Today has been fairly hard. A pretty intense (though very positive!) meeting took place this morning, but the intensity of it inevitably took its toll on my head. Add to that anniversary trauma and general not-so-great mental health and stomach-sickness dread of Christmas, I have at times today felt I was going crazy.
The first thing is that I kept feeling butterfly-hiccup like sensations, and soft kicks, in my abdomen…as though I was about 20 weeks pregnant. I know I’m not. So the ghost-kicks aren’t bringing me comfort like the real thing. I’m not feeling all calmly maternal, able to warmly look at any situation and just calmly go with it, or at the other end of the scale I’m not feeling overly protective of myself as I do when I’m pregnant. I don’t feel sick, or dizzy. I don’t feel that deep constant stream of maternal love which grows stronger with each kick. I’m just feeling kicks. And that’s making me miserable. More than miserable. It hurts. Each kick feels like a kick in my heart too – a reminder of what I’ve lost. Typically, in town, there seemed to be babies *everywhere*. And grumpy women with prams scolding their children and grumbling to their friends about babies. For whatever reason, that really grated on me today, and on two occasions I had to leave a shop due to a hot rush and prickly tears. Both times I scolded myself – “get a grip.” But it had no effect. The ghost-kicks remained, sometimes with cramps as well. Just to add to the heartbreak. Why was my body re-living this? Why did my body need to go through this memory? The kicks kept coming, and the tears remained stuck in my throat and scratching my eyes. My head pounded with the effort to hold it all in. I couldn’t break in the middle of town. I could tell these tears would be unstoppable once I let them out. I feared just collapsing in town, onto the ground in the high street, and sobbing until I was empty.
As if the kicks weren’t enough, I also hallucinated several times. One time I saw one abuser approaching me – one of the men I fear the most, who I’m absolutely terrified of. He had his hood up, and was marching right at me. That terror which roots you to the ground and steals your ability to scream or even breathe consumed me, and I just closed my eyes in the hope that whatever he was going to do to me, I at least wouldn’t have to see it. Coldness spread through me in a matter of seconds. After a few moments I felt myself go dizzy, and realised I still hadn’t breathed. Warily, I opened my eyes, expecting to see the abuser right in front of me. But he had vanished. I span around on the spot, convinced he was hiding and looking for me, and instead saw a teenage boy laughing with his mates, but with his hood up. I must have seen that and gone into hyper-drive. Again I fought back the tears. I also kept seeing my ex everywhere. I saw some of the children from the ring peeping at me, and when I looked again they’d vanished. At one point I just stood still, staring at the ground and trying to remember the breathing exercises I’ve been taught, trying to ground myself and just calm myself down.
I had to get some stuff from shops else I’d have gone home sooner. I raced around the rest of them and then got on the bus, sitting at the back and trying to ignore the pain in my throat from the rough lump of tears. The kicks kept on coming, growing stronger each time…whatever age this ‘ghost baby’ was, it had gone from butterfly sensation to every definite full-term baby style kicks in a matter of two hours. I willed my body and mind to give me a break, to let me have some peace, but it didn’t work. The truth is, grief is haunting me, scratching my insides and breathing down my neck at all times. This was just a different way of the grief manifesting itself. But it’s the worst.
On the bus, abusers got on and off, always staring at me and disappearing if I blinked. I turned away and looked outside and nearly screamed, but instead gagged. On the road were dead children, and very ill children, and men with masks and crows and clowns and my friends seemingly unconscious and bleeding from their mouths. Typically the bus stopped at this point. I felt my instincts kick in – “get off and help them!!” but I smacked my hands onto my legs, to stop them, so hard that I could feel them bruising. Don’t move a muscle. You’re hallucinating and that means you’re in danger. Just get home. Somehow my willpower was stronger. The kicks went crazy, exceptionally violent. I felt sick. I nearly was sick. I blinked, so many times, wanting the scene to go. The cramps in my stomach heightened to unbearable. I bit on my lip to stop myself from crying out, and then slumped against the window. I closed my eyes. The pain had gone. The kicks had gone. I dared to look outside; the scene had gone too.
I got home, and locked every exit, before being quite violently ill. I got a shower to ground me and bring me back to reality, but ended up sat in the shower (becoming a habit!) and sobbing into my hands until I felt raw inside.
I’m much better now. Feeling fine, if a bit tired, and just a bit wobbly grief-wise…but no more hallucinations since in town, and only a few kicks (weaker now) so all is well.