Lockdown = trauma brain triggers

My brain has been all over the place during this tumultuous period of our lives
There have been so so many triggers
I have really been struggling to process them all
My emotional state has been highly disturbed and at a very low ebb


Modern technology has been both a curse and a blessing
The curse of information overload
what to believe
what to not
who to believe
who to not

I have learnt to use Zoom which has been such a blessing as the one certainty each week has been my hour with my therapist
It is the 9am appointment that I have to get out of bed and show up for
She has helped me unravel my trauma brain amongst all of this confusion
The first week was so bad
I was drowning in isolation
I did not cope
with being locked in
with being controlled
with being silenced
with living in fear

Unraveling…
Taking it back…
Processing…

As a child
I was mind controlled
I was silenced by fear
I was isolated by fear
and I was locked in by the knowledge that if I spoke up I would destroy so much
By keeping silent I was protecting everyone else
but also protecting myself
I found strength enough to hold the abuse
But I wasn’t strong enough to endure the consequences of breaking silence

My brain was fighting, struggling with being taken back down that dark trauma rabbit hole
I was drowning

Once I was able to process and identify
I spoke up
Voiced my fears
And I was heard
My friends and family heard my cry for help
And through video coffee dates and phone calls
And walks in the sunshine & lots of supportive cuddles from my love
I have made it through thus far

“My life is so blessed with some of the most amazing people. Thank you for being part of my journey.” – Unknown

Real connection needed please…

Living in lockdown
That word resonnates fear and control to me

As a victim of childhood trauma
Personal control was taken from me when I was a child
I’ve lived so much of my life
living With fear
living In fear
and in recent years
learning to conquer fears
learning how to take back control of my life
and now I’m thrust into a world of Fear
a world of totalitarian control
I’m spinning inside
My brain wont shut off
The panic buttons have been activated again
everywhere I turn there is more and more and more
Fear
triggering me like crazy

Lockdown Day 4
my emotional balance tipped off scale by a small first world problem on a cool morning
realisation that my warm clothes are all packed & stored
773 kms (480miles) away
because we were in the midst of a major life change when life as we knew it stopped
those life changes are now on hold
we are neither here nor there
and this all of a sudden became huge
a feeling of helplessness
a loss of control
the tears began

Lockdown Day 5
Unfortunately in spite of our businesses being closed
The legal and accountancy side of life continues
No holiday from the IRD etc
My emotional wellbeing is already fragile
Throw work, brain, thinking issues into the mix and I’m done
I slammed the laptop shut and buried myself in my lovers arms
Hiding until a new day forces me to face the pressures again

Lockdown Day 6
No matter how much I try
No matter how far we walk
No matter how much sun is shining
No matter how many hugs & comfort I get from the only person that is allowed to hug me
The tears wont stop
I’m exhausted

Whatever control I had on my life has been removed
Whats the point of living if we are not allowed freedom to live…

I am tired of seeing all the sunshine and roses and stupidity that is flying around the internet
I just want some reality
I want connection
I don’t want some generic video or meme
I Need Real Connection

I know others are struggling also
For the sake of honesty
Can we just be fucking real – Please?

If I’m gonna get through this
I need to know
It’s okay to cry
It’s okay to speak up
It’s okay to voice that I’m not Okay
That I will be heard

This article below is excellent
It helped me make sense of me this morning
I’m sharing it below in it’s entirety just in case the link ever gets broken

Stop Romanticizing Lockdown—It’s a Mental Health Crisis in the Making.

During this unprecedented and peculiar time of COVID-19 and the subsequent quarantines in place, I have seen a post doing the rounds recently.

It talks about settling in to this space to read and meditate, to sing and dance and remember how to find the sacred in the simplest of things. It talks about the world slowing down. It talks about humanity healing. It is beautiful. I believe in much of its sentiment.

Yes, of course, it is important to uplift ourselves and each other during this difficulty. Yes, of course, there is value in making the most of this unusual moment and using the time wisely. Yes, of course, there is opportunity to heal and deal with our issues as they arise through the quietness of our confinement.
But, so often in life, our obsession with staying positive—both individually and culturally—means we don’t create the space for the far more complex, real, raw human experience. We don’t create the space for people to feel both free and safe to speak their struggles. It has the potential to silence and shame those who are suffering alone inside their homes, making them feel that there is something wrong with them or their inability to emotionally cope.
I believe we need to stop romanticising lockdown, because quite simply, it is a mental health crisis in the making.

