TRANSITION

photo by Patricia

As the criticizer comes crashing down, coming to a head as the joy of spring meets the depression of winter, I choose gratitude and to look upon my life as one of success; not the critic’s choice… a stain of regret and failure. What a see-saw time of emotion, which is indicative of much of my life; two opposing events, emotions, or ways of looking at things.

Love and hate. Joy and sorrow. How to make room for both in one being, and feeling them, one then the other, or both at once. I loved my mother, and hated her. Sometimes moments of appreciation occur for a life lived with persistence and hard work, but then a bat towards myself about failed relationships, regrets and what if’s.

My heart feels as if physically wrapped in barbs ready to break free or be punctured. A prayer to the universe, Please let go of the wires , Release the strictures, let my heart pump freely.  

Joy and hope burst forth when sprouts rise from the brown earth, joy that suppressed itself all through the difficult winter keeping my flagging spirit up enough to face each day. With more light comes an appetite for pleasures, wanting to do more, see more, be with others more.

The critic needs knocking down, and the soft voice of acceptance reminding me of successes wants voice, and must be given room to speak with an amplifier to hear the whispers of truth.

Yes mistakes were made, be prepared to make more, but look at all you have, and all you have done. As daylight lengthens, so does my ability to see things more beautiful. Food tastes better, scents are noticed more deeply, and stunted feelings open up to possibilities.

 

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Labile/Anxiety

“Here is an article about sleep,” Samuel said, moving the AARP magazine closer.

A few days passed before picking it up. Most of the suggestions, like not drinking coffee later in the day, and keeping a regular bed-time, are things already in motion, but one suggestion caught my eye; CBT-I Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Sleep disturbances over the last month have become severe. So is the search for confidence, well-being, fullness, or any other feeling offering succor. The coldness outside froze my insides. Regret frosted growth spiraling me backwards. Coming off the ‘path,’ I became lost in the forest of doubt, anxiety, and depression.

I’m doing my homework. Many sites seemed like scams, wanting money for completing this therapy on-line, which can be done without a therapist if the depression is mild. But one has offered guidance, already easing my mind and body during the night so that sleep came even after two separate trips to the bathroom.

You know the work. Someone wrote on my blog that maybe you won’t have to constantly keep telling yourself you are OK throughout the day. And my squirrel mind felt criticized, though the remark was a caring and compassionate one. I do need to tell myself that day and night. Living is fearful for me.

Danger lurks around every corner, and in every relationship. My job is to allay unfounded fears, challenge them, offer other plausible scenarios, and so much more pinpointed clearly in these articles. Looking at things less rigidly offers more solutions. Maybe there aren’t aren’t any, so stop worrying over what you can’t change or influence positively.

I took notes. It was so helpful, and the notes will be kept handy as this transition from winter to spring takes place. Even if not read again, they are my security blanket; you’re not alone, and there is a way. 

Labile emotions, joyful to the moon one day, the next a waterfall of tears. The tears come like this each spring, a washing off of winter depression, cleaning out the dull, brain chemicals opening windows for happy endorphins that bring balance. I will get there, and do the work.

http://cogbtherapy.com/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-exercises/

SEXUAL CHILDHOOD VIOLENCE

Childhood sexual abuse? That term makes the crime seem mild. Sexual assault gives more truth to the violence. And it is violent even though using a child for one’s sexual gratification is easy because there is love and trust. An attacker fucks with the body and the mind.

What’s broken can’t be mended, ever. Trust. Gone. The ability to love? My cat, yes. My kids when little, yes. Other little kids, yes. No one else really, or a moment at times when the guard walls come down.

It is always a violent act, though no discernible violence is used. As a child I felt ashamed, and bad. My brother used that to his advantage. I pretended sleep after the first attack which suffocated due to lack of air and breath. 

I had no one. I was alone. And have felt on my own ever since.

