Healing. “What a load of old shit.”

This evening I had a wave of my ‘what the fuck am I doing…’ within my tsunami of healing that has been happening the last few days. Don’t even get me started. Now that it’s easing, I think I actually visited hell, made a camp and kipped there. Not that I could sleep. It was too hot and smelly.

Anyways, in this little large dump of self doubt and loathing of the process, I realised it was my inner hipster and my inner teen that had something to say about this. They are wondering what the FUCK I’m doing – where my once cool self went. Why I now just wanna hang out with self absorbed losers, and how I now see them as NOT that and I actually see them as people on a journey. People just like me. People that I once used to run a freakin’ mile from, are now people that I wanna call up at 11pm and say – fuck life is overwhelming. I’m not wanting to call up, hang out, get to know all the people I’ve felt this way about – fuck no. Tie dye hippies, yoghurt weaving spiritual nuts, are still a million miles off my To Befriend list (insert what-a-hippy-childhood-does-to-you here). But I’m talking people in therapy. People on the rollercoaster of self discovery. People delving into themselves and their pain, and getting to know it. Sharing it. Hating it. Freaking out about it. Running a mile from it, only to then turn round and run back and learn to love it.

These people I used to think were self obsessed losers and selfish twats. Come hang out with the cool kids. Stop hanging out with your past and the demons or fuckwits from it. Lets just go surfing, you big therapy loving loser. Let’s look at the bigger problems in the world and stop festering around in your own shit. There are way more important things in life and people, trees, animals, that need your attention – not yourself.

But now, I’m one of them. And despite the pain and the turmoil, I could not imagine life in any other way. It just feels like the logical way of living. Why the hell would you NOT want to do this for yourself? Why the hell would you not want to heal?

Well, my hipster and teen certainly have something to say about ‘why not’. These are the two cartoons I did:

20130819-113102 PM.jpg

20130819-113210 PM.jpg

And it reminded me of my favourite old person on TV:

Advertisements

Hello me?

Sometimes I catch myself and wonder what on earth happened to the person I knew a year or two, or three, ago. Sometimes I feel a stranger to myself, other times I feel the closest to myself I’ve ever been. And other times I realise, actually I haven’t changed that much: I’m still me.

One thing I know is this change and growth is necessary. It’s painful, it’s confusing, and I miss the person I knew back then, but I certainly don’t miss the isolating shit that came with it.

20130731-020545 PM.jpg

It’s easy to catch yourself in times of growth and change (or maybe just the WHOLE of your twenties?) and a) only remember the good bits of how you used to be and give yourself a right old hard freakin time about not being that anymore, or b) come up with a bunch of elaborate stories about how you’re falling off the wagon for good, and how your life is screwed, and how you’ve well and truly lost the shining person you used to be.

Well, I’m hoping that’s a load of bollocks. Although I do do a) and b) frequently. I’m also pretty convinced this is something all twenty-something’s do, whether you’re in the midst of healing your whole entire life or whether you’re trying your best to live your life you’ve got, right now. And, I’m pretty convinced that often none of us see ourselves just how shiningly as everyone else does. Maybe we don’t ever end up changing that much? Maybe the feeling that we’ve ‘lost ourselves’ is mostly in our jam-packed worry-filled noggin? And maybe as we do change and grow, the person we’re becoming is even healthier and wholehearted than the person we were before, so maybe it’s not so bad after all?

Maybe maybe maybe. I dunno. I ain’t no genius, I’m just hopin’ all these maybe’s are Word.

