Food of Life

photos by patricia

Get to the root causes of why you overeat. Yes. Feed this body so it works properly.

What about the psyche, emotions, and the soul that searches for something never found? These crucial parts still crave satisfaction and wholeness.

I eat anxiety. I eat to feel better about the little girl lost, unloved and unprotected who to this day struggles with self-esteem and so much more. It is a desire and basic need that will forever go wanting because no one can go back and make it right…or safe.

At 64 I am only just learning to be kind to myself. That is key. Yet the constant challenges of confronting that harsh voice inside remains and needs work daily questioning its validity.

Food soothes. Food quiets the voice. But then another voice booms even louder, “You are fat, you are bad!” but it is one I’m used to from the age of 8 when food numbed the horrors. I go in circles and circles.

Keep at it, keep trying.

Waking to the birds, the humidity is thick. Taking coffee to the patio, bare feet against the cool cement, the nesting mourning dove calls hauntingly and sweetly back to her mate sipping water at the birdbath. They are on nest two. At this rate they will have three families by summer’s end. A tranquility descends into my being.

Each day a mystery. Will you feel fear, or be OK? Tame the beast of impermanence. Each day a challenge wrestling with thoughts, turning them around, finding the peace restlessly craved; a quietness in the soul that when found allows textures to be felt, scents to be absorbed, and moments to be full…

ANXIETY

photos by patricia

Anxiety spills from my pores quicker than blood. I mop it up with food and push it down, food that becomes tasteless and only quantity matters, enough of it until the quickened pulse and throbbing nerves are still.

It is a constant work feeding this body as it needs rather than feeding the tormented psyche that expects dread and doom at any moment. Each step, even in the quiet meadow, there can be danger lurking… A lion, goblin, or hooded monster? Just who do you think is behind that bush or around the corner?

The brothers of my childhood lie waiting.

A hole was torn into my bedrock of being, one that cannot be fused with strong bone. Up through the crack gurgles demons and terror. It cannot be stopped, it is always there waiting…

SHATTERED

“Are you sure you want the title to be SHATTERED?” my younger son Cory asks before he begins the design for the cover of my memoir

Without hesitation I answer, “YES!” No doubts there.

“And the cover. Do you really want drops of blood?” he asks with great skepticism, even sounding critical. 

Immediately my answer spills forth, “Yes!” I say with surety, for once without timidness, feeling wrong, or any doubts. Thinking it through a moment my firmness remained.

Although he took every step along the way with me, the first one strong enough to do so, when my feelings were firm about something I stuck to it; a freeing feeling.

Yes, blood drops. What was extracted from me was virgin blood and also a child’s virginity in every way- spiritual, emotional, physical, my innocence and a change in who I was and who I would become. Those drops depict what was taken.

Though Shattered, I am not broken. I may feel broken at times, but the pieces keep coming back into place. They may not make a whole that would have been, but one that is richer. The bumpy surface indicates character and depth, a more beautiful whole in every way.  

 

PEACE

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In that place that is not now, distracted from the present, and not knowing why, tears fall. Then fall more.

Sometimes an instinctual urge has no name or explanation. Get out. Walk. Doing will help you feel productive, not paralyzed as this new wave of unspoken needs and change take hold.  

Eventually the mind will meet the emotions and the unnamed feelings will make sense; or they won’t. Until then ride the waves and do the work needed to maintain health in all realms; emotional, mental, spiritual and physical. 

Walk, confront the negative voices, bring that dissociated mind back to what is around you now. A scent lifts me, the aroma of lilacs or lily of the valley. The cat splays out on the floor in the sun stretching her expansive furry body able to look adorable even in her sickness. Life goes on…

The feelings move through. Another day arrives, each one a new flavor. 

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FEELINGS

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photos by patricia

Tears fell on the puzzle as my head bowed. Samuel said, “Go outside and enjoy the day!”

The tears stop. Thinking of a reply to help him understand seems futile, and instead I fervently wish for him to go so that I can have my feelings and release them. So much sadness is yet to come up, sadness’s I learned to squelch. New sadness’s need airing. Feeling feelings is a good thing Samuel.

Upon return from the vet’s I learned Molly has lost a good deal of weight. The tumor behind the eye may have progressed to the lung, or she may have hyperthyroidism. Whichever it is, she is twelve and not feeling well.

My buddy. I have not had a cat I was this close to before and I’ve had lots of cats since childhood, relating to them more closely than any other living being. Molly is more like a puppy-cat following me everywhere. And lately more so. The thought of losing her hurts.

