I’ve been trying to find the words for this for several months now.

I’ve been in therapy using EMDR since September. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it turns out that I’m the ideal kind of patient for this. Combination of personality, more than 30 years of consciously trying to with through my problems, and a vivid imagination.

Through months of work, I’ve built landscapes and a cast of characters in my head, each representing a part of myself. Some represent specific memories, others are certain emotional states, or a time period. Some represent that drive struggle to overcome obstacles.

In an amusing twist, Colonel Jack O’Neill from Stargate has become the face of my ability to communicate with myself effectively as I navigate this difficult terrain, and a teacher from elementary school calls herself The Tesseract; she is my mental ability to step into and out of memories or internal landscapes so I don’t feel trapped. There is the white tower, which is the part of me which stands secure, safe, and free from the tyranny of all my wounds. There is Michael the Archangel who keeps me safe from harm. I have a sword which can be whatever I need it to be. With it I can keep myself safe, or destroy the lies which hurt me, or cauterize and even heal some wounds. There is even a giant sized child Me who can put the stars back in the sky, remake the ground I walk upon, or put entire landscapes safely on a shelf in a room, where I may access them at will.

I have spent most of my lifetime waging war with one enemy or another. I waged war upon myself as soon as I found that I was so very different from my peers, which which think began when I was…. perhaps four? I didn’t want to be so different that I couldn’t fit in, keep friends, or understand the rules of social interaction. My peers washed war upon me on the petty torments of the young, then bullying, acts of shocking humiliation and degradation, but most importantly, in the years of lies which constantly beat upon my sense of self.

I thought, I believed, that I have spent my life ceaselessly holding up a mental shield against these lies. That I’m stupid, worthless, lazy, incompetent, weak, ugly, foolish, and unwanted. The message which I , and so many like me, heard was that it would have been better if I had never existed. For many of my peers, if I had ceased to exist, they might not have noticed or cared.

I recently that the exterior battles haven’t been real in… perhaps… more than twenty years? Longer? But I have struggled on nonetheless to maintain that shield, to hold the wall to not give up. I found that for more than twenty years now, the foe I’ve been fighting is myself. I haven’t been holding up a shield wall. I’ve been keeping myself bound, in the dark, in festering holes, because of enough people yell lies at you long enough, you begin to believe them. I haven’t needed peers to torment me for the last two decades and more, because the one echo chamber of my mind has been doing it for me, faithfully echoing back to me across time every word that had been flung at me.

What I learned from years of abuse was to quiet and bind up tight the part of me which survived through all that long war. Be quiet, or the monsters will hear me. Don’t move, do nothing, or they will see me and catch me again. If I hold my breath long enough, if I cease to exist, then they won’t be able to hurt me again.

So there I’ve sat and waited, in the dark, wounded, bruised and bleeding, gagged by my own hands, bound with my own fear. I haven’t spent all this time holding back a tsunami. I’ve spent all these years holding myself bound in a prison cell.

But I don’t have to do that anymore. I don’t have to live like that anymore. I can unbind myself, loosen my tongue, and walk away from the battle field.

I don’t have to live like this anymore, carrying the burden of these lies and the weight of all this filth and blood.

Several months ago, I was horrified and nauseated to find that the safest place in my mental landscape was a dark room, made of cold grey stone, windowless, doorless, covered in a thick, tar-like black vomitus. In it was a young me, screaming in rage and terror, unable to even find words for what I felt. In this room of my mind I hurled holds objects at the wall, picked up the shards and hurled them again and again until there was nothing left to throw. Then I pounded my bleeding fists against the wall until it ran red with blood.

I had to stop quickly. I was startled, physically and emotionally shaken by the graphic and dark imagery my subconscious brought out to communicate with me the depths of the emotions I’m still carrying around.

I am slowly finding healing for these wounds.

A meditation I’ve been using for pain management has me using a pool of water as a healing balm. I found inside a teenage me, dressed entirely in black, with black lanky hair, many scars, black clothing. When I first discovered her, she never stopped screaming, or vomiting a thick, tarry black which seeps into and runs everything.

I was able to bring her to the forest, to the pool, and hold her floating in the water, so that the water might wash the dirt and blackness away.

She was uncooperative at first. But slowly she has begun responding to me. She’s mostly silent now. Her lungs and belly seem mostly emit of the blackness now. She’s quiet, anxious, but passive instead of aggressive. She let me wash her hands, her arms, her head.

She let me speak to her. She’s stopped reading me as the enemy.

This is a big step.