THE PHEONIX

When a soul is upset, scattered, unloving, it isn’t a happy or peaceful life. Waking to a new day, the first thought; another day of work and self-discipline, that even though retired, there is a job to do.

Clearing a head full of self-negatives is no easy task as the clamoring can be constant and habitual. Rising from the ashes again and again, only to be burned by my own inner enemy, happening day to day every day.

With determination and perseverance peace is found, fleeting, yet here for more than a string of moments, for days tied together like sweet grapes on a vine.

An email to Seth that he didn’t answer. Get worried or upset? You have a choice. To change a habit, you replace it. The replacement for worrying about doing something wrong is to see myself with gentleness, love, and acceptance.

Despair curdled my efforts so many times, but giving up? No, just keep at it, pull myself up as many times as needed, and keep trying.

HELLO AGAIN C-PTSD

What can you do in the New Year, or just today, to make yourself happy? Work to banish those voices of doom so loudly dampening my spirit during the dark months of winter.

Too easily the toll of my childhood is forgotten, comparing myself to others who go along happily, seemingly without the weight of such heavy burdens.

Though we all carry burdens, hardships, and loss, it is a singularly difficult load to carry the traumas of childhood, and it is too easily forgotten in my tortuous self-inflicting mind wanting to pull myself down at every second of every day.

Begin again the work of liking myself to stand equal, happy, and at peace. The burden of being me will sink me if I let it. The old feelings embedded in me since childhood, will cause me to drown.

Awake to the new day. Let the other night go and accept it because in a week or two it will happen again; waking at 1am to use the bathroom as usual, but feeling the C-PTSD rockets take off causing a need to take medication.

There was no reason, though I dug for one, because that’s how I grow and learn about myself. But there was no reason except my old nemesis, C-PTSD. Acceptance comes hard fighting it, but it’s here to stay permanently.

C-PTSD comes uninvited. Every few weeks medication is needed because sleep is needed. Trauma hard-wires into a person if not processed, and was hard-wired into me in childhood. No one helped, protected, or talked to me, ever, not about that. So much terror and trauma kept internally throughout life until my mother’s death 14 years ago when the book flowed out of my soul, both my traumas and my joys.

Feelings of failure because I needed to take medication make me weep the next day. Yesterday, to interrupt the crush of sadness, a trip out in the cool air to the craft store picking up discounted craft supplies to work on yet another photo book for my little grandchildren. That helped counteract my funk, pasting pieces of myself back together again.

THE PATH TO PEACE

The fifty-degree morning felt balmy and unusual for December, patches of icy areas, the rest soggy grass. So quiet, not barely a sound making it eerie yet satisfying.

While resting creek side, an owl, with an odd bird response each time it hooted. The new addition of solar fairy lights put up yesterday in the happy sunshine twinkled a welcome on the walk down away from the house’s floodlights.

Much thought is put on new growth and discoveries. Others in my life have been put on pedestals. You are normal, not shattered unable to trust, love, feel warmth, or let others in.

You are better in all ways. Close to 70 years old it is a new revelation that we all are just people with flaws, faults, and oddities added with mistake making, all of us.

The best plan is learning to forgive, others yes, but also myself, for all the blunders or other more serious errors. Take it all in and love it anyway.

This is my path to peace.  

EVERY PRECIOUS MOMENT

A walk in the meadow-1/19/2011

The things once done, are no more, deal with that. My body won’t tolerate it. Yet in its place there is so much wisdom, peace, safety, and calm.

Every precious moment matters, the feel of my hand with the long slender bones beneath, the stretch of toes waking up tendons and muscles all the way up my calves, the scent of balsam filling the house using candle warmers in every room, and taking time to be with the cat as she turns herself into a contented warm pretzel by the fire.

No, after a life of draining cortisol rushing through my bloodstream daily, often several times daily, my body is depleted and can take no more. Yet my tendency is to push, push, push, fearing that even my best friend Samuel will see me sludging on the couch as if a lazy good for nothing human, but really it is the ever-present critic within that bites and sucks the life out of me.

Rest, rest, and more rest. It takes a great deal of time to connect to my body and care for it; eyes that dry easily especially after the cataract surgeries needing the humidifier filled daily. And drops in them a few times each day especially when the heat is running. Exercises on the chair with the rope and pulley to unlock a shoulder that once was badly impinged. Taking medicines, supplements, and vitamins morning and night, and oh so much to keep an aging body going.

