Little Girl Me

My Secret Garden

Running out of THC has caused sleepless nights with groggy days due to having to take other medication for sleep. CBD oil on its own does not work. An added bonus unrealized until the whole plant oil ran out was my legs and how much better they work.

Huffing up the meadow hill, or even just around the house, painful aches with stiffness became highly noticeable. How can this simple oil be so helpful in so many ways? The rat brain cycle kicks in, that of negativity, round and round, over and over again.

The little girl at eight, all alone when loved ones attacked, growing to believe it was all my fault. The loud voice of blame attacking me by day as brothers attacked at night. Those voices bang loudly again.

Despair knocks as tears fall. Going through years of sleeplessness again after months when the miracle of sleep was blessed upon me is untenable. 

“I cannot handle this,” weeping without wanting to while telling Samuel about yet again another sleepless night needing to take a sleep aid.

Samuel says, “You can get a prescription!”

“No, I tried on-line,” crying more, defeated, adding, “It is too hard, and too complicated.”

“It’s not,” he said. “I looked. All you have to do is find a provider. Fill out an application, pay the fee, get a card, then you buy it from a New York dispensary.”

Tears fall more. He had already been on the computer after the first rush of tears when I’d left the room. The tenderness towards him touched a very deep place covered with mistrust put in place years ago.

The only way to survive was to protect what was left after brothers obliterated the essence of me. The spark nestled beneath layers of iron needed protection, a tiny ember below all the doubt, fear, and surety of the destruction to come.

Not the virus, though that can kill, but people. My life has been about fear of people. Because little girl me learned early what people can do.

MOTHER’S DAY

On Mother’s Day my gift is that my son’s and their family’s are people that they are. Each one offers the world so much of what’s needed right now; warmth, compassion, and love. My gratefulness spills over

The morning starts cool, crisp, and sunny drawing me out to walk much earlier than usual. Stunning, just stunning. My heart feels full with thankfulness as the leaf of grass sparkled with morning dew.

Later, both sons call, and with one we enjoy breakfast together during a video chat while our grand-daughter eats her oatmeal. The baby sleeps in front her on the island in a contraption that looks like a stuffed doughnut, but is generally used to support an arm while breastfeeding. 

The other son calls at the same time, so we drop one call to talk to the other. He also surprises me later by setting a balloon and fruit bouquet on the porch, ringing the door bell, then running to the middle of the yard with the rest of his family. (wife and three children) 

We chat, and laugh while the kids tell the latest stories while running around doing cartwheels and splits. 

It was one of those days being cognizant of what is going on in the world while remaining in my body…. a good day, a productive day, a day filled with love. Even my cat benefited from my being present. There is a difference between acting loving and really feeling it. Barriers and dissociation took a day off. 

Rage and Dissociation

Making brittle knowing an overweight body should not be consuming a cup of sugar, I made it anyway. This morning the rest was thrown out. The day begins with a super moon setting in the west, unable to capture it on the camera without electric lines through the shot. What a beautiful orb to wake to.

Going to sleep with the birds, means waking with them too. Sleep wondrously came despite consuming the toxic sugar. These blips off the path of health are not positive ones, but one must keep trying, and today is a new day.

Keeping connected is another anomaly searched for, tried for, and not at all 100%, but much more than years ago when coming to the present was a goal to have. It began with a therapist saying, “Just show up!”

My take on his words were that pulling myself out of the dissociative mist was enough. I was enough. At the time dissociation wasn’t a familiar word, but I spent a lot of time there, off in Patricia la la land.

It wasn’t until blogging when other survivors talked about it that I learned my disconnection from the present had a name. When learning how to meditate 20 years ago, staying present and feeling safe began to occur. From there it began.

It is in the present that Mother Nature heals me, daily walks in the meadow topped off with meditative time spent creek-side. The respite brightens my mood which on some days of late falls into a depressive state where anger flares into rage over political persons who have become something else besides human. Tamping down feelings adds to the sadness. Expressing feelings brings equanimity back once again.

