Injured Being

mosaic by Patricia

My path includes remembering that self-esteem and anxiety are issues that need working on, and are here to stay.  When experiencing some success at either, the thought is that the work is done. The work continues, some days more than others. Who I was at age eight is a shadow arising time to time with a memory of what was, who ‘she’ was, and could be.

All that changed with the first attack, and severed almost completely as each brother came and went, my true self going further and further away until she hardly exists. She because I could never become her, she because she is there, a misty ghost of who I could have been. And I mourn her.

Who I am now is not her, though wisps remain. What I have instead is anxiety in every day because of the trauma’s, but more so, because family and society insists not to hear. These traumas still going on at a deadly rate need airing. And it seems to be coming to the light, though more sensational ones; coaches, priests, teachers… but what about the brother, father, uncle?

The anxiety is here to stay. It must be faced every day. The damage internally broke my being. It takes my life to put back the pieces, shards that sometimes cut, smoothing them together anyway to make a whole— bumpy, solid and beautiful.

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Ravages of Thoughts

The need to write each morning sometimes brings forth a post without depth, without full truth. Not because there’s fear of honesty, there’s fear of self. The thoughts going through led me to overeat in old ways so that later my head hung over the toilet.

How could a frilly little post be written in the morning, and later in the day food was consumed in a way that was sword-like? Cut off the thoughts, don’t feel anything but this pain, not those other pains.

Writing about being in my body, then not being in it. How else would one consume such junk? Others don’t do this. Others have flat stomachs. At times they use discipline, but aren’t white knuckling it. They don’t use eating to blot out thoughts and feelings.

A cascade of bad feelings rain down. A walk with a friend at the mall brought two days of achy legs. It was more than usual, the standing around while she shopped. She’s fine, and would have walked the mall again.

My abilities are much more limited. I so want to re-join chorale on Tuesday nights, and a friend offered to pick me up. But coming home at almost 9:30 pm would rev up the usual wind down period upsetting the delicate routine. Others there don’t suffer this. Why me, why me, why me?

Thoughts of brothers dying and how young the offenders were, one at 28 by intentional overdose, one at 52, the other 67. My fault in my own special way of thinking. If I hadn’t been there they wouldn’t have abused me, and then have to life with it for the rest of their lives.

A fucked up family. It makes me sad that they didn’t have a chance. Each one could have felt better about themselves, and done better. But the care a child needs, which goes far past the basics of food and shelter, were never provided. 

The other one, now 76, is still living. Far away. Why now do these thoughts come? Is it the rinsing of winter? All the bad thoughts come crashing down. Looking at my puffy body, there’s not trust of my tuning in to its real caloric needs while the psychological needs pull so searingly. Escape. 

Since the age of 8, eating became a way to escape. There is a way. Bending over a toilet due to ravages by my own hand is no escape. It is not about eating. It is about thoughts, memories, and feelings. Being in a being who I don’t want to be.

 

PEACE

Snow frosted trees, big flakes falling. Later in the day warm March sun melted it all except patches of white in the shade of the pines. My boots sucked into the mud on the path, ducks flying off at my approach. An otter swam busily to the creek side lighting upon the log then slipping back into the cold black water. The current runs strong with the overflow from the melt.

It is a period of grace, without my squirrel brain a ’worrying, and sleep coming night after night. A time of rest, with enough energy to enjoy various outings, gatherings, and get-together’s.

My son and grand-kids came for brunch. The monthly women group of friends met Sunday for hours of cards, laughter and fun. A shopping trip to the mall and lunch with a friend satisfied a need for exercise and socialization. .

Sleep brings energy to do these things.Gratitude blossoms as this lull in anxiety yields to quiet peaceful joy. 

 

SUCCOR

The creek in spring…

The person I was meant to be, doesn’t get a shot at living. That is mourned, and ever shall be. That was taken, ‘she’ was taken at the first touch from a dearly loved and trusted brother that was wrong touch wreaking of manipulation, guile, and evilness.

But this isn’t about them. It is about what they took. A life. This life created from the destruction of that child that I was meant to be, from the women I would have been, is who I became. But what lay just beneath is who I am.

And will you ever know her as I do? She is strong, confident, and sings for the masses, justice for all. She doesn’t bow down to criticism nor does she criticize herself for being herself.

And in my little oasis I can do that. Without others to doubt or bring me down, I can be at peace. Except when I can’t, which happens too much of time due to old voices taking hold destroying self-worth and peace.

Coming back to center, feeling the insides of my body, all the cracks, tiny spaces, and hollows, owning it, sleep comes, peace comes, self-liking rises. After so much work there is a presence underlying the critic, a she who loves me, that’s me. Warm succor waits right here at home, in my body of a home.

