***TRIGGER WARNING*** Contains references to mental, physical, and sexual abuse
Guest Author Bio: Danielle Robbins-Maxwell
Hi! Who am I? I am a Christian Wife, Momma, and Sister. I am an Overcomer! See, I endured some severe abuse at a very young age. The abuse, I feel, has caused several mental illnesses in my adult life. I want to share my life with you! My family and friends are such tremendous support in my life. I use hobbies as coping skills, including cooking (and eating! LOL), crochet, and the Sims 4, and now blogging! I love to share stories about life and family on Facebook and other social media.
Blogger at butterfliesandtulips.com A Blog for adult survivors of abuse and mental illnesses
How did I come to this point in my life??
Thursday afternoons at 2 PM on the dot, I am looking at my computer to have a video visit with my therapist. Every week we talk about things; sometimes, it is the evil sadistic things that happened to me as a child until I gave birth to my son. Sometimes we talk about what is happening to me today. I suffer from mental illnesses that significantly impact my daily life. I have PTSD, bipolar personality disorder, depression, anxiety, and paranoia, so one of those illnesses is always got my mind mangled around it. I believe in God; I have asked Him many times, “Why me???” “Why must I have these awful illnesses?” My childhood and upbringing have brought me here.
My Childhood and Upbringing
I did not have one memory of my childhood in the house where I grew up: no school friends, no Christmas mornings. I have memories of being with my Grandparents; some are fuzzy. Everything I know was because someone told me, “Remember this?? Did you know that you sang in the choir?” You see, I was sexually abused from infancy until I gave birth to my son at the age of 20 by a very close family member who lived in the house with me. I say from an infant because I was told someone caught him masturbating over my baby clothes. Why would you not say, “What in the hell are you doing???” That’s another story….. this repeated rape happened until I was 20 years old and had given birth to my precious son. I think my abuser is his father. I have heard so many lies that I can’t prove, but it’s most likely true.
From things I have heard, my life was a scary nightmare. Mental, physical, and sexual abuse. Psychological abuse like no speaking at the table, no friends allowed over the house, even in the yard. You can’t go out after school. I have heard so many don’t. I honestly don’t know how I was even allowed to be alive. To say my upbringing was strict would be an understatement.
Back to 2007
I had been married a little over a year to the sweetest, most loving man I have ever met. We were just starting to live our life together. I started having anxiety attacks at my job. I was a very dedicated worker who loved her job. It was fun for me to use my mind and be organized. I was an assistant terminal manager for a massive trucking company that works in the 48 states. I had over 200 trucks under my responsibilities. I thrived!! My mental health shifted drastically over the next year or so. I have never missed work to this point. I called into work for the first time after a tremendous panic attack. I was scared out of my mind. I missed a lot of work after that.
I would wake up screaming and scare my new husband and my teenage son with autism. At 1st, the nightmares were blocked from my mind as soon as I woke up. I instantly forgot what it was about as soon as the screams woke me.
This went on for a time, and then I started being raped in my dreams. Believe me when I say the 1st time I saw that in my mind is forever burned into my soul. I couldn’t see the man’s face, so I didn’t know who it was. I felt the pain and fear, though. My husband held me while I cried as I tried to tell him what had happened. I still didn’t know this was an actual memory.
The nightmares were flooding me now; I saw myself as a small child being beaten and raped. The sickness I felt after these dreams were so disturbing. I didn’t understand why I had these graphic nightmares.
As I dreamt, details from the stories I had heard came into my dreams. I had been in places I had as a child, people I knew but didn’t remember as teens. Things started falling into place as it looked like these were not just dreams but reality. I have a beautiful sister; I asked her about my bedroom in the house I grew up in….it matched the ones in my nightmares. I still couldn’t see my abuser’s face.
