Depressive confusion

I try to process
unravel my thoughts
but they’re all mixed up
like a cacophony of sound
making no sense

Confusion overtakes my brain
I forget
I muddle
I can’t think
I can’t speak
I can’t face anyone
I want to hide

Emotions begin running amok
tears pour
unable to be repressed
fall unbidden
at the smallest trigger

My body
is exhausted
it shakes
curls up
hides
needs comfort
craves touch
yet pushes everyone away

My soul
hurts so much
needs quiet
needs understanding
is so tired

Be patient please
I just need time

ptsd is such an exhausting mindfuck

Words matter

Abuse
How do we speak about it
How do we own it
MY abuse
or
THE abuse

Do we absorb it
make it our own
Do we try to remove it from within
disown it
disassociate from it

How do we process those words

Does It become part of me
– we become consumed by It
– we allow It to absorb Us
– we struggle within It
– we surrender to It

Or

Do we hold it at arms length
– the thing that was done to me
– the thing that has affected me
– the thing that has crippled me
– the thing that changed my life forever

We each develop systems to cope with our individual situations
Those systems in turn become mechanisms
The mechanisms which allow us to continue to live
Some of us ‘appear’ to live well
And others of us don’t

No matter what the outside world perceives of us
The trauma
The abuse
has infiltrated our very core
pierced our soul
And created such damage that we will never ever be the same ever again

But one way we can alter the effects
Is to change
MY abuse
to
THE abuse
And in so doing
We remove the onus
From us
And give it back
To the Abuser, the Perpetrator
The one who did things TO us

Words matter
Context matters






…anything that is mentionable can be more manageable…

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”

― Fred Rogers

I was watching the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood” recently and these words really spoke to me
They are so true
So wise

We have had so many taboos in societal exchange
And those taboos create so much
stress
trauma
generating room for abuse of many kinds to perpetuate

If we cannot talk about
death
life
sex
mental health
relationships
etc
in normal fashion
using real terms and real words

We create
prohibitions
secrets
silences
darkness
damage

Allowing misconceptions to exacerbate
Allowing lies to spread
Allowing abuse to continue

Let’s manage our (un)mentionables
Let’s talk honestly
Let’s talk openly
Let’s be supportive
Let’s be trustworthy

I know if I had had just one person
Just one
Who could’ve seen
Who could’ve been supportive
Maybe, just maybe, life would’ve been so different for the little girl that was me

Unfortunately
The one person that spoke up for me all those decades ago
was just another small person
a witness
but also a victim,
yet another victim
Whose parents
couldn’t hear her
wouldn’t hear her
couldn’t see
wouldn’t see
And because of their inability to manage the unmentionable
she was unheard
she was physically abused
she was verbally abused
she was ridiculed for saying such unmentionable dirty things
she was silenced

one victim
became two victims
and on
and on
and on

until decades later
the ripples in the pond of abuse that my father began
have become so big
and so far reaching
so damaging
in so many realms of my life

Ever since I found my voice 8 years ago
and began mentioning the unmentionable
I have been hearing from more of his victims
and from other victims who have found their voices cuz I found mine
Finding your voice empowers others

Sadly I am still hearing stories from other victims today
It is never ending
But as we manage our humanity
we find support
we find we are not alone

Re-Writing my CV

We are all asked at some point in our lives to write a CV or a resume
It is actually a really tough call for many of us
Some of us who have dedicated our lives to our families
who have not ‘worked’ outside our homes for decades
Some of us don’t feel comfortable blowing our own trumpets
selling ourselves isn’t easy in this society of diminishment
to embolden ourselves is not something we are comfortable with

But try writing your life CV
Wow!
Thats another story
Where do I begin
What do I write
What do I hide
What can I say

There are some things that are on my life CV that I unfortunately can’t do anything about
Things that have damaged me
Things that have caused me trauma
Things that hold me back
Things that silence me
Things that make me angry
Things that scar me
Responses I have made
Behaviours I have inflicted
Words uttered in haste
Words delivering pain
Those things are there and only I can choose how I use them

I heard a great quote from Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl who went through far, far more than I could ever imagine but his words resound loudly

Everything in life can be taken from you except one thing 
The freedom to respond to the situation you are in
This is what determines the quality of the life we live, not our circumstances

I am learning to control my reactive emotive responses
Those damn ptsd reactions…
Trying not to respond to a situation immediately
When I do it is often with unthought out reaction
A reaction coming from my ptsd or my anxiety or my child self

I am trying to stop and breath and allow time
Time to think
Time to try and view the situation from the otherside
Time to diffuse

I am learning how to rewrite my CV
I cannot erase the pages already written
The past of damages I have lived
and damaging I have caused
Those pages have already been delivered & read
Burning my copy doesn’t erase the copies received
I cannot cancel that history
But I can begin writing new pages

The pages ahead are still clear and clean
My pencil is sharpened
I am aware and on guard
I know there will be blots on the pages
From inadvertant reactives I unleash
But I can choose
React or retaliate
or
Respond

Whatever I choose will predicate the outcome
It is my choice

She deserves to live

“Being unable to tell your story is a living death, and sometimes a literal one.”
Rebecca Solnit

