THERAPY?

Book cover by son, Cory

Sometimes the thought of seeking therapy occurs, but doesn’t last too long. My ventures into that a few years back soured when she left me during a session to walk down the hall to the kitchen to get some treats for her dog that was caged in her office where I waited. Yup, really.

Any warm body that offered up some positive reflections about me would help because the mire blackening my soul comes within, from so many years of carrying the burden of feeling unloved, not cared about, or safe. Not feeling safe, a big one.

But then there is the question of ethics, or lack of ethics, and I’ve run into more than my share. Jack, who wanted to know if I was attracted to him. God no, he wasn’t Mr. America, also adding to the outrage of his statement that I was sexually abused due to my precociousness as a child. You go to school for that?

He was the first I would disclose the real reason for seeking therapy. His response was the very worst a person could say, uneducated and moronic.

At least my gut knew him to be very wrong. My search continued finding a very competent caring woman after that. But it’s tricky business, finding a therapist who isn’t stuck in their own idiosyncrasies or ego, in addition lacking morals/character.

It is that kind of job, where no one monitors you. Character is what you do when no one’s looking. And with a client it is like that–no one really is there of any importance or to worry about. Many, like me, lack self-worth and need to learn to have it which is why we go. So therapists can and will take advantage of that.

But without help survival might not have occurred. There was Raymond, now 30 years ago since seeing him. He did help. Maybe he pushed too hard, but successes occurred that went beyond imagination. Back to college to finish off another degree, then nursing school, but then he left, moving to Arkansas.

Isn’t that just great? But I finished nursing school and worked as a nurse for several years. After Mom died, I saw another woman who actually worked ethically with intelligence. But she retired not long after. She did see me through the worst of it so a long deep depression was spared.

It is a comfort to know therapists are out there if needed. It would have to get pretty bad to seek it out again. Muddling through things, learning on my own is OK for now.

Samuel’s photo…

LOVE THE MESS

Sorting out the mess inside me, a soft quiet voice is heard.  This time the ability to listen and heed its wisdom is realized. What if the goal of becoming whole, or connecting to my core, isn’t about becoming something different? Something better? Becoming anything else at all?

The insecurities, the negative critic, all the haphazard ways of doing things due to anxiety and the brokenness that comes with repressed trauma over decades… what if that is loved?

What if love is turned inward to the mess which includes beauty too even amidst the mess? That the messiness is beauty because it is the real me? What if I loved myself anyway?

PRESENCE

The body heals, but why must the mind stay broken? Broken in that it wields the power to destroy with thoughts that are negative, and lately going backwards to what one therapist used to label as ‘catastrophic thinking;’ a highly honed talent that needs to be extracted from my tool box, yet seems here to stay no matter how much work is pitted against it.

Summer, usually the most joyful because more daylight fights off winter depression which drops like a cloud in fall pressing down till spring, has brought up issues in both body and mind. But perhaps all summers have had their challenges and when we remember we forget the hardships and think of the best times?

As my body heals from the harsh divertriculitis attack, other mental challenges present themselves, but perhaps those are needed on the path to healing too. The healing of my spirit does not heal as efficiently as my body.

But isn’t that how it is for everybody? Growth is ongoing, ever-changing, and if you are aware continues till one’s last breath. That doesn’t have to be a life-sentence, but instead a life opportunity. It is just that lately the struggles seem to about sink me.

Yet up again for air. Go slow. Stay in the moment, and most of all pick up the meditation practice slipped from daily must do’s after over 20 years of diligent habit. That brings comfort but one must do it!

It brings my being to my core. Settling into it like a warm caress placing all the pieces where they belong… Pain doesn’t go away, but room is made for it. Acceptance with patience, attributes not possessed in abundance – expand- helping me to be and stay present.

Isn’t that what life is about? To be in each moment, to treasure them, live them, painful or not?

LIMITATIONS due to a Fractured Brain

Delete all the posts about Stevie which are so negative? Never, in spite of all that writing getting to the real issue. These thoughts invade while trying to sleep. Is this going to be another bad night? And that worry or fear makes it happen, my mind leaping off into drowning waters.

As the weight disappears anxiety consumes me. Sarah, a women on the View, a television show where the women are compassionate, bright, and very up on the latest events, says anxiety sneaks up on you. Oddly, athletes competing in the Olympics have boldly announced the very same thing.

Anxiety. Yes, of course. It has bitten me hard, feeling like a failure in every way. Wanting to be wise, grounded, just a font of peace and wisdom… I am not. Feeling so lost yet again. All the past revisiting in waves, slapping me in the face; the losses, fears, shortcomings, mistakes, oh so many mistakes.

Nothing about achievements, remember those? Remember the work of loving yourself? All those reasons of not visiting Stevie, of how he is manipulating me, asking for work out of my husband when he surely has plenty of money to hire it out. Yet it has nothing to do with that. Saying ‘no’ to him out of my own needs of safety, for traveling is such a challenge, and I’ve had my short fill of it this summer already, has brought on a tremendous amount of guilt.

