Peace and Panic

photo by Patricia

Are these the templates I’m built from? Is there no release from it other than dreaming of being someone else?

Like layers of phyllo dough compressed within my personality, they are there for life. You must accept it, deal with it, and have some compassion.

Some changes have softened the edges, but the core is solid unwilling to be undone. Those hands on me when so young, those eyes of others when trying to tell what was done, being so alone since age 8 with an aloneness indescribable, cements into a life constantly challenging.

1:30 AM, up, no sleep. During the following day, what is that at the periphery of my consciousness? A sliver of panic. But why? Another night, awake at 3 AM. Unsure of the why of this, day three sleep returns to normal.

Maybe I have to describe myself as having a disease. Is PTSD a disease? I think of it as an after-effect of trauma, not a disease. Whatever it’s called, I have it. And panic can find me even at home in the safety of my nest. Even if the trauma is over 50 years past. Even if no longer having to be a part of the work force where daily stress ground me down because others felt so dangerous to be around. Even when I cannot figure out why.

Panic and sleeplessness come. A few days of peace, a few days of panic. 

 

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Little Girl Grieves

photo by Patricia

Feeding the empty heart with food causes havoc and pounds, making loving oneself even harder, impossible really. Eating quells panic. It always has, but a different pain takes its place, not a sufficient pay-off.

Thoughts trick me into believing it is OK to ingest food when if really connected to my body there would be more reserve. Yet the hungry girl looking for love still grieves.

Once again coming to reality, it is time to count what goes in. When beginning a new exercise regime at the community center, food intake goes awry. When food intact is closely monitored, exercise isn’t. One or the other, but what about both?

It is as if an instinct clicks in that this won’t do. You are fatty Patty. You don’t deserve better, a message since childhood with the cruel name crooned my way heaping more pain upon pain.

That is who I became, fatty Patty. The cookies at Grandma’s sneaked from the plastic Tupperware soothed what happened in the night, even at Grandma’s where I should feel safe. Chet made sure to stay when I stayed.

Feed your soul with love not food… a seemingly impossible task, but glimmers of hope sparkle. The spirit of resolve hovers. Keep reaching, working, and trying.

The Skin Horse

The cataract in one eye is becoming hazy causing a slight dizziness while walking. My ears ring as hearing dims. Joints ache, and age spots appear on my hands, just like my mother’s.

You are old, but you are loved. The thought rose while my boots crunched the frosty ground while an emptiness so wild in my stomach made me stop, bend, look up and finally cry.  Cory’s leaving left me displaced from my life, the dimming of it hard to accept. Depending on children so much to fill one up can’t be the healthiest way to go about one’s life.

What is wrong with me? Where is that settled, steady voice guiding me through my days? Where is that sweet groove experienced before his visit? Three days past his leaving the void begins to dissipate, and the familiarity once felt for the presence of my own being begins to own my internal space once again.

All my decisions to make the pain leave really didn’t magically work like a wand on my head saying there, all better. It took time. Time and attending to self and my needs. The voids in my life are many. Like a sealed bottle with a tight cork, not many people are allowed in.

Those I’d like to have in are held at bay without the ability to trust, like the three siblings who didn’t touch me sexually as a child. Though I blame myself for not allowing closeness, niggling beneath the usual self-blame is a rational voice declaring, ‘Maybe they don’t want to be to close to you fearing what each might hear. Maybe each of the brothers have their own ways of controlling the relationship and keeping you at bay.’ That feels more accurate and less harsh, yet the void remains.

And there have been many friends along the way lost due to my inability to speak up, have boundaries, and accept warmth. The turmoil inside swirling would ignite and blow them away— along with the friendship. I have learned to keep some these past few decades late in life, and maybe these are the ones worth keeping. But the very closest has been lost due to her death. I’m not out and about among others enough to find another one like that so close where we’d talk, email, and visit regularly. That void is great. How to remedy that?

My spirit felt bleak while walking under steely grey skies. Sunshine in this area rarely peeks out during winter. Negative thoughts need once again to be strictly challenged, like that harsh voice saying, ‘Your life is boring.’

Is it? No, I love my life, it suits me. The outdoors helped revive me. Then an outing in the car. By day’s end that void, still lingering, caused more food in than a body needs, but the old emotional needs are met. Feel stuffed, and no other feeling can be felt.

Adequate sleep in the night makes me wake this morning to try again to stay in my body, which includes waiting for real physical hunger. Emotional hunger will never be filled that way.

You are older now, but you are loved.

 

 

A New Year

photo by Patricia

Do better, be better. And, or, allow for my humanness which provides softening in one’s soul, a soothing that all is OK even when it’s not. Because it never is all alright. There is a pull of tension then the relief of satisfying peace. This ebb and flow is a part of life. Acceptance rather than fighting offers the peace you seek.

