Monday, February 13th, 2017: Only a couple weeks had passed since the Lord told me to trust Him with what was next. I was enjoying a hot cup of coffee and taking notes on a Francis Chan sermon I found on YouTube, savoring the quiet moments alone before the kids woke up. I knew they’d be up soon and our morning routine of breakfast, devotions and homeschool would begin, so I decided to take a quick shower. As I was getting ready to get in, still listening to Francis Chan on my phone, a sudden and intense feeling came over my entire being that I had never experienced before. (At the time I had no idea what had happened, but would later learn that with just one word, I could have what’s known as a “trigger” that would send me into a tailspin only Jesus himself could get me out of).

I quickly shut the sermon off and jumped in the shower. Feeling absolutely bewildered by what was happening in my mind and body, I tried to ignore it and think about something else, but whatever was going on wasn’t going away; in fact it intensified. A rush of panic swept over me and I got a metallic taste in my mouth. I can only describe this scene as though it felt that something was trying to kill me. I jumped out as fast as I could, having only shaved one leg, and text my friend, Tiffany.

See in my mind, this was a spiritual attack. The feeling of absolute evil upon me was so strong that it couldn’t possibly have originated from anywhere but hell itself. Little did I know, that this was actually coming from within. Somewhere buried in the deep recesses of my subconscious mind, a dark traumatic past was rising up and taking over. This state of hyper-vigilance remained for the rest of the week, and the only plausible cause I could come up with was that perhaps, I was pregnant. I had heard that the hormonal changes in a pregnancy can make a woman anxious, but could it possibly be capable of causing it on such an extreme level?

On Friday, February 17th I got my answer. I stood in my bathroom astonished to be looking at two pink lines. I wanted so desperately to feel joy, didn’t I want more kids anyway? Hadn’t I been praying about this? I should be thrilled! But the only thing I could feel was fear. My mind flashed to how just months before while praying I thanked Jesus for the birth I had with Mia, that I was finally able to deliver a baby vaginally. I heard him say, “do you want to do it again?” but I couldn’t answer that. Thinking of the intense anxiety I had after her birth left me feeling paralyzed.

Apparently, pregnancy can be one of those things that trigger and reveal a traumatic past. I tried really hard to focus on my excitement over having another baby, I loved this baby so much already and I had no idea why I was struggling with such intense anxiety, I truly just wanted to enjoy this pregnancy. After another week went by and I was still having daily panic attacks, Tiffany invited me over so she could pray with me to help ease my anxious mind.

Only 5 weeks along, I sat down in her living room as our kids ran off to play so she could pray with me. She had barely gotten out but just a few words when I burst into hysterical tears, “I was molested when I was four, I think it was my uncle.” She was trying to calm me down but I was, for lack of better words, freaking out. “I don’t understand why I’m saying this, I don’t remember,” I bawled. I couldn’t understand why these words were coming out of my mouth and I really didn’t understand how something like this could be true if I didn’t remember. I hadn’t connected that all this panic and fear was because I was remembering. And I certainly didn’t know that there was such thing as dissociation, or DID, or that I had it, or that these fragmented pieces that contained memories could rise to the surface and speak, in something they call “switching”. All I knew was something terrible and unexplainable was happening to me, and I was powerless to stop it.

Warning Signs

In the fall of 2016 I was practically living my dream as long awaited prayers to be a stay at home mom and begin homeschooling my kids were answered. This was a very exciting time for me and I felt closer to the Lord than ever before. I could tell that I really had changed so much, and was loving who I was becoming and all the work the Holy Spirit had done in my heart. I was experiencing what it was like to be in an intimate relationship with Jesus, and loving every minute of the time I spent daily in His presence; I just couldn’t get enough!

This is also the time I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, and if you know anything about how this works you also understand that darkness and light cannot co-exist; anything hidden in the dark will be exposed by the light as Jesus begins to occupy more of our hearts.

During this time I began having tons of dreams with my aunt and uncle in them, but I never knew why. I also kept having this strange occurrence where every time I would lay down and close my eyes, I would see myself in their house, but it was so specific. I remember this! I remember being on the couch with my cousin, watching TV before bed. I remember how as a little girl my pajamas were often nothing more than an over-sized baggy t-shirt and underwear. I remember being on the stairs and turning to say goodnight as I headed up to bed, for some reason before everyone else. I remember my aunt in the chair rocking the baby, I think maybe she was nursing.