Laying there long after Samuel’s regular breathing began, the hours ticked by and by 1 or 2 sleep came without a sleep aid. No way can dependence on that occur. And this morning in slippers and bathrobe with a long raincoat over it, padding out to mailbox, a note to Stevie was put in the box.

Please forgive my shortcomings, all the cancellations, and inability to visit you at both your homes. I love you more than might know and feel I failed you. Anxiety is a daily visitor and though I want to be there for you, I can hardly be there for myself.

The truth finally revealed, not just to him, but mostly to myself. I am not going because I can’t. I want to but can’t. I cannot even settle myself here in my own home where I feel the safest.

These limitations are mostly accepted except when others need me and I cannot be there for them. That is when it hurts the most.

SLEEP!

“Maybe you are taking too much,” Samuel said while we sit on the patio with morning coffee.

The night before, for no apparent reason, sleep evaded me. Instead, every situation not working out how I’d like going back to almost birth invaded my consciousness. My head swam with negativity about everything I did being WRONG!

After such a fine day, Samuel’s answer makes sense.

“Maybe it’s the weight loss,” I said, adding, “I’ve lost quite a bit so maybe I need much less.”

“Yeah, maybe, take half, or take it earlier,” Samuel responded.

A quiet man, it was surprising during the silence interrupted only by birdsongs while sipping coffee that he piped up with his thoughts.

“So which?” I asked, “Earlier, or less?”

“I don’t know,” he said, and of course, how could he know what I should do?

But like much of my life, scattered insides makes me look for answers elsewhere, in people who seemed to have a wholeness that was not shattered. That has become less of a need, but lately has cropped up while hounding Samuel for decisions for every simple thing. God, Samuel?

He rides the fence on all things, maybe his favorite answer. Getting an opinion from him is like milking blood from a stone. So, what is going on? The dosage, or maybe I’m at a crossroads where a leap to growth awaits, or both.

Permission to reach a healthy weight is in question. As if I haven’t a right to feel good, but must carry the burdens of an unhappy family. To let go means chucking all that was learned about myself, that perhaps I really am a worthwhile person? The critic says otherwise.

The critic is overbearingly powerful, a conglomeration of all those in the origin group I was born into. And others who knew of the abuse and did nothing, like my Aunt down the road who was also the school nurse.

Back then there wasn’t a law requiring that those who care for children report abuse. But I sometimes wonder if it would have helped or made things worse. Would I have been removed from the home, or would the offenders have gone to a detention center? But either way, a different message would have been relayed, that I mattered. Or perhaps the family would then blame me for it all. I feel like that anyway.

I’ll try half the dose and stick with it till my body adjusts, which might mean more late nights and the dreaded sleep aid which leaves me groggy the next day. Perhaps the need to question that critic who loudly bangs in my head needs more aggressive work.

When you’re hit by a Mack truck and no one comes to help, no medical attention given, and no therapy to address the symptoms of so much trauma as a child, it makes PTSD and all its challenges a permanent fixture in my life. The message learned— I don’t matter.

That’s how a child perceives it which never changed through the years, because the message of keeping silent stayed. The most horrible, tragic, splintering, shattering traumas sustained as a child… forbidden to be let out of me. It does take a lot of food to lock it down.

Anyone in that group of people I had the misfortune to be born unto would tell you different. You’d be told of their kindnesses, their care, but it came with the price of silence. With the death sentence of pretending I wasn’t who I was, but a mere puppet or shell of a human being…. not me.

Fill Up on the Simple Things

Back to basics, remembering what is so easily forgotten, the very simple plan of working on self-care and self-love. My job, as what occurred in the developing of my personality was just the opposite; self-hate, self-destruction, and the loud critic a constantly nagging companion.

It is not easy to change the trajectory of one’s upbringing. And had death taken me already, which at 68 is quite possible, the peace created now wouldn’t have materialized. It has taken decades. It has taken a strength of fortitude that only now can be appreciated.

Some people might like a do-over, but not me. No way could going through the depressions, and robot-like living be done again. The magic of meadow walks, solitude, and each moment of life treasured… a new miracle some have had the good pleasure to have never lost. It has taken a great deal of work to have arrived here, where living feels good more than ever before.

My center, my core, any basic trust in others was lost at age eight. Shattered, only now able to pick up a few fragments, but never knowing really what life would have been like growing up under the roof of a loving, functional family.

My sons are together for a week at Cape Cod. My usual feelings before now would include a searing loneliness wanting to be with them even though knowing it would be impossible. The drive, the traffic, and having to take something to sleep every night over the course of 7 nights— too much! The loneliness for it crept in anyway. But not now. Now? Gratitude.

Now I feel only joy that they can be together, and I can be at peace doing what I do. The sun, the birds, the critters, Samuel, a few friends, snaps and photos from Shane and Cory daily (enjoying their trip vicariously without the hassle), and summer. My days are full and happy.

