Sunday, February 28, 2010

Neuronal Gossip and Biological Mud

A quote from BeyondMeds; "A twist on negative thoughts..."

The neuronal gossip that keeps you from seeing your mind in its fullness doesn’t really change the fundamental nature of your mind. Thoughts like “I’m ugly,” “I’m stupid,” or “I’m boring” are nothing more than a kind of biological mud, temporarily obscuring the brilliant qualities of Buddha nature, or natural mind. –Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, from The Joy of Living

Love the term “neuronal gossip!!”

Think about it...

How much truth is there really in gossip?

A bit?

A smidgeon?

Does gossip ever do anyone any good?

Or is is more harmful than anything?

A time waster?

A way to avoid facing my own fears, pain and inadequacies?

Those negatives thoughts that run in the background...

The "subtitles" to the movies that I would play in my head...


and over

and over.

Are not doing me any good.

In fact, those are the lies of the past. The beginning of the end. That place where I feel stuck and powerless to change my life.

When I started paying attention to that gossip...

I was able to turn it off

and begin to believe

that I



Saturday, February 27, 2010

Slept like a BABY!

Yawn...steeeetttch. Good morning world!

Funny thing happened on my way to this morning!

I slept.

Not so amazing you say?

Ah. But you see, I have lived with the nightmares and insomnia now for....(doing the math...) 2010 minus 1992 = 18 years. Well, plus or minus a few months but whose counting :).

It has been 18 years plus the 10 years in a violent marriage since I have slept well.

So, yes. This really IS pretty amazing, isn't it! :0

No, this is not the first night that I have slept well...but it is a morning that deserves mentioning because it has happened more than once and in a regular type of pattern so I'm pretty sure that I'm onto something here.

As one who has experienced trauma and then the resulting and related nightmares and insomnia - sleep was pretty much a no-no.

I went the route of the prescriptions and pills. They didnt work either - although I was drowsy, sleepy and lethargic most of my awake time. So I guess that was something :).

I hated going to sleep. It wasn't intentional. It wasn't a sudden thing. It was insiduous, like a lion stalking it's prey. I crept up on me. First during my marriage years, I couldn't understand why I couldn't sleep and wondered what was different. (hello! well, I guess I figured that one out!)

Then once my husband was out of my life I didn't sleep. I didn't know at the time what it was but in hindsight I recognize the hypervigelance mode that had kicked in. More foggy days; lots and lots of late night television.

Over the years as I was misdiagnosed, insomnia was my constant companion. I was afraid to go to sleep so television was my best friend. When I got a computer in 2000 we were one happy little family - 24/7.

What is different?


But the most recent change was a conversation I had with a young mother about how I would feel sleepy but wanted to stay up later because I thought since I wasn't sleeping this would help me to sleep.

But, she says in her young mother wisdom "when a baby naps in the afternoon, it sleeps better and fusses less in the evening. You know, that idea that sleep begets sleep".

She continued with such natural common sense...and I concluded from this conversation that I had throughout my experience with trauma, developed 1. an avoidance of sleep that is common to us with this dastardly PTSD stuff and 2. I was unwittingly interfering with my body's natural sleep cycle.

So that night instead of fighting the tiredness and heavy eyes as I struggled to make it to the late night news and have a visit with David Letterman :)...

I went to bed WHEN I started feeling tired and my eyes felt heavy.

My mind wanted to resist. I wanted to avoid sleep and the potential nightmares (that no longer visit near so often, but still my mind shouted DON'T GO TO SLEEP!)

And I slept.

All night.

Like a baby.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Michele and Susan at Blog Talk Radio

Last evening Michele Rosenthal and I had a great conversation about how in finding acceptance we can find freedom from the emotional and psychological pain of trauma. You can listen to the broadcast here: Why don't survivors want to do the work to heal from PTSD?

This was a great conversation and opportunity for me to share just a bit of what my journey has been like; how I had been misdiagnosed for over 15 years and how I began to find my way out of the darkness and despair of trauma.

