My reactions to things astound me. I had a pretty good session. I think I’ve started recognizing my warriorness again. Last week, I’d been talking to my therapust about some stuff that happened to me as a teenager. As I talked, it occurred to me that I now weigh less than when this stuff happened and I expressed to my therapist that this actually made me feel very vulnerable all of a sudden. This was towards the end of last week’s session, so my therapust gave me an assignment to compare 15 year old me to the now 50 year old me. I did this assignment and included some pictures. I came up with at least 30 ways that I am different from 15 year old me. I found out that I’m lots stronger and more capable now than I was when I was 15. And I recognized my warriorness again. So, on Tuesday, my therapust and I talked about this and then talked about the flashbacks I’ve been having lately. And then my therapist told me that she is going away for the whole week the week after next. My head swirled and my eyes filled with tears. I tried to tell myself that I could live for a week, but some part of me was screaming that she just came back from vacation a couple of weeks ago. And then I realized that the week my therapust will be back from being away is my kids’ winter break and I’ve not been successful with finding a babysitter for any part of that week. So, no therapy that week. I protested, stating that it will be two weeks because of that and my therapust stated that she just won’t be here. Which I get. My protests aren’t going to change anything. I don’t get a say in this. I am just starting to see some specks of light after a big depression and those specks are still disappearing at times. I just saw my warriorness again. I don’t want all of that to disappear. My therapist and my wife reminded me that I didn’t fall apart for the two weeks my therapist was away just a few weeks ago. I know I didn’t…I was actually grateful to have less times that I was expected to be awake and functioning. But, now, I feel in a fragile place with this trafficking word. And I’m afraid that I could get too deep in it and then be left alone with it for two weeks. I left the session in tears. I know I’ll be okay…as okay as I can be. But, I’m not ready for another therapy break and I have no control in this. I feel vulnerable. Nothing I do will change my therapist’s plans. I know that. But, I have to look at this reaction. I have to deal with where it comes from. I’m so afraid of people leaving me. I’m afraid they won’t come back. My therapust will be back unless something beyond her control happens. There’s my problem. People may have the best intentions, but not every circumstance is controllable. Some people have heinous intentions, and those circumstances were beyond my control when I was growing up. I don’t like this out of control feeling.
I need to set up some ways I’m going to cope with those two weeks of no therapy. I have three sessions to look at this stuff and come up with a plan for myself.
So far, in my time without MT (my therapist), there have definitely been ups and downs. Meditation on Sunday night was a definite up. We meditated on melting stress away. I loved this meditation. I could actually see the stress dripping off my body and being cleared away. I left feeling so relaxed. I went home, climbed into bed, and slept for 9 hours. I almost never sleep for that many hours all together or even that many hours in a day at all. The other great thing about that 9 hours of sleep was the lack of nightmares. A night without nightmares for me is a true rarity (although, it seems to be happening a little more often right now). Something that J talked about during meditation was that a person can have big things happening in her life and not be stressed at all. Or a person can have big things happening in her life, start making judgments about them, and that’s where the stress comes from. The stress comes from the judgment that I make about how I will or will not handle an event in my life. So, with MT being away, I could take that in a very matter of fact manner and think, well, MT is away for many days and some days will be okay and some days will be hard. Okay. Or I can say, OMG! I have 20 days between sessions with MT. I am afraid that I won’t be able to deal with that. What will I do if I have lots of flashbacks or body memories? Who will I call? What will I do? Oh, my goodness, this is terrible. Well, the second way causes me stress. There is lots of judgment about myself there. I think I should be able to handle MT being away, but I won’t be able to. I don’t know what I will do if I am not okay. Well, if I can keep myself from judging the idea that I will have some hard days and some okay days, there is no stress or at least much less stress. I am not putting myself in the frame of mind that I cannot handle it. I am also not making myself believe that there are no positives there. Much less stress.