PTSD-THE LIGHTENING STRIKES

Little did I understand my ‘illness.’ Calling it that is a first for me. All these years I loaded blame onto my shoulders and into my being for not keeping up, for intense reactions, even screaming if someone came up from behind or around a corner. Usually that was my kids, and most times not purposely because they learned early on that’s not funny with Mom because it caused a very serious scare.

But there is so much more, and it hasn’t been given gentleness or compassion, only self-hatred for being so different, for not being able to do what others do so easily, for being so tired, scared, and forever mistrusting. Even when someone truly cared, in my mind it is, ‘What are you up to? What do you want?’

It is not a life anyone else would want. In the night it strikes. I hadn’t thought of my sleep problems being connected with PTSD. Waking, it is as if a bomb went off. I must get out of bed to be safe and ready.

When anything small or large concerns me, it is during night waking’s that it feels life threatening. My entire body goes on alert without my permission. There is no sleeping when all the bells toll. What if, why didn’t I, oh, the hammerings at myself are deadening.

Last night something new occurred. A voice of calm began asking, ‘where is the compassion? Why aren’t you treating this body that has been through so much with kindness,  care and understanding? It is time you did.’

PTSD strikes many days causing my body to snap with electricity on alert.  It is my norm. To have moments of true relaxation is a state others live in most of the time but not for me. Finally speaking up to my son requiring respect has intensified my usual PTSD symptoms;  sleep problems, a buzzing during daytime accompanied by bouts of tears, restlessness without relief, rat in a wheel repetitive negative thoughts, and despair.

The rift is deeply painful yet necessary. I am the only one who believes that. Others would prefer what they are accustomed to. To act in loving ways towards oneself when others disapprove, or don’t like it, takes great resolve and is oh so needed. 

More meditation, rest after a bad night, diligent work at positive, validating thoughts, and an intense fortitude to work through this differently in a way that finally allows my voice to be heard and respected are all issues being worked on. I won’t apologize for being alive.

When all others are against you, sometimes you must be strong. Making changes in the status quo meets with resistance, even, or most, from those we love. It is as necessary as air, or why exist?

No one else understands the deep currents of how PTSD interferes with one’s life, how much is taken, and I won’t get back. No amount of work will change it. I can learn to understand and care about myself though. That miracle can happen. Laying down every last atom of self-respect so others can trample all over it is my norm.

It is only this year at age 65 that I put out my arm like a cop and said no to Samuel’s brother when he kept coming towards me to hug me as I kept backing away. I said, “That OK, I’m not much of a hugger.’

I have suffered his embrace just as I have suffered Tom’s embrace all these years because I couldn’t say NO. Samuel’s brother also raped his sister way back before I knew him. It is no accident I chose a family with the same dysfunctions and crimes, though not consciously. 

Others don’t understand PTSD symptoms because they have healthy boundaries in place and always have. They weren’t trained to take and expect abhorrent abuses to their bodies, mind, and psyche. And it doesn’t happen to others because since the day of meeting a new person each feels the other out and learns about where boundaries are.

That is how it’s done, but for me, so much time is spent dissociating I’ve missed all the cues, and have no boundaries anyway. If you mistreat me, I act nicer, placate more, bowing at your feet even shining your shoes while down there. Whatever it takes to feel accepted especially after any iota of disapproval, but never knowing, accepting, or respecting myself. 

One must grasp onto what’s left before it is gone. A long standing dysfunction is hard to change. A relationship can either sustain the shift or not. One must stay strong to protect their right in this world, on this planet, and in this little plot of land I call home.

Freedom and Joy

A favorite photo, though the wings are tattered, it still flies. 

Something once stolen gently coming back. A life. My life. So often the director in my head that drives so diligently can take me places not meant to be at. That voice took over where ‘they’ left off, the family of origin that hushed me because silencing me was more important than my having a life. For them.

Even now, almost 60 years later, those chains hold me hostage. Sifting through the brainwashed thoughts and feelings to find my authentic ones takes love, care and attention. Each day uncover the person, still a child, held down suffocating.  You don’t unwrap the claws of brothers by harassing her, directing her onward in a fugue unconnected to her and all other bodily systems.

