REPRESSED MEMORY

An email from Seth set off alarming dreams because of his association with Tom, which pokes at other memories with Chet, Danny, and one other sibling never named. 4 siblings chose to attack me. The nightmare that came with the recurring ache for a home lingers causing nights of chaos unable to sleep.

“Do you have a tape measure?” the two guys asked.

Wanting to continue with my tasks, exasperated, I lied, “No.”

Hating to be anything but honest, (just like real life), I said, “Yes,” moving to get it.

They were both aroused, one coming close enough to feel it. I lashed out shouting.  

The next morning I asked Samuel, “Did I cry out in the night or move suddenly?”

“No,” he said.

But I think I did just like the first attack by Chet as a child when he pinned me down causing a feeling of suffocation threatening my life. Lying still pretending sleep was the only way to survive. But it also allowed him to do just about anything he wanted.   

Naomi Judd shot herself dead. Perhaps her repressed memories drove her to it. As the weight comes off, I feel closer to the repressed trauma of Danny violently raping me. I know it happened, but my mind still won’t allow it up, even at age 69.

Some might say I already lived through it, so I’ll be alright. I might once have said that too, but it’s not true. My child’s brain went somewhere, not knowing, not remembering. To remember would be to live it. How to bear it if it does?

FEARS

Samuel’s photo of last night’s lunar eclipse

Fear walks with me, even in a life insulated from too much stimulation protecting my worn-out system after a life of debilitating anxiety depleting my adrenal glands. Fear is with me at all times, though the gauge wanders from extreme to lower levels, it rides with me always, my periscope scanning the perimeter unless zoning out. (my term for dissociation)

Constantly on the ready during nature walks for disaster- though my blood curdling screams over snakes has diminished, if startled by one a yelp erupts as well as a flutter of my heart, probably not good for a heart to jolt with too many of those.

Then there are tick checks after finding one on my back one day. Out in the early morn, the fog as thick as the dew, using the spreader, a great amount of insect repellant granules are dispersed all along the 2-acre path. That ought to keep them off, along with tick spray on my socks and pants.

Now, keep the mockingbirds away from my walking area and patio, as one summer they continually attacked once their babies broke free from the eggs… torpedoing my head ready to peck out my eyes. That was terrorizing lasting too many weeks into precious summer time.

Too often forgetting how my system is on auto-ready for terror, and how much a drain that is, it is kinder and more compassionate to accept how it is, and why, then be gentle with myself acknowledging the reality of my existence.

There is damage left behind by those professing to love me. Comparing myself to others who breeze through life is not helpful either. PTSD unprocessed does damage that for me is lifelong. Learning as a child that home is not safe, what, where, and who is?

Joy outweighs it all …

Naomi Judd

Thoughts dwell on Naomi Judd. We lost one of us, one of the little girls sexually abused. Though she came forward in an interview with Robin Roberts, did people still shun her as they seem to do because hearing about such things is repugnant to them?

I could sense her anxiety watching the interview, the wringing of hands that shook though she tried to hide them, the maddening back and forth of the smile we are forced to portray then the real wrenching pain of unhealed parts ripped to shreds as a child… and no one comes.

Back and forth, the smile, the paralyzing agony depressing her being so much she took her own life. That could be me.

My body does not cope with the decades of hypervigilance- daily adrenalin rushes with cortisol bursts over a tiny insignificant sound, or someone coming up behind me, even my child or husband. That happens even now.

We lost one of our own, and the sorrow cannot be wiped away. Someone needs to talk about it. People need to listen. This is happening to our little girls. Boys too, but little girls far more, we just hear about boys more.

Do a TED talk? Do a youtube? People don’t want to listen, but they must. Isn’t it time to protect our children? Who protected Naomi? She seemed so happy through the years with that smile.

Performing. There is so much performing, as families insist on keeping it quiet, and the child performs. But a body can’t hold out forever and the agony must be released be it too much eating, shopping, drinking, drugging, marrying someone to beat you, or dying.

It is hard road, and I am saddened that this woman has died because her sadness caused it to be so.  

SELF-COMPASSION

HOME

Though Cory asked us to stay longer, I could not. This past year has brought more troubled sleep than ever, which also comes with using Xanax more than ever used since prescribed by Raymond back in 1995. Yup, using it sparingly since seeing Raymond, a psychiatrist who lived on a little farmette with goats, chickens, and a horse. He even sold eggs.

