There is no escaping my past, memories, experiences, or the family born into.

The longings for something different with stability and warm love is not helping no matter how fervently wished for. If only my parents weren’t partiers and drinkers. If only they’d stopped at two or three children not eight.

If only dad hadn’t died, laying there right in front of me. Brothers free to attack filling their teenage lust stealing my childhood, my life.

If only.

ONLY in accepting all of me will peace come. Over winter, a supposed friend, tore me down with her ignorant words. She is thinking herself helpful and supportive, but her cruel words devasted.

It does not matter what another thinks. What I feel and believe matters. My embedded negative self is a part of me. When it comes up which is often, daily, almost constant, just say, ‘oh that.’ She did not bring me down. It was that part of me that feels unworthy, lazy, and no good. She did me a favor really. I need to learn this.

The negative sense of self became part of my personality in childhood. In taking on the evil being done to me I could still have a family. And those that committed the crimes weren’t evil but as much in need of care as I was.

But evil was committed. The culprit of my unhappiness then was the responsibility of the origin family, all of them. (even the those never touching me that way because all expected my silence while befriending the doers) Now it is mine.

Trying to make myself feel positive, grateful, happy? Is that the search? Human existence isn’t all flowers and happiness. It is being with what is there.

After waking unable to sleep (as has become the custom these past several years) the worry-fear bomb imploded causing the switch to flip. No sleep was going to come without a sleep aid.

This morning sadness for having to use it. Peaceful warmth while sitting on the patio in the sunshine with birds splashing in the bath freshly filled mixes with melancholy. Joy and grief mingle while a pair of robins take turns bringing worms to their hatchlings just a few feet away.

Sitting in the shade by the creek, leaves swaying in the breeze with shafts of light peeking through, a heron swooped gracefully over the water bringing a smile, yet tears fell- and that’s OK. Feel it all…


There is no understanding of my sleep issues, whether my doing or just decades of C-PTSD taking its toll on my old, tired body. Tears fall, then fall again during a week of sleeplessness. 

If only my ability to sleep was permanent. When deep sleep comes my life feels fairy-tale like. When not, it is hellish, and my thoughts go bitterly to abusive siblings who terrorized me. Thanks.

Even a slight thought before turning over to sleep, a refund from a store forgotten about sending a scare bolt through me having to turn on the TV again for twenty minutes to calm down. It’s OK, it isn’t the end of the world.

That’s how it is and has been. Little frights, my husband behind me without hearing him coming. SCARE. A thought about a friend who doesn’t want to be included in our monthly meetings anymore sure that it is about me and my honesty about my sleep issues and why. (even though she is someone unable to be close with anyway, so her loss is a good thing)

Any little thought or happening can set off alarm bells unnecessarily and when that happens, which is all too regularly- no sleep. Self-talk each day is so crucial, yet even success with that will not escape the grips of long-term trauma inflicted damage.

My life, no matter how much it is buffered and protected from setting off my fight or flight response, goes into survival mode without my permission, as if a life of its own. The only thing to do is what we all do, deal with the stressors of life. These are mine amidst the joy and beauty.

So, on these days when feeling tired, don’t push yourself out to walk lap after lap even if
it is a brilliant day- rest, stroll down once or twice, sit in the sunshine, or do nothing at all instead of push, push, push. Self-care, self-love, all new, but keep at it.   



Two weeks of reprieve, sleep coming every night even after waking to use the bathroom, then bam, needing medication two nights in a row.

Is it something within my ability to change?

Worry about being an insensitive friend because Nancy had mentioned in her long email that her kidney needed another operation. Walking too much hurt, but I’d read the email only soaking in the major parts and missed it. That happens a lot with my brain hip-hopping around like it does. Thinking a happy email might be helpful, it included my love of walking in the meadow.

But a few days later my mind began swirling in the night thinking about it, going back to re-read it the voice of mother boomed, “YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!”

That was one of her ways of grooming me into silence so I would not speak of what her sons had done. Abusers aren’t the only groomers, families are excellent groomers too. No sleep for two nights, I’d made an unforgiveable error.

But after apologizing via email about my insensitivity, she writes back happily sharing her travels with family at a B & B. Her medical issues and emotional state did not keep her from fun things with not a thought about anything I said.  

But it agonized me. Going through what she is dealing with would terrorize me. Terror even of Samuel’s hip replacement, causing me to stay close to home not wanting to be with anybody, needing time to collect enough courage to face the entire next day in a hospital.

This thing I do, worrying about not being good enough, doing bad. How does one change that? Can it be healed?