This discussion was a spin off from a post that Michele had done in September of 2009 in her column Meandering Micheles Mind. You can read that original post here.

As Michele often has said at her blog site about the healing journey; while everyones trauma is unique, the trauma experience...the result or outcome of a traumatic universal.

We - you and I - are not alone in this journey and all we have to do is take that next step that is in front of us today to continue on the path of self discovery.

You too, can fly.

Stay tuned; more good things to come!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hear me ROAR!

Well...It certainly has been an eventful year for me here on this very quiet blog out here in the magnificent cloud world :)

I looked back recently at when I made my first post; March 29, 2009. I posted "life is a song" Patrick Park.

But this was only after reading about the "5 ways of reaching out" over at Micheles house Parasites of the Mind aka Heal My PTSD. This is important because you see, while I had been doing some of the very hard and intense emotional healing from a lifetime of abuse and trauma - I had become pretty much a recluse. So thank you Michele for that post that encourged me to find safety here in this world so that I could then practice finding safety in RLT (Real life time!). My world is much expanded since that first post - both here and in RLT :)

So I started visiting other blog sites and now and then leaving a tentative comment like my friend Ellen over at Shy and Blue. Ellen may not know this but she has been instrumental in my healing process as she and I exchanged notes and comments over these past months. Thank you, Ellen for being my friend.

And I found over at Mikes Musings in the UK there are some wonderful and insightful conversations going on. Mike and I have left a few notes and some smileys here and there, off and on over the past months. More recently I have enjoyed some very wonderful conversations and enjoy his insight into topics and issues that are new yet very interesting to me. And more recently I found Mikes other blog site Mild Fox Zen where I have enjoyed some insight of my own as we have recognized in our own lives how trauma colors our perceptions.

Most recently I have "de lurked" at Christines blog theBlissChick. I always enjoy going over to Christine's house to visit; it is so calm, open and friendly. I always find something useful to me to add to my list of "good things" to do. She has a wonderful way of sharing her own personal journey with hope and inspiration.

Another great site that Ellen referred me to some time ago is Beyond Meds. What a relief to know that I was not the "only one" who had these types of experiences in my journey. I have found this to be a great site with plenty of personal stories of hope, help and in general the awesomeness of us as resilient human beings. Thanks, Ellen for that share!

So, thank you to all of my new friends around the world. Thank you for your company, your encouragement, your conversations and most of all...thank you for being who you are.

Each of you and the many others I have found in this past year has affected my journey in one way or another lending fuel to my spirit and fire to my soul to continue in this journey and learning to create and live my best life today.

I am truly blessed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What a h00t!

If you haven't had the chance to stop by and meet Christina over on the BlissChick today would be a good day to stop by and read how she found herself celebrating in her pants :) and find that feel-good moment as you read how she has reclaimed her true "self". It's absolutely amazing to me just how resilient we as humans can be sometimes.

And it is so inspiring to see how we can reach out to one another, cheering each other on, sharing our accomplishments, our joys and even those days that if we were neighbors I might duck-and-run to get inside before anyone see's me kind of days.

So today - if you're feeling a bit down and out of sorts, why not just drop by the blog site of a friend you haven't seen in awhile and drop a smily face in the comments of their latest blog post...

Or shoot an email to someone you haven't heard from for awhile to simply say "Hi, I've been thinking of you"...

Or find an old photo of yourself with another and post it on your Facebook profile with a tag to say "Your the best!"....

Sometimes coming out of ourselves for a minute and touching the life of another is all we need to feel better.

Thank you for letting me touch your world even for just a minute today...:)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A bit of a rant, part of my I became suicidal

Ok; typically I do not get on a soapbox about medications. While I have my own opinion about using "medications" to manage the symptoms of emotional and cognitive distress, I don't consider it my job to tell anyone else how to live their life or walk their journey.

But - today over at Bipolar Blast there was a post about how the use of medications corrolates too often with the suicidal thoughts that become the reasoning behind using them to begin with.

