Preface

I believe that you have the curiosity as to what a female physician in conjunction with a journalist can tell you. You will realize that beginning with the first chapter we tried to say almost everything.
I never thought I had the courage to strip publicly my past, but my experiences shows mi that many women will benefít by looking for the right treatments and professionals, thus decreasing the traumas oftheir childhood, maybe those from recent past or who knows even from their day by day pains.
The major aim ofthis book is to show you that becoming mature is painful. But the pain may and should be an incentive for an improvement. Ifthere is no disease there is no cure.
Thus no frustrations, no depression or other events that may shorten your life or damag(your health. Find Solutíons! Ifwe don't have them, it is necessary to take our problems to capable professionals and aiso put them in the Lord's hands.
It's took 9 months for Beatriz and I to finalize this work. "A Pregnancy"! We would like you to take from this reading, a message ofhope based on the faith that you will find in your selj This book is totally based in real facts. Some names have been changed to protect the identities. Read, meditate and help yourself! You are more than a winner! Good luck!

Odilza Vital


Chapter index

Preface ......................................13
Insomnia ...................................15
Frigidity..................................... 23
Pre Menopause..........................27
Menopause.................................33
Male Menopause........................39
Breast Cancer ...........................45
Loneliness..................................55
Stress.........................................61
Alcoholism.................................67
Alcoholism II.............................81
Recapturing your life.................95
Altemative Treatments ..........101


 

Loosing Weight...............107
Diet.................................113
Diet 11...........................119
Depression.....................123
AIDS...............................141
AIDS II..........................155
Abortion..........................171
Plastic Surgery...............177
MenXWomen....................l83
Victories.........................183


Seminaries Women's Centers
Bibliography. 199

 

What is the weight of our black box?

To reach the age of 35 or 40 mean, to a lot of us, to go through on what we have already lived.
Those memories that we thought were already sealed and filed, all of a sudden do come back as just have happened. And do surprise us!
Some women feel prisoners of harsh feelings who they judged were forgotten for good. This revival do not come for free.
In the wolf age, as we call when we get close to forties, is when our body decrease the estrogen production.
This is the notice of the imminent end of our reproduction period.
For sure, science can perfectly prologue this period, but our unconscious and body do not have previous notice of these scientific resources.
Does not matter whether we had children, raised, almost independent or not had them at all.
We are close to the end of a time, in which, since world creation, women were destined to be mothers and to give life continuity.
This process does revolution in our behavior. Take us to the past, lead us the present, cheer us and remind us of secrets.
Some secrets are saved in the most deepest way. Secrets that once we managed to wipe out for years and even from ourselves.
Here we are, in this stage of our lives, being unveiled by our memories and secrecies.
These steps of our lives still fill us with fear, shame, guilt, remorse and regrets.
They do not show all at once.
They astound us in small doses, sometimes in a smooth way and not so much in the others.
To revise the past with the maturity experience could be clearer and more logical. But this is not the reality. In a lot of cases it is quite a difficult exercise, marked by doubts and doubts.
It is a relief if we tell someone?
Will we be understood or the restricted moral rules still chain us up?
Shall I expose myself? After all, it happened so much time ago!
I, this doctor who is talking to you, have been through this questioning. Maybe I still am going through. But for sometime, I have decided to keep saving, hiding from my friends, family, and specially from my children - it will not help me nor the others.
I can be misinterpreted.
I know that.
No problem at all.
What it is worth is to try once again. To try to let you know that traumas can not be soften, better understood and above all to be the bridge to someone who does not know how to get rid of, or just to live with the memories mistreatment. From lemon to be lemonade.
For this all, I will keep telling what I have lived, what I have gone through with little strength and courage. In many occasions I thought I was not going to resist, that I was the chosen one - from someone that I do not know - to be the most unfortunate of the creatures. Today, I can assure wide openly that I see my life on different angle.
I am sure that I owe to a lot of my patients - through them I realized how valuable was to change the concept, the prejudice, that we have to live with.
From now on the name of the character of this true story is real. I am the leading role, Odilza.
I was 5 or 6 years old when I had a great will of having an aunt as mother. This aunt was affectionate, used to visit us. To be her daughter was a dream to help me to get the kiss that I never got, the lap that I never had, the attention when I most needed. My mother raised me, told me how to behave, gave me education, but was not maternal enough and being egocentric there were no reasons to make her change her personal plans.
I was very young when my mother separated from my father. I went to boarding school in a tender age because was difficult for my mother to raise me while working out of home. When reaching 5 years old I had to adjust myself to the rules and procedures of Instituto Santo Antônio in Laranjeiras borough, south area of Rio de Janeiro and a couple of blocks away from home.
I have leave every fortnight and returning on Sundays afternoon when my friends only come back on Mondays morning. I had to be back earlier due to my mother's plans for Sundays afternoons and nights and could not be with me. I remember being sad and distressed. I have always cried a lot on every return to the dormitory. Lonely in the silence I felt unloved. Why should I be back before time and my friends don't - it was my all times question and never found the answer. With no one to talk to, someone very acquainted became my best friend - my hands. I put them on my lap, palms up and we used to have long chats. I made questions and answers. I pictured the day that I do not have to be back to school.
Our chats became very intimate and we were good buddies: me and my hands
I promised to them that one day, my life will change. I stared to my palms and they seem to tell me:
- Odilza, do not give up. You will make it.
There were many times that I could not control myself. It was very painful my return to school after never ending weekends at home. I did not want to be back to school, in those afternoons, as soon as my mother wave me goodbye and distanced I used to scream and sob while holding to the main entrance rails. All this only to last until the arrival of the school inspectors who tried to open my tight hands to let go the rails while dragging me into the school premises. They took me to my room.
I had this routine for almost two years of my life, this desolation, in this school.

