Food of Life

photos by patricia

Get to the root causes of why you overeat. Yes. Feed this body so it works properly.

What about the psyche, emotions, and the soul that searches for something never found? These crucial parts still crave satisfaction and wholeness.

I eat anxiety. I eat to feel better about the little girl lost, unloved and unprotected who to this day struggles with self-esteem and so much more. It is a desire and basic need that will forever go wanting because no one can go back and make it right…or safe.

At 64 I am only just learning to be kind to myself. That is key. Yet the constant challenges of confronting that harsh voice inside remains and needs work daily questioning its validity.

Food soothes. Food quiets the voice. But then another voice booms even louder, “You are fat, you are bad!” but it is one I’m used to from the age of 8 when food numbed the horrors. I go in circles and circles.

Keep at it, keep trying.

Waking to the birds, the humidity is thick. Taking coffee to the patio, bare feet against the cool cement, the nesting mourning dove calls hauntingly and sweetly back to her mate sipping water at the birdbath. They are on nest two. At this rate they will have three families by summer’s end. A tranquility descends into my being.

Each day a mystery. Will you feel fear, or be OK? Tame the beast of impermanence. Each day a challenge wrestling with thoughts, turning them around, finding the peace restlessly craved; a quietness in the soul that when found allows textures to be felt, scents to be absorbed, and moments to be full…

RECOVERY

Equilibrium returns slowly at a snail’s pace, that feeling of wholeness, OK-ness— centeredness out of reach, floundering for shore, a safe place and feeling safe only craved for not found. Days pass and a moment of noticing a thing of beauty occurs, like the glittery bits in the new stone for the garden path, and hope flutters like a sparkle of sun then passes. It takes time to recover from a simple eye exam.

Simple for others. I had to medicate myself in order to be in a closed, windowless room with a technician then the doctor. Each took their turn putting the mammoth glaring machines up against my eyes which also means another human only an a few inches from my face and body. The room is darkened. I want to remain calm and seem like a normal person not the crazy mixed up one I feel like inside.

So I pity myself, something I hate to do yet the exhaustion of the appointment and bringing that terror up from the recesses of my gut out through my mouth in a coherent way to explain my surgical needs took everything. It has taken four days of directing my body to perform needed household tasks, even making jam, but something was off, where is the joy? Separating from the terror meant separating from myself. I’m a robot.

Today the pieces are joining. Wisps of daisies dance with buttercups in the meadow taking me to a place of peace and beauty.  Wisteria hanging in grape-like clusters a few feet away float an exotic aroma through the kitchen window, its floral wafting a caress. Mowers heard in the background add to the mix of heady scents with the sweet smell of fresh cut grass.

Molly stretches in the sun on the porch, her white belly full from breakfast, glorious in fluffy white. She too radiates with the coming summer and all its untold, mysterious splendors…

Samuel’s roses…

VOICELESS

So much is taken when a child is sexually abuse by a loved one, family friend, or anyone the child knows well and trusts. Of course the same is true if it’s a stranger but that is not usually the case.

Her world as she knew it stops. Trust- stops. Innocence? Gone. Of the many damaging aspects that follows me throughout life, some have lessened others increase. The constant feeling that anything going on is somehow my fault has mostly lessened.

That is called personalization. Google’s definition of the term in psychology: Cognitive distortions are simply ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn’t really true. These inaccurate thoughts are usually used to reinforce negative thinking or emotions — telling ourselves things that sound rational and accurate, but really only serve to keep us feeling bad about ourselves.

It feels like living in a bad, dark box of wrongness. This feeling can descend at any time but I have learned to look at how the other person adds to the situation and often is more the cause of the problem than I am. I have learned to be on my side. I try to chase that thinking off quickly but sometimes get stuck and need help to like myself again and feel OK. 

This is hard. I still feel locked in and remind myself often, You are free. You are free to feel, think and respond as you really do feel and think. Living within the confines of the silence that ‘family’ required is a box I still find myself punching my way out of.  Just who am I? And how do I really feel? And what do I really think, even if it doesn’t please another?

PSTD responses continue, adrenaline rushes only a moment away. Anxiety an ongoing issue. Tiredness from living a life filled with too much cortisol being expelled on a daily basis due to the startle response, often several times daily, has depleted my body’s reserves.

There is a limited amount of energy available each day. This is a chronic permanent issue very hard to accept which means there’s a tendency to overdo because of a craving to keep up with others.

One of most disturbing aspects is the loss of my voice, taken at age 8 never to be found again…not really. Bits and pieces pop back when that voice surprises me when I firmly say, NO, or speak up naturally from my gut. But too often I am mute. I can speak up later on the phone, email or in a letter. Safer.

And why not? I was taught to love those who attacked me and to say nothing. I learned I didn’t matter, didn’t count and was less than. That is when the feeling of always being wrong took root…and grew as I grew.  Roots have a way of never fully coming out. If I spoke up the risk is abandonment and loss of family, the only people a child has.

So I try to accept the frustrating fact that even at age 64 my voice for myself is often mute when I need to be very vocal in advocating for myself. I can be ferocious for others, like my children when growing up, but not for myself.