So I am not going to go into a rehash but ask you to take a look at the post over there.

What I am going to talk about here today is how I began searching for help while going through an unbelievably difficult year.

The details are not important in this context but on the list of "life stressors" I had a 100% score - no wonder I was feeling overwhelmed and shut down ie what the doctors called "clinical depression" (which was an iatrogenic drug induced depression caused by the stimulants I was prescribed - see the story below for the details). 

 What I have since learned is simply my brain and body telling me enough already - take care of yourself. (the stages of grief/loss/change)

But back to the post I mentioned...

What I realized as I read this post was that I was not the only one who had NEVER had a suicidal thought in my life before taking these "medications"... and here I learned that I was not the only one who had had this experience.

My story; I got connected with a well meaning woman from NAMI (who by the way is funded by the pharma co's - check out Senetor Grassleys recent report here) - in order to help me to receive "treatment" she COACHED me to tell the nurses and doctors at the hospital that I was having suicidal thoughts in order to be admitted to the inpatient ward (where I thought I would find help, compassion and solutions...instead I learned how to be a "compliant" patient.)

I remember the day very clearly; it was December 1993. About 10 days before Christmas. In fact it is one of the last days that I remember clearly.

It was the day I gave up.

As she coached me to tell the nurses that I was feeling "suicidal" and having "those thoughts", I remember thinking that I did not want to do this, but - if doing this would help the doctors tell me what was wrong with me, help me find an answer to what was going on with me, then I would do it. I was willing to do anything to find relief; even lie about feeling "suicidal". I remember feeling completely defeated and ashamed to having to resort to lying in order to get "help".

How did this all start?

Several months earlier (fall of 1992) I had seen a psychiatrist who told me that if I took the powerful stimulant medication Dexedrine that I would no longer have an anger problem (duh - abused, violated, neglected and then asked what I had done to "make" the abuse happen, told I had "made it up", was lying...good cause for some anger wouldn't you think?).

After talking with me on the phone and a (very) short meeting in his office he instructed me to try the Dexedrine. He told me that this would help me to "concentrate" and it would calm my "anger". (Another post another day on my experience with ADD/ADHD issues perhaps).

The Dexedrine started a downward spiral into psychosis and depression. I quickly dropped from a healthy size 12 to a near skeletal size 0/2. I'm 5'9" tall. Do you think I could look pretty psychotic and like I was abusing these drugs? Yup.

I began experiencing insomnia that led to more psychosis, paranoia and in time, mania that was eventually diagnosed as "bi polar" "disorder". At the same time my husband was stalking me and harassing me with "hang up" phone calls several times each day and his presence in my life was always just beyond the reach of the restraining order.

I wasn't sleeping. I wasn't eating. I experienced my first panic attack and thought I was dying. I paced my home in a state of hyper-vigelance not knowing when my husband might surprise me again or what to expect. I blew through $10,000 in less than a month at one point. (this was my first serious run in with drug induced mania).

This was the beginning of how these "medications" created this serious "mental illness" that had to be "managed" with "medicine" for the next 15 years. Years that I will never get back.

The next "medicine" that this Psychiatrist prescribed was Desipramine. An old time anti depressant. Within a few months I ballooned up to over 200 pounds. Along the way Ativan was added to the mix for the drug induced anxiety that was being fed by the panic attacks and hyper-vigelance of being stalked 24/7 for nearly a year. 

Between these 3 medications and the level of extreme stress I had experienced over the past 12 months - well, we had the makings of a future psychotic, paranoid, unemployed welfare recipient and lifetime subscription to the revolving door of the psych ward.

Over the years, more medications were added to the cocktail, doses were changed periodically when I complained I was not seeing improvement since as I was told by my doctors, "psychiatry is more and art than a science". If only I'd known then just how true this statement was.

That afternoon as the sun shone outside and I sat sobbing on the corner of my couch in the home that would soon be foreclosed on (I had not been able to work during this time as I could no longer think or function in this capacity since beginning these "medicines").

