The rat brain kicked in at sleep time- over and over a painful incident and sleep was not forthcoming. But instead of a restlessness forcing me out of bed, the story was challenged of blaming myself for it.

The stories we tell ourselves, my stories, need so much rewriting and editing, and often need to thrown right into the garbage. Yet it is not so easy when hitching my wagon to them all these years.

My fault my brain has been injured? My fault that very often it starts up with worries, fears, and the feeling bad about being me beliefs? It is not my fault. Thoughts move through constantly without my permission. It is not my fault.

Removing self-blame from the equation helped sleep to come, fitful, with dreams remembered each time because waking occurred so often, but sleep did come. And for that I am grateful.


Only by going to the fear, accepting it’s there, can it be met with kindness, patience and understanding. Awareness of how scared I’ve been came to mind when discussing Samuel’s upcoming hip replacement on the phone with my son. Fright filled tears swelled trailing down my cheeks like hot ice.

And Samuel, usually my rock, is nervous too, feeding my own fears exponentially. Seems an oxymoron to stay connected with one’s interior no matter what’s there, but then also keep my hands busy so that fears don’t overwhelm and consume.

Samuel, not a man to discuss his feelings, admitted a feeling last night which surprised me.  But only after he got up from the couch barely able to stand up or move to the kitchen.

“I don’t know how you work with Mike all day when you can barely walk,” I said.

“It’s the same as you doing all that baking to keep your hands busy, it occupies my mind- measuring, cutting- then I’m not thinking about it,” he said.

It is not easy to admit fear. Aren’t we supposed to be brave? Bury feelings of fragility, fear, and vulnerability, which often are looked on as weaknesses. It is strong to say, ‘I’m afraid,’ but do it anyway.


My friend’s remark last week (with friends like that, who needs enemies?) erased a lifetime of work in her one-liner, you are back to square one. Six little words set me off my rails doubting everything about myself.

It wouldn’t help to tell her what an airhead she is. But it does call for my internal depths to deepen and grow. There’s no making someone understand who cannot.

To ease the pain lingering from her shallowness, and to understand myself better, a letter that won’t be sent, or maybe will be. The risk of letting myself be known is losing this ‘friend,’ because it already came close this time once again. Let it go, or work on tolerance, acceptance, and forgiveness? To not speak up when someone puts a boot in my face is not healthy.

Though I’m able to forgive your blithe remark, I won’t forget it. To look down on me without knowing the ramifications of my childhood and erase a lifetime of working at keeping myself alive?

Because yes, it has been that hard. In one short sentence you delete lifelong work. It tore me up, not because I believe it, but because you believe it. That after all these years you don’t know me or want to. And that’s OK, how could you? But to take a quick peek and dictate such a thing?

And interestingly, the answer I sought wasn’t forthcoming. You had said out of the blue recently that you were glad I was learning to love myself. My curiosity was in response to your blunt sentiments, entering a space you hadn’t been asked to join.

I regret asking. Boom, what seemed like a positive observance from you replaced with unsolicited advice that had nothing to do with my question.

You don’t know what a destroyed nervous system is like. Adrenaline pumping through my veins daily, cortisol bursts draining precious resources. My body, psyche, emotional being, and mind, all tired from a life of it. Daily occurrences that don’t make others jump with terror, terrorized me. Because all people became dangerous from what was learned in childhood.

We have sold the camper, giving up something loved. The possibility of going to Cory’s again is probably too much for me take on again. I cannot fly around the country like you do or drive anywhere long distances without my body being upset for days.

I need to stay home, and accept it, because I love the land, and being here. I am happy. I am mostly at peace, though little changes in routine upset my tired-out body. No, you cannot see my scars, but they are there, and they are life-long growing more challenging as I age.

Even Christmas with Shane made for a fitful night of sleep waking at 1:30AM and staying awake all day yesterday feeling teary and tired. I have a lot of days like that due to my sleep issues from Chronic PTSD, spilling over from what happened at age 8, terror so deep my body 60 years later still protects me from remembering, though I do know a rape occurred. I remember everything else which is bad enough.  

I believe a hidden agenda in such a grievous remark compounded with a lack of knowing your own motives was behind it. But it came out anyway sword-like. I never became accustomed to your barbs couched in syrup drawing blood over the years, but this one so trite in black and white I won’t forget.   

I write in the hopes you might see a miniscule fraction of what my life is like and stop quick judgments. The respect I deserve is sadly lacking. It is enough that I know.  


Is this a friend to keep or not? That question has occurred many times, once almost ending it, but she stuck by loyally and loyalty is most valuable to me. To end it would also mean ending the monthly group of 5. What would remain is Samuel and my forest friends. It is as Samuel said once, “You don’t stop picking berries because of the thorns.” Well, actually I have.


And so, it is Christmas Day.  Our Christmas with Shane and his family now over, and though delightful, it was exhausting. My head hit the pillow and sleep came for over 5 hours straight. Enough hours altogether that made it hard to go back to sleep, and 5 1/2 is not enough.

Even happy times set my body off, but that’s OK, it is my life, and after a few days it will go back to my usual sleep pattern which isn’t as carefree as younger years. Sleeping well when younger, but no peace.

Sleeping erratically now, my body perturbed at any change in routine, but my spirit more at peace than ever before.

Some aging bodies act that way, requiring less sleep, or not sleeping deeply. My life seems hinged on how much sleep was acquired the night before.

Today it will take focus not to snap at Samuel due to tiredness. Waking at 1:30 in the morning because my eyes shut at 8PM, will not offer a rested day, and at that time of night my mind takes off like a rat in a wheel thinking of all the things ponderable morphing them into disasters in seconds. Might as well get up.

Sleep, sleep, sleep. It has been as elusive as mist.