The work of being gentle with myself towards this very real loss that didn’t occur by my doing and other grievous losses continues. A gentle approach opens up an internal richness that offers softness, warmth and acceptance. 

SHATTERED

“Are you sure you want the title to be SHATTERED?” my younger son Cory asks before he begins the design for the cover of my memoir

Without hesitation I answer, “YES!” No doubts there.

“And the cover. Do you really want drops of blood?” he asks with great skepticism, even sounding critical. 

Immediately my answer spills forth, “Yes!” I say with surety, for once without timidness, feeling wrong, or any doubts. Thinking it through a moment my firmness remained.

Although he took every step along the way with me, the first one strong enough to do so, when my feelings were firm about something I stuck to it; a freeing feeling.

Yes, blood drops. What was extracted from me was virgin blood and also a child’s virginity in every way- spiritual, emotional, physical, my innocence and a change in who I was and who I would become. Those drops depict what was taken.

Though Shattered, I am not broken. I may feel broken at times, but the pieces keep coming back into place. They may not make a whole that would have been, but one that is richer. The bumpy surface indicates character and depth, a more beautiful whole in every way.  

 

Family of Origin

It was this time last year when a brother, Seth, reacted very negatively to my writing a memoir. He ignored my emails for months after sending a link to the Amazon site selling it. I confronted his withdrawal and was met head-on with his rage at my writing it. 

That sent me by ambulance for a one night stay in the hospital due to a fast heart-beat.

Since then I have accepted the pretense of being ‘Sis,’ the little sister he pretends I am, not the woman who struggles still with the early childhood traumas of sexual attacks by his brothers.

He writes the other day, “I love you too, sis. I’m reading Paul Theroux’s new book “Mother Land” and don’t know where it’s going, but it does have many parallels, seven kids with the oldest an attorney and the mom … I’m not sure yet, so I can’t recommend it. Might be a good read for you, but, like I said, I don’t know where it’s going.”

That stymied me and it went with no reply until today. 

Where once he was on a pedestal, I see now I am stronger, wiser and a better person in every way. I pity him and his relationship with Tom who he is closest to. I do not care to bicker again but did write back .

Depending on his reply I will keep the surface emails we have about critters on our property and other light things. I need that much. But I do not look to him anymore for much else though am grateful for what came before when I was so in need. Sometimes people just move on.

My reply to Seth:

Been there, done that. I wrote one, remember, the one you won’t read.

That we both kept ‘love’ in the equation is a good thing. It may a love of the time when we were young and has nothing to do with who we really are now. And the love then? You did not know me then either as the traumas were kept tight inside just as mom expected and trained me to keep them.

Did you know that last spring when you reacted so incensed at my sharing a link to my book at Amazon that I went by ambulance and stayed a night at the hospital due to a fast heart beat? A heart can be broken by others and your reaction affected me and body greatly.

By the way, though my book does detail all the trauma I suffered…finally, it also contains great joy. True healing began when the traumas were processed as each chapter came up.

No child should have to keep trauma within herself. Trauma needs to be processed to pass through, and repeatedly until it is completely processed. Since mine was not, I live with chronic issues because of the silence I was expected to keep. The same silence you require of me.

For every chapter of terror and pain, there is a chapter of great joy. Because when a child, or any person, has to suppress trauma, joys are suppressed too. When it comes up, it all comes up.

You go ahead and read stories about those you don’t know, but I’m not interested.

And I want to add, I have always respected your connection with Tom. Respect mine. He is not safe for me.

Love,

Patricia

THE JOURNEY

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One can take a journey without ever leaving home. You may need the rare qualities of an explorer, the courage of a lion, and mighty, tenacious endurance to keep facing truths one does not want to see. What is there? Why do I do what I do? And I might not like the answers, they are all too human.

Jealousies, small-mindedness, failings… what may be harder to look at, notice, accept, and feel fully, are the positives. Those gems dwell deep, shine up, and drive the ship daily but are not revered. Revere them. Hold them up as high as the negatives that pound you down.

Accepting it all as a whole, going into the body, psyche and spirit and trying to dwell there wholly is not easy. Notice the hand starting to show age spots, just like my mother. That hand is yours, do you feel it as you look at it wiping the counter and rinsing the dishes? Be in your body, I tell myself moment to moment throughout the day. It’s OK.

Yet it is scary. The body is what I run from. I didn’t know I’ve done this since age 8 and still do. Be in it, it’s OK. You’re OK as a whole human being, no better or worse than others. Explore. Accept. You’re OK.

The journey is exciting, scary at times, fruitful, and not shared by others. It is yours alone, like mining gold— if you dare.

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download (1)

Complex Trauma

This is very much worth listening to, all 51 minutes. Thank you Broken Blue Sky and GettingRealwithPTSD for sharing this. Although reblogged this morning, I updated it twice making it hard to access. So I’m posting it again to ensure its availability to readers. 

There are portions where her faith is referred to but all spiritual beliefs could be put in place of her beliefs for the short duration she speaks of it. For instance in referring to he for god, I interject she, and envision my mother earth angel who feels much safer and trustworthy.

Diane Langberg is amazingly compassionate and knowledgeable. It is the first time I’ve heard Complex PTSD explained so succinctly. 

The second part of the lecture is available at the you tube site where this takes you.