Why does one relationship drill me to the bone causing pain that keeps me awake in the night, even nightmares that ring in my brain days later? Is it the other person, or is it my reaction to them? It is only my reaction under my control, yet the same old reactions occur year after year causing the inevitable feeling of failure that I am not in control of at least myself.

If it’s me and only me that I control, then why can’t I do better? Why can’t I go with the flow and let the silliness of what’s going on fall off me like shedding water?  This dilemma doesn’t seem to soften or improve. Or if there are improvements, I’m not noticing them. Maybe this tension filled relationship is just here to stay. Lighten up. You’re not alone. We all have those who we learn the most about ourselves from.

It is not easy. It is often painful. But the work needing to be done is the same work everyone works on, to grow oneself. To expand, dig deep, and do better.

 

The Eating Monster

Any tiny thing upsets the delicate ritual of falling to sleep. If a sleep aid is used too often self-discipline is replaced by self-pity driving me to the kitchen to eat in a way that began at age eight. The next day feelings of self-hate either drive the eating more or cause a snap back to reality with care towards health and love of self.

This latest detour from self-care lasted too long. Christmas gifts arriving, Challah bread, chocolates, cheese and sausages, all things not usually consumed, instigated the binge, along with sleepiness in the day due to the night-time medication used to induce sleep.

Eating to escape the present. The hate for self hinges on eating patterns developed early on to survive the un-survivable. That excuse doesn’t fly now but the pattern used to escape the now is still used like a knee-jerk reaction. 

The pattern takes me from the present to a place that soothes yet causes such severe pain how can it be useful? What is it you really need? What is it that is bothering you. Do you need to cry, even if you don’t know why? Do you feel sad, even if you have so much, and others tell you not to?

Concentrate on the present moment no matter what it holds. What was once a survival tool now causes harm. Remember the work of loving yourself.  Work on what it is you need so desperately by being present, keeping still, and asking the questions. Stay. Be.  .

  

Yes, I Can!

My denial of winter’s annual take down will not chase the low mood away. The tendency to seclude myself even further, along with the inability to sleep as well, accompanied with the temptation to stuff in food to fill the holes, are challenges that increase without invite.

The lure of the once sun-warmed patio with soothing sunshine upon me is craved, remembered, and thirsted for. The full spectrum lights will have to do, and the morning ritual is adhered to with more regularity.

Winter depression is real, and though your harsh voice tells you that you are being a weak baby, you are not alone, and you are not weak and whiny. Wouldn’t you be sympathetic towards another who suffers it? And accepting that it is real?

Health has returned and with it gratitude for a body strong with mind and emotions stronger too. The ‘yes, I can’ button is on, though it may take a while to find it.

 

Freedom

How to really concentrate on my goals, what will work for me, what will be healthy, and what behaviors matter so that when I wake in the night it is not to worry about the bad decisions that have been made.

Moving my body after a few weeks of illness makes all systems run more smoothly including my mental workings. Exercise is a great boost in all ways. When the most reluctance is there due to inclement weather, or a very low mood, that is when the uplift gained is most needed. Everything looks and feels much brighter. I feel stronger.

There is a way to resist turning to food to numb my feelings. I know this, yet the pattern is of a life-time, since the age of 8 when I’d eat to the point of waking in the night to vomit.

Feel the feelings? Not so easy when traumatized as a child, and forced in other ways besides the sexual abuse by brothers; forced to keep such terrific trauma inside my little body and psyche because the family needed to maintain their reputation. Unprocessed trauma changed me adding burdens that may never reverse. Who I was is not who I became.

The freedom, lightness, and gaiety of childhood innocence was taken in an instant. Seriousness took its place. Life is a serious business where danger is in every moment. 

The life-long repercussions are many. I took it upon myself to be the bad one. To put it on family would mean giving up the only home and family I knew. These messages of self-hate solidified as the years went by.

The family, whether consciously or not, found my silence and meekness preferable because their need for a good reputation grew with me. Others feared my voice as I matured. Manipulations to silence me became more seedy and fierce, yet never anything I could name or discern.

Feelings of always being on the outside intensified as years passed. I craved deeply to be part of something that really never was… a family safe, with real closeness and connections. That craving never truly leaves, it is compartmentalized, put in a little room somewhere deep inside. I learn to live as an only child. This fantasy soothes.

Being a part of this group is not helpful or healthy. It is my choice not to play a demure, pleasing, good sister who is brainless with no mouth. It is my path to walk free without hindrance— without your shackles which tie me down. The guilty feelings of following my own path recede with time.