Our Inner Dragons

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Okay, so I am not yet the poster child for mental health.  But I  and my therapist have slayed a few of my inner dragons during my oh-so-many years of therapy. I used to feel dirty to put it mildly. Being around my therapist made me feel ashamed because I felt so disgusting.  I didn’t understand how he could be in the same room as me.  He seemed so clean and lovely while I was something hideous.  I would cringe from my shame. But now, I feel clean too.  That was a huge dragon.

I used to feel that the abuse was somehow my fault. The guilt was toxic. Now that’s no longer an issue.  They did wrong, I was just a child. And not just a child — but a lovely, beautiful good child.  Another dragon slain.

I need to remember these battles fought and won as I grow weary from my latest battles.  I am in a difficult place right now. I am surrounded by fears.  Fears of leaving the house, fears of the future, and fear that I will get no better and never be released from depression and anxiety.  But these are just new dragons. Dragons do not go down in battle easily or even in one battle.

And so, I will take up the sword of hope. I will remember won battles.  And dragons lying in smoldering heaps.

Imaginary Friend

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Imaginary Friend.”

My imaginary friend refused to grow up. She is still five years old.  She is still trying to have the childhood she never had.  Severely abused, but safe now, she wants a life of bright colors and laughter. Tears of relief are okay too.  Her name is simply Little One.  She plays with her own dolls that are no longer taken from her.  They have tea parties with sugared tea and many smiles. Watercolors, her own watercolors, are taped upon every wall.   These pictures that she has painted of her dolls, stuffed animals and her new Mom adorn the room. I am her Mom and I love Little One with all my heart.  I do my best to try  to make up for her years of sadness and hurt.  She is sad less and less and even dances sometimes.  Can you see her spinning about with her dress twirling as she laughs?

Her imaginary room has a bay window with long, soft curtains that move in the breeze from the open window. Sitting there, Little One basks in the feeling of being safe. Safe to be. Safe to be little.

Image from Bing

Things that make us happy…

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Source: Things that make us happy…

I thought this an important post for sufferers of PTSD since bad memories often plague us.  To challenge ourselves to have a cache of good memories and sweet moments too would be healing and helpful. One memory that comes to my mind is a few hours spent at a quiet beach with my adult son sitting on the warm sand  just soaking up the bright sun, listening to the waves pulsing, and collecting small shells.  I am going through tough times right now and feel that my life is just awful.  But my life is not just about now, or the  parts of the past that were terrible. It has included good times too.  Even great times.  That time at the beach was less than a year ago.  I am going to find a pretty tin or handsome box and then write about wonderful times on slips of paper and put them inside. My story is about more than abuse, more than trauma.  I just need some help remembering that.  I hope you have many sweet times to put in your memory box should you decide to keep one too.

Please click on the above site for more ideas to uplift your life.

Image from Bing

Journaling by Hand

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Journaling by Hand

 I write everyday in a journal.  In it I hand write my daily thoughts, feelings and dreams. There is something therapeutic about taking pen to paper.  Your emotions flow out in the ink.  I write so that I can think clearly.  I write so that my actions and choices are not mere reactions to life and people. Instead, I can live with premeditation and make choices about how I will react.  My thinking can get all muddled in an unruly pile.  I take each thought from the pile and put it on paper and begin to see what I really think or feel.  More often than not I can see solutions where before there were only problems.  Or if I am ruminating endlessly on some incident or interaction that is bothering me, I write it out.  It gets that hamster off the wheel!  Then, I can get on with my life.  Don’t know what’s bothering you?  Start writing and you’ll be illuminated. You think maybe the people in your life are not listening to you well?  Tell it to paper. It is endlessly patient.  Need to just complain?  You won’t bore anyone and can kvetch till your pen runs dry.  I try to encourage everyone I know to journal. Try it, you’ll like it.

My Harshest Critic

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I am my harshest critic.  I have compassion for other people but have to work at having compassion for myself.  One thing I do that seems to help is to imagine that I am a character in a book. I view my life page by page and  begin to see someone that deserves empathy and shouldn’t be judged too harshly.  Perhaps you too are hard on yourself. Try this exercise and imagine you are a fictional character.  We all could use a little less judgement and a little more self-compassion.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince

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This is my favorite quote from one of my favorite books.

“…what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

It is the only quote that I have memorized and I will sprinkle it within a conversation any chance I get. Especially to children as they will be more likely to ask what I mean by the quote. They are intrigued by anything invisible.  But what does essential mean? Then I tell them that what is important is invisible to the eye. Usually this leads to a minute of quiet reflection on their part as they ponder the little prince’s words.

I also quote it to myself when I feel the stirrings of consumerism leaching into my heart.

Do you remember?

We need children to teach us or reteach us important things we have forgotten.

If you have somehow missed reading this wise and wonderful book, do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy today and read it.

Message from Winnie-the-Pooh

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I think on most days I need to read this message from Pooh Bear. Having PTSD and agoraphobia among other things makes me feel cowardly, weak and stupid.  Stupid, because I can’t think my way out of my fears.  I know that they are by and large illogical. Part of me thinks if I was smarter I’d be able to reason my way out of the fearful mess that is my psyche.  Weak, because I cannot push past the ridiculous fears that cripple my life much of the time.  Cowardly, because instead of standing up to them, I allow them to rule over me.

But, I do stand up to my fears sometimes and do something that causes me anxiety anyway.  I am not always cowardly.  I am not always weak.  And, the more I share with and learn from fellow bloggers and my therapist, I realize that my symptoms have nothing to do with my intelligence.

So, I will take to heart this wisdom from the bear who claimed to have “very little brain”. He is so much smarter than he thought.