That afternoon was the end of my life as I knew it as I gave away my own power and accepted what I was told; that I was simply "broken" and irreparable. That this was the best I could hope for now.

I am not going to tell you or anyone else how to live your life or go off meds. I am not saying that anyone is out to "get me" or that there is any conspiracy going on.

What I am saying is check your gut. Don't trust blindly. If that is where you are, then thats where you are and there is nothing wrong with that.

But for me - that was no longer enough.

Is there a "biological" component to the cognitive and emotional distress we can face when we are overwhelmed with life or having come out of an abusive or traumatic experience?


There is a physical and chemical stress response that is a NATURAL response to feeling overwhelmed or threatened. (This can be especially difficult for those who have experienced child abuse since we don't develop the skills to manage life and the related stressors. Survivors of child abuse or neglect may not develop that internal sense of power that we are in charge of our life and can live in a chronic state of hopelessness and helplessness, dependent on things outside ourselves to guide our lives.)

But this is a NATURAL response to some not so normal life circumstances and I have concluded that I am not "ill", "disordered" or in need of medications to "fix" me as I am not "broken" but rather injured. I was not in need of "medicine" as much as to simply feel safe.

Medications in low doses may have their place in helping us to cope for the short term. UPDATE Nov 2013: I no longer believe this after spending 6 years in horrible withdrawals from psychotropic drugs and learning how to resolve my distress as normal human experience; there are numerous ways to bring a state of calm to an individual that do not include neurotoxic chemicals. But - when they become the answer to an invisible "disease" that has no biological beginning and no ending - they become more of a life sentence than a solution. ****

When the pills we take create more and new symptoms to be managed with yet another prescription - perhaps it is time to look deeper for our answers.

It is possible to mend or "heal" from the emotional and cognitive distress that has become known as "mental illness"?

It is not easy to face what I would rather forget.

It is not easy standing up for myself in a system that tells me I am less than someone who is "normal" or if I complain that this "treatment" or "therapy" is not working and I am labeled as non compliant, resistant, paranoid etc etc.

It is hard work to go through the emotional healing and learning the developmental life skills, experiences and education that I did not get in my upbringing.

But as one who has become a mentor to me in this journey has put it - it became more painful for me to NOT change than it was to go through this pain in order to get out of that dark place.

caveat: I do not expect everyone to have the same opinion as I do. This has been my journey. Thank you for respecting that.

DO NOT STOP YOUR MEDICATIONS ABRUPTLY. There are some serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms when psychiatric medications are discontinued even with tapering off over an extended period of time that can lead to an increase in both emotional instability and cognitive distress. 

To safely withdraw from psychotropic drugs one must be responsible to understand both the process and consequences of this choice. 

For more information and resources to safely plan and prepare to reduce or withdraw from psychotropic medications please visit or send a message requesting information to:

****October 2011 - I am going to update this and change my position. I no longer believe that these drugs have benefit other than short term reduction of symptoms that may allow someone in distress to sleep and regain their footing. Long term use of these drugs can result in severe and life threatening iatrogenic (doctor induced) disease and physical metabolic disruption Ref: the 25 year disparity in life span that is caused in those who use them. Not to mention the loss of quality of life caused by living in a drug induced state of chronic sedation.****

Monday, February 22, 2010

In the middle of the night...beating insomnia

Ok, I couldn't resist the title of today's post....Billy Joel wrote this song "In The Middle Of the Night" check the video out first for a feel good moment on this Monday morning....

And then if you are struggling with that "busy brain" that can keep us up at all hours (I had another one of those just recently) check out this article about using yoga to manage it in a new and different way with...night moves

Rest well!

Friday, February 19, 2010

When you have come to the edge...

This week I posted I am...NOT powerless. Why? Because for too long I "felt" powerless.

Where did that "feeling" come from?

Well, I suppose it started when I was trained to not speak up for myself as a child. In "normal" healthy families, autonomy is encouraged...even insisted upon. But in a dysfunctional or abusive situation this is typically not the case.