Here are some things I would like us all to have in our awareness during this time so that perhaps we can hold space for both ourselves and each other in a more complete and loving way.

The childhood traumas that many of us have suffered are largely to do with connection—or, more to the point, lack of it. The original attachments formed with our family units were unhealthy and dysfunctional, leaving us with a nagging sense of being alone—disconnected from ourselves, others, and the world around us. For many people, being physically isolated in their homes is going to be both triggering and re-traumatising.

Most of us don’t even know that we carry trauma and wounding from childhood. We might suffer with symptoms such as addictions, chronic pain, depression, low self-esteem, or anxiety. We might like our drink a little bit too much, or over-work, or be a tad too fanatic about exercise. We might travel a little too often, always on the run from reality, or socialise obsessively to fend off the loneliness that eats away at us. We may not yet have discovered the pain that lies at the root of these behaviours—because they are designed to keep us from it.









I am So Fucking Angry!


I lost another friend this week

I am So Fucking Angry

Sexual assault has permeated my entire life
I am so weary
So tired
So hurting
So incredibly sad
and so very very angry

Just to be clear
completely clarify
To ensure you are hearing me
I will say it again
I AM SO FUCKING ANGRY RIGHT NOW
I have spent the best part of my life surviving
The best part
55 years of my life
surviving 10 years of childhood sexual assault
I have spent the past 10 years healing
As I have healed
and become more vocal, open,
I have had countless approaches
from other victims
from families of victims
asking for help, understanding, a shoulder, an ear

Every persons story is different
But every story is the same
Violation
Betrayal
Guilt
Shame
Self blame

When you are a victim of sexual assault
It takes every ounce of your energy every day
every single fucking day
to stay alive

When/if you can finally face your traumas
When/if you can finally stand firm in your wobbly standfirmedness
Grasping tentatively for strength
every moment of every day
And proclaim with some sense of achievement
‘I am a Survivor’
No matter how much healing
No matter how much happiness you find
No matter how much you learn
No matter how much communication improves
Sexual Assault
still
sits
in
the very core of you
neurological damage to the brain which you never fully recover from
Danielle explains perfectly
“I feel like there was a version of me that disappeared the day I was abused for the first time. Those few minutes became the point at which the before disappeared and the after began.” 

We all know
well those of us that have are damaged understand
the diagnosable obvious recognisable resulting behaviours
depression
anxiety
suicidal ideation
post-traumatic stress
self harm
aggression
impulsiveness
delinquency
hyperactivity
substance abuse
and these are just the obvious, the most common
there is so so much more….

But lets really get very real here folks
Sexual assault tortures
It tortures the soul of you
It exhausts you

But ultimately
Sexual assault kills
It kills communication
It kills conversation
It kills your spirit
It kills your soul
It kills your mind
It kills relationships
It kills families
It kills people
It Kills!


And to my friend
I just want to say
I really really do hear you
I understand you
I understand your pain
I don’t need to hear your story
I know
I also know how so important it is for you to tell your story
To Get It Out
And to be heard
I am so very sorry you couldn’t hear me
I am so very sorry I couldn’t hear you
We are both damaged wounded souls
And I pray you will be heard by others who can hear you better than I was able









The frustrations of a distracted writer

Words swirl in my brain
Sentences form
The need to jot them down becomes
Overwhelmed by body busyness
They get forgotten
Left to mull in the recesses of my brain
Then when opportunity arises
They fail to appear in any form of sensical reason

Words have always been
my love
my escape
my weapons
Words feed my soul
I am a word devourer
A word fanaticist
And when words escape me….