The rage space

My anger has been buried for way too long. This morning I had a burst during an episode of crying and the blinding rage, was something so new. Something cleaner, something real. Something not hazed with a worry of what it means. Something not restrained out of fear of losing things, or people, or me. In place of this worry that’s usually there, was a confidence and a power and an embracement of this part of me. The blinding motherfucking killing part of me. We all have it. And so I wrote it out. I wrote it and I realised how HEALTHY this is to give the blinding hating part of – the part that just wants to kill everyone – a voice and a space to be here. Mindfully and wholeheartedly here. And this is what I wrote (and hell I think it coulda been a whole lot worse!):

I’m so fucking bored of ‘triggers’. I’m so bored that I hate that word and I rarely write it anymore. I’m bored of the wealth of fucking memories that surface and are here. Yes, to heal, but they’re still here. I’m bored of the grip they have. I’m bored of the past having such a presence in the present. I’m bored of my middle name being ‘trauma’ and my surname being ‘fucked up’.

I’m pissed at the amount of rage I have and I’m pissed at how hard it is for me to feel. I’m pissed at how deeply the weight of my past drags behind and beneath and around. I want to tell it to FUCK OFF. I want to yell and rip and shred and rage at the entire history I’ve had, and start a-fresh, start a-new. I want to yell in the face of the fuckers who wriggled their way into my life and landed in a pit of destruction and despair. I want to yell in their faces and tell them “I’m me now.” I want to burn down their houses and bury them deep. I want to destroy them with acid and pour petroleum on their bones. I want to set them on fire and watch them burn. I want them to burn the way that my childhood did. I want to get revenge, I want to do what all the Buddhist text books say you should: I want to take an eye for an eye. I want to do to them, what they did to me. I want to kill them. I want to kill them, I want to kill them, I want to kill them. I want to kill all the motherfuckers. And I want to embrace and allow for this fury, this blinding rage, this bursting hatred that has festered beneath for WAY too long.

Of course I’d never do such a thing. I’d never even do one of those things. But in order to heal, I know I need to allow myself to feel these things. I need to allow myself to have such fantasies. I need to imagine myself and allow myself to metaphorically burn down each and every house, to burn down all the people too, to pour petroleum on the bodies of the beings that did the shit to me in my life and set them on fire…I need to know that my vitality and my life is worth it. I need to know that I am worthy of destruction, metaphorical destruction. Not real destruction – that is not what I’m talking about. I need to know that the fear that holds me so tight, in therapy and in my other bits of life, of really honouring my anger, my rage and performing such visualisations with my therapist is only that: fear. It’s a little gremlin who knows fuck all. It’s time for that gremlin to get a kick in the nuts too. The past has a grip on my anger, making sure I know it’s dangerous and should never be felt. The amount of trauma that comes with anger is overwhelming, but now it’s my turn to get to know the healthy way to be angry and hating.

In order to heal, this rage needs to be welcomed and be here. Mindfully and wholeheartedly. And that, my friends, is beginning to happen. And my energy comes like nothing I have ever felt before, when I do give it space – the rage space. Talk about HEALTH.

A while ago I did this cartoon as a representative of all the adults in my life that needed me when I was just a kid, and now it’s time for me to tell them all to fuck off. To do what I never did when I was young, and to have this time for me.

fuckyou

I have a five hour shift now, at my new job that I started Friday. Fuck knows how I’m going to do that!

Time: it’s on your side

For ages I’ve thought that I just need to work it all out, heal, change and learn everything I need to right now. Get it over and done with so I can move forwards. And then I’ve wondered why I feel stressed and under constant pressure and like I’m never living up to my goals.

Slowly it’s beginning to click that, in fact, it ain’t a case of doing it, learning it, or healing it all at once. It’s a case of letting time help you find your way too. Letting time be your mate in this.

20130718-225451.jpg

A little bit about healing

No matter how long I’ve spent running from healing, hoping it wouldn’t have to happen to me, and wishing the need to do it would just leave me alone, eventually I couldn’t look anywhere else anymore, and the need to heal was staring me dramatically, and somewhat intrusively, in the face. The healing did begin to happen and it was not a patch on what I thought it would be. It’s more terrifying but way more okay. It’s so unbelievably painful and seemingly neverending, but somehow I always know I’m on the right path because the clarity and compassion that follows, and lives alongside this process, just continues to blow my mind. I taught myself to heal, even though I had no idea what to do…I followed the words from others, I learnt what worked for me and what didn’t (and I’m still learning), and I continually noticed how what I had done to cope before – self destruct – was a no, no, right from the beginning of this journey, onwards.

