Healing is…

Trusting that these are just chapters of my book, versus of my life song. And without these chapters and versus, the book and the song, wouldn’t make sense. It would be incomplete. There would be nuggets missing. I wouldn’t be whole.

Just how I’ve needed all the chapters before me, no matter how painful and confusing and how much part of me longs that they had been different, my story and my song, needed them.

I needed them to make me, not break me. That’s what they were here to do.

That’s freakin’ beautiful.

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Midnight Chatter

I feel like something terrible is going to happen. Dread and convincing stories are running through me like full-speed water, flooding from a dam. Only the dam is a shutter in my head, opened by anxious chatter. And the dam is only gently pulled shut, or to a trickle, by love.

Love and gentleness to myself. But even then, it doesn’t always do anything. I feel lost in a storm and I can’t see my way out. I feel lost in a dizziness, a trip, of anxiety and worst-case scenarios, worry and fear.

I’m not really sure how to stop it.

It’s not until I spend time with people, that I really hear how loud the voices have been yelling. The stories, the dread, the anxiety, the worry. When I’m with someone, they almost become a mirror for what I’m feeling. They become the bouncing board, the story board, for what I’m feeling and what I’m experiencing. Maybe that’s why I find it difficult to be with people.

I think this is hormones. I think this is PMS. Last month my PMS involved the darkest most intense PMS yet…I reckon. And this month maybe, rather than a darkness, there’s a sparkiness…a motherfucking BRIGHT and LIVELY sparkiness. In other words, ANXIETY. It’s a bitch. Such a bitch.

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I find it hard to know what to act on, and what to leave behind. I find it hard to know what is trauma and anxiety that is just there, considering everything I have been going through, and when it is anxiety here because beneath the anxiety, is something I need to work on, sort out, do…

I’m not really sure. There is so much in flux at the moment, and so much to be worried about. But also, in a way, there isn’t. Like, I have the basics here by me – a roof, a fridge of food… but in these moments I find those things hard to take as anything to go on. But if you ask anyone, it really is the basics that it comes down to. The basics that count. I am beginning to very slowly see that. There just is a truckload of resistance when it comes to trusting that. And that’s fair enough.

Just like the resistance around me feeling safe, or feeling supported, or feeling held, or feeling comfortable, or feeling happy and held. Fuck that resistance, but again, it is there by the truckload.

But, saying that, there is a little part of me open to all of that, and a gentle, loving, compassionate voice that is telling me I deserve it, even when my body almost retches with angst at the thought, or sight, of those loving, bright, feelings.

Along with this compassionate and loving voice that’s getting stronger by the day, my heart feels open – wide open – at the moment. Wide open, or slammed shut…I feel like I need an inbetween. It’s beginning to be there, slowly and gently.

It’s time for bed.

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The power of touch

I just read this article on Elephant Journal about the healing power of touch in yoga, and it resonated so much. I noticed, for a while, my yoga teacher was the only person that I would let touch me…except for hugs with friends. But even those were done with a shut-down-ness going on inside. In yoga, I felt able to be open and be held and be nurtured…there was a slight resistance but never enough to make me shut down completely and pull away. And it felt more physical – like a physical, defence, reaction, but not one I needed anymore. And almost all of me, was able to know that.

Still a part of me feared it, but I think a large part of this fear was the fear of vulnerability, the fear of falling apart, the fear of her then stopping and leaving and moving to someone else’s mat…I think I knew I was safe. To be honest, even when I felt slightly defensive, I still couldn’t get enough of it! I never felt like she came over to my mat enough. I often found myself asking questions and asking her to demonstrate or help me with something, even though I kinda could freestyle and find my way…I just wanted her support and her nurturance. I may as well have it if it is there, I always thought, rather than battle on how I used to.

It felt beautiful to read this piece to realise that is what was happening – I was healing. I really miss yoga and I really miss those classes but because of my back, I haven’t been since the summer. Fuck. But also, what’s weird – and I think incredibly normal – is I kinda feel like my journey with that class is on a temporary break. I need something new. I need a new place to take my body and stretch and explore my soul, and reach my toes.

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Something I notice, on the subject of healing and touch, is how it is so important for me to regain trust with myself…to regain, and find, the trust for human touch through my own. I give myself cuddles. I explore my body. I hold my body. I stroke my arms, my legs. I offer myself gentleness and love, boundaries and strength. I offer myself the whole package. And I don’t hold back, and I listen to the ‘no’ that comes from inside sometimes. I sit with my inner girl and I tell her she is safe, as I hold myself tight.

