It’s my brother’s birthday today, eps. 44.

It’s my brother’s birthday today, eps. 44.

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I came back from seeing Karen today and practically bit my mother’s head off.  I came in the door and she said, It’s Brian’s and Rush’s birthday.  I did not say anything, and she was walking behind me and I thought she asked me if I e-mailed him.  I asked rather vehemently, “Why would I e-mail him?!?”  She said she was talking to my dad.  And she was.  Ugh!

Well, I am still pissed off at my brother.  

I talked a lot about leaving the group to Karen.  We talked about her notes.  She said she doesn’t mind sharing them with me.   Maybe not the whole of them, but she doesn’t mind reading what she has written.  I was like really???  No, you don’t have to.  Ah well, she said it was normal to have some trouble adjusting.  She was being positive about it, that is her job.  We talked about why she suggested the IOP in the first place, and how we felt about that.  She generally does not suggest the IOP unless someone is not functioning at all, but I was coming regularly, and she felt she’d run the idea by me.  She said that I told her I had thought about it.  I had thought that a group would be something I might need to do.  

Groups are actually really good because there’s a therapist, but the other folks are not trained in how to react to stuff.  So I am getting what “normal” folks think, verbally and non-verbally.  She understood what I was saying, but got a kick out of it all the same.  

We talked a lot about why I don’t want to start up a group, what was mentioned here.  Mostly about suicide and not wanting to be in a position where I feel responsible for doing something or not doing something that contributed to someone completing that.  

I told her why Cathy told me to make another appointment.  She won’t be there Saturday, so we set up a few more, one on Thursday and one on the following Tuesday.  That’s when she said it is normal to have some trouble adjusting.  

The time was ticking.  There was so much to discuss.  I can’t remember everything.  But I mentioned my brother’s birthday, and no I am not doing anything for that.  But, we were talking about my sister being the birthday police and my dad letting me know just after midnight this morning, and I don’t know how we got into her talking about OA meetings, but that got me into the last discussion. 

I talked about the guy in group who is an alcoholic and how he goes to meetings every day, and can go to more than one in a day, and reads the big book, and went to see the place where the founder lived.  And I am thinking how different it is for me.  Everyone tells this fellow that that is good, go to these meetings, read the book.  And I am thinking balance it out a bit, find some things that don’t include drinking buddies or recovering alcoholics.  That was totally ignored of course.  Everyone knows best what works for them, I sure don’t.  But with Alcoholism, people encourage you to work a program, to go to meetings every day, to do the steps, and on and on.  When you are working on sexual abuse, folks tell you you should be over it by now — no 20, 30, 40 years sober for you.  A meeting every day???  You are lucky if you can find a group you can join in six months.  Nobody wants to talk about it, and they do not encourage you either.  They want you to not think about it, you can’t change it, so what is the use, and it only brings you down.  

Well, anyway, Karen was really good today.  She asked me some direct questions, that I avoided and she let me.  But mostly we talked a lot about a lot of stuff.  I am looking forward to Tuesday, and that feels good right now.  

Thanks for reading.  

Join the Conversation


  1. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    hey there

    It’s completely understandable why you are angry. Change is always difficult but in the end it will get better. Communication is an amazing thing and it’s great to share how you’re feeling. Thank you for sharing us


  2. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Hey Solngago i can understand why you were angry. The change can be diffuclt to adapt 2. The fact that you are actively going out and talking is so important. I am glad you are communicating on how you feeling.

  3. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, Solongago. I can understand why you were angry. It sounds like there’s a lot of changes going on on top of the birthday. And I totally agree with your statement about “normal folks.” It’s not a replacement for therapy but I find it helps me so much to have support from peers. I go to SIA (Survivors of Incest Anonymous) which is actually a 12 step group like AA but the steps are adapted for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I love my home group so much and having their support has been invaluable. Might be worth checking out in your area, and there are phone meetings too since the number of meetings isn’t as high as AA. It’s not for everyone and I’m not even that big on the steps/higher power stuff, but it helps so much to have time to share whats going through my head face to face with people who get it.

    1. Solongago

      Wow, yeah, I am actively looking for ANYTHING in my area. My therapist pointed me to a place that has a creative writing therapy group and a group for female survivors, both of which are like 10:30 to 12:30, which is perfect timing for me. It gives me 2 hours between to have lunch, and get my head on straight before going to work. And it is right down the road from where I am currently doing therapy.

      But alas, I am not a resident of Lake County. And so I cannot participate in these groups. Done. I can pay income tax to Mentor, Ohio. No, I must pay income tax to Mentor, they take it without asking. No reciprocity to where I live because I live in a township (no income tax). So, taxation without representation, and I cannot make use of the services that those tax monies are going to. I actually wrote a letter to my congressman tonight. Wonder if that will go anywhere. I was a little more open than maybe I should have been, but we have a mental health care crisis in my county, that is evidenced by the number of overdoses, the number of suicides. We need to fix some of this crap.

      I called the community counseling center today and asked about groups for survivors of childhood sexual abuse/incest, and the lady had to go and ask, when she came back, she said they do not have any groups available for THAT. Well, I said, this is the community counseling center? With 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men having had this happen you don’t have any clients that might benefit from a group for this??? Sorry, but I was a little irritated. I am frustrated, irritated. I think that if it is this many folks in general, than folks in counseling are probably double if not triple the numbers whether they ever talk about it or not. And addicts, they are probably 5 out of 6 that have had this or some other serious domestic violence happen early on. So how do we run a community counseling center and have to ask if we have any groups for something like this? And we wonder why we have a drug problem in this county.