So, there have been some down’s about MT being away also. Last night, I was very tired when I went to bed. I could barely keep my eyes open. But as soon as my head hit the pillow, my eyes were wide open and I could not lay still. I was on the verge of a panic attack. I was really scared. Just the idea of a panic attack freaks me out. I started thinking about taking Xanax right away. I had to get up to go to the bathroom. I went back to bed. My wife’s snoring was making me anxious. I put on my headphones and listened to calming music. That annoyed me even more. I started judging myself. I asked myself why I could not just go to bed like a normal person. I was mad that I was tired and couldn’t go to sleep. I got stressed about how tired I would be today if I didn’t go to sleep soon. Then, I remembered. I gave myself permission to be anxious. I have always been anxious at night (with good reason). I tried to figure out where that anxiety was coming from. I comforted that child that I once was, reminding her that I would take care of her. And I realized, that today would be Tuesday. My first missed session with MT. No wonder I was anxious. I worked hard on not judging myself for being too attached to her. I reminded myself that I know how to take care of me. And no Xanax and a few minutes later, I was sleeping. Yes, I had nightmares. But not the kind that wake me up with me already out of bed. Yes, today I cried because I really do miss MT and I really do hate when my routine is changed and I really do crave consistency. So, I guess, that was a down and an up.
The holidays are very challenging for me and bring on some major depression and anxiety. MT asked me to do a project on why the holidays are such a hellish time for me, and I don’t think I can do the project. I don’t think I can do the project because I really cannot pinpoint what the real issue is. Sure, I must have been abused on holidays, but I can’t dredge up any memory of anything that was worse than any other time. In fact, sometimes I think I am just being dramatic with my crazy reactions to holidays. I get very easily fatigued in the holiday season; more so than any other time of the year. And believe me, I really do not do much in the realm of holiday craziness. Even when I was a child, decorating the Christmas tree made me so tired that I would get one or two ornaments on the Christmas tree and then be unable to move, usually resulting in being sent off to bed with the assumption I was coming down with something. I think I like Christmas TV shows and movies, but when I try to watch the ones from when I was a child, I want to hide under a bed. I can watch more recent ones like the Santa Claus with no issues, but put on Rudolph or Frosty and I CANNOT stay in the room. I don’t go shopping in malls. If I do any shopping, it’s online. I wrap Christmas gifts for my children, but I do it with somebody else so that it goes much faster. If I try to complete that task by myself, I end up in bed taking a 4 or 5 hour nap. When I was a child, I vomited on almost every holiday. As an adult, I can make a scrumptious dinner and then be unable to eat when it is on the table. My parents were always mad at me on holidays because I always puked and often somebody had to miss the celebration to stay home with me. If I made it to a holiday celebration, there were huge issues around eating. My parents had me convinced I was fat even when I was a small child. Guess what? I was not nearly fat when I was a child. I wasn’t really fat until I was 17 or 18 years old. But when I was a kid, and thought I was fat, it was freaking hard to be at my grandparents’ houses and have all sorts of goodies around. If I ate them, I got yelled at. If I didn’t eat them, the adults asked if I was ill. If I ate too many, I got a stomachache and then somebody had to take me for a walk to help my stomach settle. But I think there was more to those walks than my mind will let me remember. Somehow the image and feelings of walks in cool, darkish weather gets mixed in with racks and racks of clothing in basements and a couch or a bed where there should not have been one. I feel nauseous all the time right now. Sometimes, I think that laying under the Christmas tree and looking at the lights would be so soothing and relaxing, so I do it. And EVERY FREAKING TIME, I feel like I need to start screaming and parts of my body start hurting and I want to run away. Traditional Christmas music does me in, It makes me want to weep. It makes me want to ask why Jesus should have been born a baby…didn’t God know that was dangerous? Grown-ups hurt kids. I love the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and other present day holiday music. But traditional stuff…both Church and secular makes my head ache so badly I usually do end up vomiting. And going to see Santa at the Mall? I am willing to believe in Santa for my kids, but I am really not willing to let them sit on a strange man’s lap, especially when he is wearing a fake beard and a wig. I don’t trust Santa. Is that from when I was a kid? And then there are the big family and friends gatherings. I love the idea, but when it gets right down to actually attending one of those huge gatherings, I go into panic mode and I cannot do it. We had lots of those huge gatherings when I was a kid…lots of loud adults, rooms filled with loud adults, some that I did not know, all drinking booze, and us kids running around….being delayed or diverted or redirected…and who really knew where we were with whom? I don’t want to fail myself that way anymore and I definitely don’t want to fail my kids that way. So, tell me. I don’t really know what the challenge of the holidays is for me. I just know I feel myself go all whirly twirly anxious and things seem far away and fuzzy and just not right and good…And I get scared and sad and panicked.