It was under his tutelage that I dared return to college to earn my degree in nursing, but the anxiety of entering a world where my belief that everyone would hurt me skyrocketed. Yet even then my use of Xanax was sparse, not touching the height of my anxiety.

So, at Cory’s my use ratchetted to daily from every other day, both bothering me exponentially as using it all used to come much less often.

But sleeping, even if feeling drugged the next day, is better than not sleeping. Thoughts have been dismal, and the wise, gentle voice hasn’t been heard or felt much at all, abandoning me. Why?

The problem must be the combining of cannabis oil and Xanax, backfiring causing more problems, worse problems. So, the oil has been stopped. Several days later there are improvement along with coming home early.

It isn’t easy accepting my limitations, always wanting to take change with as much ease as others, like Samuel, snoring away besides me peacefully in a bed other than ours, moving from one state to another, with a new set of people and places as if he hadn’t a care in the world. Thank god for Samuel. There is one of us to keep us afloat with his calm and natural centeredness. Mine has been shredded.

Usually, it is when Cory comes home to visit then leaves- tears come, prodding that old empty nest loneliness. And when we visit elsewhere, at his house, camping, or a vacation retreat, then we all leave heading home to our respective places, no tears.

Back at home yesterday the questioning and self-hammering beat me senseless, and Samuel covered his ears. My doubts were vocalized as if on repeat even after he said to stop it, seeming to cause more to erupt.

“Why didn’t we stay?” I kept asking, over and over.

“Too late now,” he’d reply.

That is what I do, or used to, second guessing, wishing for perfect order, and a body that performs like others with a mind and emotions to match. But all of me has been shattered in childhood. It takes a life, or many to heal if possible at all.

Finally, one kind thought settled in deeply. Remember? Remember how hard it was? How hard I tried each day to soak in every moment with the 5, 2-year-old, and 4-month baby, the very first time holding her?

Remember just how much medication was used? And then a softness inside, a letting go, kicking out the critic who has raised its monstrous head this past year making me miserable.

A combination of medications can do that. In trying to relieve problems, it can backfire. Pot oil hasn’t been studied much, or enough. What we put on bodies affects each of us differently. In listening to my body, it will speak, and so will my soul.

The tears and self-pounding ended with self-compassion. Kitty purrs on my lap as we are once again united with peace, love and contentment, and loving Cory must continue from afar.

PTSD

It must be accepted that there will be bad days, and more often than wanted, sometimes a string of them. No matter how many healthy habits are put in place, an occurrence happens sending my body into orbit inhibiting sleep and spinning the negativity wheel.

To come down medication does help, and that too needs to be accepted, because using it, though much more sparingly, is extending a kindness towards myself.

Samuel believes my own self talk can stop the bad thoughts at night. Maybe, but considering the herculean effort put into it staying still with swirling thoughts for 3 hours or so, no way.

My body will take off without my permission, and this time it had to do with my son’s new van being hit, bringing back the awful memory of their other van being hit on the exact same road 9 years ago when the my grand-daughter was only three months old, and my grand-son 2, both in the car.

The baby’s femur was broken, and my grand-son’s body was burned by car seat straps because the collision was so brutal. He came often after that crash and his PTSD was very evident to me.

We had a used battery powered jeep for him to play with at the time. And all on his own while he played in the garage and driveway, he was the fireman at the crash helping the crying mother and children.

He took his own PTSD and processed it over and over while I watched in awe, knowing this would help him. Something I didn’t have as child but should have.

He talked of all the red lights swirling and the blaring sirens, but no longer the tiny victim child because he became the powerful rescuer, the saver.

God, no wonder I couldn’t sleep!

REST

Getting off the night-time medication has helped greatly, last night making 5 nights in a row, though that one was harder. And probably due to the Covid Booster we had earlier in the day doing things to my body, like a slight headache, a very minor uptick in body temperature along with all over unwellness.

Changes in my body scare me. The soft gentle voice was needed to soothe me. You can do it, it’s OK. Over and over till sleep came, a bit fit full, but it came.

Samuel wanted to go the store after for a few things but one outing was enough for me. After having my own time to myself, this block of time elsewhere caused a need to come home and rest.