My husband helped me get to therapy during this time. My 1st therapist was a joke! She didn’t help me at all. She kept telling me that work was too stressful for me, and it was pushing me over the edge. In 2009 I quit my job. I mourned the life of my career because I seriously loved it. When my insurance stopped, then ms. Garbage therapist said she couldn’t see me anymore because I couldn’t afford her.
Another Therapist in practice took me and said I could pay on a sliding scale. Best move ever for me; I came to know an actual therapist, and she was terrific and helpful.
The Abuser is Real
Night after night, I didn’t want to sleep…the nightmares were so disturbing. I was exhausted all the time. I would finally just fall asleep and sleep like the dead. One night as another nightmare hit me. I saw his face; I had seen his hands in my dreams before this but never his face. I absolutely remembered the whole of my life and the real-life nightmares that I endured.
All the memories of pain and mind games and rape, disgusting things that happened to my small child’s body flooded in on me. I was completely done! I was totally empty and done with life. Suicidal doesn’t even describe my mental state. I was at the right therapist, but the wrong doctor, and I was so heavily medicated that it’s a wonder I could stand up by myself.
Why my husband did not leave me, I will not understand. He is trying to have a life with a broken woman and her mentally disabled teen son. God sent him to me, He knew I needed good in my life, and He sent him to me. I will forever love my husband for standing beside me.
I remembered being raped in the shower in one nightmare; from then on, I couldn’t and wouldn’t shower in the bathroom alone. My husband would sit on the closed toilet seat with the shower curtain cracked open. I started to refuse showers and would go days without one. My husband would say things like, “Please let me help you! You will feel better with clean hair.”
My mental illnesses were full-blown; the last one I was diagnosed with was paranoia. I thought that my abuser was following me because I “told” on him. I had told my husband and my therapist what he did to me, and he would kill me. I stopped driving altogether. I didn’t even want to go outside. I kept the drapes closed in our front window because I thought he would stare at me and find my son and me.
My husband had it with my now different therapist and quack doctor and said, “you gotta go!” We found yet another Therapist who turned into another gift from God to me. She will forever be essential to me. I saw her as a loving parent who guided me away from suicide and helped me deal with the horrendous shame I felt. Unfortunately, that practice closed, and she was ripped away from me with a two weeks notice that she would be gone. I cried as if she had died for months after losing her. I will never forget her and the things she had taught me. I still cry for her at times.
Fast Forward to Present Day
Honestly, I feel like I relive these nightmares every time I think of my life and what has brought me here. It is imperative to tell my story even though it hurts me. If someone can relate, then they may know they are not alone. If I give some coping skills that have helped me to help someone else, then my pain is not for nothing. In my mind, I have to justify the “why me?”
I am to pass my knowledge to help even one person! I must shed light on the abuse of any kind to help other people who are living in fear.
Today my husband still supports me, protects me, and encourages me to follow my dreams. I have always wanted to blog, and he encouraged me to start. In July of this year, I started the Butterflies and Tulips Blog. I haven’t found my exact direction yet, but I am learning the basics and growing with each post. I have met wonderful, helpful people just this short time who have helped me start my blogging journey.
I have a good therapist now that I see every Thursday at 2 PM like clockwork. I do her an injustice because I always compare her to the therapist I lost. Sometimes I don’t put into it what I need to. She is good and helps me.
Please reach out if you see something wrong, especially when it involves a child. I had no one protecting me. There were plenty of signs; I started my period in the 4th grade, and my body was fully developed then. I now remember being very afraid of the abuser….couldn’t anyone notice that??? Please don’t turn a blind eye if you suspect something.
If you are being abused, reach out. Being scared to leave is not uncommon. I was terrified, and a kind boy married me and helped my infant son and me escape that house and that man. Sadly, we divorced; he couldn’t handle my baggage, and his family was evil and encouraged him to leave. I don’t blame him, and he was a boy himself.
You have to get away! Some places will help you get out of an abusive situation. Please protect your children.
Thank you for reading my story. I pray it helps you.
***Received on August 23, 2022 and published with the permission of Danielle Robbins-Maxwell!***