For the past 10 years I have been learning how to be the adult to my broken child
The child who endured traumas no child should ever have to
The child whose trust was broken over and over
The child who was continually silenced
The child who lived a double life
In constant trauma
In fear of many fears

The adult in me continues to live that double life
Because the silencing continues
No matter how strong this adult becomes
The fear
And the hurt
And the betrayals
The repercussions of all the damage
of all the traumas
Keep reappearing when least expected
When vulnerabilities are low
When circumstances allow the cracks to widen
So the strengths gained are cruelly eroded

No matter how hard I try
The voices of the non understanding ones
The antagonists continuing the victimisation of the perpetrators
Keep penetrating the mind of the unheard child

‘keep clear of her, she’s a total fruitloop, making allegations’
Seriously?
And they were there?
No they weren’t there
And they are still not there
The ones she needed
The ones she thought she could trust
The ones she should’ve been able to trust
Were not there
Are still not here

Protecting my inner child is exhausting
It is a constant daily
Her story deserves to be heard
She deserves to live
And I will fight to my death to allow her to live

Your inner child needs to trust you as the adult in their lives.
An adult who can watch over, protect, witness, honor, guide, lead, and love you.
This relationship between adult you and little you in one of the most sacred ones there is.
Vienna Pharaon

Thankfully this adult has been blessed
With a circle of support and love
That surpasses blood
That holds me when when my anguished child breaks
For this I am truly grateful

Not good enough

I feel small
not good enough
don’t measure up
inadequate
worthless

then I meet you
and you are amazing
wonderful
captivating
fascinating

and then I discover
you feel
not good enough
inconsequential
insufficient

that you think
I am amazing
wonderful
beautiful
intoxicating

it seems that none of us feel good enough
but we each cover up
our woundedness
our internal ideologies
so well
we each have found
masks

masks of
bravado
arrogance
abrasiveness
pretentiousness
cockiness
hurt
pain
extreme humility
meekness
addiction



masks we all wear
that disguise
the pain of the feelings
the pain of being
the pain of the lie
– not good enough

such sadness we unwittingly embrace
until we stumble upon
someone or something
who gives us
permission
confidence
freedom
to find the strength within
to remove the masks
to reveal our vulnerabilities
to reveal the us

then we find
the real,
the ability to really love
ourselves
and
each other

honestly
openly
completely

and that is truely freeing

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

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 🙂




Living with dragons

My first dragon became a part of my life when I was around 7-8 years old.
His name was Trauma.
His effect on my life was insidious
He grew stealthily through the years
Feeding on each new traumatic situation I encountered
And there have been many
Some great and some small
But each a delicious feeding ground for a hungry dragon
The effects of his presence were not easily perceived.
But eventually
This dragon became so huge
He was overpowering me
He was possessing me
And he multiplied as time passed.
His brother arrived
His name was Grief
They were joined by another brother, Fear
That dragon invited his much bigger brother Anxiety along for the party.

These dragons gained entry into the very core of my being during crucial times of my life
I am in constant war with them.
Mostly I am able to contain them
Keep them relatively small
By carefully avoiding situations that allow them to roar.

Seven years ago they all escaped and attacked me brutally.
With Help, Care  and ongoing Guidance
I herded them back into their cages.
I have spent time healing from the wounds
And learning how to live again
Learning how to live with them
Taming them each time they dared to begin to roar again.

Over recent months though there have been several times when they have grown too big and they have escaped and overpowered me.

One time…
A few months ago I was put into a situation where I was forced to confront them all.
I agreed to go back to the farm.
It had been 3 years since I left
I never thought I would ever go back
I never wanted to go back
But I promised my children to take them
I also offered to take my New Love to introduce him to my past.

As the time approached
The dragons grew bigger and bigger
I tried as hard as I could to keep them contained
I couldn’t back out
I had to go
I had promised
Fear grew bigger
He fed and fed
– the road
– the unknown at the other end
– the grief of loss
He employed Anxiety to join his feast
They both attacked aggressively.

I made all sorts of contingency plans
I tried to talk my way through it
I tried to back out of it
I did what I always do
I got busy
I tried to be in control
I told my Love that I had to drive the last 50 miles
that I couldn’t handle being a passenger on ‘that road’.

On the day we all packed up and left
My Love drove,
and kept driving…
He drove carefully, and was sensitive to my needs
Trust and Courage held me every kilometre of the way.
But they were not yet strong enough.

Anxiety was gnawing on my stomach
He fed on Fear
And grew bigger & bigger
Eventually we stopped at ‘the place’
The place where I lost my first love.
Grief began edging his way out of his box
We carried on for another 15 minutes until we were back at the farm
We stopped at the gate.

At that point Grief clambered out from the depths where I had been keeping him hidden & controlled for so long
A huge mountainous dragon
He refused to be contained any longer
He overcame me with such visceral sobbing from the depths of my core
I was completely overcome
I cried & cried
But I was held
by Love and Care and Compassion and Understanding
and together they diminished my dragons back to their lair
They overcame.
Love continues to support me
And as he does
Trust and Courage are growing stronger.

It’s a daily fight to keep these dragons under control.
But I’m learning to tame them more skilfully each time they escape.

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…