I Can’t Breathe Deep

I have lived with pain and grief for so long that it made that I cannot breathe deeply.

When I try to breathe deep it come back with pain.

When I try to breathe deep, fear attacks my heart.

When I try to breathe deep, my stomach is a well of grief.

I think I breathe shallow coz I don’t want to know my body is alive. I don’t mind my mind being alive.

But my body, that is where all the memories are stored.

These days, I feel grief is reaching to hear. It want to be seen.

My grief wants to scream. It want to shout. It want to whisper.

It does not want to be ignored any more.

I have felt grief all my life.

When I was a child, until I left home at 19, I would get the most horrific headaches.

Headaches of frustration that was nothing I could do or say to stop my stepdad abusing me.

Headaches as I know my mother was not going to rescue me, or even take that much notice of my pain.

Headaches as I wanted to scream and scream – Stop it now. Stop everything. I hate it.

I see my headaches, and feel grief grab me by my throat.

I want to heal my childhood. I want that none of the abuse, the pain, the confusion and the rejection to have happened.

But it did – and I cannot re-write history.

I don’t breathe deeply, for the pain of my lost childhood to bear.

It is too much to bear that I know porn.

I know it because I have drowned in seeing porn. Seeing porn is a suffocation and a poisoning.

I can’t breathe that in.

When I remember viewing porn, I remember wanting to die. I remember trying to stop breathing.

I thought just seeing those images would kill me.

For they killed my sense of hope. They killed my will to fight.

Breathing in porn was breathing in hate. Breathing in porn was transforming me into a sex-doll.

I could be nothing else.

Seeing porn and knowing my stepdad’s abuse made prostitution a logical “choice”.

I almost can’t breathe as that sentence shows I must grieve.

I must grieve that a young teenager, a child, can hate herself that much that prostitution appears a logical choice.

That is so wrong. That hurts so damned much.

I had been filled with so much abuse and hate, that I accepted the unacceptable.

I was accepting by ignoring my body.

As I was fucked over and over. As men made various ways to put terror in my body.

I would not allow myself to feel.

I would be the tough “whore” who won’t not care.

What the point of caring, when I no idea how to stop what was happening.

I must of been breathing when I raped. I must of breathed when I was beaten. 

I was breathing when I throwaway after they had done with me. 

But I don’t remember feeling alive, I imagined I survived by being dead.

Grief hits me so hard when I see that time.

A time I blanked out for over ten years, coz I could believe I still be alive after all the tortures my body had lived through.

I could not see how lost I was then. How I was so alone.

I could not let in that the men did raped me. I could not let in that they planned how to torture me. I could not let in they saw me as non-human – only a porn-doll they could damage. 

I could not see that I did prostitution as a form of suicide.

I could not say I deserved so much more.

Now grief comes into the top of my lungs, it grabs my throat. I terrified to breathe deep.

I am scared of crying, because I cannot get past stopping tears.

My grief is not tears. My grief does not sob.

My grief is in this writing of this blog. Each post carries my grief with pride.

My words say the past. Say it and allow grief to no longer hide.

Grief will make me whole, for I will not ignore who I was and how it made who I am now.

Grief is scary, but it gives me my life back.


7 responses to “I Can’t Breathe Deep

  1. I know what you mean about the breathing. I actually did therapy with this breathing technique, which was designed to help get you more connected to your body. I would breathe, and all these feelings and memories would swirl up inside of me. It was SUCH hard work! So painful, to get in touch with all of that. But also such a relief, you know? To finally be able to cry it out, to admit it, to yell about it. I remember a lot of sessions just sobbing, broken-heartedly, with my therapist just patting my head, or whatever. There was, and still is, so much grief just stuck in my body, making it sick. I’m completely terrified to get in touch with those feelings though. Last time I did, I really thought it would kill me.

    My old therapist, who I did the breathing with- she said that survivors of violence tend to not breathe as much or as deeply. We hold ourselves tight and take shorter, shallower breaths. I found this to be really true for me. Breathing deeply brings up painful things, so we protect ourselves by not doing that. Like you said, in some ways, breathing is about life, to breathe is to live. To stop breathing is to die.

    Thinking of you,


  2. Rebecca,

    Your words reach those most wounded parts of my being, and let them know that they are not alone.

    This is the grief that we know, the grief for all the times that we died to save our very beings.

    When I embrace that grief, then most miraculously I find myself transformed into embracing the joy of my Life herself.

    Thank you, {{{ Rebecca }}}


  3. Thank-you Buggle and Mary Sunshine for your kind comments.
    This post was very hard, and came from a very deep place in me.
    I feel it all worth it when I can make connections with other survivors. For me, I feel that is the main purpose of my blog.
    Thanks for understanding how hard it is to learn to live, after living a life that was death.
    To grieve that time, can only bring real life into my body.


  4. Hi Rebecca,

    This line:

    I could not see that I did prostitution as a form of suicide

    killed me. It’s so true! I also die a bit inside when I see porn or images of women portrayed in that way. Their eyes look so empty and sad to me, and I get overwhelmed with grief that some people can’t see that. It makes me feel crazy and wonder a lot about the world we live in that encourages people to see others as some kind of weird leisure time activity without ever wondering who is inside there. It’s got to be some kind of lack of something in them, it’s so damn obvious! But I don’t want them in my head any more, the men who think that’s okay. I block them out because they don’t matter to me. You do, and everybody else who is a feeling thinking human being! And I know which side I prefer to be on. I’m with you, Rebecca xx


  5. “I am scared of crying, because I cannot get past stopping tears.

    My grief is not tears. My grief does not sob”

    Rebecca this fear is so common when dealing with grief. When you are ready, you will sob properly and yes you will stop.


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