“Samuel, for decades I lived with rage. It fizzled out during the years lived here. But I feel it again punching at the television with rage,” I said as he bent over the gardens pulling weeds.

“Mike said that too,” Samuel said, adding, “He wishes Trump would get the virus.”

“I do too,” I answered emphatically. “I wish he would get it and drop dead this minute!” Samuel nods his head accepting how his wife and friend feels, but a man too gentle to wish that.

There, it was said. Wishing a person dead doesn’t cause them to die. It is a place for rage to go. Not a real wish, but a fire to burn it in, the smoke trailing up taking my rage with it. I may need more of these fires…

 

Que Sera, Sera

As the start of spring unfolds, so too the impending virus, marching across the country like a plague. My mind says, go ahead eat. Because eating numbs anxiety replacing it with an anxiety accustomed to— self-hate. And that doesn’t feel good either.

Face the terror. Yes, death might come to either myself or Samuel. My mind takes off; sick, out of respirators, death, alone, unloved, cold. Or vice versa, Samuel hospitalized without the ability to sit with him due to his quarantine, and death, leaving me alone.

And there is the more real probability of neither of those. Yet the low thrumming terror has been blotted by eating leaving me deadened to fullness or satiety eating things in a way that began at age 8. Eat to numb the pain, terror, and abandonment.

Stop. Face it. Feel it. If the worse happened is living paralyzed until it might come any way to live? Stuck in a chair eating because I’m too scared to move? Or walking the meadow taking in every moment with openness loving what is there.

The sun broke out in the late afternoon calling me. Grabbing hiking shoes that are waterproof to the muddy path, donning coat and hat, the walk, despite so much dull drab browns and greys, was stunning in its earthy splendor. Birds singing, sunshine burst through the puffy clouds.

Movement of my body brought sweat. Off went the coat, lap after lap. My body loved it. Work begins on facing the crisis internally where numbness was achieved by old patterns of eating that make me feel sick not well.

Face the anxiety, sit with it, feel it. Seriousness has been a state of being since age 8. Because survival is a serious business. But other feelings have emerged over time, especially a connection with my central core, or soul, no matter what is happening externally.

That is lost when any form of numbing is initiated. Connection to self. Numbing is rejection of self, even if for decades it saved me. My path now craves wholeness, connection, and peace.

BLOOM

photo by Patricia

Waking, the same dead dragging feelings wake too always present in my core needing work to banish and confront. Sipping coffee rocking by the fire, watching the cat pretend hunt on the porch through the sliding glass doors, the question presents itself— why?

Why always awaking with pessimism framed with rocks of depression? Why goes back to Chet, not the first attacker, but one who held me captive long after the attacks stopped. Captive in badness. Knowing it wasn’t my fault wasn’t known then.

Like weeds overtaking gardens with deeper, tenacious, stronger roots than flowers, thoughts and beliefs that developed in childhood grew thick and heavy, solidly intertwined, and muscled. Hack away at it, they grow back while sleeping waking as if all that happened was yesterday.

The feelings, the heaviness of blackness believing myself bad, abnormal, abhorrent really, not fit to be born, surely not fit to live, craving relief from the pain even if it meant thoughts of death for decades to come.

Why? Isn’t laughter, light and joy part of being alive too? Can’t these feelings dance? Why must the feelings upon waking be so forlorn? What else is there? As the delicious black brew is enjoyed, more of what’s hidden wakes too.

Wind blows through the tree limbs with a song as geese fly overhead, nature melodies comforting. Spring, a time to dance, play and laugh, as in any season if one tries, but spring is especially exciting. 

 

Achieving Tranquility

March is a long month, yet in-between transitions from ethereal highs and tired lows, equilibrium can be found with some focus and work. Living the day with evenness brings joyful satisfaction without drama or chaos; something my life has been filled with since early childhood traumas. Without it, life may feel boring. Boring is good. Boring means tranquil, and that is pure pleasure.