Grossly sleep deprived, my body couldn’t stay awake past 8PM. Waking at 2AM, there wasn’t a possibility of more sleep, and who is to say what is normal for any given individual, so up for coffee.

6 hours of sleep is an improvement over 4 from the previous night. My sleep becomes erratic easily, but it is going in the right direction.

Sometimes disciplining myself to stay in bed is rewarded with a few more hours of sleep. REM time is important, and another round would be healthful, but it isn’t happening today. My mind was not going to shut down. Who gets up at 2 in the morning if they don’t have to?

But here we are, the cat and me, cozy around the fire, and that will have to be OK for now.

Bad Days Come

The hard-fought challenge each day is finding a way to my center making connection because too many days are left hanging, like pieces of me blowing side by side on a clothesline. No center, no hope, no peace.

Lack of sleep does it. Overwhelmed senses too, and that happens ever so easily even with happy interactions especially if it involves more than just one person.

No job, no nothing to do except whatever pleases me. Yet days occur where my being is disjointed like paint splattered on the wall, dots of me so far apart there is no cohesion.

The shattering in childhood means special care now, a need making me rebellious, desiring instead to go along at a pace others go at. Samuel’s out in the meadow daily, mowing for the once-a-year removal of any trees or bushes growing which inhibit our view of the creek, or hand buzzing them. Then sleeps like a bear.

No overstimulation or over-tiredness to stop him from sleeping, nor the worry machine that often kidnaps my brain into a realm of negativity. And others, friends, sons, their wives… all sleep, and even have a positive view of the world DAILY.

I must remind myself that in this season where depression doggedly comes uninvited, each day is challenging enough. Add lack of sleep and the pits of bleak darkness pull me down into blackness where no amount of self-talk helps.

Blessedly sleep came after a fitful day of tears. Peace once again with connection to my core.


 So, another day, another after a day of feeling sorry for myself for sleep issues cropping up again over seemingly innocuous events after a nice lull from them. Having fun with friends?

Our monthly gathering has been going on for years so how could that be? It may be deeper than that, as one friend is causing some doubts after years of feeling secure in her friendship.

She no longer resides on the pedestal I put her on, but is surely as human as me. Though she outlines her life as a do-gooder, it isn’t always good that she does. And at times of late has taken a piece of me with her sharp words of warning.

Is that because she feels that my adoration of her has lessened? That is enough to keep me awake. Feeling more secure in myself improves my ability to see people as they are, not the saints they may once have been thought to be.

Friendship changes over time. We have moved apart, and maybe there’s no chance of recovery other than meeting monthly as a group. We haven’t done anything together in a very long time, other than stopping in at her house a few times. But she has not come here. The pandemic is partly to blame, but there’s more to it than that. She’s just busier, and unless I ask for more, more isn’t coming. So ask.

It’s hard to accept that her time is used elsewhere. That we’ve drifted apart. It feels that way with one brother too. Indebtedness for their kindnesses in the past can’t make for connections now. Could it be that more effort needs to be put in the asking, because both have been invited to visit but don’t. More encouragement, a phone call?

Change, growth, leaps from one chasm to another if dared. But who will catch me if I fall? And who will give the answers about what to do?


Just a relaxing afternoon with friends can send off C-PTSD rockets. Yawning with pleasure throughout the afternoon filled with warmth, laughter, and comradery while we played cards, snacked on goodies, then topped off our monthly gathering with a homemade dessert was nurturing and enjoyable.

And paying attention without zoning out (my term for dissociation) is as tiring as physical exercise. But the C-PTSD rockets didn’t care because at the usual sleep time, no sleep came. By midnight the dreaded Xanax was necessary or else I’d be up all night.

Grogginess this morning comes with a dose of self-pity. No one known in person suffers this brokenness.

 On-line is where my meager relationships open to the world. Others traumatized in childhood with no help to process it live with lifelong challenges too.

It has been three weeks without a controlled medication. My hope was not to use it for sleep again, but that is not to be. The use of it has lessened drastically which is progress-SO CRITIC BE QUIET.

The pain this evokes reminds me of the healing still needed.


If you add not sleeping to the list of challenges, the dive off the cliff is complete, my basket case status secure. Thoughts ran dizzily like a non-stop train down a mountain.

Taking the dreaded Xanax one night when 2AM said ‘hello’, meant going off the dear little marijuana plant’s tiny bit of oil for three nights till the Xanax cleared. Mixing both lead to over a year of hell till the doctor mentioned that mixing the two wasn’t a good idea.

That dreaded Xanax. Telling myself that it’s a disease, and no blame is put on a person for their disease, the next several nights were fitful lacking the full sleep needed. What that does to thoughts is dreadful, especially when less daylight has already turned them sour.

Thinking maybe a week should go by without using the magical oil, after three nights and lack of sleep, it was used last night. 8 ½ hours of sleep followed. Sleep, lovely, miraculous SLEEP!

All is well with the world once again.  

Cursed Blessings

The gaiety of my son’s visit from a neighboring state with his wife and 3 little ones sent my PTSD rockets off to the stratosphere. My head went spinning, more so my nervous system because even happy events set them off.

Time spent the first night with my granddaughter reading her a bedtime story then singing a lullaby was my usual time to wind down for the night, but how could that precious time be resisted?

By 1AM after two attempts to sleep the stronger sleep aid was needed. It gave me 5 uninterrupted hours of sleep causing a need to refrain from the birthday party the next evening at my other son’s when a rare occurrence of us all being together happened around a campfire. (all except me)

The tears wash down hating to feel sorry for myself due to the blessings of having such wonderful sons yet needing to recuse myself from the partying. Time alone in quiet brought me back into my body and brought sleep. I am cursed with C-PTSD due to the early traumas that went unprocessed at the time, yet blessed in so many other ways, especially family.