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.  

Harder Days

Everything about me is a secret, unless you are one of the rare few who know me well, or unless you are a blogger where the freedom to be real is relished. Going to my center uncensored has given the gift of growth, acceptance, and the beginning kernels of self-love.

All the gunk interwoven in my belly, so much of it knotted in rejection of self, going against my own at every turn. Thoughts beating me down.

A common thread woven in childhood when those so close and trusted attacked. A thread of self-blame turning into a noose, a rope becoming so thick can it ever be unraveled?

Some days it is hard to get out of bed to greet the day, pushing myself up with that hardened serious feeling that took hold at age 8 in order to survive. Burdens of self-brutality too much to face.

Needing love, yet not finding any within, looking for it from mother long dead now, though she loved her other 7 sons too and that fact made her love for me tainted, poisonous, and twisted with deadly consequences.  

It is within where love needs planting, where needed the most. As the earth softens for growth, so too does my internal world. When making mistakes, which humans tend to do, let that old hatred for self go when raising its monstrous head.

Add the rich loamy soil of love, warmth, and tenderness instead and see what sprouts. It is hard, sometimes laborious work, just like meeting the day when not wanting to. But it will be OK, and so are you.

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!

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…

Love It All

Photos by Patricia (over the meadow)

In dreams they are there, this family that isn’t safe and who have insisted on my presence with my caving to it. As each day passes from inviting others to dinner without a response, safety is felt deeply allowing sleep, deep peaceful sleep.

It feels like sticking to a healthy eating program which during times of equilibrium, or even shakily so, happens with grace, persistence, and determination. But when PTSD strikes stealing my sleep, all bets are off. Eating away anxiety crops up like a volcano erupting. So too the never-ending craving for family and love.

Eating trauma since age 8 is my anchor, the time of the first attack still repressed due to it’s horrific violence. Going to my core, staying there despite whatever scary feelings are there is a new, magical adventure, feeling wholeness for the first time.

Parts cannot be cut off even though wanting to, the whole shebang needs acceptance as that’s my history, my life, my reality… like it or not. It isn’t easy digging in, inspecting these feelings of jealousy, resentment, and the whys of viscerally not liking somebody.

Taught that is wrong, the badness needs shoving away to really look at it. Pay attention to the feeling of unsafety with certain individuals. It is a warning bell to listen to. My empath abilities need respect, rise from the core, and are there to preserve and protect me.

Feelings of being left out crop up since before my dad died at age eight. With 8 kids and two parents who liked to party hard, there was not love and attention for everyone. Food and shelter, and those types of essentials, but a child needs so much more, and not one of 8 received it.

Be tender with what you find inside. Now is the time to provide what wasn’t provided, not scorn it. Bring it into your arms, love it, rock it with warmth, acceptance and attention, petting the hurt places tenderly. Let soft grasses make your bed, blue skies brighten your day, and rainbows make you smile. That is what to glue the broken places with…

FORGIVENESS

And so, my spirit opens wider unclenching guilt’s shameful grip. When feeling this way, full of holes, hanging on the line like tattered laundry, there is no center, there is no love.

Not even open to my cat until focusing on her, giving her direct eye contact and gentle welcoming. When feeling a grave mistake has been made by my emotional behaviors, self-punishment is all there is.

But trying to pay attention worked and she tentatively moved upon my lap then lay full out for a long while until having to get up.

It takes work, focus and attention to care for oneself, and a feeling that it is deserved. That’s the hard part after hurting a loved one with an adolescent attitude and behavior. The ensuing self-flogging and out of control attempts to quell the upset by eating everything in sight injures me and needs to be reined in once again. There is probably a biological explanation for the eating, carbs increase serotonin.

Such is the story of my up and down life. Periods of calm and control, then not.

Yet aren’t we all flawed? And can you learn to forgive yourself which then leads to forgiving others too? All this is a mash of forgiveness and trust. Hard to pick out the pieces after being whipped in the blender of trauma.

