believe the girl

About Q


la quemada means “the burnt one”

I first chose that name when I first created this blog. At the time, I sometimes dealt with my emotional distress by burning myself. It was a little clunky for back-and-forth conversations with others here on WordPress, however, so it quickly got shortened to simply “Q.” Now, nearly three years later, Q feels like a part of my identity.

la quemada 2

My depression

For years, I used to think of my depression as a chronic condition that needed to be managed to avoid or minimize “flare-ups.” When I started this blog in the spring of 2015, I was in the midst of the worst flare-up I’ve experienced in the last 20 years. Many of the coping mechanisms I had used over the years weren’t getting me anywhere (I’ll admit, some were not especially constructive). I had been using tools such as

  • repressing or minimizing abuse experiences
  • taking psychiatric medications, so many different ones
  • harming myself intentionally (the burning I referred to)
  • burying myself in work
  • reading psychological research, usually looking for “proof” that my abuse was minor or made-up
  • hiding my despair and trying to put a bright face on things

I finally reached the point where I literally could not keep going as I had. I realized that although I had been going to therapy, but I wasn’t giving it my full effort. I was somehow thinking that E was going to “fix” me. (And why couldn’t she hurry up about it?!) Something had to change, or else.

I began to invest in my therapy more deeply. I began to speak of experiences that I had kept hidden for years, even from my therapist. I started to approach the trauma that hurt and shamed me the most.

In the midst of those early efforts, I started this blog. I didn’t have any particular goal for it, except to put what I was thinking and learning and struggling all in one place. I noticed that when I let myself express what I was really thinking and feeling, it was a bit weird, but in an interesting way. I wanted to document that interesting weirdness.

In September 2016, I  quit a fast-paced, high-stress, though interesting and rewarding job. For a little while, I managed on savings, but I have had to figure out something else to do for an income. Currently (winter 2018), I consult part-time and try to protect time to improve my health, physical and emotional. It’s a long-term project, with lots of stumbles along the way.

La Quemada Blog

Over time, I have had a variety of story lines running through my posts. One that continues is about what’s going on in therapy and my work to heal from past sexual abuse and to learn to trust deeply. For a time, I did this by writing about the characters–Depression, Self-Loathing, Hope–who populate my internal emotional House. This faded away for a time, but I may resurrect it. Another story line documents my experience going through pelvic organ surgery in April 2016 (follow the tags “hysterectomy” or”sacrocolpopexy”.) And then every once in a while, I write about trips I take. International travel is still my favorite anti-depressant.

Some days I think I am making progress. Other days I think I’ll always be depressed. I expect that the tone will continue to fluctuate over time. Hopeful or not, I do know that writing for this blog, reading the blogs of others, and reading people’s kind and encouraging comments have been part of what has helped me through this challenging year. Thank you for visiting my site.


If you want to know a bit more about the person behind the blog, there’s more here:

Clinical and Personal Details. Diagnoses, medications, where I live, how I write about real people and places.

The Backstory Not everyone will want to know my whole history, but if it helps you understand me, you can get a sense of the abusers who’ve shaped my life in the past. I wrote them all down as a way to decrease their power over me. (I’m working now on learning to shape my own life.) Warning: it’s pretty explicit in places, so not for everyone.


My favorite posts (these change periodically):

The Path From Lost. I wrote this in March 2016, when for the first time I felt that everything I was learning in therapy was finally starting to come together and make sense (which doesn’t mean I can always apply it, of course.)

25 Reasons Not To Trust Your Therapist. I do trust my therapist! She’s calm and wise and really there for me. But that doesn’t stop me from being irrational about it all sometimes. And seeing some humor in that irrationality.

Developing Mindful Empathy to Heal Toxic Shame. This is what the work of healing is ultimately about, I believe: creating the mental space to hold and accept all of our feelings, even our deepest shame.



Please call me Q–it’s shorter and easier.

You can email me here: Just realize I don’t check this every day, so please be patient. I will reply.

Check out my Pinterest page for articles and inspiration.


16 thoughts on “About Q

  1. Wishing you all the best with your journey of healing. I think you are doing the right thing, by looking inward for hope and recovery. It is the best and only place we find it. It’s hard work but as the Buddhist saying goes,
    ‘You are your best thing’
    Thanks for visiting my site

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you – I’m honored and see this as encouragement to keep on working on my stuff! I probably will pass it on, since I know there are many here in Blogger Valley that inspire me. Thanks for you consistent support and positive comments!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi! I thought I left a message on here for you before, but not sure if it posted! I have read some of your blog and you and I have a lot in common… I myself write about my healing in therapy … its always nice to meet others who use writing as a way to speak, heal and just connect with others… I look forward to reading more of your blog, and I am now following your blog 🙂 I hope we can connect ….

    Finding The Grace Within

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Karen! I had definitely seen some post of yours before because I remember looking at your website. Now I went back and signed up to follow via email. Thanks for reaching out. I’m eager to read what you have to say.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for following me – I really appreciate that. It’s going to take time to heal from what you have endured since childhood. But at least you’ve started your journey, many don’t. I empathise with you and understand the pain and suffering you are going through and I hope that one day you will look back and realise that you have come through and how much stronger you are and have always been.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marie. Some days I feel I have come a long way, and others, well, I see myself getting stuck on the same old things again and again. You are right though. At least I’m on the path. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If it helps to know, I seem to feel I’m getting stuck on the same old things again and again. I don’t know why this is, perhaps it’s just the way the healing works with some people. Some are able to move forward quicker than others. I guess it’s just the way we are made up. The thing is not to worry about getting stuck, but to see that as part of the healing process. Sorry to waffle on like this, but I have such deep compassion and a wanting to make things right for people who have suffered this type of abuse.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I understand that. I read other people’s blogs and feel only tenderness and a desire to comfort them. It’s good though. If we strengthen our capacity for compassion, perhaps we can eventually apply it more regularly to ourselves.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. I am the co-dependent parent of a child molested by her father from age 7. Mentally unstable for a time in 1995, I lost custody when I took off suddenly for what should have been a couple of weeks. I was gone a full two years with only a few visits in-between, letters and calls. I was such a horrible to live in closer proximity, the abuse I suspect was full blown. She was 10 and wouldn’t talk. I could get an in. When suspicions arose I called child protective services. Twice. She would not talk.

    At 18 she came forward finally and asked for my help in getting her father our away and various details set in order. We all intervened and he went to prison where he remains.

    She was broken of course, but so very strong at the same time. She had graduated at the top of her class and all she wanted to do was go back to class and succeed. This state continued for another 10 years, through grad school, good jobs, a home she purchased on her own and a couple of mediocre boyfriends (I know judgement… but we worried about her.). Last year it all blew up for our relationship (old skeletons and new). She has just started therapy. I am essentially estranged as she will not let me. Perhaps it is part of therapy.

    Reading your blog I sense the complexity of the therapy process. I will be attended one of her sessions soon three hours from my home in the town where she lives. A good friend of mine is a abuse therapist by trade and I’ve asked her to meet with me so that I can better understand the process and how I might best support this process.

    I’m glad to read your blog and follow as it gives me perspective. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a very painful story you tell, both for your daughter and for you as well. What a gift, though, that you believe her and support her. This is immensely meaningful. It’s not an easy road (lots of ups and downs, as my blog documents). To the degree possible, keep your heart open to her, even if the relationship is difficult, but don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Wishing you strength and compassion, Q.

      Liked by 1 person

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