Below is a piece I wrote about this experience of beginning to heal, for the project This Place Is Yours.

I’ll be contacting you lot for stories for the project, because I sure would love it if you wanted to have your words on the site. And I know all the other readers would too. See the site for more details, but I will be in touch.

Love.

I have had a niggling feeling that I’ve needed to ‘break down’ and begin to heal for a long time. I heard it over and over from people around me over the last few years too. The thought of even a tiny bit of crumbling and beginning to heal, terrified me beyond belief, so I shoved my niggle away, and frowned at someone who reassured me that I could allow myself to crumble. I thought it wouldn’t need to happen to me – I’d be able to avoid the messy break down thing. I thought I’d never need to look at all the dark, twisted and terrifying stuff that’s happened in my life – why on earth would I want to spend time digging up and looking over all that? Surely I could just leave that and never look at it again?

But I didn’t ‘get it’ then. I do now. I didn’t know how it could ever be safe for me to allow myself to heal. I now know that it is. I didn’t know that in order to live a life of health, this kind of healing has to happen. I now understand, that I have had to fall apart to be able to put myself back together. Repeated trauma from the age of three, left me wondering whether I even had a voice – it had gone so quiet. I now know I do have one, and it is booming. After a lifetime of abuse and neglect on top of this trauma, I believed that with any glimpse of my voice I did find, it was best held on mute. I now know that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

It has taken me so long to realise quite how fucked up things in my life has been and just how much shitty stuff is needing to heal. Somewhere beneath the painfully violent, self-destructive coping, I was doing to manage my teenage years and early twenties, there was a part of me that knew how ‘wrong’ my homelife was, but I was too terrified to listen to this truth that lay within me. Instead it took constant confirmation from a therapist, to really start to believe that what went down during my childhood and early adult years, was heartbreakingly twisted and deserved to be healed. I am still afraid to truly connect with some parts of my story but instead of pushing this process, I am doing the rest of the connecting, slowly and gently and with unconditional compassion towards the wounded parts of myself. Because anything else still just scares the crap outta me.

Grief

I created a bubble of beauty around my childhood in an aim to protect me, and it. Two summers ago, I was hit by my boss and this was the beginning of my bubble bursting – watching other peoples reaction alongside to mine, made me realise this kind of thing wasn’t normal. To me it was. From then, my story began to unravel – outwards and inwards – and I began to spiral down, lonely and scared, until I was nose-to-nose with the pain that had been bubbling beneath the surface for so so many years. A few months later, I found the first long-term therapist I’ve ever had and continue to work with now.

Therapy changed everything for me, but it also brought me to my knees. I sat for hours on the couch, spilling out my life, week after week. I watched as my therapist frequently teared up at stories I would tell; I felt amazed, and worried, by the constant discovering that the bits of my story I didn’t think to be that bad, were actually the most traumatic bits; I watched as I was heard for the first time in my life; I felt the relief and the pain as I finally got to tell someone all the stories I’d kept wrapped up inside; I felt angry I hadn’t had this support since the early age of three, when it all began to go to pot; I began to wonder how on earth I had gotten through all those years up until that point.

All this talking was the beginning of the healing. In place of this bubble of protection that had been there for all those years, a fiery PTSD was born. It had been simmering for a few months, but after overdosing four months into my therapy journey, the PTSD exploded into a painful mess. My whole life was there, riggling around my traumatised body and sitting right in front of my eyes, with no break, day or night. I had no other means of escape anymore. I had used up every self-destructive coping mechanism I could do. After overdosing I made a pact to myself that that was the end of my self-destruct. So instead I chose to stare my long history of trauma in the face and begin to get to know myself in the most painful, terrifying, isolating, bizarre, and seemingly endless, states.