I need words to convey
myself
me
my heart
who I am
To you

To you the reader of my ramblings
And when I lose my words
I am lost
frustrated
scared
embarrassed
unsettled

Today I began to write what was in my heart
but my mind wouldn’t cooperate
so
I spill myself out
using words that I never intended
because the ones I want
elude me

I will endeavour to slow myself
to breathe
and focus
and bring myself back

I will search for the escapees
and return soon

A New Year, A New Decade

For months
I have been blogging in my head
never getting the words written
so many words
so many thoughts
so many heartaches
so much life
so much living
trying to make sense of them all

Words
tangling in my brain
wishing I’d taken time to write them down
processing them better

Maybe
just maybe
that might have lessened my anxiousness
reduced my worries
made sense of the mind games
helped my reflections
calmed the triggers

Today
a New Year
a new decade
no rash resolutions
just circumspect self care

I need to write more
not Want
but Need
for my soul
my spirit
my heart
my wellbeing
I need
to hear myself

I need
to give myself space
time to reflect
time to process
time to bleed
healing continuum

Living with the myself ain’t easy

I never recognised depression or anxiety within myself for many many years
My perceived strength didn’t allow me the grace to recognise or acknowledge them
I was too strong
I had to be strong
to survive
Along the way there were times
When I cracked
just a little bit
But not enough for me to acknowledge the causes or the effects
It took me a very long time to completely break
But in breaking I then began learning about myself
Learning that my strength was what protected me
Helped me endure
Helped me cope through all the traumas
But even the strongest things become brittle over time
And brittle breaks

And despite all the therapy over the past 8 years
all the self learning
all of the self care I am allowing myself
Yes – I still have to negotiate in my head that I need and deserve to love myself enough to care about myself
that I deserve to put me first
I still break
But each time it is a less substantial break

I give so much of myself
I still put myself last
I still struggle to stand up
and speak out
for me
I am so good at standing for others
speaking up for others
advocating for others
But I am total shit about advocating for myself

And that is classic victim mentality
Damnit!

On the home front here in New Zealand
Sexual abuse victims are able to access therapy via ACC sensitive claims
Part of this involves undergoing psychological assessments to ascertain authenticity and then ongoing treatment / well-being plans
Some fight this process
They perceive a stigma attached with mental health diagnosis
I don’t have an issue with it
If my legs were broken or paralysed I would accept help
So if my inner being is damaged I also need to accept help


Since I broke eight years ago I have undergone two assessments
I got to a place where I was so broken I needed to accept help
No matter where it came from
And no matter what strings they attached
I was initially diagnosed with PTSD
that’s an easy one
yeah, well not so easy really
It’s actually a bloody nightmare to live with
but I’ve managed to wrap my head around that over the past 8 years
and I’ve been learning to understand myself within it
But during my recent assessment there was an added diagnosis
Recurrant Depressive Disorder
Great!
Another official stamp
I so hate being put into boxes
But officialdom decrees that to fund my ongoing healthcare I have to tick boxes
So anyways…
Combine these two along with the constant sleep disorder that delights in being part of the party
And the results are at times not pretty

Several weeks ago the tears began
The sleeplessness revved up
I was breaking
Life was attacking me from so many quarters
It is like I have 69 different people demanding from me all at the same time
But each of those 69 do not realise that there are 68 others
It is like a relentless attack on my brain
My nervous system goes into hypervigilance
I become incredibly anxious
My sleep becomes fitful
exhaustion, migraines, physical pain, irritibilty, all increase
I become hyper alert, hyper aroused, anxious, fearful,
And the tears just wont stop

I know that living with me is hard
but
Living with my self is nigh impossible

I am becoming more aware now though
And trying to be more proactive when I feel myself breaking
Recently I just had to shut down
I allowed myself to
Take time
Pull back
Unload
Accept help
Increase self care
And, the biggest hurdle of all
Ask for help
Sometimes talking with my therapist is not quite enough to get through these patches
This time I have started taking natural ‘meds’
Personally I struggle with taking medication
I have fought it for years
But now, after a consultation, I am taking 5htp, B6 plus some extra strength multi vitamins
They seem to be helping
I am feeling changes
A few days in and I realised
I was smiling again

I am also making a resolved choice to pull myself out of this current hole
I’m not out of it yet
But I sure as hell am a heap better than I was several weeks ago

And I sure as hell am so grateful for my BFF’s who carry me through these dark days in their own special ways

and to my incredibly supportive fiancé who holds the umbrella during my storms, he not only encourages me to go lion buying – he goes with me 🙂




Robot on the loose!!

