EUPHORIA MEETS DEPRESSION

Euphoria meets depression, the crash causing several weeks of endured sleeplessness. This happened in fall too when the equilibrium sustained throughout summer tumbled into winter’s lower mood. Now spring’s bursting forth, or the beginnings of it, causing my body’s chemicals to do the same.

It does dampen the joy of it, yet isn’t that life? Taking all of life’s ambiguity in stride? All her ups, downs, and in-betweens? What else can one do but do it, keep trucking, keep trying. And remember, while you’re tossing one way then the other, stop chastising yourself for insomnia because it’s not your fault.

Gentleness, remember? Oh so hard- to experience joyful abandonment and soul ripping sadness all in the space of one breath. Because sadness also threatens with life’s regrets visiting at night, every sound magnified, every wrong turn, or even little mistakes looming like a dark cloud over my bed ready to devour me.

Oh the self-talk kicking in, looking for my center unable to find it, feel it, or go there. Stay. No getting up to watch to TV in the middle of the night. Stay. Suddenly it’s 8AM. Samuel’s gets up, me too popping open the shades. It is his usual wake-up time, but mine was hours before. So some REM’s have been made up from the nighttime musings.

And it’s sunny. Cold, windy and sunny, kind of like my insides.

PEACE

When peace fills me it is lovely thing. Sleep is full and deep. Rising with the gently falling snow in the black morning, it is greatly brightened by Christmas twinkling lights on a timer awaiting me. Padding out into the kitchen, flicking on the floodlight, kitty trots out on the screened porch as usual to ‘hunt.’ Comforted by the warmth of the fire, acoustic Christmas music, and hot fresh coffee, calm is felt in every part of my body and spirit.

Sometimes peace feels boring after a life of adrenaline filled days. A peace I must not take for granted, as it soothes every system in my body, the calm a welcome respite from a life weary of chaos. When thoughts begin to whirl with negativity like a beast to take me down, a softer, wiser self comes forth; you are OK, it’s OK, respect the goodness inside yourself. You are GOOD. These have become truths I believe, not just words.

Good, after a life believing myself bad. Though hard to change that devilish mantra erupting in childhood growing over the years as I grew, making life hellish, finding my truth has been doable. Not coming from week after week of therapy, running to the city on my day off to seek encouragement at 90 bucks an hour. But from a core that has opened wide letting light out, not suffocated by any origin family restraints that bound, gagged, and almost killed me.

Free. Remembering each day to remind myself; this day is YOURS. Not someone else’s to control you, your thoughts, or actions. Bound by no one but me, letting myself free escaping the cages of childhood… finally.

Each day the bread machine whirls making Christmas bread. So much fun to bag up, decorate, and give away. Dropped at doorsteps of my son, friend, Samuel’s brother, and one of his friend too.

PTSD: a Disease Not Shameful

No news isn’t the cure. Up at 1AM looking at the clock in disgust, down goes a pill and out for an hour of TV until it takes effect. Waking this morning the typical hate for myself broils. A softer voice tried to interject, you aren’t hateful towards the need for statins, this is no different. But it does bring up the reasons why my nervous system is so reactionary, a childhood inescapable, the damage life-long.

No amount of weight loss or running mile after mile ever changed high cholesterol numbers because it is hereditary. It has been dealt with for years with medication with no self-despising attached to it. So why hate myself for having to take a prescription in the night to go back to sleep? Something activated my alarm system, but what?

It is so hard to offer kindness to myself for this ongoing disruption as if it is somehow my fault, just like all the early trauma felt like my fault. My daily job is trying to offer nurturing lacking during those years. My safety was violently and irrevocably shattered.

Sadness wells The outcome was the burden of self-hate. Because if blame were pointed properly, at the only family I had, that meant complete abandonment and isolation. Yet being a part of it caused the exact same thing.

I do not know the reason why after waking to use the bathroom that restlessness kept me awake. Sending Christmas cards to two brothers I don’t trust? Though never touching me in that way, they certainly buddied up with Tom, a terrible attacker abusing me when only 8 years old. Their loyalty to him shouts, YOU DON’T MATTER. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU DOESN’T MATTER!

In the night thoughts swirl of the past, some that may never surface. But the sharks of memory swim in me. Will the most violent memory surface, and if so, when? Does the memory move closer as my being claims more peace? Maybe a supposed friend who I try hard to like but don’t but is part of our monthly group is causing upset? She proclaims niceties but my gut tells me she is trouble causing opposite outcomes than her fake niceness.

Though feeling this ambivalence about her, I make the rounds from one town to another dropping off gifts and cards to each of the four friends at the doorstep in attempts to push myself out of the isolated cave Covid has forced me into. She calls saying it brought a smile. The dilemma as always, am I a doormat or magnanimous? Brought up as a pleaser with no needs or truth of my own, it is hard to know for sure especially during these difficult times where the longing for true companionship is thirsted for.

Her words cast criticism on me about my carefulness towards the pandemic so that she can feel good about her carelessness. She has friends in for the weekend who stay overnights, along with gatherings for dinners, totally oblivious to the reality of possible infection.

“Oh, she’s not infected, and I’m not either,” she retorts after asking if she has any concerns.

How does she know? My lifelong grappling with having and keeping friendships due to ongoing trust issues ignites from the continual smolder at my core which isn’t totally comfortable with anyone really except for my cat.

Whatever the reason, PTSD issues continue causing upsets in the dark of winter no matter what is done to counteract them. It feels useless to try so hard when it does not help. But what then, blob around waiting for death to consume me. That’s not me. But it does make me sad evoking memories as to the reasons why I have these struggles, saddening me further.

The work through past memories cannot be complete when the most violent of them is still repressed. It sits there chomping away at my nervous system in the shadows of unconsciousness voraciously devouring my peace.