As someone who has continued the abuse I received as a child, so strongly and so destructively in my adulthood, this feels so fucking healing. It feels like it just makes sense. In order to trust others, I need to be able to trust myself. In order to trust that people are safe, I need to know that I am going to protect myself and keep myself safe before I allow anyone else to touch me.

For ages I have felt such a massive resistance to body therapists. There have been a couple that I have worked with the last year and a half, who I have known before everything, too. They felt safe, but even with them, there was a deep sense of unsafety. I went from never hugging, never wanting anyone to touch me, as a kid and young adult, to a few years of a stint of total affection and hugging and loving it, to then shut down the last couple of years…but, to me, it kinda makes sense. This would happen as you’re healing, right? Wounds flare up and sit on your face until it’s time for them to soften, or until they simply just fade. That’s what I feel like has happened with the subject of touch. I long for it, I crave it, I desperately need it, but it also feels desperately unsafe. And so I honour that. Whereas before I would have powered on through, I listen to my body and my defences and what my little girl is saying, now. Before I didn’t know how…I didn’t know it was safe.

It feels like the utmost gift of self love, the action of holding myself. To love myself through physical contact, not just through actions or words, but through one of the most fundamental ways of showing affection – touchThese feel like beautiful, solid, and wholesome foundations on which to build a relationship based on trust, with others on again. And it’s happening…it’s definitely happening. Cuddles are coming back in fashion, slowly.

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The storybook of fault

The concept that things aren’t my fault, feels beyond foreign. (Things, as in, everything and anything that goes wrong, or is hard in my life and my life around me.) Like, the fact that it could even be something I need to ‘work on’ feels so seemingly impossible that I can barely type it. It’s a concept that, before therapy, I didn’t even realise I believed…I just thought it was true. It wasn’t even in my awareness as a thought/thought stream, I had. I wasn’t even aware I was thinking it.

It was, and still often is, the norm that fuels my greater belief system about my daily life.

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I then suddenly get moments like I did just now, that leave me in floods of tears. The latest whirlwind of critic chatter in my head, bombarding me with shit about all that’s going on and the theories he has about it all, came to a head. Imagine he was on a treadmill at the Gym For Inner Critics…well he whacked up the speed higher and higher, and then fell on his face. Bam.

The theory that its all my fault is the undercurrent to his story. I hadn’t realised. Sometimes the belief pops up, and I see its face – kinda like a seal in the ocean, merrily playing around beneath the surface and then suddenly you catch a glimpse of its head. That’s how this belief feels. Once in a while, it shows its head and it lets me read its story.

So today when I caught sight of its head and the story book in its hand, I realised that this belief has been bopping along to my inner critics music, and fuelling the fire. The idea that this is all my fault. That I’m not doing enough. That I could be doing more. That I have made my back happen. That I am continuing to make it worse. That the fact it’s not getting speedily better, is my fault. The fact that my body is just like this…the fact that it is how it is, is my fault. It’s because I’m wrong, I’ve done something wrong, or I’ve not done enough. That the fact I still haven’t got a permanent home, is my fault too. The fact that my emotions seemingly run the show, is my fault. The fact that my life looks like it does, and the fact that I struggle feel like I’m keeping afloat, is my fault too. I am (supposedly) the one to the blame for it all.

Fuck, keeping afloat feel like hard work. I’ve got a complete arsehole yelling at me in my inner ears, and this core belief has a really old storybook in its hand. One that wouldn’t be published anymore. Anyone would feel like shit with that going on in their head. Taking simply just the body stuff, the concept that that isn’t something to do with me, and that I still deserve love with it going on, is (almost, note the almost) beyond me.

In mid-whirlwind of booming critical chatter, the beliefs head popped up and I burst into tears. I hadn’t realised this story, this metaphorical seal, this core belief, had been running the show. So I wrote this, below. I wrote this to myself, I wrote this to my little girl, and I wrote this to you:

It’s not your fault.

It’s not my fault.

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Growing up in and with abuse, it’s a well known fact that as a kid you absorb it all and believe it’s you. You believe it’s your fault and you believe that because of you, the abuse is happening. So as you get older, this naturally carries over with you, and spills out into parts of your life. I had no idea just how much it is part of my life and my beliefs and what I say to myself and what I think I believe. I believe I don’t deserve support and connection and love because it’s my fault that I’m in the situation I am. It’s my fault I’m needing, and to need is not okay…(I am now begging to differ). I believe and tell myself that I’m a fuck up and I’m a mess because of something I’ve done, or something I haven’t done – and could be doing, but am not. I tell myself these things almost all the freakin’ time.

