SLEEP

Grossly sleep deprived, my body couldn’t stay awake past 8PM. Waking at 2AM, there wasn’t a possibility of more sleep, and who is to say what is normal for any given individual, so up for coffee.

6 hours of sleep is an improvement over 4 from the previous night. My sleep becomes erratic easily, but it is going in the right direction.

Sometimes disciplining myself to stay in bed is rewarded with a few more hours of sleep. REM time is important, and another round would be healthful, but it isn’t happening today. My mind was not going to shut down. Who gets up at 2 in the morning if they don’t have to?

But here we are, the cat and me, cozy around the fire, and that will have to be OK for now.

THANKGIVING

Very often a comment of support from a stranger means more to me than anyone I know. Closeness can occur without meeting someone face to face. It occurs on-line where the world opens, and connections are made that help lift me and help me do more than just survive day to day.

Thank you Q, and to all the women on-line who have supported me through my blogging years.

Bad Days Come

The hard-fought challenge each day is finding a way to my center making connection because too many days are left hanging, like pieces of me blowing side by side on a clothesline. No center, no hope, no peace.

Lack of sleep does it. Overwhelmed senses too, and that happens ever so easily even with happy interactions especially if it involves more than just one person.

No job, no nothing to do except whatever pleases me. Yet days occur where my being is disjointed like paint splattered on the wall, dots of me so far apart there is no cohesion.

The shattering in childhood means special care now, a need making me rebellious, desiring instead to go along at a pace others go at. Samuel’s out in the meadow daily, mowing for the once-a-year removal of any trees or bushes growing which inhibit our view of the creek, or hand buzzing them. Then sleeps like a bear.

No overstimulation or over-tiredness to stop him from sleeping, nor the worry machine that often kidnaps my brain into a realm of negativity. And others, friends, sons, their wives… all sleep, and even have a positive view of the world DAILY.

I must remind myself that in this season where depression doggedly comes uninvited, each day is challenging enough. Add lack of sleep and the pits of bleak darkness pull me down into blackness where no amount of self-talk helps.

Blessedly sleep came after a fitful day of tears. Peace once again with connection to my core.

HAPPINESS, WARMTH, & JOY

It’s a new and different life, living by the gut, some call ‘soul.’ Instead of the head full of the critic banging away, there is a subtle, softer voice going unheeded for most of my life.

How did the connection occur, and why did it take so long? And why so fleeting?

But once it is felt then flees, the need for connection makes it stay longer and longer so that eventually living any other way is unbearable. The shift back to wholeness occurs automatically out of necessity.

Most people live this way, always have, whole, not thinking about it, just checking in with their internal guidance system all the time. But trauma, especially during years when all parts of a person are growing and forming, causes fissures unfounded.

Soul? What’s that? My head guided me like a robot. A human with a robot’s mechanical parts. To live whole is new- a joyous life. Not odd. All that was done in my life felt abnormal.

It is not abnormal to surround myself with nature, and to curb outside stimulus as much as possible.

That my body cannot withstand overstimulation isn’t my doing, isn’t my fault. Trauma early on meant a life of adrenal rushes daily, cortisol bursts that are meant for only dire moments of life-or-death situations.

Not simple sounds or startles that cause a blood curdling scream to escape my lips or the intensity of being out in the world, a very dangerous place for a woman who learned too early that even those loved and trusted can attack with disdain and a caustic lack of care.

Then anybody could. The stresses on the body took a life-time toll. The only ‘safe’ times in a lifetime of stress are those in nature with a creek gurgling by. Or with a child, or animal, when manipulation, cruelty, and coldness was absent. Instead, moments of joy, warmth, and love abound.  

To wrap myself into a life a safety is to grow in ways never felt before. To feel full, grateful, at peace, and whole.

ONGOING HEALING

Just a relaxing afternoon with friends can send off C-PTSD rockets. Yawning with pleasure throughout the afternoon filled with warmth, laughter, and comradery while we played cards, snacked on goodies, then topped off our monthly gathering with a homemade dessert was nurturing and enjoyable.

And paying attention without zoning out (my term for dissociation) is as tiring as physical exercise. But the C-PTSD rockets didn’t care because at the usual sleep time, no sleep came. By midnight the dreaded Xanax was necessary or else I’d be up all night.

Grogginess this morning comes with a dose of self-pity. No one known in person suffers this brokenness.

 On-line is where my meager relationships open to the world. Others traumatized in childhood with no help to process it live with lifelong challenges too.

It has been three weeks without a controlled medication. My hope was not to use it for sleep again, but that is not to be. The use of it has lessened drastically which is progress-SO CRITIC BE QUIET.

The pain this evokes reminds me of the healing still needed.

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.

SLEEP!

If you add not sleeping to the list of challenges, the dive off the cliff is complete, my basket case status secure. Thoughts ran dizzily like a non-stop train down a mountain.

Taking the dreaded Xanax one night when 2AM said ‘hello’, meant going off the dear little marijuana plant’s tiny bit of oil for three nights till the Xanax cleared. Mixing both lead to over a year of hell till the doctor mentioned that mixing the two wasn’t a good idea.

That dreaded Xanax. Telling myself that it’s a disease, and no blame is put on a person for their disease, the next several nights were fitful lacking the full sleep needed. What that does to thoughts is dreadful, especially when less daylight has already turned them sour.

Thinking maybe a week should go by without using the magical oil, after three nights and lack of sleep, it was used last night. 8 ½ hours of sleep followed. Sleep, lovely, miraculous SLEEP!

All is well with the world once again.  

PTSD BEAST Meet SAD (Seasonal Depression)

The PTSD beast strikes again, out of nowhere, for no reason fathomable or easily identified. It just does. And after a few weeks of deep, happy, (miraculous) sleep, the interference is felt deeply especially the next day. Though tossing and turning in bed isn’t much fun either.

Like other times, it will calm down and sleep will come again. It’s not helpful for sadness bordering on despair that settles in when daylight lessons with autumns approach. Take blah and pick it apart like a daisy, love me, love me not?

Where has that haven so recently discovered within that welcomes with light, softness and love gone? Because glimmers of self-love had begun. Autumn did a good job of stripping the oasis of its cushioning warmth.

With work it will come again. For a serious human being, because since age 8 surviving took away childhood and entrenched a serious outlook of life in my core, these added stressors aren’t easy to cope with.

A NEW DAY

A day of joy, the sun warming body and soul, then off the rails. Sleeping like a bear for over 9 hours, then the next night- is it time to get up as it seemed a bit light out. But sorrowfully no, it is 3 AM. The rocket of PTSD had launched, and worries crowded my brain.

By 4 the forced stay in bed was given up. Sitting in the dark on the porch at the time is lonesome. And the day with less sleep pulled me down more.

Fall’s sweeping drop in mood fell like a crashing elevator. Usual challenges increased tenfold; negativity, worries, repetitive thinking- not about happy things, even those turned sour.

When craving my mother’s love- as was yesterday, then my own love of self, or the work towards such a miracle, goes by the wayside. What about love of self?

The self-talk began anew. You can do this. I can take this day and make it my own. You know that the 3AM waking is PTSD flaring up, so roll over and go back to sleep Worries are cornered back into slumber.

A new day, didn’t the Queen say that?

“Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.” – Christmas broadcast, 2002.

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.