 

FRAGILITY

Afraid to be awake, unable to fall asleep, a combination that haunts what had been mostly peaceful days. Feeling like soaring into the sky like a bird with freedom one day when temperatures are in the fifties and the suns full out, then the boom of racing thoughts with great heaviness, my body moving through quicksand as the cold pierces and the wind howls with swirling snow.

This is the stuff of spring, shedding off winter but getting stuck in the coat sleeves. One day euphoric, the next, my head on the pillow with every thought a worry or concern. My concoction of CBD oil infused with whole plant oil is dwindling. Access to whole plant oil in New York is not yet legal, and the second bottle is all that is left.

It seems to help with the racing thoughts when trying to sleep, and cutting back on it using only CBD oil meant the last several nights were upset with insomnia. Is this just in my thoughts, or real? Taking a half dropper as was my usual along with half a dropper of CBD oil last night, instead of cutting back, brought sleep back again.

Something else to worry about as the transition into spring makes me crazy. It seems to smooth everything out, taking my frazzled nerves burnt out from PTSD since age eight, and oiling them up with soothing bliss— not the usual horrendous negative worrying that keeps my head spinning. It is a tonic that will soon run out. Though stores of CBD oil are in my closet, it seem to work best fortified with the real stuff. (which is double the price)

Fact or fiction. Does it work because I believe in it, or does it really? I’m thinking it really works. Why else do so many people want it and buy it? Rolling out of bed to greet the day, it is met with a grumpy fearful attitude. Sometimes the fright is more prominent depending on what is happening in my aging body.

“I’m seeing flashes of light in my eye,” I say to Samuel worriedly.

“That happened to me,” Samuel says.

“Should I see the eye doctor?” I ask.

“No, you’ll be alright by morning,” he said.

“Or I’ll be blind,” I mutter walking to the bedroom.

And it went away, coming back again that night but less vividly. And in its place new ‘floaters,’ little black things swimming in the eye that started many years ago. This new one is front and center, and very noticeable because it’s new. Floaters are common as eyes age, but flashes of light were frightening. One more weird thing in my body to deal with. It would hard without Samuel to talk to.

The fragility of life makes me want to capture time even on these cold, cold, days. Take each moment in my hand, head, and heart memorializing its preciousness by making imprints throughout.

A Robin!

Falling asleep listening to the public TV station do a special on sleep seemed fitting. It was noted that those who deal with anxiety in the daytime show abnormal brain patterns during the night that coincide with their issues of insomnia. It is so for me, and something that needs to be accepted over and over again.

It is no wonder sleep eluded me after the news reports that it isn’t if, but when the coronavirus hits the US. Add to that a so called leader of the country who doesn’t lead, but instead says all it well because it makes him look good. 

A pandemic is surely coming. Added to other worries my psyche goes on guard no matter how quiet a life I live. The only solution would be to dig myself into a cave and not ever interact with a human soul. There’s also the mixture of cabin fever crashing with spring fever causing a flux of chemicals chaotically popping in my brain. 

It seems that every week or so sleeplessness hits even when adhering to helpful routines. It isn’t my fault though feels like it must be. It just happens. The show reveals how trauma causes chronic long term problems with sleep. The tendency to blame myself needs to soften because it is out of my control.

Staying in the present, using the breath coming into every moment, and being in the now, these are things achievable. And the gentle voice- it’s OK, you’re OK, is needed especially during those difficult nights.

The snow swirls as dawn breaks while the cat curls up next to me by the fire. On Monday’s walk snowdrops blossomed in the wild gardens by the creek, and my son saw a robin. Periods of peaceful days are savored that much more after moving through the tough ones. 

 

Compassion and Self-Respect

“You did the best you could,” Samuel says in response to my tears over mistakes made at mothering.

“That’s what I heard all my life from my mother!” I retort angrily, “She didn’t do her best, she did nothing,” referring to her leaving me alone with her sons and not protecting me.

I did do the best that I could, and no way do I ever want to go back to those dark years somehow making a home for my boys who have grown up much more capable and stable than I’ll ever be.