It’s such a massive concept, the idea that it isn’t true – it isn’t my fault, I didn’t make it happen. I still feel like I’m getting to grips with the idea that this is just a belief…and that it’s even a part of me. It leaves my mind a bit blown. But one thing I do know is that one day, I’ll know – and truly believe – it wasn’t my fault. And it isn’t my fault now. It really, really, isn’t. I held myself and told myself that, softly. I still hold a puzzled frown, and I can still feel my insides squirm at this concept, but there is a gap in my heart that’s open and willing to take this as truth.

That’s the gold dust.

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Filming a doco

Yesterday I started filming for a doco I’m in about ptsd. It’s a doco about me. Writing that feels slightly terrifying. Yesterday was the first meet up with James who’s filming it. We met up a couple of weeks ago to discuss what we’re gonna do, and had initially met a year and a bit ago, but I had been too nervous and it just hasn’t felt right, to begin yet. So now we have, because now it did feel right. Nervy but right.

It feels weird. The two times we’ve met I couldn’t work out what was going on, but it felt like a trauma reaction the whole time we were together, yet I sorta fought on, trying to keep my enthusiasm noticeable and my desire to be part of it, noticeable too – because it is SO very there. This kinda reaction though, makes sense. It’s a vulnerable project, one where I’ll bare my soul in a way I haven’t done so before, and so of course I’m going to be triggered and a bit on the edge of traumatised, because its touching in on things I’m afraid of speaking as truth. Afraid of touching in with as truth. But then I realised, maybe I don’t need to. Maybe I only need to say what’s comfortable. I always think things need to be hard, but they don’t. Things can feel soothing, and safe, and calm.

It’s weird, the whole ptsd thing. I think I feel really able to write about it and then loosely talk about it, but specifically talking about the symptoms feels terrifying. It feels too much because when I do, it makes me realise just how hard it’s been. And how…I wanna say bad but I don’t like that word, so I won’t, ish!

I feel like I need to become clearer and gain more clarity on why I’m doing it and what I want to say. He’s said that from the beginning – the last time we met – and I have made long lists of notes and inner thoughts, about what I want to say and what I want my angle to be. It’s about my journey with ptsd and so a big part of what I drifted to wanting to say, is about my experience with the effects of it in my body and emotions, but I think that’s scared me. The desire to talk about post traumatic growth, inspires me and brings me hope, and makes me want to do more, say more and be in it more…so I think I need to go with that. The other stuff feels too tender. Of course it’ll probably be touched on, but I can do it with my cartoons. I can tread carefully and gently and in ways I feel comfortable. I want to tell about it, but I also feel so fragile about it. It feels like the utmost vulnerability, and perhaps a vulnerability I don’t feel safe enough to experience yet. Whereas the healing process I am totes up for. That feels positive – sharing my experience of how I’ve gotten through it and am continuing to. That doesn’t feel scary, that just feels exciting.

So maybe I should go with that…

Yes.

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And the ‘why’ of why I’m doing it? For that reason – to tell my story, but I’m also doing it for me. I’m doing to honour the journey I’ve been on, and the place I am now because of this journey. To honour all that I’ve been through and learnt, but without necessarily going into details – I know the messy, painful, bits, and so do others I’ve told my story to.

In the past I would have just done this for others, but the healing in this is that I feel like I’m doing it for myself, mainly. With then the hope to help others, inspire them, and let them know things can get better. But I do think that feels all a little fresh and all a little scary, because to be honest, it feels like the worst bit is only just ‘over’. It feels like yesterday, and yesterday feels too fresh and painful and raw to make a film about. One day. But for now, I want to talk about the growth and what got me here, to this place of being able to talk.

I think that’s it. To work out priorities feels so important and I am glad I have, it i also feel like I could continue. And perhaps I will as I grow with the doco. I am guessing I will. I always have done – I think that’s how life works!

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This little guy flew somehow ended up in our house yesterday thanks to the hunting cat. It spent an hour or so in our kitchen, the RSPCA came, and then it flew off. I felt an overwhelm of responsibility for the guy – so much so, I couldn’t really handle it…I felt triggered by a bird needing me! As much as I wanna say ‘how weird?!’…it makes total sense. Still though, was a weird – and sad to be so effected – experience! It was kinda special too.

Stuff

I notice lately how my desire to ‘work’ on things, on my ‘stuff’ has somewhat dwindled. A lot of the time I just can’t be arsed. I want a break. I want to integrate that life with a new life – one where I feel more present and part of the world. I think that’s happening, because when I do work on stuff – cartoons or journaling, or talking closely with a friend – I really love it and feel so grateful, it’s just the process of getting there and feels like it takes all my strength, yet there is a well within that I feel like I could access and throw all over the page or air or stream or river.

