The Losses Are Profound

Sometimes during sleep at night it takes more work to calm anxiety than in daytime. Waking occurs often, and each time a new negative thought assaults me. Some unimportant, others more so.

The more important problems are those that not much can be done about anyway except work on acceptance. These thoughts attack like demons, pecking at my brain, making me feel as if getting out of bed were the only solution.

Not much can be solved watching TV in the middle of night. Each waking is fronted with a calming voice dug up from a deep interior. It’s OK, you’re OK. The reward of this work is drifting back to sleep, time after time, just during one night.

Perhaps it’s been the cold and wind which has kept me from exercising outside. So tiredness isn’t complete enough to sleep all night. But even after a very busy day this can happen. It is living with chronic post-traumatic stress. Tired or not, the challenges of living with PTSD always loom.

Why beat yourself up for what is none of your doing? Take the approach of appreciating, even admiring all you do to quell these issues.

The tendency is to blame myself. Trust issues interfere with closeness. Blame myself. Is that fair? Or kind? The ability to trust was severed at the age of 8, and anything left salvageable was completely destroyed when no one came to help. The traumas continued, even worsening. So you blame yourself?

The sadness of this continued loss is prophetic. It is not going away, and it is not your fault. How can you offer your own soul love and support?

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Compassion or Rage?

Time and again attacked. Coming up for air as if almost drowned, gasping for breath, even if figuratively, that was my childhood. Interspersed were moments of great joy, galloping my horse down the meadow path, long hair flying back, sweat glistening on my brow, and the horse’s skin… life became black or white, joyful or terror filled.

Where is the love others freely feel and give? Hidden away to preserve what is left. Yet compassion? Rage sometimes directed my behavior. Tempering that rage took great resolve. But something else. It took compassion. Not for myself, it was for others.

The attacking siblings did not rip that well of compassion from me. My essence is made of compassion. Compassion kept me whole inside my brokenness. When it matters, warmth overrides aloofness dissolving my chilly armor. 

 

ONE

photo by Patricia

Connectedness to my inner being so elusive grounds me like a deep rooted tree when it finds me. Adequate sleep is essential, also elusive. Having guests, my son, his wife, and our precious grand-daughter, would usually mean so much anxiety that sleep wouldn’t come. Except for one night, the night after my other son and family also spent the day, blessed sleep has given me adequate energy to enjoy their visit.

Deep rooted anxiety from the unprocessed PTSD in childhood from the sexual attacks by beloved brothers has stolen much of life. Parts of me, like busy electrons, spin around never connecting. It is only the past several years where being in my body while feeling safe has occurred— first only moments, then longer.

The gratefulness felt for having what most others take for granted fills me with blessedness and peace; wholeness, connectedness and feeling rooted in my being where the filigree of electrons intertwine into one is a quiet internal joy unparalleled. 

Coming Home

swimming area in the Glen

The tenseness of being elsewhere besides home invades without consciousness. Returning from our one night camping trip brought a great sigh of relief as we pulled into our driveway. 

Samuel spent weeks repairing the little camper after leaking occurred. He was anxious to try our favorite camping spot for a night. But a few nights of early morning waking due to obtrusive thoughts made me weary.

“Maybe we should go another day,” I uttered.

He scampered about packing up everything and even left the truck running after hooking the camper up.

“All ready,” he said.

So off we go. Some excitement began to build as we entered the park. But wooziness struck and my body needed rest. Later we were off for a hike, then a jump into the natural pool by the waterfall. Though the water was in the sixties, it refreshed and renewed. That is my definition of joy. 

Making the most of the one night, we had a campfire making dessert pies over the coals after dinner. Nostalgia crept in as children ran, hooted and played into the night. That part of my life is over. Then sudden quietness as all went to bed. The campground became eerily quiet.

Sleep came eventually, but my wish was to be at home. Camping has lost its luster. My body can’t take it, others too close around me, the noise, activity and feelings of invasiveness becomes overly stimulating. 

Home. Though an adventurous soul, my delight and excitement comes from feeling connected within…moments that expand, moment upon moment. To lose it is a deep loss keenly grieved. 