  4. Solongago

    Thank you all. I am doing ok without the IOP. But I saw Karen on Tuesday and Denise (Cleveland Rape Crisis Center) today, tomorrow I will see Karen again as she will not be there on Saturday. We discussed goals. They’re still mad at me of stopping taking my medicines — Karen made it one of my goals. They’re serious. I’m sorry, but I really don’t care. If they care, I’ll take it. But that isn’t a healthy place to be either. On the crisis plan I did for Cathy months ago, top of my list was not taking my medicine. I’m depressed. I am trying to knock myself out of it. I am supposed to be writing what I like about myself. I’m drawing a huge blank. I was trying to think of ANYTHING while at work tonight, because I have to be there at 10AM tomorrow. All I could come up with was that I try to do the right thing. I’m dependable. And I have an interesting imagination. I thought, well what do I like about my friends, maybe we are drawn to folks who reflect who we are. That isn’t easy to do. But, my friends are really good at showing they care — good listeners. I don’t know, this has to be hard when close to base-line, when I am so down already, it is just impossible.

    1. Bluebell13 Volunteer

      Dear Solongago,
      Here is what I like about you: You are incredibly strong and resilient. You are forgiving and understanding. You are intelligent and interested in learning. You are brave in the way that you share your story and you journey. You are kind to your family, your dogs, the people in that were in your group, and to those whose stories you reply to on here. You were also kind and thoughtful to me at a time when I needed it. You are understanding of other people’s situations and you listen even when you don’t agree. You are helpful to others and you are standing up for those who need help in your community. I admire the fact that you wrote to your congressman about not having access to the help you need. I hope he listens.
      I like to listen to sad music because it helps me know that other people are out there feeling some of the same things I do and they are getting through each day, using their pain and experiences to help others. One of my favorite artists is Julien Baker and she has this song called, “Hurt Less”. It talks about how she used to not take care of herself because she didn’t care what happened to her, but though being there for her friends and having them be there for her she understands that she does matter. She has to take care of herself in order to be there for those she cares about. If taking the medicine and taking care of yourself is for others right now, that is okay. Do what you have to do to get to the place where you can take it for yourself. We are here for you.
      Sending love, strength, and a big hug,

    2. Jess Volunteer

      I think they’re mad because they care, Solongago. Although you’re right – being in the space where the only reason you’re taking your medications is because of people outside of yourself isn’t the greatest spot to be. However, sometimes, that outside motivation is all that can convince us to do the things we know we need to do. I hope you get to the point again where you are taking care of yourself because you are intrinsically motivated, instead of externally. It may take some time, so don’t get discouraged.

      Depression isn’t something we can really “knock” ourselves out of, but I like how you’re continuing to try to work on the things you know will help you get to the point you want to be again. Keep working hard. You’ve got this, Solongago. It feels impossible now, but you’ve come so far and worked so hard. I know you can do this. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3 If there is anything else we can do to help, please let us know.

  5. Kevin Casey Volunteer

    I’m sorry to hear what you going through well at least you getting the help just take one day at a time you will have your good days and there will be bad days

  6. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Solongago,
    It is great that you had a good session with Karen and that you left it feeling good. Some days can bring less patience than others and that is okay. You are allowed to feel irritated when reminded of awful events/people/places and I am sure your Mom will be alright.
    I see your point about starting a group; feeling responsible for someone else’s life and mental well-being is certainly a lot to handle and can quickly become overwhelming. I hope that you are able to find something that helps you feel safe. We are always here for you to write to and enjoy reading your updates. I hope this week is going well for you.
    Sending you love and strength,

  7. Jay Volunteer

    You make a really good point about support groups. I’m really glad you’ve found a safe place here on this platform, and that you’re brave enough to share you story.

  8. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I’m sorry about the birthday stuff and your parents telling you to reach out. I know how frustrating that is. I’m glad that Karen was really helpful, and that you are looking forward to your next session. Keep at it.


  9. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    It sounds like you had a really great therapy session, and that you and Karen have been working through a lot of your thoughts. Everyone has to find the type of healing and recovery that best fits them, and that’s okay. If you need anything while you transition out of group, don’t hestiate to reach out. We are always here for you.


  10. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m glad that you had a good therapy session. Sometimes it can be hard to find out what works for us, and it can be different for each situation. It’s okay if you’re not entirely sure. I think trying a lot of different options can help us figure out what works.
    I agree with you about how working on assault can feel. People tend to say those comments when they’re having a difficult time understanding what we’re going through. I wish people could understand that healing from this is not linear and that the effects of assault are important to work through. However, this journey is yours. You can take as much time as you need to heal, and everyone handles things differently.
    It’s also okay if you don’t want to do anything for your brother’s birthday. Your anger is valid.
    Thanks for the update. I hope you’re doing well and that you have a great week! We’re here for you.

  11. sfmbelle413 Day Captain

    Hey there Solongago,

    Thanks for the update. I’m glad that Karen was really good today. I’m happy to hear you’re feeling good right now about looking forward to Tuesday. Your fight and drive is truly inspirational. Please keep on fighting. You got this.

    Sending light,

  12. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m happy today was good. Everyday will get better. You don’t have to like your brother especially after what he did. It doesn’t matter if it was his birthday or not. It sounds like you had a great session with Karen. I’m happy things are working out for you. I know leaving the group will be hard, but you are strong and will adjust just fine. If you need any extra help you can always write here.