But the guilt of mistakes wears me down when it comes to saying no to Shane, not wanting to hurt him, only to help. As years pass the toll of childhood abuse shows up in ways that must be attended to, needing more and more self-care, not less.

My younger body could take the slams of PTSD, hypervigilance, and anxiety buzzing through me like constant electric shocks. But the immune system and nervous system busted like frayed ended cords tangled in a blob. Care is needed to gently roll them out to make a life that works in peace.

No sense is made of having my grand-daughter overnight without problems sleeping, then a few nights later all three with a wicked sleep problem after they leave.

My heart fell at the door when Shane said, “It might be 8:30 or later when we return,” knowing that was too late for a toddler who just turned three.

And too late for my own needs which call for quiet in the evening so that my wild psyche and all bodily systems can calm down from the day’s efforts. It is uncommon to need this, yet a sad reality

But my mouth was silent. I want them to go out, double-date, and have fun. Shane works so hard, and going out together without the kids is a rare thing for them, and so important for a couple.

“Maybe next time I should tell Shane the cut-off time has to be 7:30,” I said to Samuel. Best for me, and best for the little toddler. “Remember, we used to hire a babysitter when we went out nights. Our moms didn’t watch the kids, especially at night.”

“Oh, maybe you just had a bad night,” Samuel replied, not one who usually backs my efforts at self-assertion.

So no help there. And how would I feel knowing someone else was watching them? Not good. I want to do it. It doesn’t happen that often, and these years pass so quickly.

But not sleeping, then needing medication that makes me unproductive and sleepy all the next day was not coincidental or worth it. Linking my guilt with saying no is hard. My guilt ripped into me after my head hit the pillow spinning out of control, beyond my control. I should not have guilt, so many sacrifices were made, along with mistakes.

All my income as a nurse went to Shane’s tuition each month. The pressures and stresses of work took a substantial, and permanent toll on my health. I made sure he had things I never did, or would have been able to handle if offered anyway;  a year in Spain as a student, and returning again with his girlfriend, now wife, after graduating from college, financially supporting the trip as a graduation gift…. and so much more that matters but so easily forgotten, choosing instead to beat myself up. 

How do I care for my own needs, which include spending time with grand-children, and keep my sanity? Like the Nike slogan, JUST DO IT. Even without Samuel’s support, just do it, just say no nicely, but firmly.

Suggest a babysitter that can come to their own house so that the little one is put to bed when he should be, temper and all. But then… what if after saying no, sleep evades me for saying no? It takes very little to upset my equilibrium, sometimes never knowing why, a grievous and permanent brokenness due to the assaults from childhood. 

 

PTSD and Hypervigilance

Usually the dark mornings are too cold to open the door to the screen porch attached to the area by the coal stove and rocking chairs. The cat is let out to hunt– hunt as in watch, prowl, and run but never catching. The door is then shut quickly to keep out the frigid air, and the screens contain the cat until she’s ready to return inside.

But this morning a need for fresh air makes me keep the sliding ajar to hear the birds that have returned from warmer climates. How their morning tweeting has been missed during the dark tomb-like winter. The morning chorus inspires, the orchestra full with the deep bass drumming of geese honking by. Now on the look-out for the first robin, walks are inviting.

Interspersed with periods of deep sleep, reminders of the past creep up with an agonizing punch keeping sleep at bay. A tiny change in routine such as all three grand-children staying for the evening catapults my ‘fight or flight’ mode into the vortex of hypervigilance. After they leave sleep would not come until three hours past the usual time along with twice the usual dose of a sleep aid. 

The next day is quiet, languishing on the couch keeping my body, mind, and emotions from further assault. Tears of anguish find their way down my cheeks. Simply having the grandchildren does this?

Worries over my son and the mistakes I made during his growing up years made my mind spin and my body go on alert. It was out of my control. Once the alert system is activated only medication brings it down.

The need for self-forgiveness continues, along with being the best possible mother, grand-mother, wife and friend. It is all I have power over. I do not have power over the past, but how to prevent it from haunting me so?