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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Keeping schtum

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My last post talked about the juicy subject of guilt…something I thought I was in the depths of feeling, but now I realise this guilt quickly became shame, I just didn’t clock on. Shame literally does no good. It feels like something that riggles its way so subtly into your life, only to sit there and fester, turning your days into depressive inner chatter and withdrawal, isolation and self hatred…all coming from somewhere you can’t quite put your finger on, or without you even realising it beginning to happen.

That’s what it’s been like for me. This last week has been so bizarre. I have lost myself to the above scenario, and I have felt overwhelmed by it, but unable to get out of it no matter how much positive self talk or love I try to give myself. It’s all been shame based on what I did last year. All based on the fact that I attempted suicide… and all the self-judgement that has come from this. I have literally had to force myself to see friends, with a constant dialogue of “why are you still my friend, you shouldn’t be, I shouldn’t be here with you trying to be funny and normal after what I did, you must think I am so awful, I am awful…” running through my head. I have managed to perfect the art of avoiding talking about it when I do speak to friends because the vulnerability it takes to share this is WAY too much, and way too daunting…and I’m scared.

But tonight I asked a friend on the phone: “you don’t think any less of me because of what I did last year, do you?”… There was a pause and she laughed: “I can’t work out whether you’re being serious – is that a trick question?!” I went on to laugh too, but say that no it really wasn’t and I was totally serious… She went on to reassure and say lovely things. It felt like medicine. And it made me realise that when we get left with our guilt or self-criticism, doubt, and judgement, it becomes a big ugly bear that follows us around. To us it becomes massive, inconsolable and all encompassing. But when we share, the empathy and love, immediately softens it down.

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“Empathy is the antidote to shame.  If you put shame in a petri dish it needs three things to grow exponentially, secrecy,silence and judgement.  If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and dose it with empathy it cannot survive.”

Brene Brown

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Speaking with my therapist yesterday, she called this ‘toxic shame’. The shame that grows and grows when kept isolated from people, and the kind of shame that can only be healed, soothed, or told to sod off, through love. Without risk of sounding cheesy, that really is how it works. Since hearing that, I realise that really is true. It is love from mother/father or boyfriend/girlfriend that is the key to this passing, apparently. But, seeing as I don’t have those treats in my life, friends are the people I can turn to, to give me that love and reassurance. At least some of it anyway. I realised the beginning of this shame-fest was a tonne of grief about not having a mother to turn to. I suddenly felt an overwhelming and desperate longing for a mum to call up, to visit, and to tell that I overdosed… to have a mum to hug me and tell me it’s going to be okay. To tell me that she doesn’t think badly of me for doing what I did, that I am not any less of a person because of it, to tell me that she understands and that she is here for me always, that she still loves me, and that doing what I did doesn’t change anything… that’s what I needed/need, and after speaking with my therapist I realise that this is an innate human need that I was experiencing. But something that has been so blocked from my radar out of pure unavailability that I didn’t know what to do with it, so I buried it out of fear. As well as the scenario above with my friend on the phone, I have had two other times I have shared this shame briefly with a friend and immediately I just cried…simply hearing someone tell me all that I needed to hear, the shame just cannot help but disappear, even if for just that brief moment. This proves the love theory to be true.

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“Shame works like the zoom lens on a camera. When we are feeling shame, the camera is zoomed in tight and all we see is our flawed selves, alone and struggling.”

Brene Brown

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The other day, in the midst of this ‘aftermath of an overdose’ shame-fest emotional shenanigans that I was experiencing, I was longing to pick up something and read experiences of other people’s journey with their healing of suicide…in every little detail. Not just the overall paragraph about it. Like, each and every nitty gritty and not-so pretty detail that only those who have attempted suicide can truly know. I couldn’t find it, and so this is why I want to document this journey. The feelings feel so alien, intense and bizarre…and SO flippin’ hard to express – in my journal, through the blog or in person. And given the nature of the topic, it feels hard to truly trust it is safe to share. So, instead, I need to keep typing and keep on finding my way back to the keyboard, and hope the spoken words will come properly soon.