In a healthy environment we are encouraged to speak up when something hurts or feels uncomfortable. We are encouraged to learn to set our own boundaries and to respect the boundaries that others set for themselves. (Click here for a summary of autonomous v. controlling relationships)

In other situations where parenting is viewed more as a "do as I say" situation often with serious consequences if we dare to buck the authority of our parents. Often we are not given the choice to say "no" to hurtful words or actions of those around us. We develop a tolerance for being mistreated that becomes the blueprint for other relationships in our lives.

We may become dependent on first our family to give us an identity and give us "permission" to speak, to think to live life. In some situations we can incur much wrath if we dare to speak up about what we want, believe or think if it is different than what our caretakers believe we should have. Then as we grow we come to depend on external forces and others responses to define who we are and if we are ok.

I remember the day I came to this realization - that I could not exist unless the world around me and those in it "validated" my existence with some sort of acknowledgement that I was "ok" or had done or said the "right" thing.

I was well into my journey of self discovery... (I hesitate to use the word "recovery" for the simple reason that I have not had anything to "recover" as I truly had no sense of self or life situation that I wanted to repeat or regain).....

...I had learned to be mindfully aware of my thoughts and was slowly becoming aware that I had feelings that were influenced by my thinking and thus behaviors Ie choices I made, actions that I chose that were directed by my internal communications system of thoughts and feelings.

In other words I was starting to listen to "me".

What I found was that even in the simplest of circumstances that overwhelming feeling of anxiety and the emotional torment I experienced when around others was fueled not by anything other than the fact that I was looking to any external response that could tell me that I was doing it right....that I was ok to exist in the space that I resided.

I had for years experienced severe anxiety in public. I did whatever I had to do to avoid dealing with people. Having a car was not only transportation for me but it was a form of armour, a shield to hide from the greater world.

But my car had recently "died" and I was forced to either walk or rely on public transportation; a nightmare for me.

On this particular morning I was walking to get somewhere...I became aware that I was feeling anxious, as though I was exposed and naked to the world around me. I kept my eyes down and my shoulders curled up around my neck. I walked on in shame as though I had done something wrong by simply existing.

Yet I was determined to understand why I felt this way, why it was nearly impossible for me to venture outside and be a part of this bigger world.

I stood at the corner, waiting for the light to change so I could cross the street. A car approached and as it came nearer I listened to myself; my thoughts, my feelings.

As this car with a single man inside it approached I felt a small surge of anticipation as I looked not at the light or the crosswalk but I searched out the face of this anonymous person. And I suddenly realized that I was searching to be acknowledged, I was craving that my existence be confirmed by the smile I received as this person drove by.

Yet I also became painfully aware that to not be acknowledged by this stranger would reinforce the misnomer that I was not "enough"; that I had no right to exist.

As I stood there on the corner that warm spring morning, the sun warming the pavement and fueling the rebirth of spring I realized that if I could become aware of this conection between my thoughts and the way I felt - then I could learn to be and be ok.

I - was no longer powerless.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This is my walk..

Everyone has a story. Everyone walks their own journey.

This poem is my ode to those who found this journey too difficult to complete, especially for my Mom who gave up in 1976; a time long before the consequences of abuse, neglect, addiction, power and control issues and violence were recognized or even acknowledged as trauma.

There is no pill to take my pain

no-one to ease my shame

this is my journey

mine alone

to walk, to share...

to own

there is no pill to take my pain

no-one to ease my shame

there is no magic spell out there

to make this a burden

one can bear

this is my walk

and mine alone

deep within my soul

I see

all the damage

done to me

a wound

a mark

left in my being

that which is

so deceiving

it lies to me

it says "you're mine"

but it doesn't know

that I will shine

one day I will

you know I will

for if I live

or if it kills

this is mine

mine alone

a story

a burden

ofttimes to bear

that takes a soul

who did not fare

as well as I did

on my path

for those I speak

now and will be heard

you died

I lived

I will not spurn

the blood you shed

the life you gave

for this I speak

and I shall shout...

that all can heal

there is no doubt

I am not a can of soup


Today I'm struggling with finding my voice. I feel fear at speaking up and voicing my true thoughts and opinions. I fear being judged and ridiculed for having an opinion as for too long I lived in a family system that discouraged any form of autonomy. Yet - I am choosing today to not accept this as my story any longer.