You guide her out of the black abyss by gently pulling her up from the mire.

Samuel is hacking and coughing. More sick than I’ve seen him. And my throat is scratchy accompanied by a slight cough and drippyness. Do you drive yourself to do the usual? Or allow rest with extra vitamin C to hopefully ward off what he has.

Once accomplishing the goal of quieting that harsh, mean, and unconnected voice that always hovers demanding super human goals, a feeling of freedom washes up from the deep crevasses of my soul. The freedom of prying those hands off me, and the subsequent family requirement of holding it all in for their own selfish needs. A freedom of uncovering the authentic me coming to the present with all senses noticing the full feeling of being.

You have suffered. You as much as anyone deserve happiness and peace. When awake in the middle having to take the despised medicine to help relieve the ever present anxiety that exists in my life, though often groggy the next day, something else occurs.

This calm given by medication slows everything down. A realization occurs that this must be what it feels like for most others. A calm that doesn’t exist for me. My mind and body live beyond the moment racing ahead. It takes a gentler, caring voice to remind myself to slow down and be in the moment. Feel the dish in your hand as you rinse the soap off the silky smooth coolness of the silver metal. Why race ahead, where are you going?

Right now is what matters. As more daylight returns hope like a soft breeze wafting up from my heart, brings a feeling of freedom along with an ability to be in the moment and feel joy.

Dissociation and Its Many Forms

photo by Patricia

Not wanting to settle into the grief that winter brings, I finally do. Running from my center is my normal. Coming to center takes work, and a wanting to. Why would I want to go there if it hurts?

In the air wafts the scent of lavender and balsam from the hand-made sachets filled with my own lavender. The balsam was collected on various trips to the Adirondacks when we visit the shops.

The scent is always present, but I’m not

It’s only in coming to the present that its full gifts are revealed, not just grief, fear or sadness, but so much more, even if only the simple gift of nature’s earthy scented bounty.

After a week of limpy wimpy staying indoors due to sub-zero temperatures and wind, I finally ventured out to sunshine and cold crisp snow. Attaching snowshoes while indoors made slipping my feet into them so much easier.

Around and around the meadow, each lap becoming easier as my lazy heart woke up, pumping it a way needed every day but neglected. My happy heart lifted my mood, and every other system enlivened with health too.

Escaping from the present is not always conscious. I can slip in and out of my ‘safe place’ at will, though sometimes it happens automatically. But there are other ways of escaping, eating is one of them, bringing the numbness craved since childhood when the tactic of overeating to escape arose in order to survive the unsurvivable.

The backlash of this once valuable tool needs constant confrontation as to the efficacy of its use now, and mostly, kindness, compassion, and care.

 

PTSD and Dissociation

Take the high potent antacid upon waking, now a permanent medication after the hospital stay due to internal bleeding from the gastric by-pass done over 30 years ago. My mother so excitedly told me about this horrific surgery, believing thinner would make me happy. I believed thinner to be normal, and oh how I hungered for ‘normal.’ So this regime along with any side effects from the medication are necessary, something I’m reminded of every day.

Grind coffee beans and brew. Feed that meowing kitty, though she wants attention more than food. Sit by the fire, but instead of lifting the computer onto my lap, take time to go into my body, a place feared and often living separately from.

The delicious dark drink is more thoroughly enjoyed when focusing on it while rocking. The east horizon erupts with a gentle pink hue cast upon the clouds, eventually disappearing as snow begins thickly falling as if sitting in the middle of a shaken snow globe.

Don’t be afraid to take these minutes to investigate your body, feelings, and anything that might be there. In owning all that is there, you become whole even in its messiness, enabling connection and spiritual fullness.

Sometimes, after a hard night not sleeping, it takes the entire day to rest and get back into the peaceful groove that’s been created. Resting the mind, spirit and body is often a crucial component of living with the inexplicable consequences of PTSD that interrupts my life all too frequently.

I wanted to share a post from a fellow blogger that touched me deeply:

https://tangledwoman.home.blog/2019/01/25/4-21-16-telling-my-family/