This week  has felt like I am learning how to do things from the beginning again. But maybe this is just a deeper level of healing. Letting love in at the moment feels almost impossible, but is the thing I crave the greatest. I am still allowing it to be around me despite this inability to feel it. I long to just keep schtum, keep withdrawn, keep myself to myself…but I know in my heart that’s not what I want. All I can do is prove this shame wrong. Keep on gently giving myself love or letting it be there from others, despite whatever self hating critical chatter is going on and whatever urge to withdraw and keep schtum is there.

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Shame, sod off.

The calm after the storm

My exhaustion is deep.
It’s riddled with nausea and aching,
But with a buzzing trembling from the trauma too.

It leaves resting only possible when it’s brought on by collapse.
Dozing isn’t possible,
Gentle resting and reading isn’t either.

It’s either asleep and dead to the world,
Or UP,
Feeling rough as can be, longing for sleep
Or wired and anxiety ridden.

Whatever the state though, when I’m up there’s almost always a quiet (or NOT so quiet) level of trauma trembling and anxiety rumbling going on in my body.

This is the state I struggle so much to be in. Actually, i do the rest also, but this state feels heartbreaking. You feel so almost near to calm and restful-ness, you can almost touch it, but your body’s having none of it. It feels like what I can imagine adrenal exhaustion to be like. Or something. It feels like exhaustion and overdrive to the core. Every cell in body is completely fucking knackered. Yet at the same time, each of these cells is swimming in the stored up trauma, longing to be released. And so it buzzes. Just for fun.

This pattern seems to be taking shape quite regularly the last month. I’ve had two big triggering episodes, where I’ve spent five days or so in a total haze of terrifying retraumatisation, flashbacks and heightened anxiety. As this begins to soften, and the trauma stored, plays itself out, the exhaustion comes in full force. And with it too, an edge of depression.

I know they say PTSD is often shown in ups and downs of anxiety and depression, but it is only til now that I see it so with me. Or maybe it was happening before but it hadn’t been quite as black and white. The white storm of anxiety and flashbacks, nonstop trauma ridden energy, shaking and an inability to sleep: a state that feels so uncomfortable, so painful and so terrifying. And then the black heaviness of the aftermath, of flatness, exhaustion, haziness, flulike symptoms and nausea: a state my body is crying out to recuperate and heal.

The trouble is though, there seems to be a grey area in there somewhere. And that’s the state I think I feel the most – and the one I’m in the most. It’s the one where you feel trembly, anxious, scared and blinded by a mixture of the residues of the trauma that’s just been, and then a deep exhaustion to your core, with a feeling of being run-down. Almost like your immune system has just played a ten round boxing match with your adrenals. It makes you feel like you just want to wrap yourself up in a blanket, let the sun fall on your face and treasure the moment of calm because you know it’s going to be okay. But you can’t, because there is no moment of calm – it’s more your body longing for it. Instead, there is all this energy pumping round your body you need to get rid of. So you move, you exercise and you TRY to get it out so you can rest. I feel like I have to put the feeling of exhaustion and unwellness, on the back burner for later. Because I know, that when that anxious trauma energy is running round your body, it’s there to be released and so released is what it has to be. This all comes down to the physical science of trauma and how it is stored in the body. I just worry because I don’t know how much more I can put on this back burner of mine. Will it all hit me in one big swoop of exhaustion and send me flying into bed, only to return a year or two later, like it kinda did with chronic fatigue. Or am I replacing this energy and recuperating enough when I get the chance? Do all the calms after the storm replace the crazy haze of trauma spells? I don’t know. I guess only time will show. But part of me thinks that they do. Your body knows what it’s doing, so listen to it and look after it.

Does anyone else live in this kind of inbetween state of exhaustion and anxiety simultaneously with their PTSD?