The Seduction
I was seven when my mother married again.
The new occupant was a man, 12 years younger than her.
I don't recall being jealous of him, even if I did, nothing would have changed, I had nothing to lose, I was not used to have special attention.
Little while after, I lived with something strange which have hit me like a glowing coal, in my soul.
One of those afternoons my mother went to work as usual and him, the new husband, was sitting in the dining room doing work with papers, rulers and black ink.
I was infuriated.
I came near to see what he was drawing. I remember spending few minutes admiring and thinking how beautiful what I was seeing. I also remember that in this moment started the agony which would have last for years and years.
He took advantage of my move and put his arms behind the chair that I was sitting and hugged me. I enjoy it, after all some caring. He sat me on his lap and did not take long for him to get one of my hands and to put on his. At the beginning I was scared, it was a new emotion something that was unknown to me until this moment. A strange emotion. In every opportunity this seduction game was increasing.
My mother do seem to notice.
I guess she never had any clue. Maybe because she fully trusted him or because it was easier to ignore and be more confortable to face the threat of the real world. Few months later another change in my life. Another school, another boarding school.
This time the cell was in the Botafogo borough also in the south area of Rio de Janeiro. It was São Marcelo school where I stayed until 8 years old. Another difficult period of my childhood.
It is very clear in my mind that the boarding school was the house where the researcher and scientist Oswaldo Cruz once lived. A mansion in front of the school was being demolished to build the Sears building - the first department store in Rio. I used to like to watch how those wall and halls were pulled down…
In this mansion used to have a spiral stair connecting all three stories. It was brick painted in dark brown color. To go to the top and watch those empty pipelines and the view of the gap to the first floor have stimulated me, scared me and led me to something difficult to explain but highly attractive. I felt challenged, liked to be confronted.
From this time I cannot forget the superior mother, the Sao Marcelo school big boss. Is with her power that she used to reprehend me. She beat me up. Many times. When I complained yelling that she had not have the right to beat me, she answered that was ordered from my home for her to act this way. As time goes by, I was no longer willing to go home. Not that I did not like my own space, my real space, but to be there in the cell, a mix of school and penitentiary was freeing me of the desolation which was giving me the first signs of unconformity.
At that time was discreet my discomfort for being mistreated by my mother's husband. I could not be sure what I felt during those sessions. For me those times represented times of affection, fulfill the emptiness that was inside of me but I started to get annoyed. Not being able to react strengthen my will of being in the school on weekends. Every time that I was going home his chase was implacable. He never let go the chances to be alone with me, even it was only for few minutes.
I was eight years old when my mother decided to get me out of the boarding school. I started to study in the afternoons in Liceu Franco Brasileiro. Freedom from one side, building up anguish from the other. I became an easy trap for that man. More time at home, more opportunities to be molested by him. I am not sure but around 10 or 11 years old my fear grew immeasurably. I was afraid of him who was much stronger than me. Hanged on the wall that was a special device, something like a ruler with two strips of leather, made by him specially for me. He threat me with this device.
If I tell someone what happened between us, he would spank me with this horrible device. I didn't want to be beaten, didn't want to have more suffering. As the time goes, our relationship was more intense. Every day the same hell.
My mother was always distant from that reality. I never had any hint that she was suspicious. She had never questioned any attitude from her husband to me. She knew nothing.