For too long I wore the labels that others gave me; at the expense of developing any sense of self or feeling of control over my life or life choices.

As a small child one label I wore was "brat"; others were stupid, selfish, idiot. In time more labels were added to the list like whore and slut (thanks dad).

When I was married "bitch" was added to the list.

And when I got away from the violence in my marriage I became a "victim".

When I entered the mental health system - a whole but injured person - I was given the label "mentally ill", "addict" and "alcoholic" to wear along with the sub-labels of "depressed", "bi polar", "dysthymic", "paranoid", "psychotic" among others.

And I wore each and every one of these labels very, very well. I carried the shame and believed that I was "less than", that I was broken beyond repair.

And today I am speaking up to say - I am not a label.

I am. Period.

I exist and I have every right to exist, to breath, to experience a world and a life that knows no boundaries, to decide what kind of person I will be, what kind of future that I will live.

Today - I write my own story and continue to shed the labels that in the past have left me feeling helpless to improve my lot in life and hopeless that I even could have a life of my own choosing.

Today - if I was to wear a label I will choose it. And today I would choose to "label" myself as curious, intelligent, caring, wonderful, kind, considerate, empowered, brave and courageous....

Today - I am and I am free.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Things

I see good things

In my mind

I see good things

Is what I will find

When I see good things

In my mind

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Less than perfect

What a concept. To be less than perfect and be ok.

Today was a not so great day at work. I fumbled and bumbled through my presentation to a group that really doesnt want to be there. Today there was snickering, doodling and sleeping going on all the while I am being paid big bucks to come into this company and facilitate a group that does not appear to want to be facilitated.

So I left today feeling less than accomplished. Much less.

I wanted to cry. I started to focus on and point the finger at those who could be identified as "troublemakers" if we were in 3rd grade. Then I started to beat myself up - "idiot" and "stupid" are old aquaintences whom I have not seen for some time but today were asking to come in - very loudly they were asking to come in.

So I stopped. And looked around me. And realized that today was one of those days that I didn't get that external validation of a job well done by the way of a smile, a nod or a "that's so great" type pat on the back. Today I didnt get any of that.

What I did get was awareness and a lesson.

I became aware of those voices from the past that bubble up when I am less than "perfect".

I became more aware of the shame that follows those types of thoughts and the isolation and desire to hide from the world when I am less than "perfect".

And I became aware that I could choose to follow those mean voices of the past, those thoughts that take me back down that old, beaten path of self hatred, the loneliness and isolation that surely follows.

And I became aware that today - I won.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Healing body mind and spirit...not necessarily in that order

Yoga for beginners at youtube.

A quick stretch for me today....trying to be more respectful of my body and claim my physical health for myself :)

Over on Blisschick Christine is throwing down the gauntlet and challenging us to a new attitude about our bodies...

How interesting that this comes up today when I am considering how we heal from past issues not only in our mind but also we eventually get to the point where we can begin to pay attention to our spirit and body.

I am so wishing this was something I could hire someone to do for me *smile*

I Am...and I am NOT powerless

We may feel powerless to affect change.

But - that does not mean we are powerless to change.

Take back your life, reclaim your future...become your own best resource. Read more here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Be Your Own Hero

I can never become what I was meant to be when I am looking for what might have been.

In last nights episode of Smallville I found a very simple, yet profound lesson. A lesson that is key to "getting over" the past and letting go of trying to create the future - which only serves to steal from my today...

In this episode there is a beautiful young witch type person (sorry, didn't catch her name) who can grant anyone their "wish of the moment".

Chloe is envious of Lois' lifestyle and relationship with Clark - Clark is wishing to be a "normal" guy with a "normal" humdrum life.