“Lord, why do I keep seeing this? Are you trying to tell me something? Why does it feel so strange? There’s such an eerie feeling about it.” I would ask each time, but not receive an answer. I really didn’t think too much of it, or even the dreams for that matter. As a first time homeschooler of three kids, I had enough on my mind to keep me occupied.

One night that fall stands out in particular. My husband was on third shift at the time, and I had just sent my older two kids to bed as my three year old laid passed out in my bed after falling asleep to Frozen. I felt peaceful as I laid down next to her and started to drift off to sleep, but that was quickly interrupted. I heard a voice very clearly, “your uncle molested you when you were four.”

My eyes popped wide open as I took in the words I just heard. Knowing what I do about spiritual warfare, I immediately thought this was the enemy trying to scare me and was all, “get behind me Satan”, rebuking this monstrosity of an idea and declaring that I had a great childhood. I would not even for a moment consider this could possibly be true. I was absolutely sure the devil was just trying to mess with me and never thought about it for a second more after that night.

As the New Year came, I began really pressing into prayer for the promises I was believing the Lord had given me for our family. As my prayers grew bolder and bolder, I started to grow impatient waiting for these promises. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper clearly, “whatever I give you, trust Me.” I naively giggled a little at that, thinking “of course I will! That’s easy!” I thought I had so much faith, but I had no idea what was coming.

Looking Back

For a long time it seemed as though this storm of remembering came suddenly and out of nowhere, and in a way that really is the case. Though it seemed that life was going well in several areas, looking back I now have a better understanding of just how much this has impacted me all along, without me realizing it at the time.

I’m going to be documenting my story from when I perceive the “storm” to have hit, that is when my life took a sudden detour into the unknown of flashbacks, memories, C-PTSD, and the discovery of dissociative identity disorder. Before doing that, I want to start by sharing how now, after learning so much about these conditions, I can see how it was affecting me even before the memories came back. (I will discuss the controversy of recovered memories and how that fits in with DID in another post).

Even though I didn’t acknowledge,accept, or address my childhood trauma until 2017, I can see the evidence of it bubbling up to the surface before that. In 2013, I found out I was expecting baby number 3. This was a very exciting time for our family, but this was the first time in my life I ever experienced a panic attack. Now, I’ve had anxiety before but a panic attack is much more intense than general anxiety, though neither are particularly enjoyable.

It was during this pregnancy, that I would out of absolutely nowhere, feel as though something was terribly wrong. It only happened a couple of times, but I would rush to the Dr’s and ask for a non-stress test on my baby because I was just sure something was wrong. Something felt wrong. Something was wrong, but it wasn’t with my baby. I fought very hard to deliver my baby via vba2c (vaginal birth after two cesareans). While my labor was going beautifully, something changed when I hit transition. Transition in labor is described as when a mother is going from 7-10 cm dilated, and is about to get ready to push. Any momma whose gone through natural labor can tell you this is extremely intense and typically the part of labor where a woman just wants give up.

It was during this time that my peaceful demeanor quickly vanished, and I was left feeling terrified. Panic and adrenaline surged through my body, and didn’t leave for months after. I had no idea what was happening to me, only that I felt this awful sense of foreboding as though something terrible was going to happen, specifically to me, physically. When I hit transition, it unlocked a hidden beast. As soon as I no longer felt in control of what was physically happening to my body, it triggered an extreme state of fear. I think what made it worse, is that I didn’t recognize it for it was, I had no idea it was connected to something that had already happened to me, and it was a terrifying feeling.

Though this eventually faded to the background, I would still experience odd and unsettling things in the next few years. Feeling dizzy out of nowhere, suddenly feeling very alone and depressed (which I would later find out was actually something they call “switching” in DID), a compulsion to turn to food for comfort, and a deep sense of shame in who I was. I couldn’t pinpoint it at the time, but the evidence was there all along. I won’t even begin to dive into my teen years right now, but that’s a telling story as well.

Not so coincidentally, these are also the years I really started to grow in my faith. Though I had grown up believing in Jesus, I had no idea what it was like to have a personal relationship with Him until my mid 20’s. Looking back, I can see how it was His grace and mercy that my memories and healing didn’t come before it did. I needed that firm foundation before I would be able to withstand the storm, and so it was during these years that I grew in the Lord and thought that I had an unshakable faith, but all that was about to be tested.