Once a family friend noticed that something strange was between us, she could not resist and asked him what was going on. He got pale but controlled himself, no reaction, not concerned about the new discovery and was firmed in his answer.
- " This girl is very curious and bright, that it is all. Nothing but this"
One morning, my mother was at her work and I was on my school holidays. At this day he was determined to accomplish what have planned long time ago - to have me in full. From this moment I do not have details. My mother was pregnant and I already had a half sister. He waited for his daughter to get to sleep during daytime to come to my room. The abuse was more frequent. To seduce me he promised an apartment in Ipanema. He said he was fascinated to build a house for me and to live with me. To be happy, just the two of us - far away from my mother.
- And me?
- I believed him. I was moved by this feeling! How? Facing all the cruelty of the sex abuse!
Today in my believe, my silence, my secret were ways that I used to use to protect myself.
- What would have happened to me if I tell my mother? I used to think.
- She would not believe. Will think that I was fantasizing. It was part of my jealousy.
Those would be the answers that I would hear. No doubts. If I was protected by not telling it also fatten me up in the same proportion.
My weight went up 25 kilos.
I was a fat adolescent.
I ate compulsively.
I did not care about my body. Body which gave me sadness, no pleasure and anger, much anger.
After all, my body was responsible for all the situation that have terrified me for years. For me was comfortable to be ugly. It was the way to be a non-attractive woman and free of men seduction.
Only when I was 16 years old I made a decision. I could not handle this any longer. This condition that I live, not by choice, but determined and distorted by him and being fragile.
I had to get over this fear.
Ah! Fear, as always… Impeccable pursuit of all the insecure people.
To fear was the only way to toughen myself to one day not to be responsible of a family misfortune.
My mother, as always distant, could even be more distant, if I tell her what is going on between her husband and I.
I questioned myself:
- Between him and I - what would be her choice?
- Him, for sure.
I always responded this way. I was always afraid that these sentences can turn into reality. It would be another failure of mine.
I was, once more, in the opposite direction, of having a loving mother, who tells me kind words, caring me, kissing me, to call me pretty, darling.
No.
I could not handle this.
It was enough to be short of all this.
To give reasons to my lack of affection, justified verbally the real meaning for not keep existing, ever. For all this, I would find a chance to extinguish this suffering once it does not have the contribution of my mother.
Being emotionally stronger, I realized theoretically, what in medical terms would call " to be obsessive maniac". My mother's husband was one of them.

