The PTSD beast strikes again, out of nowhere, for no reason fathomable or easily identified. It just does. And after a few weeks of deep, happy, (miraculous) sleep, the interference is felt deeply especially the next day. Though tossing and turning in bed isn’t much fun either.
Like other times, it will calm down and sleep will come again. It’s not helpful for sadness bordering on despair that settles in when daylight lessons with autumns approach. Take blah and pick it apart like a daisy, love me, love me not?
Where has that haven so recently discovered within that welcomes with light, softness and love gone? Because glimmers of self-love had begun. Autumn did a good job of stripping the oasis of its cushioning warmth.
With work it will come again. For a serious human being, because since age 8 surviving took away childhood and entrenched a serious outlook of life in my core, these added stressors aren’t easy to cope with.
A day of joy, the sun warming body and soul, then off the rails. Sleeping like a bear for over 9 hours, then the next night- is it time to get up as it seemed a bit light out. But sorrowfully no, it is 3 AM. The rocket of PTSD had launched, and worries crowded my brain.
By 4 the forced stay in bed was given up. Sitting in the dark on the porch at the time is lonesome. And the day with less sleep pulled me down more.
Fall’s sweeping drop in mood fell like a crashing elevator. Usual challenges increased tenfold; negativity, worries, repetitive thinking- not about happy things, even those turned sour.
When craving my mother’s love- as was yesterday, then my own love of self, or the work towards such a miracle, goes by the wayside. What about love of self?
The self-talk began anew. You can do this. I can take this day and make it my own. You know that the 3AM waking is PTSD flaring up, so roll over and go back to sleep Worries are cornered back into slumber.
A new day, didn’t the Queen say that?
“Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.” – Christmas broadcast, 2002.
Minute by minute, moment by moment, time passes. But each one is precious, sensing the depth in every one, or drowning it out with worry? Much time is wasted on the later, then remembering.
There isn’t much time left. Finally, after decades of chaos and self-hating, there is a shift of major occurrence. Instead of the critic flying free treating myself like some kind of fluke needing beatings, bad treatment, chastising, or bullying, there is an opening to how it feels when coming out of childhood with self-love.
Becoming gentle, kind, and patient to myself takes focus after a life doing the opposite, living off the voices in my head from the traumas in childhood being discounted, denied, and ignored completely. A child takes that and blames herself making life unlivable.
Go slow, take care of the hurts, whether physical or of the soul, and spend the time needed to do so. It is OK to love life, and myself.
The stress of trying to camp, then returning knowing that was the last time, wired my body up in such a way that it has taken a few days to calm down. The relief of being home is heavenly phenomenal.
To add to the stress, some people with age develop allergies from pollen due to shrinkage of the nasal passages. Thought my luck was with me, yet not so.
Such seemingly little things throw me off and need tending to.
“Samuel, I am a strong girl but have become so delicate!” I plaintively said while watching the evening news.
He looks at me and nods. Not much of a talker unless it’s about electrical workings or building something, then it’s my turn to zone out.
But still, to have a partner, a caring, devoted, loyal partner is everything to me. And a home with all the beauty ever conceived, knowing that the secret gardens occurred by my hands, all mine. Dug out shovelful by shovelful, then sifted together with peat moss, manure, and sand, because clay is not social to growing flowers.
And experimenting through the years before finding hardy plants that withstand the winters and a gardener who will not baby them. And then?
The magic of sitting among them, their beauty calming me even as they begin to wane with the coming of fall, giving up their seeds to store for next year’s planting of annuals in pots scattered about the patio. The perennials needing no care because they come up right in the earth every year all on their own.
No more buying expensive annuals when it’s so much fun nurturing flowers from seeds, like babies without stress. There are a few that display gorgeous color early and all summer; cosmos, zinnias, and marigolds with their bouncy bright yellows and oranges.
Aging is hard. Leaving one stage to another but still stuck in the past, moving on to the here and now was a mess. I made a mess of it. And it took a long time. Hanging on to Shane, making their marriage harder, making his whole life more difficult with my chaotic needs that no one can fill but me.
It is a life’s effort to let go. Even yesterday after they left from my grandson’s 13th birthday celebration, his entry into the teenage years, that empty nest pang struck a gentle jab.
But in letting go, wonders already present are noticed, inhaled, soaked up… bringing joy- funny bunny too young to know it has to run into the tall grasses to become invisible, not on the path right in front of me at every lap. The white spotted fawn looking up startled jumping away with its fluffy tail bobbing. And the golden crimson glow of the morning sun peeking through, each sunrise its own spectacle taking my breath away.
It is a foreign concept to care for myself and my own needs over the guilt my mother instilled. The urge for clan is primal, and after several weeks of calm, the pull erupts again, so much there are dreams about interactions.
My mind plays out scenarios of our ‘family’ being loving, caring, and connected. But each attempt made fails, bringing me backwards to the sister they knew who was malleable and molded into an invisible ghost.
It is like tearing my spirit away, yet in doing so, my spirit freely becomes who I was meant to be, thinking, or believing all along I’d lost her to the unwanted hands upon me as a child.
She is still there. In saying no to others who have pressured me throughout life to do and be who they want, and instead choose more healthy ways of being, this admirable person emerges- me.
The birds take longer to wake as the sun takes longer to rise. Already fall approaches with the shorter days darkening my interior. Yet there is hope, that the new being born out of old skin is a happier one, translating to more peaceful and self-loving.
After so many months, even years of late, working daily at self-esteem, questioning that awful critic arising from the gag order ‘family’ imposed; imposed to keep their secrets of what their own had done.
What does that do to a child traumatized? She takes it into herself as her doing, her BADNESS, her being not having the rights to even be born.
