Shame and Abuse

This morning I had one of ‘those’ starts….

I slept through my alarm at 5:13am due to a restless night and bad dreams, no fun. This always feels like an earthquake drill. I hate being late and it’s just not my M.O. Sorry Sandi.

I arrived late to pick up a friend for a run out of town….I left the house half dressed and forgot my fake teeth. I did brush, don’t worry! I didn’t have time to go back because I was already 15 min away.

We arrived on time to the race with some great driving and no traffic and had a great walk/run 10km with a new friend and running team member.  I got to see many many amazing friends who fill me with joy, especially all my JP’s Team peeps.

So the morning was kind of a mixed bag of tricks…..I mean if you’re keeping a tally of “good” vs. “Bad”.  Right????? ….

Well then one of my worst nightmares happens at the best part….the end of the race standing around with people taking a few pictures….. It’s really no big deal.

I had a drop in blood pressure and fainted. I mean sort of….really I just had to lay down, not a big deal, I was faking, Sandi tripped me, it was too hot, etc. Isn’t it like the 30-second rule of picking up food off the floor?  No big deal if you’re only out for a minute?

I fainted.


It happens.  It happens more to me sometimes than others. I am a delicate flower….my body has a problem with autonomic dysfunction along with challenged heart rhythm and some blood flow issues because of my implanted pacemaker/defibrillator which I have for long QT and sinus node dysfunction. This can at times totally cramp my style and freak out people around me. It’s been going on a long time so one would think I was over it. I’m not.

News: This morning I had a shame attack after fainting. I’m still stuck in it.  Have you ever heard of it? You’ve certainly had one. TAKE A LOOK!é-brown-on-shame-the-most-powerful-master-emotion%3fhs_amp=true

For me these symptoms of pre-syncope come daily. They are more bothersome than my arrhythmia.  I sit down on the floor a lot, lay down in the kitchen, march in place, run through finish lines, walk in circles, fidget standing in lines, and every now and then… I fall down.

Sometimes it is funny in hindsight, like the one time I fainted and my head landed in a garbage can filled with old noodles.  Sometimes I will poke fun…like why my front teeth got broken. (That was the door frame in my bathroom that I hit my head on and my teeth banged together). Other times it’s not ever funny….like getting defibrillated several times in front of your kid and hoping he doesn’t watch you die.

So why did I feel ashamed? I usually identify embarrassment but today it became more clear that so often what I feel from deep within is toxic shame.

  • I dislike being out of control or the focus of attention when I didn’t seek it
  • I feel triggered fading out then back in from darkness.  Before fainting I lose my peripheral vision and my ears roar so I can’t hear what’s going on.  Usually the loss of consciousness part is quick unless I’m really lacking oxygen or having a rhythm issue….the return to awareness is horrible. I’m afraid. In that moment I feel like I’m going to be harmed, especially if someone is touching me, yelling, or puts anything on my face and I can’t hear or see clearly yet or think straight.  I might look normal but my body has built in PTSD response here. My body remembers getting defibrillated.  When conscious those shocks really hurt too.
  • When I faint my body also remembers all the immediate flooding of fear and panic and flashbacks of my prior trauma and abuse.  I spent a week waiting for heart surgery after device malfunction having intrusive visual flashbacks of sexual abuse images from years ago. Yep. Not nice. So when I faint it makes me feel that too.
  • Then I say: “I’m FINE”. It’s my defense. I said it after getting shocked out of VT to a paramedic. They called bullshit and so should you. I feel ashamed like I have to pretend to be OK, I have had so much practice doing that.
  • I am ashamed because I feel lesser than….unworthy.  It is as though I could somehow control the universe and will myself to not have this issue. As if having medical problems is my fault and makes me a burden, weak, and shameful.
  • And now since we’re putting all this out there….why not share this. I’m not a super religious person but I am spiritual and have sort of an eclectic viewpoint in my faith. This one passage….every time it makes me call bullshit on God and on my body:

Isaiah 40:31King James Version (KJV)

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Well I must be made incorrectly then because the Christian God can’t keep me upright….WTF God, no fair.

So there you have it.  I hate vulnerability.  I hate phase 2 at the Gatehouse and love it at the same time. I had a shame attack and I’m working on recovery.  I’m putting it out there because I am done carrying it around and letting it shadow my joy with darkness.

So my friends, this is it.  Vulnerable Jen.  I would sincerely appreciate honest responses and encouragement, but skip the pity party.  Today I did it #JustShowUp and always stand back up.






My name is [X]. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape. But that wasn't something I chose to voice openly until this year; I had to do something to move forward so I called my abuser, I called him out, It makes people uncomfortable, so some will choose to pretend nothing happened, but I know my truth. I won't take the blame any longer because the shame is not mine to bear. I am 37 and have spent more than 20 years pretending nothing bad happened. I survived ten years of childhood sexual abuse, non-consentual sexual acts/ritual abuse, emotional/psychologiocal and physical abuse and that was NOT my fault. I am so much more than a survivor! I am a warrior and my personal challenge is to be brave and show up-- to use my voice so others know they are not alone. To anyone who is seeking support, please know that you are not alone. I believe you and I'm so sorry someone hurt you. You are ENOUGH. That's what I'm striving to know for myself from deep within my soul.



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