FRIENDS

Tinted, like looking at the world with dark glasses. When the growth of a personality is embedded with feelings of ‘badness,’ feeling abnormal, even dirty, it separates a being from others in so many ways… emotionally, spiritually, and intimately. Closeness is feared.

Anxiety arises. Any interaction with another human makes it pop like hot mercury. Though much of that has lessened, anxiety and the customary feeling of wrongness, or badness, are still issues dealt with daily. 

Living in a bubble is not my desire, but my needs require an environment that includes a great deal of solitude that is steadily familiar. Upsets in equilibrium interfere with my health setting off a reaction that is out of my control. But outings are still pleasurable.

A friendly gathering offered a place to really talk. Later at home the harsh voice began banging, “You monopolized the conversation. Can’t you see what they have been going through?”

Then a softer voice quietly budged in, “Give yourself a break. It’s OK to share. It doesn’t mean you aren’t aware of their struggles or pain, or that you don’t care. Let yourself off the hook. Think of the supportive things that were said, like, you are a good friend. Remember that?”

Remember that.

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SLEEP

photo by Patricia

A wind burst blew, a splatter of rain, thoughts of closing the windows, then quiet. But not my thoughts which begin to race over worries that don’t intrude so much in daytime.

When complaining about my nocturnal waking’s, Samuel says, “Wipe the slate clean.”

Tears come because it is as if he blames me too. As if I have control over a rat brain that rolls through in the night-time at will crushing any power over it at all.

“You don’t understand,” I lament at the check-out in the store, wondering if the cashier can see the tears leak out and roll down my cheeks even with my head down.

“In the middle of the night, I don’t have control. Worries take over and some nights it’s no use. I have to get up,” I said.

“Well, that’s how I do it. Maybe it’s different for you,” he said hardly convinced.

Another bat to beat myself with? I don’t believe it. I believe damage was done. That holding in trauma for decades has done a great deal of damage to all systems of my body. Samuel cannot understand, nor can another who does not deal with PTSD. Gentleness, understanding, and acceptance is needed, and can only come from within. Forgiveness too.

Because in the middle of the night, all my ‘crimes’ come back haunting me. No one but me can give what I need which is a forgiving nature. When applied to myself it then can bloom outward.

Laying there awake and rising, the clock said 3 AM. Oh, that is too early and back into the warm bed covering up sleep is waited for. But it takes an hour and half for my squirrel brain to calm down before sleep comes.

Awaking to a brilliant day without the sleepy hang-over from a sleep medication, nor over-eating in the middle the night because of feeling sorry for myself for having this problem, the day yawns ahead with its usual challenges… challenging enough without being over-tired.

Worries feel more manageable with energy for a reasonable inner discussion about which ones to try to work on, and which ones are out of my control. This is not something doable in the night. This is a condition to accept with more love and understanding than Samuel seems able to give. He takes his ability to sleep for granted.

SUNSHINE

The sun came out, yet cold. A long repose by the creek in the morning’s warm rays soothed achy legs, and my ragged mind too often on a tangent wild. A heart that aches looking back at what could have been, at brothers loved who made mistakes that I still suffer from. The ache that also caused them, that need not to have been.

The noon whistle blew in the distance as time went by. Something splashed in the creek as bird melodies wrapped me in song. After a thorough rest in nature’s sauna it was time for a leisurely stroll back to the house.

The rushing sound made me stop to look up at why. There was breeze, no wind, yet it sounded windy. Aha, the leaves are growing, and that is the whistling of currents through them. After days of rain this pause in nature was so needed as each muscle relaxed, and my restless mind calmed.

FREEDOM

To live a life with invisible chains. To begin to experience freedom. To invest energy into the ones that matter, rather than everything else that doesn’t, but once used to seem to be all that mattered in order to survive. And that would be keeping the secrets of my mother.

It was never something that could be put into words because I was not cognizant of it, only that I needed her love. And instinct knew the trade was silence for love. Secrets sat like a beast inside me in the therapy chair.

It dwelt inside me since age eight, what each had done. The beast ate from the inside out. I was a silent mass of snakes, each one let out slowly; long, slimy, and treacherously reptilian. A brother once loved who attacked, but don’t tell.

How does one live curdled from within? Insides so confused not one sentence could leave my lips that made sense because the feelings were so twisted in order to appease the family. I grew to appease others, the being created unknown to anyone, most of all me.

Even now daily reminders are needed to allow my internal self to relax, and move in a way that is freer, calmer, and in my best interests. Ways that allow for healthy patterns of existence that others might take for granted, be it a more relaxed mind, eating in a way that is connected to my body, enjoying movement, and respecting my body’s needs without fear. 

The life sentence of rage that took all joy finally over in my fifties when writing the truth of what they had done bubbled up each week, and with it joy because the suppression of one thing suppressed the other. Healing. The truth like a soothing balm. The key was my mother’s death ten years ago this month, a loss mourned more than any other thus far.

Finally the freedom to be, tasted for the very first time, a continuing journey to explore as my true self becoms known.

 

The Ripple Effect

Ripples in life pile up growing bigger as they cascade down like a snowball gaining size as each event plops on top of the other. Then the PTSD monster won’t allow a return to sleep at 4 AM. What that does to the rest of the day is disaster.

No armor for my restless soul hell bent on caving in on itself with fury, the fury of being eight and the everlasting damage done. A feeling of badness that takes energy each day to resist, but without sleep I’m lost in the wilderness of wrong.

“I’m a bad mother, grand-mother, I’m born bad with no right to be here,” I said to Samuel, allowing the dark inside me to seep out, and with it tears.

At 4 AM, the thought that my comment about a certain sneaker possessed my grand-son to buy that very pair with his own money, kept me awake.

“No way,” Samuel said, “A kid that age wants to buy those things. It wasn’t because of you.”

I wish I could believe him, but I was on a mission to lash myself.

“You don’t have this inside you, something that makes you feel bad every day,” I said.

“I know,” Samuel said quietly.

But his gentle encouragement helped. Thoughts that allowed myself to run ragged with hurt needed reining in. If only I had the energy to combat them.

Work in the studio felt tedious. Being conscious was burdensome. Later in the dreary day, unusually cold and rainy, energy was mustered to do meadow laps in-between the rain-drops. The day improved with more acceptance for my dis-ease, and myself.

It is the way. Things go along, then not. A fender-bender in the parking lot, cancelling a trip to Niagara Falls due to inclement weather, and my son visiting on Mother’s Day, something that should be joyful bringing worry instead. Like a snowball gaining momentum on it’s run down the hill, it was enough to make my brain go haywire, then make me turn on myself.

You did not control your thoughts, my harsh mind reprimanded, that is why you can’t get back to sleep. 

But the disease of PTSD does not allow for that. Once activated it is out of my control. That is something not easily accepted. Blaming myself is so much easier, though painful. The damage done during my childhood years has to be gently understood– time, after time, after time. Being a fighter at my core, acceptance continues to be something to work on.   

 

GROWTH

photo by Patricia

My head knows what my heart does not. When a child is sexually abused by loved ones, her world turns and does not recover. My head knows the blame is not mine, but the soul, my core, became damaged in ways that won’t be undone.

People my age die. It is not uncommon. The growth so far may have to be. That is the way for everyone. We keep growing until we die. And mine is enough. I cannot have what I would have, but I can have now with hope.