It has to be managed, lived with. It became part of my personality at age 8, all alone, raped, and having to deal it on tiny shoulders, with more traumas to survive for the next several years.

It is a silent ravaging disease, anxiety, C-PTSD, low self-esteem, and so much more. Not many understand, comprehend, or want to, surely not enough to keep them up at night.

My soul shatters, comes together, then shatters again,

and oh so quietly nobody hears, sees, or knows.


Shifting internal dialogue has taken decades, many, many years of therapy, but of late the resolution to a life of forever feeling bad has taken a turn towards lightness by being with myself in nature- the woods, the land, and me.

And it’s fleeting, as tomorrow my writing may be pain filled and down. But there are moments that have stretched into days where my internal world is gentle, loving, encouraging, and accepting of ME.

And it is more than a kinder voice, it is feeling wholly accepting of myself, more than OK, but that I too am a good person.

Raymond asks one day, “Good? That you are a good person?”, a psychiatrist who knew what he was doing, though pushing me into a career because I had the intelligence to do it might have been more about his being successful than me.

Though glad to have succeeded at such a feat because it paid for both sons education at a prestigious college and set them both on a burgeoning career in the technology field where they still work, the years it took me to accomplish it stressed my already overloaded nervous system.

Daily cortisol bursts from each challenge and the ever present fear of people caused my body to develop a syndrome of fatigue that cannot be repaired. It was worth it to see them thrive now, even if I don’t, not in that way, but in my own quiet way; learning to be with me and be OK, a place always run from before that I now inhabit fully.

Fractured, now whole, perhaps a bit bumpy, but whole.

It has always been about goodness, that I wasn’t, I was bad, abnormal, bad, bad, bad. The revelation that I am of good heart, as human as any with mistakes, flaws, and quirks? That it is more than just words? All new.

Every minute alive is one minute gone. Getting older one begins to realize that, that this moment is precious and living it feeling bad because I’ve been habituated to feel that way doesn’t have to be. I am learning otherwise, I am learning the truth.

The rabbits, soggy ground, icy earth, birds, and running water of the creek have taught me that. That being with me is the best place to be.  


My friend’s remark last week (with friends like that, who needs enemies?) erased a lifetime of work in her one-liner, you are back to square one. Six little words set me off my rails doubting everything about myself.

It wouldn’t help to tell her what an airhead she is. But it does call for my internal depths to deepen and grow. There’s no making someone understand who cannot.

To ease the pain lingering from her shallowness, and to understand myself better, a letter that won’t be sent, or maybe will be. The risk of letting myself be known is losing this ‘friend,’ because it already came close this time once again. Let it go, or work on tolerance, acceptance, and forgiveness? To not speak up when someone puts a boot in my face is not healthy.

Though I’m able to forgive your blithe remark, I won’t forget it. To look down on me without knowing the ramifications of my childhood and erase a lifetime of working at keeping myself alive?

Because yes, it has been that hard. In one short sentence you delete lifelong work. It tore me up, not because I believe it, but because you believe it. That after all these years you don’t know me or want to. And that’s OK, how could you? But to take a quick peek and dictate such a thing?

And interestingly, the answer I sought wasn’t forthcoming. You had said out of the blue recently that you were glad I was learning to love myself. My curiosity was in response to your blunt sentiments, entering a space you hadn’t been asked to join.

I regret asking. Boom, what seemed like a positive observance from you replaced with unsolicited advice that had nothing to do with my question.

You don’t know what a destroyed nervous system is like. Adrenaline pumping through my veins daily, cortisol bursts draining precious resources. My body, psyche, emotional being, and mind, all tired from a life of it. Daily occurrences that don’t make others jump with terror, terrorized me. Because all people became dangerous from what was learned in childhood.

We have sold the camper, giving up something loved. The possibility of going to Cory’s again is probably too much for me take on again. I cannot fly around the country like you do or drive anywhere long distances without my body being upset for days.

I need to stay home, and accept it, because I love the land, and being here. I am happy. I am mostly at peace, though little changes in routine upset my tired-out body. No, you cannot see my scars, but they are there, and they are life-long growing more challenging as I age.

Even Christmas with Shane made for a fitful night of sleep waking at 1:30AM and staying awake all day yesterday feeling teary and tired. I have a lot of days like that due to my sleep issues from Chronic PTSD, spilling over from what happened at age 8, terror so deep my body 60 years later still protects me from remembering, though I do know a rape occurred. I remember everything else which is bad enough.  