The traumas, then more heaped upon already broken shoulders. Yet these years have become the very best. Respecting my limits, my brokenness, my tragedies with grace- as the continual walking in nature brings a curative effect.
Not giving up, but pushing forward, yet also leaning to do so more slowly, carefully, with patience that is not yet forthcoming with ease, but coming. The well springs open with love, peace, and wonder at every moment of life and well-being.
‘Just do it.’ (thank you Nike) Choosing to say no to someone and yes to my own needs was difficult. Already packed after agreeing to a visit to my younger brother’s new lake house, one where I’ve never been and am unlikely to visit due to PTSD issues, my email went out this morning:
Spirit is willing, body is not. Not sleeping last two nights, and chest is tight with real concerns over the many challenges of taking a trip. Can’t be anywhere but home, and near familiar medical services too. My body can become very ill overnight. Last time over a red pepper flake. Sick for two weeks needing an antibiotic. Also, long car rides are hard and scare me.
But more so, my being is not home inside myself unless home. I become disconnected easily.
I want to so much, my bags are already packed, pills for morning and night and other stuff to keep it running right.
Did this to Shane too. Booked a week in the woods and had to bow out.
I must accept my limitations with a little grace. Just can’t do what comes so easily for others. A life of cortisol bursts, and adrenaline rushes over simply someone coming up behind me causes a blood curdling scream to escape my lips taking a long while for my body to calm down. That drains a body over time, and mine is such.
I am content, and happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life. So I am OK. But I cannot take this on no matter how much I want to. It is just too much. It’s only been about three weeks now where there’s been better sleep. Upsetting the new miracle of good sleep on most nights is too risky.
Samuel wants to come despite knowing how hard it is for me. It is hard for others to understand. But I need to take care of my body.
My body unwound, shoulders relaxed, and the vice on my chest let go. So hard to meet my own needs over his. His deep pain is so raw and evident drawing me to meet them. His loneliness as vast as mine once was. His interest in me is having warm bodies around to admire him.
Can’t. Really can’t. Just do it, care for my own needs over another’s.
And they said through actions not words, ‘don’t speak of it.’ And decades go by without barely doing so.
How does a little girl sustain such injury, all alone, inside herself? While walking on a gorgeous summer day, my glumness took me places I’d rather not be.
But after a life of being other than who I am, allowing myself the freedom to feel what’s there, maybe remnants of a dream needing working out, I go where I really am.
So there Mom. Mom and the rest, wanting to hush up the reality of what those in our so-called family had done. To suffer such trauma, repeatedly, then? No one comes to help, love, cuddle, protect.
But hushed. Hushed from ever speaking a word of what they had done. And they kept doing it, over and over. Then you make me be quiet about it, but don’t help?
The injustice is more than unfair, or cruel. It took me away from myself for an entire life. Buzzing around myself. Pushing to do, yet not being in my body while doing it.
Just an anxious mass of mess trying to survive. How I did makes me wonder, and offers a look into a person worthy. Appreciating just how hard it was and offering a blessing that all the wonders found today are OK to be in, enjoy, and be whole in.
It is a different life, a different view, a different ability to follow through with my goals of rising above the negative thinking plaguing me since childhood when adequate sleep prevails. What a miracle.
The lagging self-esteem, believing since the traumatic abuse that it was my fault, and that my very being was ‘bad’, is a daily challenge to confront, that nagging critic banging loudly over the whispers from my soul saying something different.
That all beings born are great and special, plants, animals, and people… that includes me, unique, glorious, and divine, as infinite as the universe.
Mental illness? Who wants that? No one. It still has a bad rap, yet mine needs tending to. Not with chains, cells, straight- jackets, or hypodermics, but with care, love, and attention.
Anxiety, depression, and PTSD are in the medical textbook of psychiatric diagnoses. Sounds shitty. It is shitty. Worse though is feeling ashamed of being different, one more nail in the coffin from childhood after sexually abused, but feeling to blame because no one intervened to tell me otherwise.
The feelings that grew and solidified out of that are a challenge every day. My head may know all the words; not to blame, be your own best friend, blah, blah, blah. Feelings of badness, dirtiness, abnormality, (that list is extensive) grew cementing in my core as each year passed.
Reversing core beliefs, silencing the haranguing critic, learning to show myself kindness or beginning to even like myself? Challenging. Being burdened even more by feeling ashamed for what wasn’t my doing which has created needs different from many around me calls for special care and attention… not self scorn or denial of the facts. Or even glossing over them for another’s comfort. Learning how to love myself transforms each day into a more joyful one, but only with will, empathy, patience, acceptance, and perseverance.
I’ll get there, I’m getting there, trying to hear that softer voice that says it’s OK to take medication that helps. It’s not only OK, but imperative to slow down earlier in the day than most need to because (like last night) cleaning the house at 8PM activates an exhausted adrenal network tired from decades of overstimulation due to reacting as if every tiny thing was life threatening. So? Wide awake at the usual bedtime.
It’s OK you had to cancel out of camping with my son and family this upcoming week due to sleep issues worsening each year, yet longing to be there instead of their friends who kindly took our site when I had to face the fact of being unable to handle it. My younger brother dearly wants us to visit his new house on the lake and stay as long as we like. The prospect of following through, though we keep saying we will, are non-existent. We won’t, I can’t.
Or maybe needing medication once again last night was over some other tiny thing, something as simple as fretting over a comment on a fellow blogger’s site fearing I upset them– or horrors— make them not like me. Struggling with liking myself, it is about unbearable when others don’t, at least those I care about. I am learning not to be hurt by those I don’t. That’s a huge accomplishment.
It doesn’t take much to set off a system tripped onto high power since the age of eight after the first attack. My body is so drained any little thing sets it off.
Kindness, love, and acceptance. I’ll work on that…