Arggghhhhh!!!!!!
Processing through another massive trigger attack
Trying to describe what happens within
to explain the outward displays of apparent irrational behaviours

Well they seem to be irrational
to those who are not living in my skin

But in my head Robot is blindly circling amok yelling
‘danger! danger! danger! danger!
do not compute!’

distressing my brain even more
exposing every nerve ending
until they are bleeding raw pain

Every part my body is fraught
on edge
skrieking at the slightest infraction
Fear rises to the surface

I’m frightened
of everything I perceive as threatening
anything that might possibly compromise my safety
of loss
of death
just. plain. scared.

I cry
all the time
tears flow too damn freely
uncontrollable
I hate myself
for being like this

Processing deeply
trying to understand myself
Trying to understand myself so others might try to understand me

How can they
when I struggle to understand myself

Choices

Victim
Survivor
Choices
Struggles
It is never ending
I didn’t want
I don’t want to be a victim
I never chose to be a victim
But
when my innocence was taken
my choice was stolen from me
I was too small
my voice was too small
unknowingly but yet with overwhelming knowingness
I knew if I did use my voice
I would lose family
I knew I didn’t have a community
I knew I would lose
Everything

So
I buried the pain deep
so deep
way down in my depths
pushed the memories
back
way way back
and I lived the best way I knew how
I lived
I loved
I laughed

But
Constantly
Naggingly
there was always
The Secret
The Unspoken
The Truth
causing The Pain
to fester in the core of my very being
rotting my soul

Decades later
It began oozing
with the intense stench of depression
flashbacks
nightmares
anger
stress
unstoppable tears

One day
the burden of
The Pain
became absolutely unbearable
I was forced to take a knife
and
cut open the wound
and
slowly
began to allow the poison to escape
The surgery was long
and painful
But
this time
I wasn’t small anymore
my voice grew
louder and
Louder and
LOUDER

Until I was heard
My knowingness had been right
I did lose family
but
this time
I have gained Community

My Community
understands me
hears me
holds me
and
most importantly
Loves me

My Choice
I Am A Survivor







Months ago I read Jessica’s statement below and it really resonated with me, she encouraged me to dig deep and write my story above.

I can still struggle with the wish that I could have stood up sooner, been stronger, saved myself and my family in the way that was desperately needed for so long. But I have learned that I did the best I could at the times when it felt like there was no choice. I didn’t know until I finally knew, I couldn’t stand until I finally stood. There is no shame in finally being strong. I am a survivor.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5613193/Willis-sister-Jessica-speaks-abuse-left-family.html

Where is our Manaakitanga

Recent events in Aotearoa / New Zealand stunned our nation – again
A young English backpacker was murdered here just before Christmas.
We were devastated – again

Standing amongst the Nelson crowd
All of us mourning this young woman
Each one of us there for different reasons but for the same reason
Sadness
Grief
Anger
This should not happen
This should not keep on happening
Not here
Not anywhere

People were speaking out against violence against women across the nation
Naming and remembering the women killed by the hands of another person here in Aotearoa
Giving these women back their mana
Not mentioning the names of their murderers
We will not give them that power
Statistics say at least 13 women and 10 men will lose their lives to domestic abuse every year here in Aotearoa
14 women this past year
Countless women over the decades….

Yes, we have to stand up and speak out and stop this violence

But my inner heart was screaming…
It is not just about women
It is about inhumanity towards fellow humans
It is about respect – or lack of it
It is about responsibility towards each other
It is about Love

Since this heinous violent act was committed we have seen many more here in NZ
So much tūkino
So much whakarekereke
Too much whakarekereke ā-whare
Violence against our wāhine
Violence against our tamariki

We need Aroha
Where is our respect?
Where is our kindness?
Where is our love?


In memory of these young visitors who did not receive the Manaakitanga they deserved in our land
Grace Millane, 22
Kayo Matsuzawa, 29
Birgit Bauer, 28
Karen Aim, 27
Dagmar Pytlickova, 31
Margery Hopegood, 32
Jae Hyeon Kim, 25
Urban Hoglin, 23
Heidi Paakkonen, 21
Monica Cantwell, 24

I will never move on….