That is how Anxiety is for me right now. I’ve been trying to take back my days. I’ve been trying to be the warrior that MT tells me I am. But, at the moment, I am losing this battle and I have retreated to my couch. I have to get up again in a couple of hours and be a mom for my kids, but once they are in bed, I will again be retreated from this battle. Maybe this anxiety is trying to tell me something. Maybe it’s trying to tell me it’s time to slow down and pay some attention to me and this little girl that resides in me. Maybe it’s time to wrap myself up in a blanket and cuddle in a way that did not happen when I was a little girl. Maybe it’s time to retreat knowing that MT has got my back in a way that JoAnn never did. Maybe it’s time to trust that this battle can be fought not only in MT’s office but also in my real life. Maybe I’m strong enough to face some of these feelings without MT right by my side. Maybe it’s time to learn that it’s really okay to take a break and let these feelings be there. The feelings are not going to kill me…even though it feels like they might. Maybe it’s time to let my friends see me…the me that is not as strong as the me I usually am. I’ve cancelled a huge event at our house and it seems that my friends still love me anyway. Maybe it’s time to build up my strength for the upcoming holidays. The season I want to run from but need to embrace for the sake of my kids.
well, maybe some of my anxiety has been lifted. Jodi, a therapist and shaman, amongst many other titles, greeted me with a hug and a back rub and a head rub. She knew I was anxious. She at least knew that from a comment I had made on her Facebook Page. First she had us do several minutes of Ujjayi breathing. Then she played some Sanskrit music and had us get ready to let go of something. We did breathing into a spot and visualizing a feeling within us. Of course, I visualized this anxiety in my chest and stabbing into my back. It was leaving me nearly no room for breathing and was green and dark and big and dense. My anxiety is all about needing a mother and being afraid of being inappropriate in trying to find that mother. I’ve tried to force people to be my mother before, and really that just usually leads to abandonment which is not helpful to that needy little child inside of me. Breathing into it made it bigger and bigger…until it turned into a spiky ball of shame. I am often ashamed of this neediness in me and then I am also ashamed at my anger at the people who tell me I can fulfill this need myself. Sometimes, I need a sturdy body to lean my head against. And then the shame turned to emptiness….a toxic, devastating, NEEDY, emptiness. And then we were done. We did a vibration check in…mine was anxious. Of course, my anxiety turning into emptiness was even more anxiety provoking. Am I just meant to have this need for the rest of my life? I don’t know how to heal while I still have this big, gaping emptiness in me? If it keeps being there, I am sure I will fill it with food. I was so frustrated. Then we went back into meditation, and Jodi drummed. Jodi drumming me on a shamanic journey is one of my favorite things in the world. Her drumming and her voice take me to other worlds where there is healing. She told us to let our light bodies go to a Sacred Place. My light body went to the inner chambers of Newgrange and there I found a wise woman spirit guide, looking to fill my emptiness with love and wisdom and knowledge and healing and hope. There was now hope. I realized that this wise woman spirit guide sends many people to fill that empty space in me that desires to be filled by a mother. She sends Jodi, who can hug me and ground me and guide me. She sends my priest who keeps me in her prayers. She sends older wiser women all of the time who guide me for a day or two. She sent me MT, who can indeed fill some of that emptiness with her caring and her acceptance and her steadiness. No, MT is not meant to be my parent, but she can provide some of the parts that are missing.