Away, those criticisms about laziness or not accomplishing. Yes, more could have been done, like going out walking or meditating. How energy sucking is that? Instead, my choice was to just vegetate, bring in the scattered parts and try to be in the moment.

It was hard not to zone out yesterday. Just that outing, with a shot in the arm and questions of how safe this fourth one will be, was an overload for my tired-out system. Resting was the best choice. Give yourself some credit, even a pat on the back.

Dark Night of the SOUL

Maybe those dark night weren’t for naught. Maybe in those hard hours of wakefulness came resolve. Yes, resolve. Reining in those willful parts; the child, pre-teen, teen, taking control with the adult part.

Or integrating all the parts to one with the adult leading, gently guiding the others with love, patience, and gentleness. Offering a listening ear to the hurt that no one else would hear.

NEW WAYS- SOUL WAYS

It isn’t earth shattering, what I do. Waking after a restful sleep with deep gratitude for that simple bodily need fulfilled, there it is. What do I do?

A puzzle, a craft readying for the kids to visit over the weekend, or what? Movies play almost non-stop, as if that is my safe way to interact with people. While listening to the voices known by heart because they play so much, household chores are accomplished, or the next meal is prepared- which means a lot of time over the sink.

That is such a pleasure when the morning sun splashes on my face warming my upper body. So, it isn’t earth shattering, what I do.

Yet being in my body, and in my life, following that inner voice that often is ignored or detached from, can cause a reversal of negativity in my closest relationships opening them to growth and better lives for all.

Not just in my life but also in those I touch. Since childhood that voice was ignored. How could it not be when divided from it at age eight? That voice calls in the night preventing sleep till listened to. That or the PTSD devil, haven’t decided which.

It is an upheaval of deep angst and unhealth, but when re-connecting and following through…that IS earth shattering! Asking for what I need takes an extraordinary amount of energy and is exhausting. Others have become accustomed to my placidity and apologetic tendencies. When persevering for what feels right repeatedly and doggedly until the desired outcome, well, that must be surprising and difficult to ignore.

It is the little things that shatter the old ways creating new and wonderous ones…

PTSD

Finally making it to one of our women friends monthly gathering after missing a few due to sickness and the brutal sleep issues cropping up again this winter, and trying to make light of my sleep problems, I said, “There are worse things.”

One of them said, “Yes, like Ukraine.”

Going along with the flow of conversation didn’t mean agreement with her. My thoughts after coming home, do you, or have you ever had problems with sleep? I’ve asked her before and she sleeps as well as Samuel, so in her reply there was little compassion. And really, it is inside my own self where the compassion must lie.

It would be comforting to believe that this new monster raising its head, this taking off with worries in the middle of the night, meant something soul shifting to a better plane of existence, but it probably is just that in taking away food to quell the anxiety beast, sleep becomes disrupted by the excess anxiety always ready to sting.

My belief it that my childhood has caused a fractured core no amount of anything will cure. Samuel sleeps. I am awake. My friend’s husband is dealing with a bout of cancer. Well, yes, that is worse. He looks pale and has been through so much. So, there are worse things.

MOMENTS

Winter’s oppression bears her weight down drooling with icy fangs into the flesh of my spirit. It seems impossible to pick myself up, yet each morning- a fresh start, a new day- what are you going to make of it?

Not much. With a retired life, the buzz of work, kids, and getting anywhere at a required time do not demand my energies. So? Breathe, sit and breathe, and remember the mantra of ‘you’re OK’ from one moment to the next.

Because a fear filled life due to PTSD unresolved since such a young age causes a fright reaction to every little noise startling my being into an adrenaline overload. Decades of that tires and burns out all bodily systems.

So…? Who is criticizing you if you ease your spirit (and anxiety) by completing a puzzle in day? Only me. Resting, and/or sending compassionate messages to self while moving slowly to stay present and in the moment are worthy of doing.

Anxiety ruling much of my life caused me to buzz past the present moment, rushing to be done. But now, with reminders to self, peeling apples for the overnight crockpot of steel cut oats becomes restful not rushed. The sound of the knife splicing through, the cool fresh apple in my hand with its light aroma from the juice…

Each task slows so that my being stays in my body. All that occurs in that moment is better absorbed when attention is paid to it. And when that occurs, one can’t mourn the past or worry about the future, and that is living fully with grace and gratitude.