My adventures are vast. Each sweaty lap in the meadow focuses on coming to the present moment; the butterfly swooping close, am I a flower to sip nectar from? Pleasures wait at the raspberry bushes as a new batch darkens to almost black overnight waiting to be plucked. Or kitty nestling in my lap, kneading her claws into my thigh while a  rattling purr erupts with vibrations that soothe. 

These are the things that sustain, a home inside and out. That is all I need, and it is more than enough. My cup overflows…

STAY

The tendency to run every morning from feelings has been much of what my life was like. Staying, going deeper, like catching someone running by and grabbing their T-shirt, stay put.

Don’t be afraid. Yet life is scary, not knowing day to day what will be, more so, facing the quagmire of thoughts within.

Yet in that tangle lies relief. It isn’t found in business, it is found in the quiet moments between the spaces.  

Feeling Safe

a walk in the meadow

There may always be a child inside bending over in sobs when that one small thing topples her over. And no doubt because trauma upon trauma was heaped onto her little shoulders with no one coming to save her, help her, or to process the tragedies endured. That finally she has a place to process her wounds safely is OK. Take as long as you need dear one. It may take a while. The longer it was held in, the longer it may take.

All alone she was to conquer the world. All alone.

At the start of each morning while sipping coffee on the back porch sanctuary with birds trilling, moments are spent coming into my body, senses and being. Authentic feelings emerge, the tiredness of facing another day along with the realization that each one takes effort mustered from a soul worn out.

Deep gratefulness also arises that a safe place has been found externally and internally. Acceptance can happen internally, but it takes work even still. Through the crack of coldness the light of love and hope emerges.

It took almost two complete weeks to come back fully home into my mind, body, psyche, and senses. How could being with family cause such a rift…not the origin family, but the now family of sons and their families? That is three summers in a row hoping each one will be easier.  

Wanting to be like friends who gather their families at a lake in the summer hearing what a terrific time was had by all, made me want it too. But it leaves me weary each time, and grieving. Why can’t that happen for me?

The over stimulation causes pieces to fly. To be present each moment throughout the day makes my body tense and my nervous system to go awry.

It makes me sad, but do not dwell. Work at coming home. The last piece occurred over my puzzle. Escaping from that internal place, running from it because the voices were crashing down with cruelty and blame, was not working. Staying and confronting them did.

Acceptance for ‘self’ came in all its messiness. And with that came peace. Not the peace of perfection, but the peace of humanness which includes imperfections. Squabbles take two not one. Rather than always focusing on others and believing that their reactions are reality, the focus turns inward to what really is for me. What are my true feelings, thoughts and actions, not those put on me by others?

For so long the robotic life jostled by the reactions of others and becoming however they decided things were, made life hell. Coming ‘home’ to what really is for me, in all its jumble, is coming to a place that is not that bad. Inside dwells just a person. A person with flaws yes, but a person who has so much more.

 

FORGIVING

The knowledge that my actions hurt another finds its way into my thoughts and gut in the dark of night. That’s a clue to pay attention to. The same haunts return with no apparent growth.  

The aching for this ability to deal with one certain person, and seemingly failing miserably, brings despair. Not again? Oh yes again, the same old stump, tripping, falling and staying stuck.

The need to talk to someone is desperate, but there is no one. My pandering to this person after feeling my actions caused hurt brings no relief. It will smooth over when she’s good and ready. There will no discussion, no way to know for sure.

It is something to swallow and do better at. I know of no other way. The discomfort follows me like sledge-hammer with thoughts of who could help to relieve this pain. My need to be let off the hook for an imagined discretion, or perhaps a real one, goes unmet. Discord curdles within.

Stay with the pain. Stay with it and work it out. An email and phone call was sent. No reply. While bending over a puzzle, often a way to settle anxiety, an opening arose with the message, “Forgive yourself.”

If you have behaved badly, and done your best to make amends, you have done enough. And what you need most is your own forgiveness. This recurrent pain teaches. Don’t dwell on the shortcomings of others or make judgements. Let things go.

It is not my goal to be a doormat. But if there’s a choice whether to be reserved over another’s actions that seem less than noble, or show kindness, show kindness. Still needing to punish brothers for what they have done because no else did, darkens my life even now. Others need to pay for what they do.

But it doesn’t have to be me. It is still a lesson to keep learning.