So, I have kind of disappeared off the face of the earth for awhile. Anxiety has wrapped its cold, clammy hands around my heart and left me scared about everything, especially people leaving me. I am terrified of people leaving me. People have left me in my life…some meaning to, some not meaning to, some people leaving was truly about me, some people leaving really had nothing to do with me at all. However, the idea of being left creates huge anxiety in me. I used to scream and cry when I lost sight of my parents in stores. They thought it was funny. I truly believed that if I was not right with them, there was a good chance that they would just leave me. My mother did leave, for a year. She left me when I was 10. And she left me, as far as I know, without a thought as to the caretaker (my father), with whom I was left. He was the man that sexually abused me, on a nearly daily basis. He was the man who beat me up when I couldn’t/wouldn’t do exactly what he asked. He was the man who told me how ugly and stupid and worthless I was. And when my mother finally returned, she had changed from the mother who occasionally loved me and hugged me and cared about me to a woman who almost totally agreed with my father. That taught me that people leave and, if they come back they night not be the same person who left. I had a therapist who did EMDR with me. I healed in the most awesome way through her skill and her caring. She left. At 72 years old, she joined the Peace Corps and moved to Bulgaria. I know her leaving was not about me, but it left me believing that therapists leave. I had another therapist, years later, who was skilled in EMDR. She was trained in helping people heal from Complex Trauma. I think that she emotionally left me when it became clear that my healing was not going to be by the book healing. She physically left me when she developed brain cancer. Once again, therapists leave. I have a therapist now. I trust her more than I think I’ve ever trusted a therapist. I’ve done things with her and talked about things with her that I would have never been willing to with anybody else. She says that she is here for the long haul. She answers emails, even when she doesn’t have to. She is never not present in our sessions. But, she got sick this week. She missed one of my therapy sessions. I have been convinced that she is dying. I am anxious beyond belief. I’m going to see her tomorrow. She has not left me. But my heart is still pounding like she has. I’m scared that she may leave me. I did not handle her absence well. Maybe she has realized that I am a selfish jerk. My wife, my children, and my friends are the world to me. For some reason, I KNOW my wife is never going to leave me. I’m not sure about my friends though. I have a core group of friends. They are surrogate parents for my children. They are my sisters that I never had. There was a crisis with one of my children last year. These two women never left my side. But I do wonder, will they leave? What would I do without them? I have a group of friends who parent the way my wife and I do. I depend on these women to bounce things off of…how to deal with that problem or that problem. They are a fairly new group of friends. But what if they are no longer there. I depend on their support and their ideas and their shared experiences. There is a woman who is my priest and my friend. She has been listening to me and guiding me and praying with me and for me and loving me for the last 20 years. She is from 3,000 miles away. What if she decides to go home someday? I think about that every time I talk with her or text her. I have a best friend. She’s been my best friend since I was 28 years old. I am now 48 years old. There was a time that I could not imagine my life without her. It’s as if there is an invisible cord connecting us. She left, just kind of disappeared for a number of years. I grieved. I missed her. I thought her leaving was about me. I’m pretty sure now that it was about her. I started learning how to live my life without her. And then, she was back. I was elated. I knew the cord was still there. I felt connected again. I wanted to kill the fatted calf to celebrate her return. But, in the last few days, I’ve come to realize that there is no guarantee that she will always be here. She might leave again. She’s left before. I am panic stricken. I’m afraid to get too comfortable again in this friendship. Every time I think of it, my anxiety level rises. All of this stuff means that I need to get comfortable with myself. I have to trust me to be able to take care of me and to be able to ask for help I need. Anxiety inducing thought. I want to be able to just be comfortable that the people in my life will remain in my life. I don’t want to be left. The thought of being left leaves me vulnerable. I need to learn to be strong, on my own. I need to learn I can depend on me. Oh, Holy Anxiety, BatMan! In the past few weeks, I have been immobilized by anxiety. If you have been wondering where I’ve been; well, now you know. I’ve been residing in the land of anxiety. Hopefully, I will be back in the land of reality soon….