But maybe I just don’t want to right now, as much as I have been. This whole last year and a half, and a touch more, I’ve been sooo deep within and going so inside and its been incredible, but I now crave balance and comfort in the norm and the outside world. And it’s happening, slowly. I notice more things are coming my way, the desire to not be just sitting in my stuff, is fading. It’s also because I am struggling to find motivation, but it’s also because I think I do just need a break. And I think that feels quite healthy. It’s been a mega time of intensive looking, and I kinda feel like it’ll continue because I don’t feel ready to break it down just yet, but I feel like it might become a little less. I hope so. Provided the parts of me, and my feelings, don’t get forgotten.

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I feel an urge to support myself, during this new splurge of life and drive. I have a tendency to run on, regardless. And I do feel like I’ve been running from my feelings a bit – they just feel too intense. I’m scared of looking. I’m scared of going deep because I don’t feel resources to keep myself there. This desire to run, is out of fear but also enthusiasm. Fear that things’ll go shit again if I just stop to wonder or breathe or go deep. A fear that I’ll lose this splurge of ambition and the realising of my purpose. And enthusiasm because I’ve realised my purpose right now – to tell my story. I’ve known that for a while now but I feel like I really know it now. It’s a gap I’m wanting to fill, and I see ways that I can do it. And am doing it. And an enthusiasm to feel like I’m tapping into my potential, my drive, my success, my attributes, my qualities, my things that make me human. And that make me, me.

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I feel like my life is changing and I hope it continues to. Part of the change feels like with the ‘looking at my stuff’ and doing the work, and in other parts of my life, I feel like I seem to just do stuff a lot quicker than before. Like, journaling, I’ll have a release in twenty mins that I would have done in an hour before. I just don’t want to do things for as long – everything. My attention span feels like either its changing, or I’m just honouring it more…I think it’s that. I’m honouring it. I’m honouring who I am, rather than try to be something I’m not. I hope that keeps on coming, and I think it will. It’s scary though, because I just want to be someone else…but I’m enough and I’m fucking brilliant and noone else gets to be me. I wish I truly felt that though.

With the change, my worries deepen but the themes are still the same – that I’ll go crazy, that I’m fucked up, that I’ll become my mum…that I’ll end up bankrupt with no home and no job and not having gotten anywhere. Hmm. They sound might familiar to ANY OTHER WORRIES I HAVE HAD THE LAST YEAR. Make that the last two, three, maybe four.

Hmm. I think that goes to show, I can call these stories out and put them in the box labelled ‘UNTRUE’. And in the box labelled ‘Word’ I’ll pop in a note to let me know my life is mine and it is unfolding.

Fear of being well

Lately, I’ve been so aware of this fear of feeling well and healthy that’s running through me like a mouse on speed. There are so many angles and reasons why, and I feel so aware of all the little parts of me that have their opinion about it. And it’s a theme that’s been here for a while. Hence the wellness resistance post the other day.

This morning I realised something different. By being ill, having health struggles, being in bed all day, I am looking after myself. I’m giving myself the attention and the love I deserve and need, and needed as a youth but never received. But what if there’s another way of giving this to myself? What if being well and thriving and feeling healthy, I’ll be nurturing myself in a whole other way? And what if I still dedicate mornings, day, hours, moments, where I’m solely meeting my body’s needs – sacred one on one time where noone else is involved. It doesn’t need to be days in bed. It can be days outside, days inside, days at work, days with others, days by myself, days of all of that, but it doesn’t need to be days just holed up inside feeling so ill and afraid to move further than the bathroom or the kitchen, out of fear I’m going to crumble and fall and never heal.

What if loving myself doesn’t have to be though having health struggles?

What if there’s another way?

I wanna find that way. And I want myself to know its safe, I can have it, and it’s okay. I want to trust that I won’t forget myself if I’m feeling healthy. I want to know I’m able to hold the hand of my health and the hand of my LIFE and feel like they’re walking together. I want to believe I am worth it and I want to believe I don’t need to be my mother. I want to know I can nurture and nourish my being and my body, whilst also nourishing and nurturing my desire to live my life beautifully and successfully. I want to know a struggle with health doesn’t need to be the only reason I love myself.

I want that. And I don’t think that’s too much to ask. I think it’s an innate human need – to feel like you can have it all. Because it might look a little different to how I imagined it would, but I can still feel like I’m nourishing and nurturing it all – all of me.

I want to be able to tell that little scared part of me, that’s it’s safe to be healthy and safe to feel well. And to tell her that I won’t forget her.