TRANSITION

photo by Patricia

As the criticizer comes crashing down, coming to a head as the joy of spring meets the depression of winter, I choose gratitude and to look upon my life as one of success; not the critic’s choice… a stain of regret and failure. What a see-saw time of emotion, which is indicative of much of my life; two opposing events, emotions, or ways of looking at things.

Love and hate. Joy and sorrow. How to make room for both in one being, and feeling them, one then the other, or both at once. I loved my mother, and hated her. Sometimes moments of appreciation occur for a life lived with persistence and hard work, but then a bat towards myself about failed relationships, regrets and what if’s.

My heart feels as if physically wrapped in barbs ready to break free or be punctured. A prayer to the universe, Please let go of the wires , Release the strictures, let my heart pump freely.  

Joy and hope burst forth when sprouts rise from the brown earth, joy that suppressed itself all through the difficult winter keeping my flagging spirit up enough to face each day. With more light comes an appetite for pleasures, wanting to do more, see more, be with others more.

The critic needs knocking down, and the soft voice of acceptance reminding me of successes wants voice, and must be given room to speak with an amplifier to hear the whispers of truth.

Yes mistakes were made, be prepared to make more, but look at all you have, and all you have done. As daylight lengthens, so does my ability to see things more beautiful. Food tastes better, scents are noticed more deeply, and stunted feelings open up to possibilities.

 

Labile/Anxiety

“Here is an article about sleep,” Samuel said, moving the AARP magazine closer.

A few days passed before picking it up. Most of the suggestions, like not drinking coffee later in the day, and keeping a regular bed-time, are things already in motion, but one suggestion caught my eye; CBT-I Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Sleep disturbances over the last month have become severe. So is the search for confidence, well-being, fullness, or any other feeling offering succor. The coldness outside froze my insides. Regret frosted growth spiraling me backwards. Coming off the ‘path,’ I became lost in the forest of doubt, anxiety, and depression.

I’m doing my homework. Many sites seemed like scams, wanting money for completing this therapy on-line, which can be done without a therapist if the depression is mild. But one has offered guidance, already easing my mind and body during the night so that sleep came even after two separate trips to the bathroom.

You know the work. Someone wrote on my blog that maybe you won’t have to constantly keep telling yourself you are OK throughout the day. And my squirrel mind felt criticized, though the remark was a caring and compassionate one. I do need to tell myself that day and night. Living is fearful for me.

Danger lurks around every corner, and in every relationship. My job is to allay unfounded fears, challenge them, offer other plausible scenarios, and so much more pinpointed clearly in these articles. Looking at things less rigidly offers more solutions. Maybe there aren’t aren’t any, so stop worrying over what you can’t change or influence positively.

I took notes. It was so helpful, and the notes will be kept handy as this transition from winter to spring takes place. Even if not read again, they are my security blanket; you’re not alone, and there is a way. 

Labile emotions, joyful to the moon one day, the next a waterfall of tears. The tears come like this each spring, a washing off of winter depression, cleaning out the dull, brain chemicals opening windows for happy endorphins that bring balance. I will get there, and do the work.

http://cogbtherapy.com/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-exercises/

Time Change/Spring

photo by Patricia

“Oh, this time change is easy,” huffing to my son over the phone.

After more than an hour trying to sleep, it’s out of the dark bedroom and Jimmy Kimmel to make me chuckle despite irritation over continued sleep disturbances. Then Italy’s problems with olive trees dying. That was fascinating, so there is an upside.

Spring’s mixing bowl of weather affects me. No time change, or seasonal change is easy. Each comes with disturbances in sleep, and an array of other challenges, mostly with my volatile emotions which can become irrational.

Why one brain continues stable and another such as mine goes awry is for scientists to determine. My challenge is to accept it.  My guess is unprocessed trauma and its long term effects. That includes memories of violence so acute that 60 years later my body has decided it’s still not safe to allow up, and maybe never will be. That’s OK with me. I know Danny committed rape, but that memory stays repressed. 

That does something to the brain, and the body’s systems that keep one on high alert at all times. Because if the danger isn’t ‘out there,’ there’s plenty still swimming around inside me.  NO place is safe, No place to run. What are small shifts to others are huge upheavals to those who experienced traumas that were not processed. Damage is hard-wired in… corrupt. 

Some days Hercules conquers the world, the increase of light making me loopy; 5 laps around the meadow become ten, or an hour of exercise at the Community Center feels easy. The next day little to nothing, or more truthfully enough but the critic bangs in my head saying, ‘look what wasn’t accomplished.’

Tame the critic. The most valuable work is that,  and gentleness. . 

By 3 AM medication was taken. When a regular sleep pattern is achieved, it feels like a miracle. And it will come. Just buckle in for the ride. You don’t have to live up to the pace of others, or what that pace looks like. Go gently my friend….