All good things as once our lives didn’t last this long. But for one who left their little body at the age of eight, staying in it long enough to feel what it needs takes focus, calm, and a great gentleness for self.

That does not sound so hard, but a devasting critic took over at a young age when brothers sexually abused my little body and no one came to help, but much worse it could not be talked about and the blame, shame, and crimes were taken in as mine. Growing to love myself does not come easily.

It is a life-time work. Can I go with Shane and his family tomorrow night at the little Christmas festival around the block at the park where trees are decorated from area businesses outdoors to vote on, and Santa comes with candy canes, hot cocoa, and cookies?

Well, yes, if I don’t care about my sleep habits, so no, because it takes all evening to keep my whirlwind psyche calm. To get excited, even happily, means looking at 2AM in the morning wondering if sleep will ever come.

It is difficult accepting my limitation especially when comparing them to others. How do you explain to anyone who hasn’t gone through it or lives it how even happy gatherings cause angst, tiredness, and PTSD rockets to go off? When it occurs, and it does with even tiny things, a great need for rest and quiet comes with it, and sometimes recovery takes days. Solitude is my refuge. When once being alone felt like a knife was cutting from the inside out, it now offers a healing balm.

When able to care for myself as deserved and needed, and feeling strong enough to challenge that critic which will not happen when overwhelmed or tired, so many gifts slowly return- gratefulness, love, warmth, appreciation, well-being, and cherishing every little moment. Quiet and rest is the magic that brings me back to life…

1/11/2009 by Patricia

WHOLLY SPIRIT

Thoughts fall jumbled like dice from a Yahtzee cup. Feelings of self-confidence fall with them as the critic pounded away. The fun of doing Christmas crafts overrode any work on the spiritual emotional self, and it withered as the critic grew louder.

Where or where has the oasis of self-care gone, that place being built as a sanctuary and a soft place to fall? Bad habits of eating feelings into numbness took over making me sick for three days…. yet I kept eating out of a different kind of hunger than physical.

In my weariness and pain, a new day.  Back to basics, which calls for constant attention to thoughts that tend to blacken my soul if allowed, when that holy place needs light, love, and acceptance.

C-PTSD

The fatigue from chonic pain takes over, and the stress relief of seeing two medical professionals in one day. An ordinary day stresses enough, the wiring in my brain and psyche always at the ready. That is tiring.

Spending the day wrapped warmly in my bathrobe as if I were sick, drinking hot cocoa with a dollop of whipped cream, the critic wouldn’t shut up comparing me to my friends or just about anybody else I know.

Do something other than put up Christmas decorations you nut bag, you lazy thing.

A wiser voice then saying, It’s OK to bring pretty lights into dark days even if it breaks with tradition.

The focus it takes to care for my body is exhausting, thinking of every move, every item put in my mouth. After too many days of pain, not knowing the gum was so injured thinking instead it was something wedged up inside the gums, it’s all soft food till it heals.

It is not the nature of my being since age of 8 to show care or compassion towards myself, and to do so takes all my energy and attention. How could something so simple be so hard?

It’s OK, it’s OK. That voice is so needed, and probably till the day I die. A softer, accepting voice in the face of the critic born at age 8 with no one to help, care, or save me.

Blaming myself for it all, the unprocessed trauma turned to Medusa in my belly biting with stinging venom. It isn’t possible, despite herculean efforts, that normalcy ever completely returns. Haywire wiring becomes permanent over time as trauma suffers, raging with silence in containment.

Improvement occurs, moments of joy, but it is hard, even gruelingly hard at times. Tension stays, the antennae up, guns at the ready. But peace comes, it comes with work, it comes with love and acceptance of self and all that is true about me- without running or splitting off into my other safe place, a dimension others traumatized know of.

HEALING? Yes & No

The Morning Goddess: enthralling throughout summer due to the unusually cool nights.

Talk of ‘healing’ makes my stomach turn. There is no healing, only managing the damage done. Well, there is, and isn’t.