I’ll do that. I’m just scared to, because then it means I’m safe. And then it means I can be healthy…

It’s a bit of a spiral. It’s the unknown. I feel like I’ve forgotten what it feels like to feel well and live feeling healthy, and the truth is I’m learning a new way of living. I’m learning a healthy life, so of course it’s going to feel terrifying. It’s going to feel completely unknown and blindingly scary, and seemingly impossible and just incomprehensible.

But it’s not. Just like who I am now was someone I didn’t know how to be, the person I am becoming and the life I am learning how to live – one with balance, self nurturance, stability, consistency, boundaries, self love…that’s all something I can have, and am having slowly, I just feel like that’s why it feels so effing terrifying because its so effing peculiar and foreign.

It’s a bit like (I can imagine) when you’re pregnant and becoming a mother – you know your life is about to change and your way of being is about to, too, and I can only imagine that it must feel terrifying. But also fucking exciting and incredible… Well that’s how I feel about where I’m headed too. This journey is taking me to a place I’ve never known before – a place of health. I can’t do things I’ve always been able to do before and all the ways of coping I can’t do. I feel like its been a mammoth journey of the emotionally for the last year and a half, and in many ways always will be because that’s what happens as humans – we grow – but now it feels very physical, this learning. It’s been coming for a while and maybe it’ll keep on coming til I fully learn it – the finding new ways, and healthy ways, of doing things physically. That’s what’s happenin’.

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We are not them

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Just a little realisation I made this evening after a shed load of cartooning and journaling…this old chestnut. I am not them. We are not them.

I AM NOT MY PARENTS.

Go tell that to my inner critic for me, would you? Shut the fuck up, Imaginary Storyline maker.

Every time I realise I’m not them, it goes/hits a little deeper. Like the daily little moments I tell myself I’m not them, in the midst of storylines playing out in my head and them filling me with terror. But then I sometimes get these mammoth waves – a huge fuck off hit of realisation that I’ve spent the last few days or weeks with a theory (one that’s been causing havoc with my inner sense of happiness, stability, and peace about the future) that’s all based on the assumption and core belief that I am them I AM FUCKING NOT.

The end. Period. Full stop.

If only it was that simple…but I’m glad this realising continues to go deeper. It’s like layers are being shed and I’m continuing to find my own skin away from them, away from theirs. These realisations, even though they always sound the same and consist of the same four words, the impact is always really different…or actually maybe the impact just goes deeper. To the next layer. And this thrill of celebration when I come-to, wake up, and find myself beneath the crap that’s been flying around my Inner Room all week or month or day or maybe even year, is the shedding of another layer.

That’s pretty beautiful.

The Wellness Resistance

So tonight I feel like I just realised the power of blogging, a little bit more. I found myself reading a post I wrote a while back about the fear of healing and the fear of feeling healthy. It’s definitely the theme of my current moments, big time, and I then remembered this post I wrote. First off, it makes me realise how we must have these cycles and these running themes along our jlurney that are there until we heal it or figure it out or maybe are just always there – this fear of being well is one of these themes, and it was so healing to realise that this evening, reading this. And the other element of the power of blogging is that basically you’re just writing a fuck load of letters to yourself…love letters, advice letters, reassurance letters, hate letters, angry letters, but all written by you and they’re there for you to tuck into whenever you need to. The pride and admiration, and appreciation of the me back then was overwhelmingly beautiful and huge as I read it. I felt like a child going to their mum for some reassuring words, except the mum was me back in May and the child is me tucked up in bed now, worrying about my life and this fear of being well.

Whenever I’ve dipped back into notes and posts from this blog, I’ve always been astonished with how brilliant, wise, healthy, capable and talented I sound, and am.

That’s pretty beautiful. I need to re-read more often. And for this reason, I’m re-blogging this piece too.

Love.

metaphorical marathons

So for a while now there’s been this thing I’ve noticed. It’s the resistance – the fear – of healing. It’s like an internal battle I’ve got going on with myself. And I feel like the deeper I get, the further along the healing ladder I step, the greater the fight becomes. I love ‘parts work’ – the foundations of Gestalt Therapy – and it is something I do myself at home, through the use of cartoons, and dialogue between each part. This is a mega subject and project of mine that I could type on about for hours, and I will someday.

But for now I want to talk about this battle of wellbeing that’s happenin’ inside. The part of me that’s still living in the abuse, still stuck in the memory of the past, still believing it will all be the same now, is the one that is…

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Where you stand

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Looooved this quote this morning. Feels so relevant and true to the last year and a half particularly. The body fall and the emotional fall. Both have brought me to my foundations – foundations I hadn’t seen before. And foundations I needed to get to know in order to really know myself and begin to really heal. And, to know where I want to stand in this life. ❤