Love. ☀

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Storytelling & Future Tripping

I just found this post I wrote last week but never uploaded. It’s a bit of a lengthy one. And not quite as relevant now as it was back then but I feel it needs to be put out there and shared, so here you are. 🙂

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As the autumn leaves fall and the winter winds sweep,
These days bring something from which I want to keep.

They bring strength, resilience, abilities.
Abilities to keep going no matter what.
Abilities to keep faith in the midst of everything feeling as though you shouldn’t.
Abilities that I see help you grow into the being you are supposed to be.
Because all will be okay, something perhaps I am only just seeing.

Times are changing, and I am too.
Sometimes I feel I’m not. Sometimes it feels just how it’s always been, but worse.
But others I see that this is just a phase.
I have these moments I can feel myself in ten years, looking back on this time now.
Looking back with compassion and laughter and tears at what I fought through and for. At what felt as though it had brought me to the floor, yet all it did was show me I could only do more.

I see me helping someone in the place. Mid twenties and crumbling.
I see me offering understanding and comforting words, that “this too shall pass”.

I don’t know how but there is a glimpse that this might happen. That this is not forever. That all my worst case scenarios of craziness and hospital might not actually happen.

Slowly…just slowly, my efforts and strength are coming together it seems. Just as I chose with my meds, I decided they were the right ones. I decided I would cope with the side effects they might bring. I decided I would make it work. That these were right. I stuck to the tiniest of doses, determined not to take more. Determined not to try another one, as I had dabbled with so many yet they all brought turmoil. This one did too, but something was different. There was an edge to it, be it a change in me or a change in my physiology, but there was an edge that left room for error. Before this I could not, and would not, cope with that. The only edges I had were those supporting survival.

As a friend said, this is a sign of health.

The same has come for therapies. I’ve been round and round through thick and thin trying to make something work but always being left lost and longing for more. More wisdom. More opportunity. More class. More grace. More manners. Less of a motherly face.

And yet this week, I’ve decided. I’ve decided to try a lady out. For many reasons, which I won’t go into just yet, I’m not entirely comfortable with it. In fact, I’m terrified.

But I feel like I’m determined. Determined to make it work. I know that with anyone I’ve met with an attempt to work with them in a therapeutic relationship, there’s always been something. And there will always be something. And this is just the nature of these kind of things. And any other relationship in life at that matter.

I’m scared.

I’m scared of where my life is going. I’m scared that I’m not going to get through this. I’m constantly scared that I’m going mad. For those of you that saw the last doodle I uploaded here, that is pretty much a constant fear dialogue of mine!

But who knows. Who knows what’ll happen. And that’s just the thing.

I’m terrified of how spaced out I feel at the moment. And then I have to remind myself that I’m still very much recovering from a gigantic tooth and HEAD infection, still taking the hefty antibiotics, had cranial sacral yesterday, and have just finished my period. This to anyone would make you feel weird and spaced.

Why does it always leave me feeling like I’m falling off the wagon? What if I’m just going through a big transition of feelings and emotions and states rising to the surface, to be healed and seen. And then head on their way. What if, for my entire life I’ve held everything in and down and stuffed away because it was never safe to let it be seen. What if now is my time to let this all be shown. What if, letting it be seen now is no fact for the future. It’s just a fact for now. And these feelings? They’re not fact. They’re just feelings.

I’m scared of the PTSD too. And I have been for a while. I’m scared to sit myself beneath that title, for what it might bring. But, provided I keep a connection to myself and everything else, letting this title be part of me, surely must only help things?

This fear is heightened, and potentially caused by, storytelling and judging of myself. These judgements and storytelling goes a little something like this: how long I’ll have it for; that I’ll have it forever; that it’s only going to be getting worse; how I am destined to be a mess forever or at least a very long time; that I’m not going to fulfil my potential; that I’ve failed for letting myself get to this point; that I’ve failed for not being able to overcome the trauma myself; that I’ve failed for not being more balanced and losing my ability to always be so rational; that I’ve failed for crumbling; that I’ve failed for struggling with money; that I’ve failed because I’m living with a random lady, not friends or family; that I’ve failed because I don’t have family to turn to; that I’ve failed because I could no longer hold onto the capable, coping, girl I was…etc etc.