There is such beauty in forgiveness towards self. But it is hard work. My background of trauma still exists with all those already existing daily challenges. Perhaps you shall remember that and be more gentle with yourself.

One more important undertaking to add to the list, forgiving myself for being so very human. The path leads me to that final day, and when it comes I want to know I’ve done my best, and worked my hardest. There is peace in that.

That is the work. During the night when thoughts run squirrely and desperation for sleep sets in, wondering, is this another night when PTSD interferes?… a feeling of peace soothes my soul instead.

Peace returns with help from a friend reminding me of how far I’ve come, and how harsh I’m being on myself. So now the work includes this newest revelation, forgiveness. Keep working, keep working, keep working…

CHRISTMAS PARTY

The winds howled and trying to sleep was of no use without a sleep aid, though later the next day when asked, my friends all replied that, yes, they slept great as if the wind sounds comforted them.

No, not me. That feeling of being so different sunk in deep once again along with the knowledge that the challenges faced daily are colossally more than they can ever understand. Yes, a solid group of friends, but the one who became the closest passed away several years ago. The privilege of knowing her, the best friend of my life, lasted only 5 years.

But it gave me a gift of knowing that the rift felt between myself and most others isn’t me, it is the unusual experiences of my childhood which were extraordinarily traumatic. Sue was also raped as a child, pulled off the street by a stranger.

And she willingly shared her experience when first meeting her, something I had not yet been able to do though eventually she would learn a brief outline of the overall facts. My attacker wasn’t a stranger, it was family. The taboo of talking about what happens in a family is still not something acknowledged or talked about. It has been that way for centuries.

But her family unfortunately handled it the very same. NO TALKING ABOUT IT, as if it never happened. These are missionary’s, you know, the ones who go about saving the world. What about saving your child?

By not allowing her to express such a trauma over and over until processed, and not providing help in the form of therapy too, Sue was cursed to live the same sort of life as me.

Going about pasting a smile on, and acting as if nothing is wrong, when anxiety internally threatens to break you in half or splinter you into a thousand shattered pieces. The cortisol bursts are exhausting. Your world spinning out of control in situations where there’s people, which is just about every situation unless you are at home.

So, Sue knew me to my core, without my ever supplying details of any kind, and without us talking about it. We just knew, and love flowed between us freely like warm swirling air enveloping our souls as one.

Waking after the storm, it was as black as the night before when having to light candles. No coffee? Starting the patio grill, upon it was placed a large kettle with water and coffee grounds. Walking the meadow in the early morning light, checking it after each round, finally the brew looked ready.

After 5 laps the kettle came in to be poured through the coffee filter and, Voila! Cowboy coffee! Samuel was surprised. It almost seemed that the planned gathering of friends might have to be cancelled, because how can glue guns be heated up with no electricity? But it came back on, and our party was a great success.

I do miss my friend Sue. That very special bond we shared, and that closeness found nowhere else.

Hello Body, I am Learning to Love You

It is a sad truth that is forgotten each time it is remembered. My body cannot take too much stimulation, even happy stuff. It is a hard pill to swallow. And when my body goes over its threshold of too much input, though overly exhausted sleep won’t come.

Laying there hours, long after Samuel came to bed, wondering why this time, sleep did come. But the next day, though still productive, a tiredness crept in that made me feel almost sickish.

It isn’t easy living within the parameters of what an aging body can handle, especially mine which has spent a life of cortisol bursting through veins daily. It takes a permanent toll on the body.

Now is the time to take care of it, be gentle, and offer kindness with all the support mustered. Do not live by whatever parameters you think others might set for a healthy life, follow my body’s directive. That also means sticking to daily meditation under the full spectrum lights, something that had gone by the wayside. That half hour helps settle me all through the day and night.

Early to bed, early to rise. And in winter, it means keeping my time, not changing with the time change. Bedtime is even an hour earlier than in summer to adhere to my body’s rhythms.

Such a miracle to be connected to my body. Such a miracle to be able to offer kindness to my own being after a life of hating it. Miracle after miracle keeps occurring… while growth deepens.