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning and read a quote that a friend shared.

It really spoke to me so I followed links in the comments and found the original quote above, and read her blog post in its entirety.
By the time I got to the end tears were falling down my cheeks as I identified  with, and was touched by every single word she wrote.

I want to give due credit to Kelly here because this quote is out there in cyberspace as anonymous.
It is most definitely the writings of a very talented and thoughtful woman who has walked the grief journey.
Definitely well worth taking time to read it to the end!
‘I will never move on’  by writer, comedian, actor & performer  Kelly Lynn

Most people who have been following my blogs for the past few years will know my journey has been a very tangled one to say the least.
It has in fact been far, far more tangled at times than I have been able to write publicly about.
But I have learnt over these years that grief knows no boundaries and should never be timeframed.
As Kelly says here –
“I will never move on from my husband. I will never NOT love my husband who died. I will never leave him in my past, like some forgotten old shoe I never threw away. This applies forever. Even if I should fall in love again. Even if I should marry again. Even if I should live every dream that I have ever dreamed possible. Even when I am old and gray and ancient, should I have the honor of being allowed to live that long. Even then. I will NEVER not be connected to my husband. He lives within me now. Whatever I do, wherever I go, I carry him with me. He is a piece of my very soul. There is no moving on.”

Tim was my best friend and lover for 42 years and my husband for over 34 years.
The vast majority of my life has been intertwined with him.
It cannot be discounted nor forgotten ever.
We shared 11 babies together.
Each of our 10 living children contain his genes, his dna, his love, his life.
Each of them and our grand babies all carry him on into the future.
He can & will never be forgotten ever
There are just way too many memories we all share
There is no moving on.
Only moving forward.

To read Kelly’s blog and hear so much validation in one post is overwhelming to say the least.
I absolutely love her last paragraph which she has written with such positivity that I am not going to rephrase it in anyway.
It is inspirational and motivational and has lit a flame in my heart that I had been burying.

“Here is what I WILL do:

I will live the biggest and brightest and most colorful life that I can, because my husband does not have that choice. I will cling to every new joy that I feel in this life, because I am still alive to feel it. I will honor the life and the love that my husband and I shared, by being the person that he fell in love with. I will always find ways to keep remembering him and sharing his story with the world, because that is my duty and my HONOR to do as his wife, and his widow; and because sharing their story is how we keep them alive and relevant. I will continue to grow and to learn and to hurt and to feel and to fear and to fly. I will scream when I need to, cry when I have to, and laugh as much as my body can handle. I will tell all the people that I love, that I truly love them, and I will make sure they know this as often as possible. I will leave behind something of importance in this life, something of value, that someone , someday, can read or look at or see or feel, and it will make them think in a different way. I will love harder than I have ever loved before, and I wont feel guilty for loving again, because I will know in my heart that my husband’s love is inside every love I have going forward. I will choose to believe that he is somehow still here with me, and I wont question or doubt all the many times that I feel him. I will embrace his energy inside the music, and I will dance to the rhythms of our forever connected hearts. I will speak his name whenever I want to, and I will do this proudly, because that is what he deserves. That is what we ALL deserve – to not be forgotten, and to be spoken of with laughter and joy and remembrance, by those that will always love us. I will move INTO my future, step into my life, and I will carry him with me at every turn. I will take risks, and be afraid to fail, but go for it anyway, because I know that in the end, none of us get out alive. I will know that life is terrifying and chaotic and unfair and filled with sorrow and pain, but also exhilarating and wonderful and surprising and incredible, and a beautiful gift that keeps unwrapping, each and every time I make the decision to get out of bed. I will promise to do all of these things and more, and if I’m very lucky, maybe I can even change the world.

And I will never, ever move on.”

I have been frightened that his shadow would be daunting to new love.
I have been protecting him and myself
I just want to thank Kelly from the bottom of my heart for helping me to see and understand that I can move forward without moving on.
There is no comparison
Tim is/was Tim
And I am who I am because of the life we spent together, and the person he was helped to shape me into the person I am today.

I cannot live in the past
I cannot worry about tomorrow
I choose to embrace today
Because today is good
very good
I will honour his life by living mine in the brightest most colourful way I can
I will move forward
But I will never move on…