This explosion of mess has taken a year to settle and is continuing to. For the last 14 months, my full time job has been Me. Following the overdose, I have done nothing but focus on my healing. The first half of these 14 months was me finding my way with this: learning how to do it; beginning to trust that it is okay, safe, and essential; slowly undo-ing the pattern of living in trauma, from myself or others; learning that it is safe to live a life of health; and breaking the pattern I’d been so deeply taught by my mother, by learning to believe I deserve it. As this art of dedicated self-care clicked, it has been like one long retreat. Painful but beautiful. Isolating but reaffirming. And I know that I couldn’t be doing anything else.

Racing Mind

Yesterday I read a line in a book about personal experiences with healing from PTSD, and smiled at the truth of it: “my baseline of awful will never be the same again”. My baseline for awful will never be the same, but neither will my baseline for beauty. The more I tap into the pain, the more I feel the joy. This is what reminds me I’m on the right road. My fragility and sensitivity is one that leaves me deeply worried, concerned and frightened at how long I will be like this, but my soul knows this stripping back, getting to know my shadows, and all this healing needs to happen in order for me to live a life of health.

There are a million words to describe this time that’s passed, but right now they are nowhere to be seen. There are so many steps I’ve taken along this road that have been so fundamental, and huge, that I will forever remember them. But most of all, it’s the little steps every day that seem to matter the most. I go further and deeper into my healing labyrinth, I get to know more corners of hell but I also get to know more corners of myself. And the elements that are growing alongside this process – the self-love, the compassion, the mindfulness, the mind-body connection – are the things that make me glow inside.

I’ve stepped off the shore of self destruct and I’m swimming in the ocean of healing. Sometimes I catch glimpses of the horizon or the foundation of health that’s growing within myself, and I know I’m headed in the right direction. Other times I feel like I’m lost in the white water of a messy wave, having lost sight of up or down so all I can do it is let go and roll with it, trusting I’ll come up for air at some point soon. Other times I get my metaphorical surfboard and kick the shit outta whatever wave hits, riding it until it smoothes to little ripples. And sometimes I just cry and add more water to the mix.

Continue reading here

The mind-body connection

The mind-body connection is a baffling thing and can seem like a totally unreachable and alien thing too. But it can be found, it just takes practise, like the other wholesome bits of life do.

For me the talk of a mind-body connection, or more like disconnection, came when I hit the pillow with Chronic Fatigue. For years I just didn’t get it…I knew I needed to and I desperately tried to, and then other times fucked it off because I just couldn’t work out how. But this year, with all the  knuckling down and practising mindfulness, the yoga, and all the healing the trauma that shut-off my connection in the first place, I can safely say my mind-body connection is rocking. And slowly I can see my chronic fatigue easing too.

This is my cartoon take on it.

photo-7

Talking grief

Grief is a natural part of life, but it can hurt like a bitch. It can show up in so many different ways for each of us and every tear always brings healing, as it does with everything else. Sometimes it can hit you and bring your to your knees, other times it can simply sit gently with you throughout your days.
image_12
This is what it looks like to me. I wonder what it looks like to you?

When it all piles up

Y’know when the house work just piles up, you can’t find the beans to sort it out, but even if you can you just don’t want to because you’re too whacked and you want to use any energy you do have to do something nice? This goes for any kinda fatigue, not just the chronic kind. And this is something that happens in every household…or at least I hope it does!

This is what it looks like to me, except I don’t own orange pants and I kinda wish my dishes looked like this but instead they tend to be sprawled out onto every surface possible until they’re thrown in the sink with a tonne of washing up liquid.

image_1

 

It’s been cartoon central this week so this is the first of a few.

PMS: 3 days or 3 weeks of chaos?

The menstrual cycle is a bitch. But it is also the most incredible things too. Just reading those words may make some of you cringe and want to run a mile from this post. That’s totes cool. Normally I would … Continue reading