I became wiser. When I hear any noise from the main entrance of the house, I run to my sister's room, lock the door and awake her by giving her the bottle which was already ready.
He always insisted.
Knock aggressively the door..
I started to threat him by yelling if he keeps pounding the door. I promised scandal if he puts the door down. Even full of doubts and frighten I moved forward with my plans. My guilt was suffocating me. After all I was active part. I fell responsible for so many problems. For being constant on my threats he decided to get away. Less and less. I was getting stronger. Happy with myself. My half sister became a valuable safeguard.
My life started to be more comfortable, despite of always being alert. Always with eyes and ears wide open. Could not get my guard down ever if I really wanted to finish this hell. At that time this was the only thing that I wanted. Away from this executioner.
Did not take much time for him to replace me for his sexual deviations. My mother discovered that he had a girlfriend. Arguments, fights, discussions between them and separation. I fell the victory.
I was free but could not fell better concerning my guilt for all what have happened.
To look to my mother means to live again years of my childhood and adolescence. But, even in these moments I had the guts to tell her my drama.
All the damage that the man had done to me was still a big obstacle between us.
Once more I chose the silence.
I swallow my grief.
Better for me, better for my mother. These were the conclusion. While going through this all, a bit after turning into 30, came to my memory other facts related to sex abuse.
I know perfectly well that a maid of the house used to caress me when I was little. I also remember of a hairdresser, a friend of my family, trustful but took advantage on me.
My memory recorded very clearly all this guilt and it only increases. I felt responsible for all that.
- Why it happened to me? I wondered.
- It happens because I expose myself. I was provoked all the actions.
I was already free from my mother's husband when decided to do horse riding with a family friend. He, a colonel, owner of a female horse.

My instructor was 56 years old. I was in my senior high school.
In one of those hose rides in the field he asked me to stop and get down from the horse. I did as told.
Again the hell was around me.
He tried to grab me.
I fell repulse. Reacted. Said no. Went back to the stable, gone home and never had lessons again. I have abandoned something that I really liked.
I was strong. Once again I fell responsible for what have happened.
What can I do?
Why it had to be with me?
What do I do to get all these reactions.
It was impossible to get any answer at that moment.
It was easier for me to believe that I was a freak. I have nothing in common to the other girls or adolescents of my time.
Once again the silence.
Once again I failed.
I finished my senior high school. I was studying for university entrance exams. I knew very well that Medicine was what I wanted. Never had any doubts. In the preparatory course, I was 17 years old. I met a gent 2 years older than I. At the beginning was just a school friend.
He was a good company, attractive physically and was dating another friend.
One day he heard me saying to other friends that has an ugly girlfriend. And replied immediately:
- If you lose weight you can run to be my future girlfriend.
A boyfriend?
No.
I am not interested.
I got excited with his statement. This was the first time that I thought seriously to lose weight.
I started to eat less and losing weight was easy. Cut the carbohydrates and the differences were there.
I was thinner. I compared myself to other girls. I was getting alike, almost the same size…. I was motivated to keep losing weight.
I managed.
Losing weight I caught attention of my colleagues. I was thrilled by kind words. But the stigma that I lived was too heavy for me. I could not think of dating someone. I still think of myself as a freak. I was sure that I would ever get marry or have children. It was impossible to think to start a family. I was afraid of this in my life.
At the following year I was in the Federal Fluminense University, in Niteroi, another city in Rio de Janeiro.
My body was different no resemblance of the fat girl that once I was. I was happy with my silhouette.
There were no junk food to get me out of my diet. I was straight in this new behavior of mine. I was awarded.
The gent that made me the offer for being his future girlfriend, if I lose weight, was successful in his university entrance exam. A few days after the beginning of the classes we met in a bus. We talked and agreed to go to the movies. Everything set.
The film had Burt Lancaster in the leading role. He was an handsome man of the trapezes. In one of the scenes, he was getting ready for the trapezes and I was just staring the movie screen. Just before the good guy summer sault, my companion whispered in my ears:
- So, do you want to be my girlfriend?
I could not longer pay any attention to any scene in front of me. I was having a revolution in my heart, it was much stronger than anything that could happen at that time. I don't know the film script, the title,…
I was astound with the deal, and impossible to deny the emotion that has just attacked me that moment.
It was the chance to have company for other movies, holding hands while walking along the streets … Everything that have happened to my friends, now it is in front of me. I could be like them. Have a boyfriend. I accepted.
We dated for 6 years.
In our first intimate date he asked me whether I was virgin. Lied. I had no courage to tell him about my life that is was keyed in deeply in my memories.
After saying that I was a virgin, he did not say a word and kept quiet.
Some time after I got pregnant.
New fear. I was insecure again.
As soon as we got the urine test result he decided that I would have an abortion.
I took his decision.
He convinced me that we could not have a child at that moment. We were students with no income. Not saying our parents disappointment. I was single and pregnant.
Again I fell a little unsafe animal. Exposed and up to others decisions.
In a chat with a college professor I got the name of the nurse who could do my abortion. I immediately agreed.
Another bad memory that I forged to erase for many years.
We kept the relationship.
We graduated and nine months later we got married.
My career was priority, no children at the beginning of my marriage.
Only 3 years later my first boy was borned.
Since then I had one pregnancy after the other. In July of 1971 until January 1976 I had four children.
In my second delivery I got a beautiful girl. When she was 2 months old, life put me on spot again.
My baby's room was next to ours.
One night she started to cry. My husband and I, doctors thought was having tummy pain. I turned her down, rocked her, she cried for few more minutes and quiet down.
Slept. Kept quiet the whole night.
Next morning, when I woke up I went to see her.
I got desperate.
We got desperate, my husband and I.
Our daughter was dead.
She was victim of the crib spell. Stopped breathing and a possibility to get suffocated she lost her life right there, next to me.
Next to her mother.
Next to her doctor.
Next to her father.
Next to her doctor.
Guilt came on me again. I blame myself for my daughter's death.
Another period of grief, sorrow and terror. I had to take tranquilizers but nothing to numb my soul.
The pain of losing a son is only known by who had the experience to tell the dimension and intensity.
Still shocked and grieffing I got pregnant by the third time. I got my second boy.
Six months later after his birth I was pregnant of my third boy.
Three health and beautiful ones who gave me strength to keep living and to win what life have reserved for me.
Since my daughter's death my relationship with my husband was not the same.
More distant each day, cold, no loving feelings we were no longer accomplice.
I was amazed in one of the discussions when shouting he said something cruel that I could possibly hear:
" You lied to me. When I met you, you were no longer virgin. Only God knows what you have done in life"
Rage was in me.
I was married to a monster. In one bright day I also found out that I was betrayed by my husband. In agreement, between himself and the obstetrician of my last child delivery, I had my trumpets tied up.
They made the decision and I was against the wall.
My husband decided. He agreed with the doctor.
I had my trumpets tied up.
I fell mutilated and betrayed.