The horrific feeling of being abnormal has mostly healed, though left with struggles of self-esteem permanently. But my internal ‘home’ offers more welcome and understanding as to why that exists accepting it with a more loving embrace.

And yes, admittingly there is healing in many areas, yet much damage was done by silencing me as a child causing irreparable damage than cannot be healed, changed, or reversed in any way, only coped with daily.

These are the truths of my life. To silence me at age 8 after a violent rape. To not administer medical attention. To leave me all alone with it stuffed inside for decades, because you and your cohorts (your sons) couldn’t bear that truth be told- that caused irreversible damage. Not what they did but silencing me and forcing me to be alone with it.

An 8-year-old child? Pummeled again and again by your other sons as they satisfied teenage lust on my little body? All alone. Suffering. Holding it in then- and for my life to come, until you died. (in my fifties)

By then it was too late. Though it all came out in my writings, every egregious ghastly detail, and with it the joys that were stuffed too, the damage was done. Repression represses joy too, creating a walking robot without feelings.

After you died I started to live, learning wholeness and love for self. It was my choice to remain gagged so that the little crumbs of love you gave could sustain me because I had not yet learned to love myself. How could I when who I was had been locked away?

The chronic severe C-PTSD is here to stay. There is no denying it, or if so, as with much of my life trying to keep up with others, unhealthy ramifications occur. There isn’t fear to jump in and try, but rather an outcome of disease. In trying to do things my body cannot cope with the severity increases exponentially.

Like camping. As the camper left yesterday swirling panic almost descends watching Samuel get it ready for the buyers to take it. Neither of us want to let go of over 40 years of camping in the woodsy mountains- campfires, biking among the pines down to the pristine lake, canoeing, our paddles softly licking the water’s surface as the loons near-by take a dive, sunsets of salmon, rose, and magenta, so many pleasures let go of.

But good-bye it was, along with all the gear, because my body cannot cope with being anywhere but home. When not home, finding my own home internally is about impossible.

So many years of pretending because that was required to be part of a ‘family.’ That caused the damage. Traumas kept inside caused physical ailments that worsen with age. The spirit, mind, and body are connected, and so much has been injured due to forced censoring that no amount of therapy of any kind will relieve or fix.

Only loving care to manage it. All the many things that need attending to are only attended to in the safety of my own home. And it does not have to make me weep, it can be decided on instead to bring me joy- joy in living, joy in finally feeling I have a right to be here too, joy in the little things which sweep me away with their beauty. Joy in that I finally honor the reality of where I am and why, learning who I am and liking what I find.

ACCEPTANCE, ABUNDANCE & JOY

Tears fell driving home from a simple one-night camping trip to the glen where we’ve camped for over 40 years, especially fun and exiting when the boys were growing up. Now it’s for sure, we sell the camper.

Thinking the possibility of the miracle from the last month’s delicious ability to sleep at home might also occur in the camper, well, no way. A double dose of the dreaded narcotic was needed, and that was completely given up many weeks ago.

The depressive lethargy from the after-effects still linger along with sadness accepting my limitations which means no more over-night stays anywhere. And that’s OK.

The joys, pleasures, and overwhelming beauty on this little plot of paradise when sleep has finally come without using that drug has brought the peace craved. Like Dorothy in Oz, “… If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard…”

AUTUMN’S GRACFUL BEAUTY

The day so cool, like all last week, then warming, so warm off go the leg warmers and sweatshirt. After a solid 9 hours of sleep there ought to be more energy, yet the day is so still, so am I.

Just slowly down the meadow path to absorb the change in season, the once white meadow of Queen Anne’s Lace, browning, now magically evolving, yellow with dandelion look-a-likes on tall stems mixed with mustard. (Samuel says it’s Golden Rod) Soon it will be all yellow.

Photos by Patricia

Listening to my body means if today is needed for more quiet activities, then wait on the bike ride, and take these meanderings a little at a time.

Though dreading fall, or change, it is becoming more appealing in its beauty. Nostalgia drifts in among the warm currents mixing with the evening’s coolness.

The sharp edges of it fading a little every day after accepting the fact that it’s there rather than running. Pain, or a nostalgic sadness with the coming of fall?

Not surprising as this drop in mood is a yearly occurrence. Yet joy abounds too in Autumn’s gentle arrival kissing summer good-bye.