst.  What abuse scale do I use?  Most physical pain, most sexually perverse, most emotionally damaging.  I don’t know if I can do it – or even want to.

So I thought I’m just not going to do it.  Then immediately after thought What if this theory really works and I’m allowing fear to drive my decision?  What if this is my chance to be free of these painful memories?  What if I can finally have victory over the triggers?  What if, what if, what if…

Then it all just hit me at once.  The depth of misery is so indescribable and also included a dark agony of mind.  I knew what was happening but I couldn’t stop it – and then I entered full-blown sadheartedness.

In my car on the freeway my eyes filled with tears.  I allowed myself to emotionally go there on my 30 minute drive home from work.  I was alone and didn’t have to say or be anything to anyone – just myself.  My parents and I don’t speak and the relationship with my brother is nonexistent.  I’m 46 and feel like I’m stuck in quicksand and can’t escape my abuse.  Another hard truth is that my youth is slipping away from me and I’m sad that in many ways I missed it.  There is anger that it was stolen and ripped from me.  I’m not afraid of aging – I’m just terrified this is as good as my healing will ever be.  This realization was an uppercut to my heart and soul that brought with it terrible anguish.

I refuse to be 60 or 70 years old carrying fear and misery from triggers and memories that seem endless.  Two miles from home I started the process of shutting down those thoughts and feelings that brought me grief and tears.  I needed to appear normal when I walked through the front door.  My youngest son was home and the rest of my family was soon to follow.  My counseling appointment is next week and I need to make a decision soon, but for now it will have to wait.  It’s time for me to be back in the present.

I walked in the door, changed clothes and laid on my bed.  I needed a minute.  My dog, Ruca, jumped on the bed with me and made herself comfortable.  As I began to move my hand over her fur –  I attempted to release the stress inside me.  It only worked a little and then decided to go downstairs and start dinner.

Within the hour everyone was home and in the living room hanging out.  I love moments like this – they aren’t kids anymore and not always around – so I now have a greater understanding how precious these times are and no longer take it for granted.  I love my family and how it is changing and growing – each person is very special to me.

In another 24 hours this feeling of hopelessness should be gone.  It is usually how it works, but for now and the rest of the night I was stuck in pain.    I’ve learned to not make decisions based on my emotions which tonight is a good thing.  I won’t ever give up fighting, but days like today show I’m weary from the battles.  I know I’m not alone – there are many others like me fighting their own demons.  I read an article on the Olympic Champion Michael Phelps who suffered a crisis of identity two years ago, which led him to consider ending his life.

It was the second DUI arrest in 10 years, which along with his numerous splintered relationships, prompted him to seek outside help.  Like me, Phelps read the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (see Behind the Walls). 

“I don’t know if it was, like, afraid of just letting go and showing who I am or what it was. And, and I finally was just, like, ‘You know what? Screw this. I’m not, I’m not hiding behind anything anymore. I am who I am. And, and you don’t like it, it’s really not my issue and it’s not my problem.”  “I’m happy to turn the page to the next chapter. I’m happy to move on from my swimming career and go out how I wanted to,” he added.
I can relate to his words.  I don’t want to hide behind anything anymore AND I want to GO OUT HOW I WANT TO…
  • Not how others tell me
  • Not how the abuse attempts to manipulate me
  • Not even how my emotions at times will deceive me

Typing these words allows the sadness and pain to ease a bit and I’m grateful.  Acknowledging the truth but choosing to move forward is a good place to be and in a weird way appeases me for now.

So for today my past had the advantage but tomorrow is another day…


4 thoughts on “Past in the Present

  1. Charlene Olvis

    Bita, you are one of the strongest and bravest women I know. Your story ministers to many who have suffered abuse. May God bring your healing to perfect completeness. Be blessed, my friend.


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