My Therapist and My Heart

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Image result for bing and artworks of a father embracing a daughter

I only post my own words once in a while.  While I post a lot of posts that I admire.  I also comment on many posts, and many times think “Oh, maybe I should have created a new post from that”  after I find that my comment has almost become an essay!  LOL!  I had a sudden realization yesterday that I thought maybe worth sharing.

A couple of months ago, I experienced a rupture in the relationship with my therapist of twenty years.  He had said something that bothered me and from there began ricochets like a pinball machine within me.  After numerous sessions (and the last one where I cried), I finally could feel that he was trustworthy again and felt the love and connection to him.

The pain that I experienced these many weeks was excruciating and nearly unbearable.  My father severely sexually abused me as  a child and teenager.  When this finally came to consciousness in the form of flashbacks in my thirties, it felt like a death.  The father I had loved and adored (when he wasn’t abusing me, we shared a sense of humor and he gave me attention and we shared  playing badmiton and chocolate soda shakes together.)  I lost this place in my heart that provided a feeling of being loved.  A few years ago,  I lost my faith in a loving God, who I thought of as my real father, when after a lifetime of abuse my second husband got a rare disease where he lost the ability to stand and walk and eventually to even sit up unaided. He also became deaf.  This was awful for him and also awful for me. Every month his condition became worse no matter what treatments the doctors gave him since nothing was known really on how to since it was so rare that research was minimal.  After a lifetime of abuse and hardship, the loving god that I had believed in and prayed to since I was a child, seemed to be a hoax.  Though I was very angry , at the same time, for him allowing another hardship of such proportions into my life.  I do not want to challenge anyone’s faith with my confession.  I wish you to keep it since it had given me such comfort, guidance and hope.

So, in a sense, I had lost two fathers.  Over the twenty years, that I had been receiving therapy from my male therapist, he had become among many things, a father-figure to me.  As I came out of the fog of confusion about the safety and trustworthiness that I had hitherto  found in him and could start to feel as I had about him before the misunderstanding, I began to see something in my heart that I had never seen clearly before.  (Please excuse me using the term heart.  I know it is my brain; but, I see emotions as stemming from the term heart.)  The reason that the rift had  been so painful became clear to me.  In my heart was this place where he resided.  All the support and a thousand kindnesses had created a place there where I felt close to him.  Just as a loving parent provides a space like this that supports us as we journey through life, he had created in me this same type of place.  I often leaned into this place for comfort and a feeling of love and safety.  Sometimes, I lay in a fetal position to rest from the difficulties of life and my mental conditions of PTSD, depression and anxiety.  I would get relief there and get up ready to once again struggle to try to live a better way.  That is why the rupture in this relationship was so painful.  I couldn’t find this oh-so necessary place which had nourished me all these years.  And, of course, he, temporarily had ceased creating in me the feeling of he and his office being a safe and nourishing space.  I had experienced the despair and desperate longing of a child suddenly orphaned.  There was nowhere to go to for my need for the good father.

Oh, when I found it again on Monday, I immediately crawled inside this place in my heart and felt all the comfort it supplied; but, I cried also for the time when I couldn’t find it and had despaired.  A bittersweet homecoming.

Art by Edvard Munch

 

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Self Compassion

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I have been trying for the past couple of days to try to develop a more positive attitude in the mornings.  I still think this is worth the effort and may be helpful to some degree.  But, after reading this quote today (from Grace to Survive), I realize that at the same time  I must not condemn myself for feeling badly.   This is what I was doing.  Seeing it as another shortcoming in myself.  Seeing it as a sign of weakness.  I am not hard on other people; I need to stop being so hard on myself.   Compassion is not pity.  It is empathy with understanding I think.   So, tomorrow morning I will not berate myself.  Instead,  I will remember that the pain is not my fault and accept it, yet gently invite myself to think upon the good and even wonderful things that life has to offer.

Onward To the Palace of Wisdom- The Student

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As a trauma survivor, I tend to avoid myself like the plague. Feelings are, more often than not, something to flee.   This post helps me to  want to embrace them so I can continue healing.

An Unexpected Muse

63A9ED37CEYour vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looksoutside dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. -Carl Jung

You look inside upon the vastness of the soul and realize how much you don’t know; you are a witness to your own inhibitions and ignorance. The canyon walls are inflected with beauty and ugliness, which in itself draws you

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Lonely, but for fellow bloggers…

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It is hard to find people in this world who will try to understand just what PTSD is, let alone how it impacts your life.  Even people who love you are apt to know more about the president’s dog than PTSD.  Even if they read up on it, they may not understand it in an empathetic way since it is not something they experience.  There are days that I feel more understood by the cat than a dear friend.  (Of course, this is anthropomorphism — but heh, whatever gets me through the day… 😉 ) But, here at WordPress, I can find others who walk my path — who “get it” — because they are walking it too.  It may not be PTSD, but  instead depression, anxiety, OCD, DID, bi-polar disorder, or any number of mental and emotional health challenges.   But, we can understand each other because we have shared experiences. Some days, we write a post and feel heard when we see a “like” on it.  We press “like” when we find a post we can relate to.  Sometimes we even comment on each others blogs and share a thought or two.  We see others on the path sharing our journey.  The loneliness abates.  Other people’s ignorance is easier to bear.  There are others who understand and whom we understand and this is a very good thing.

Anniversary

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Okay, that is me that the last post spoke so lovingly of.  It’s an odd anniversary.  One year ago I tried to take my life. I took an overdose of valium.  Then, I thought better of it, and called 911.  I still feel shame over it.  Because my son found out.  I don’t know if I can ever forgive myself for allowing my darkness to enter his world.  You see, I hid it successfully for over seventeen years.  He was about five years old when I started having flashbacks and started feeling like I was losing my mind.  I would hide in the bathroom and run my fingers up and down the lines on the wallpaper till the worst of the anxiety would pass.  His favorite movies would play as I grappled with my sanity.  Years of refusing medication because I thought to tough it out and get better faster.  Till I didn’t.  I grew worse and finally cried uncle and said “give me the pills”.  The medication helped a great deal.  I no longer felt as if I was holding on to my sanity by a thread.  But, all along, I was working hard to improve my life.  I got a divorce, went to college, got training and worked hard.  Despite some hardships, I felt my life getting better.  I felt that the bad times, and the decades of abuse, were behind me.  Then, I met a kind man and we married and within a year he  got a terminal illness and he died seven years later.  And that is when I lost it.  Lost the hope that I could have a decent life.   I did manage to keep on keeping on for a time but then a dark day came and I took the pills.  I am lucky that a part of me wasn’t ready to give in and dialed that phone.

I don’t have any words of wisdom.  When you feel that  bad — that you try to take your life — it seems you are beyond words.  A darkness encompasses you and you just want to flee it.  My medication was changed during my subsequent hospitalization.  Perhaps, that is why I have not attempted suicide again.  Or perhaps, I have found a glimmer of hope that my life could get better.  It is ever so small this glimmer but for now it is enough.