Years later in my psychoanalyst couch, I came to the conclusion that my trumpets tied were the definite cut for my marriage, which explain the heavy rejection that I feel for my husband.
- How could I keep living like this, with a man who was capable to set me traps.
I could never trust him again. I could no longer live with him.
After a series of crisis, much fights and long discussion I decided to separate.
I started to get alimony which was enough to pay school for 2 out of 3 boys. The amount was deposited in my bank account, so I still have to pay income tax over the amount which the final figure was less. When I realize this, I went to him and gracefully suggested him to pay at the school the monthly payments so it will not be necessary to make any deposit.
At this moment I heard one of his toughest sentence that a emotionally ruined woman can hear.
- Go to court and get your rights.
Since then started a long period of meeting between lawyers, therapies, children with emotional problems and I was turning into shreds and having to face the divorce which was not having any happy ending. I was squashed, but my boys look was giving me strength to keep on going. I must do the impossible for them. I would be mother and father like ever at any time that they needed me. They made me come back from ashes, get over long depressions, they pushed me, dried my tears and to react.
There were many times that the look of one of them made me see clearly what I have to face and I became a lion, strong and brave to protect my puppies.
I have gone through all difficulties that a woman in divorce can have. New law suites came along and on every denial of paying school, dentist, any children expenses.
One afternoon a friend told me:
- " Why don't you get another lawyer? Try to keep the divorce suite with woman. Men are convenient for them. Women are leaning and be allies instead of having competition."
At the beginning I thought this was absurd, but short after I fell she was right. I had to count with someone who can understand me. I wanted the father to be committed to my boys studies. I wasn't asking anything for myself. Meanwhile, his lawyers were asking for my passport stating that I was doing too much travel.
I could not handle all this pressure.
After a long time one judge made him accept and comply to pay school and dentist for the children.
Today, my sons are 28, 25 and 24 years old have a wear out and untruthful relationship.
It all made me very sad. I wanted them to have a full relationship - to love with no barriers, no fear.
I could not yet see them as I wanted. Maybe one day they can find the right raid to the peace.
I have never talked to my ex husband again. Is still impossible to exchange ideas without have, anger and resentment.
Was easy to raise children with no father figure and for sometimes with mother away?
- Sure not.
How many of us had to go thought this and still have to fight loads of problems to move forward to raise a child.
We are emotionally different.
Men, are colder they calculate more. Do not show their pain for being away from the children, they could work and have easily their lives and a lot of them feel that being a father is just to sleep with their mother.
We women are different.
The development of a divorce law suite is extremely painful. Even when we propose the divorce, even when we ask the husband to leave us, the pain is very deep.
It is always a failure.
It is always a dream that did not come true.
It is always a new feeling for not being capable to keep a life and love project.
And more:
- How many men you know that fully took charge of the children education after the divorce? Living in the same roof? Taking care of the school, health, affection and the housework?
I can bet that the men that you know, those who full take charge, do not go beyond you third or fourth finger.