STONED

Good night red sun, the wildfires out west causing haze making it into a red ball…

In the real world realm of problems, friction with a willful grand-child is probably not high on anyone’s list, or not those with real challenges to tackle; paying bills, illness, hunger, and the list goes on. Yet when my head hits the pillow I pray for guidance because I know I must doing something wrong.

Give me the guidance to set boundaries, yet in a firm but loving way. In his eyes I don’t love him, or that’s my guess, because he is wrapped up in his parent’s arms for every little thing. Too much in my view. Yet I’m not the parent. I can’t parent someone else’s child nor change the trajectory of his path, not really.

Those worries are like a fly flitting from worry to worry when trying to sleep. Brothers who don’t feel like brothers, a constant nagging concern, surely I could do better to mend the gap- yet my gut resists after trying so hard with no common ground, or no feelings inside of me except warning bells.

God, I feel stoned, a memory way back from college days. In the dark, trying to sleep, my thoughts whirled and my body felt stoned. I may be stoned. The pot oil at the bottom of the bottle is most likely more concentrated that the rest. Best mix it up with a fresh batch next time, the real stuff with CBD oil.

After that explanation I calmed down not feeling as if I’m going crazy, just high. And blessed sleep came.  

SCATTERED

Yesterday after the rains finally cleared…

A willful, spoiled, tyrant of a four year old stripped me of centeredness, confidence, or any belief in myself.

“Should I order chicken?” I asked Samuel, one of a barrage of questions about what to do about very simple mundane things that he wouldn’t know the answer to anyway.

Feeling scattered, I dump a puzzle out but don’t have the where with all to really sit and do it. Puzzles help to center me, forgetting that this feeling of scatteredness has been a way of life and even still can visit daily. There are ways to get back in there… to my core where wise answers come.

Losing weight makes it scary. How to keep losing it, feeling bones that had been hidden, feeling good, all ripped away by the rejection of a toddler making a war out of his way vs my way. Perhaps going along and letting him be king of my house like it seems he is at his own, is the best way to be happy?

Dr. Phil’s quote, ‘Do you want to be happy, or be right?’

I want to be happy, but something in me won’t allow disrespect from a child at any age. It is untenable to me, but my belief is that it is also harmful to a child. A child fights to have his or her way, but really does not want that kind of power. They need to know that the adult is in charge no matter what kind of fit is dramatized.

Yet doubts creep in, fear, and indecisiveness, not just about Bennett but about even little decisions. This wave of ungroundedness creates more questions about what’s going on and how it provokes memories of the past which really aren’t so past. The feelings of rejection for doing no wrong, but rather being ganged up on.

The feelings of being talked about, as in way back as a child hearing Seth in the kitchen with his teenage friends thinking I heard them say something about me. Seth, though not one of the attackers, chose to be closest with Tom through the years, the eldest attacker and the only one still living.

But what was happening was I was being attacked, I was not the one who was wrong, but felt that way ever since no matter how much work is put into uncovering the real truth. This has become the bedrock of my personality, my way of responding to just about everything; being wrong, bad, or even fit to live. The courage and work it takes to counteract this is enormous and ongoing.

These issues thought to be healed from are even present, and little bratty Bennett has poked a pin in them. Tom comes to mind while meditating. As the pounds dissolve there are thoughts of letting him know exactly how badly he hurt me.

Because he never got it. His one attempt to talk via phone wasn’t about ‘I’m so sorry, can you ever forgive me,’ it was excuses.

“I was so young,” he said.

After the call my fury sent me out to the forest to bang on trees. YOUNG? You were in college, home on Christmas break! You were old enough to be prosecuted.

During meditation when thoughts are to still, my mind whirled as usual. It is only the last moments when the buzzer goes off that my mind quiets. But this time my busy brain imagined sending an email with a link to my book. Maybe send a book. But really, do you want to share so much of yourself with a creep? Perhaps just the chapter about him? Now that’s an idea.

But then, why bother? Leave them all behind to be whatever they want to be as a group, and go on as I am, plodding along, but discovering on my own path that there’s beauty and peace both around and inside me. The deep wounds will not likely go away completely but need to be lived with. Those sorrowful feelings need space with the joy.

And that is the trick, acceptance of it all, opening up all the doors internally, letting the air flow between each one. Escape is not an option on the path to health, love, joy, and peace.

Yesterday after the rains…

CARPE DIEM

Floundering, lost, getting my footing on solid ground- a wish with memories of feeling so confident not long ago. So easily the apple cart is upset, the pieces strewn haphazardly, unable to find them all as many remain hidden.

Sometimes one needs to just accept the moment and its messiness. Remember? Even when it’s going well, that internal need for self-talk must be ever present and is always needed. You’re OK, a refrain which calms me all day long because moment to moment feels so uncertain.

The sureness will come, confidence will rise, and the days will become brighter. But rain comes to us all, a day can have both sunshine and dreariness. So take it all and just keep going…