I believe a hidden agenda in such a grievous remark compounded with a lack of knowing your own motives was behind it. But it came out anyway sword-like. I never became accustomed to your barbs couched in syrup drawing blood over the years, but this one so trite in black and white I won’t forget.   

I write in the hopes you might see a miniscule fraction of what my life is like and stop quick judgments. The respect I deserve is sadly lacking. It is enough that I know.  


Is this a friend to keep or not? That question has occurred many times, once almost ending it, but she stuck by loyally and loyalty is most valuable to me. To end it would also mean ending the monthly group of 5. What would remain is Samuel and my forest friends. It is as Samuel said once, “You don’t stop picking berries because of the thorns.” Well, actually I have.

Love of Life

Photo by Cory (my younger son)

Each day there is a job to do, work on self-esteem. Though possible to improve on that front, the core of my being already formed is staying that way.

You cannot cut into the layers of a tree and remove its inner ring without killing the tree.

I am who I am, who was formed during childhood, with beliefs about myself that became embedded into my personality.

So, each day takes focus, work, and effort to counteract the life-threatening critical voice which thrives so dramatically inside me. To tell it, I do deserve life, equality, pleasure, and happiness, even amid all the other struggles and pain that life brings to each of us.  


Happiness is not ready-made; it comes from your own actions.

But what are the actions needed? My body and me, we departed from each other at age 8. Reconnection slowly occurs in snippets, yet mostly remains a mystery.

The rift is too widely cracked. Is it activity or rest? A life of adrenaline filled days has worn out my body no matter how hard that fact is denied. Easily overwhelmed systems need a great amount of rest, stillness, and inactivity.

The urge to push, push, push backfires making me physically sick.  Feelings of being different, weird, or unusual can be transcended with acceptance of all that I am, was or will be. Patience with self fans the spark of self-love into flame.


Each day challenges: old haunts, familiar yet unhealthy ways of being, habits ritualized over the years- habits of thinking that put me in a negative light, all that I touch, think of, and do is perceived as bad or wrong.  

There has been no crime committed, yet in my mind I am the crime, a disturbed self-portrait painted by familial sexual abuse at an early age.

So, each day begins anew with self-talk, much needed self-talk. Friends have given a helping hand over the years but could take me only so far.

The real change, the real challenge, is what’s inside, and discovering self-esteem for myself. What others have given has saved me many times, pulled me up from drowning, live-saving, yet temporary.

It is a new and delicious way of viewing myself, the world, and my place in it… that I deserve joy and happiness.

Not from what I’ve done or will do, but by being me.  

Life is not easy, it is hard, yet there is joy, there is light, but it must be found both inside and outside myself.  


The PTSD rocket takes off without my permission, leaving many parts behind right here on earth. But a body can’t sleep splintered like that. On night three of rough, erratic sleep, a stronger sleep aid was resorted to.

Grogginess from it caused a bad fall the next morning possibly breaking a toe which throbs even now, also looking black and blue. That day, yesterday, a cardiology appointment was completed where a treadmill and ultrasound were used for my routine check-up. The gel felt so cold on my bare chest after huffing and puffing on the treadmill’s incline.

Though I did it, I cried like a baby during the undressing- the anxiety of the appointment, the hurt toe, but especially the after-effects of Xanax which always leaves me full of self-pity the next day for having to use it due to the traumas from childhood- bringing me right back to it all as if it were yesterday. Luckily the technician possessed all the qualities you’d want in a medical person, compassion, and competency.

“Everyone gets anxious at appointments. You’re doing great,” she said. (more than once)

“Samuel, will I ever heal from it?” I asked through tears, adding, “no wonder some people believe in reincarnation. No one reaches their full potential in one lifetime,” wondering how I could ever let this one person affect me so dramatically. Haven’t I grown? Can’t I find depth and wisdom to handle this, and rise above it?

Samuel doesn’t say much because I prefaced my lamenting by asking him not to say anything, to just let me express myself without trying to ‘fix’ it. So, he was blessedly quiet.

The peaceful lull of night after night of sleep ended as it always does, a happy period of sleep, then? Whether caused by an acquaintance who unfortunately is part of my inner circle of friends, or it just periodically happens because my bodily systems were broken in childhood, I just don’t know.

Seems too coincidental not to be due to this one person’s cagey deceitfulness reminiscent of my entire life; living in the shadows invisible to even myself because it made my mother’s life livable. And the others who did such monstrous things to their little sister. My close inner circle of those allowed in is limited. Rosalie doesn’t belong, yet there’s no way out of it.

Great effort is being put into trying to see some positives about having an untrustworthy person as part of my small, safe, inner circle. So far none has been discovered.