It makes me feel sick when I sit and think of this. Sometimes it turns into panic, but generally it’s just a constant level of worry and angst, floating about. And I hate it.

And I trust that right now, the only thing I can do is keep going.

Keep going because I just don’t know what might happen. It all might start improving, it all might get worse. Or it might do a bit of both. Who knows. As I type, just the fact that I don’t know makes me feel sick with worry: just the fact that I don’t know exactly what is going to happen in my life freaks me out. And yet, isn’t this quite funny? This is definitely a time to laugh. I freak out on such a regular basis because i can’t predict things…?! Beneath this appearance of a control freak, is actually a real care to myself. A care that I want to know what is going to happen, so I can change what I do, say, am, and am becoming, so that I don’t become a mess. This is all what it boils down to:

I am so scared of not knowing where my life is going or how it’s going to turn out, in case I turn out a failure and a mess, and miss the chance to take a different route or do things slightly differently, to stop me becoming my mum or my dad, to stop me becoming crazy (like them, and like I feel so often at times right now – in the midst of anxiety & it all), or to stop me ending up wasting my life and wasting the potential and skills I have, to stop me collapsing beneath the weight and pressure and trauma of what’s been before…and on the list goes.

Basically, I would do everything I could to stop me winding up in any of those above scenarios. But that’s where I need to stop and trust that all that determination and persistence and will, is playing itself out without me having to consciously try at all. I am trying my best, at times I feel totally lost and confused and helpless and ready to completely give up. But something just keeps going – it always does. All I want to do is to trust that that part of me will never fade and never leave. And that is something I just hope, and I think I know somewhere inside, that only time will tell. Trust, in my eyes, can only grow with proof and evidence. So in a few years time, when I’m still here, I’m still me, I’m still okay, I’m living a life I am wanting to live, I am using my potential in whichever ways come, I am not crazy, I am loved, then will I trust that that fighting spirit and inner strength never dies. Until then I hope and I hold onto that inner bit of me that I think knows.

I hope you all can hold onto that inner trust and knowing too. Because, no matter how far away or deep within it or completely out of sight it can feel, it is there. I promise.

Love.

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Keep the grip

As the moments pass by, The clouds turn to cry, The trees flutter to whisper, I can’t help but pinch myself and wonder, Whether all this was always gonna be a thing I ponder? Or could I have done things … Continue reading

The Mood

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You intwine, you entail, you cover me with your frustrating frustration fuelled vail.

You leave me restless.
You leave me irritated.
You leave me agitated to the very core.

Your vail has me forget.
It has me forget the joy and calm and ease I feel beneath your colours.

You have me forget the peace I hold in my soul.
Instead my soul feels shattered. It no longer is cradled and content, like my love had been trying so hard to discover and reach.

That self love I had taken so long to reach is left in tatters.
As twine reaches around its teetering edges, my heart cries for a an avenue.
A release of this pent up anger and frustration from years behind and years before.

In all your glory, in all your shine, you leave me roaring.

You leave me in a floating twirling midst of longing to harm, to cut, to EAT, to binge, to burn, to panic, to freak out about all things but the now, to hit, to attack. Not anyone else. Just myself. In these rushing moments I wish so much I had learnt those avenues of release – of expression. Of hate. Of anger. Of greed. Of resentment. Of love that’s forever needed a feed.

Instead it is me.

It is me that gets your hate. Your panic. Your loathing. Your regret. Your longing. Your frustration. Your MOOD.

It is me that gets me. No pillow. No jog. No burning rushing wind blown bike ride. Just me and my insides. And the outer.

I feel left in a turmoil of sickness. The urge to purge. The urge to vom. The urge to get rid of this rollercoaster. To step off it entirely.