There are few that we can count.
- And why this happen?
A lot due the way we are raised.
It is difficult for women to let go the children after a divorce.
This is not questionable.
Woman, mother, takes care of children.
It will always be under her wide wings.
It is female who gives education, care when are sick, goes to school meetings, to ask them to brush teeth before bed and sing lullabies.
- And why it is always like this?
- Because we don't know how to do different.
Only few women after divorce take charge of their lives and let the father to take charge of the children on daily basis. Among them, a lot share the expenses, visit the children and on weekend they try to have a healthy relationship.
But this is another unusual fact.
This cannot compare with the number of women who take full responsibility of raising children after a divorce.
We still need quite a lot of time and experience to come to the cold conclusion that in many cases, men are prepared and disposed to take continuity of our children to become men or women.
We still need big changes in our behavior to feel normal for our children to be raised by their father after divorce.
After all we are able to deliver and the saying says:
"Quem pariu Mateus que o embale"
Due to tradition, culture, immense love, we gather lots of tasks and commitment that are too much. After all, our back is not so wide, agree?
But we are women and cannot let go our rights and duties.

Even in this assessment with a great deal of selfish and power demonstration we have no doubt to state that:
- Son, be with me and end of story. I will ever let my ex husband to be with him.
We are like this. On every day more women take charge for raising children with no contribution from fathers. There are those who act differentely.
I have a friend who drags her spoiled marriage for 35 years because when her husband talks about divorce she threats him by saying:
- I'll walk away and you take charge over the children and home.
He immediately back up and keep the hell alive.
The numbers show today in Brazil, 36% of the families are managed by women.
It isn't an easy task.
We all know. But it is an immense pride.
The work is recognize no matter price and every mother will do it.
A lot of these consequences will only show after 40, 45 years. Is when we get into the "life balance". Is when we get happy or sad about our achievements or doubts never solved.
Is when we ask how much we were right in our decisions taken in the past 20 or 25 years.
Is when we remember our loves and disillusions… dreams and anguish.
To live again all this is part of us.
Almost no women are free to think and re-think… Relief the past, impose us penalties but they can be forgiven.
In this period, the best thing is therapy and faith. A professional guidance it is very important in this moment. At this point, this time cannot convert to punishment. Sometimes lead us to serious depressions, misbehavior, bad mood and difficult relationship with children, companion and colleagues from work.
In a lot of public hospitals, it is possible to find an support for emotional problems. Do not be afraid to find one.
You are not getting mad, you are very conscious.
You are trying to balance from something that have hurt us all badly.
You are not the only one.
Do not let this to become an illness.
Tell you secrets to someone that can help you.
For sure you will face all this in a soften way. Nobody will think that you have lost your mind, just because you tried to find a psychologist, psychiatrist or psychoanalyst. In very short period of time you will notice that therapy is to help us to get over traumas who have prisoned us so badly.
To turn them less important, better solved and right there for us.
So, why don't us give to ourselves this present?
You deserve it, a lot, to sleep in peace with your emotions.


Odilza Vital © 2002 - 2004

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