Other sadness’s crop up especially walking the meadow. The first lap brings tears, almost sobs. I look around assuaging my fears that anyone can hear. Both neighbors are working, have your cry.

Now that Chet is dead it seems I think more about what he had done, how much damage. While alive the most I thought about him was what a pathetic life he had; I felt sorry for him and not much more. The tears come for the little girl who feels like someone else…not me.

By lap three my excitement for spring, the green grass and bursting flowers takes over and I go in for my camera. Laying in the dewy grass I snap shot after shot. It feels good to allow tears and sadness, to allow it with no one around to tell me different. It feels good and I feel good, more whole.

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PEACE

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Waking, remembering the work of easing anxiety, my breathing slows evenly and deeper. It is almost 5 am, time to rise. My work is calming anxiety that comes each spring. The wiry brain which had plummeted to a lower mood over winter, now sprints into more daylight and an awakening. Anxiety is also an issue dealt with throughout the year as my equilibrium is easily upset.

Spring tends to bring noise in the brain and eccentric behavior, inviting situations that greatly increase the anxiety beast, not tame it. This year the journey is different because I’m feeling more aware of the dilemma, and more aware that this body and mind is not like those around me. I need special care, care I do not know how to provide or feel worthy of.

That feeling is more that a feeling. It is part of my personality that’s staying, formed deep in my core during childhood due to my brothers’ ongoing abuses, other brothers looking away, and my mother’s collusion in the conspiracy of silence; we are a happy, normal family, you will love your brothers, as they continued to creep in my room and attack me.

I don’t like the fact that at my core is a feeling that I am bad, and unworthy, or that whatever is happening is my fault. I run from this fact of what I believe, embedded permanently like a crack in rock. In accepting this flaw, and accepting where it came from, compassion, self-love and a more lenient judge takes the helm. 

I try so hard to function at the fast speed others seem to function at so easily. Then fail, compounding issues of poor self-esteem. My tired body and mind can’t do it. This whirlwind called life has always moved too fast for me. 

There is no one else to provide proper care for myself but myself, as it is for each of us. We can lean on others, help others, but we are each responsible for handling the inner workings of ourselves. And for those like me with chronic, pervasive, and permanent Complex PTSD, it is a daily endeavor that often leads to despair.

What comes as second nature to others and is taken for granted, is elusive for those who have suffered traumas that extended over time. I have to work at it, sometimes every minute of every day, and even then without success. Hence the despair.  

Breathe deep. Keep breathing. The tight chest, is it medical or emotional? Later as the conscious deeper breathing continues, the tightness abates. Anxiety can harm all facets of the body, mind and spirit. And it can cause one to seek out more without being conscious of the urge, adding to the internal chaos.

Be quiet, be still. Bored? That’s not boring, that is called peace…
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GROUNDING

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Each morning I awake and try hard to calm the anxiety. No, I don’t want to get up at 4:30 so lay in bed half sleeping till after 6. Sometimes I just have to get up, but I was still so tired from the egg dying get together yesterday I lay quietly. 

A few times these past weeks I’ve had to take Xanax in the AM, a very unusual occurrence for me unless I have a medical appointment. Just a half and it helps. But more times I use meditation to get below the buzz. Most of it is irrational like believing my breathing was a problem, but it was only congestion in the back of my throat.

I ponder why this spring I’m affected with fear and anxiety when other years it just felt like big highs then some lows till leveling out by May. I think it is because for the most part I’m not using food to quell it. That’s hard.

I need other ways. Going below it works, by staying with it, in it, and working to go beneath into other rooms. Deciding not to allow fear to run my day helps. Deeper breathing helps. This too shall pass, helps.

Take things easy, try not to get excited over flights of thoughts. Samuel helps to ground me. Try to remember just what base you have. I think of Chet and the damage. I think of him more now that I ever did while he was alive. And Mom sitting across from me telling me if it ever happens again to tell her.

I took it as blame, as if I had some control of it. She could have saved a life-time of feeling ‘bad’ and crippling self- blame had she handled it with love; holding me, telling me she was sorry, stroking my head. But I sat across from her, tears of shame burning my cheeks as they fell.

And it did keep happening, Chet kept attacking. It took the bugs on my body and that terror making me go to her. It stopped only then because she finally hired a babysitter instead of expecting me to keep him off me.

So much damage. But think of it. Think of who I am really am. To have that much zip to keep going, trying and living. There is a strong base in me. Go there. That is where I can be held, and loved, and calmed.

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