But where did it go wrong? This morning I woke feeling content and comfortable and calm. What did I do wrong for two hours on to be feeling such anxiety & turmoil of mood. Was it that I took the snippet of pill a little late. Was it that I ate the wrong breakfast. Was it that
Is it that I’m just on my period? I reckon. Is it perhaps that I am just tired? I reckon. Does it mean that these perhaps are the wrong meds and I have to change? I don’t reckon.

In these flustered and clusters of hate, aggression, and exhaustion, I always forget they are not forever. They don’t need to be freaked out over. They will pass. They always do. I don’t need to change them.

Part of my anxiety mix is that when I’m in a panic, I add to the upset by trying to work it all out and having to hit the FIX switch right now. RIGHT NOW. Sometimes this means I’m miss super efficient in the midst of anxiety when it’s not bowling me sideways. But generally I am just an even more of a jumbled mess of:
Oh my god. This is wrong. I can’t be like this forever. I’m crazy. I’m going to be like this forever. Who was I thinking that I could get through this.

Cease to worry. Cease to panic in the panic. Know, as all the wise folks, this too shall pass.

Even though in the frickin moment it feels like forever, and it feels like you’ve lost the inches of your mind you were just beginning to get a grip on, man it makes it easier to try and hear those wise folks words. Whoever they might be.

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it’s all come to now

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I see.

I see it’s all been working towards this.
I see the journey up until now.
I see the way I’ve been getting to this point.

I see how hard I was trying to work it all out.
I see myself back then, back til just now, and want to just hug that self. Give it the mountain of compassion and admiration and respect and pride I have for me back then. Me right back now.

I see everything is so different now.

I see I am just so so different to my mum.

I see this has just been one big long beginning to a path of healing.

I see that sometimes they can appear similar – similar to that of the person you so long never to be or follow. But then I see this is essential. This is what everyone does in their own creative way.

I see that this was always coming – my time of healing. My time of care.

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I see that those years of holding responsibility and troubles have now gone. They no longer belong to me, and so now I see it’s time to find the free me. The me I want to be. The me I am.

I see how much support I have around me.

I see how much everyone really really cares.

I see who shines and who steps back.

I see who I gravitate towards, and who I step from.

I see family members stepping forward in way I’ve always longed.

I see them, despite the distance, despite the years of not really ever knowing much, they are coming forward into a time that I used to dream of but never see happening.

It blows me away.

It feels like all these years have come to one.
All these tears are now beginning to come un-spun.

All the years of isolation and despair.

All those years of wishing and wondering if I’d be able to ever share this level of care.

All those years of feeling it was normal but beneath that, a real fear for quite how abnormal it really was.

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It’s all come to now: a time of healing, relief and pain. But a time to heal all the same.

To be able to feel. To be able to sob. To be able to know there will be someone there is undescribable.

To know that I know now how to ask, was always unimaginable.

I feel so alone, yet almost, for the first time: at peace with this.

For the first time in my life I feel blessed to be able to hold the pain of feeling like the only one who understands. Like the only one who really knows my story.

But now I just want to tell it to myself. I almost just crave that time with me. To reflect on the crazy journey it’s been. To give me and myself some time to be. To be with it all and know this is just part of the path to a place I just never thought belonged to me:
A place in which I am happy, I am free.

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But it’s finally here. It’s finally coming.
In and amongst and in the midst of a the pain, no matter how far away this place is, I know I’m on my way to it.

And for me that feels like a miracle I simply assumed would never live within my name.

It feels like the whole of my life has floated before my eyes singing, ‘that makes sense – we knew you would get here!’

And typing those words fill me with fear for the pain uncovery and depth I now face, but the most overwhelming sense of relief, miracle and wonder.

I am one lucky soul to be where I am now.

Life really is on my side, is what I just keep thinking.

When I feel calm I know this.

When I get lost in panic, I don’t.

But know that the mayhem, whirlwind and rollercoaster is over now.

And here is me.

Wounded, hurting, scarred and scared, but I am me and I am free.

I hope you give yourself time to reflect on how far you’ve come and from where you’ve been.

Because you’re amazing. ☀

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