Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I was Fire! (8)

Disbelief began to grip my being like a hangman's noose. How could this be? For over twenty years I had kept this secret from myself. "Why would this come to my memory now?" I kept asking myself. "If this were true, then I would have remembered it. After all amnesia was the thing bad romance novels and afternoon soap operas were made of.   It never happened in real life, right?"

After the initial relief of speaking the words in the parking lot that day. I began to shut down once again. The heat from unquenchable rage radiated outward from my soul. Gradually, building in intensity, until one day, it felt as if my very flesh would liquefy and pool into a puddle of steaming gelatinous ooze on the carpet under my feet, I couldn't sit, I couldn't stand. All I wanted to do was scream.  What was happening to me?  I was spiraling out of control.  I felt rage because of what I had remembered. Confusion overtook me because of an overwhelming desire to deny reality. Anger engulfed me because I was no longer in control of my emotions. I was afraid of what I could do. I was a man out of control; I was no longer me.  My only desire was to consume and burn. I was fire!

"This is not real. Not real. Not real." I kept repeating to myself. Curled into a ball on the couch; physically holding myself together. It was all I could do.

Then, somewhere beyond the crackling static inside my head I heard, "My husband needs help. . . He just found out he was sexually abused. . . Yes. . . We can be there tomorrow. . . 3pm? One moment."

A light loving touch on my hand. "Joel?"

Shaking the "Not real" out of my head,  I opened my eyes and looked at a dark image surrounded by smoke and flame.

"You have an appointment at Aspen Pointe counseling center tomorrow at 3pm." I heard a voice say. "The counselor I talked to said that what you are experiencing right now is normal. It will get easier. This moment will pass. We will get you some help, ok?"

"Ok" was all I could say.

"The counselor wants to know if you are safe and if you need to be admitted right now."

Nobody had asked me that question before.  "I'm ok. . . I think. . . I can hold out until tomorrow."

 The dark image faded back into the furnace.

The next day, much to my surprise, the sun rose on schedule just like any other day.  I took comfort in knowing that I didn't do anything that I would regret. I was still alive. There was one thing that was ringing in my ears. I just couldn't get it out of my head. ". . .what you are experiencing right now is normal."

"Normal?!" I thought all that next day. "Just what part of that was normal?"

I then put in my headphones and tried to tune out my thoughts. I was looking forward to my appointment later that day. Perhaps I could get some answers as to what was going on with me.

With "not real" whispering in my head, I met my first counselor. She began asking me questions to determine how to begin a treatment regimen. She was very focused on the form that she needed to fill out. I later discovered that she was an overworked drone unwilling or unable to offer any help or advice. In our sessions following I found her to be as helpful and interactive as a brick would be. However, at the time I was so very desperate for someone, anyone to listen to the nightmare that was slowly revealing itself to me. I needed someone to tell me that I wasn't crazy. The lack of expression or surprise on her face each week was all I could hope for to reassure me that each new revelation was not a perverted imagination or something that I had made up.

After that first session, I felt hopeful that I was going to get better and that perhaps it wasn't as bad as I had thought a few hours earlier. But I had an appointment to meet with my pastor in a few days. Over the last few months as we spoke over coffee at the athletic club we talked about many things including what my core issue could be. I was beginning to consider him a friend. I was both nervous and excited to see him again. I wanted to tell him that I had discovered the mystery of my core issue. I needed his advice and guidance on how to recover from such a horrible revelation.

"Good to see you!" My pastor, Derrick Sissel said to me as he welcomed me into his office for the first time.



iamnotbubba