They both get their wishes.

The kicker is that in this story, the wish-spell wears off when they no longer wish it.

In the story as the drama unfolds, Chloe has the realization that she is what she is and she is in the perfect place in her life and her life is exactly what it is supposed to be.

She has this insight as she is coaching Clark to accept himself for what he is - the superhero the world needs.

The camara pans out and returns to each of them - Chloe is now Chloe again. Clark is now Clark again.

They both appear happy and confident as though that "light bulb" went off in their heads at the same time.

You can never become what you were meant to be when you are looking for what might have been.

Chloe cheers Clark on - Clark leapt a tall building in a single bound and the day was saved....

Today I will choose again to let go of the things that I cannot change and come to an acceptance and appreciate that my life is mine for a reason. Today I will not focus on what might have been but in all that I am. Today I will become all that I was meant to be.

Today - I will be my own hero

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A rant...then letting go

Today I recieved one of those mushy, feel-good chain emails that says something along the lines of send this back....

It was about sisters and the love, encouragement and bond of women in our lives as we grow older. It talked about how as "sisters" we support each other, cheer each other on, love one another when we are down and in pain - celebrate each others joys along the path of life.

It was from my sister.

The same sister who kicked me when I was down.

Who told me that I was an ungrateful bitch who had no appreciation for everything SHE had done for me even though I was not given a "choice" in the matter.

The same sister who when I was in the psych ward at the hospital for the first time after escaping a violent husband would scream at me for having my own opinion, expressing my own wishes or attempt to parent my own children.

The same sister who beat me down to such a low level that I believed that my children were better off without me and I willingly handed over custody of my small son. And proceeded to try to kill myself with drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of what I had survived - not only after escaping my abusive husband but then returning to the "open arms" of a family that degraded me, criticized and infantized me to such a degree that I could not make a decision of my own for fear of their judgement and sure to follow emotional and psychological tirade at how ridiculous I was to have a thought, an emotion or an opinion different than theirs.

The same sister who talks about me behind my back and degrades me to my children and other siblings. The same sister who freely claims my son as hers and laughs at my pain over the losses and abuse that I have survived.

Receiving this from her - pissed me off.

So - while I strive to put the past behind me and live in forgivenss of those who beat me, molested and raped me, stifled any development of a sense of self outside of this dysfunctional family system and then continued throughout my adult life to remind me of how inadequate I am and always have been (I get the role of "scapegoat" in my family)....

Even though I have been in therapy for nearly 20 years in an attempt to resolve theses issues within myself and learn to live my own life and let go of the past...

Shit like this is a trigger for me. A HUGE trigger. A trigger that can initiate the flashbacks, the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A trigger that reminds me that the world is not a safe place and that love and family hurts.

Yet today I don't have to stay there in the past. Today I know that I can get beyond this unexpected trigger. Today I can choose to not focus on the movies that run through my head and let go of the resentments all over again. Today I can remember that the world is an ok place and not everyone is abusive.

I still keep my distance from my family. I don't "hang out" with them. I don't talk to them on the phone. I show up at a few holidays over the year to appease that warped sense of family that my children have about these people. I still have not learned to say "no" to my children. Perhaps that is out of the guilt of leaving them to my family to raise when I was shamed, shunned and exiled to the land of slow death by suicidal behaviors.

So today I let this go now and get back to my today. Today I use my tool of journaling to vent my anger, pain and grief. Today I acknowledge the reality of what has been my life and let go of the childlike thinking that I can make my life right if I can control the world around me today. Today I accept what is and let go of the "why me" that serves only to fuel that place of perpetual victimhood that prevents me from creating my new life.

Today I can cut myself some slack knowing that I did the best I could with what I had to work with in the past and today I know I can do better but I never again have to be "good enough" to be loved and accepted - by anyone.

Today I simply am and I am at peace.

And oh yeah - I didn't send it back.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Eiffel Tower

My daughter and I visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris!

Posted: February 3rd 2010