A War Within Yourself

I think one of the hardest parts in resolving trauma, in particular childhood trauma, is that it is a long process. A looooong process.

The journey for me, has spanned decades. I had to go through every uncomfortable thing I did to get to health, and I’m still getting there.

Through my twenties and thirties and early forties, I struggled to manage depression. I engaged suicidal thoughts too much and was a roller coaster of irrational emotions.

I endured an inner blood curdling scream for over twenty years. I never felt in control and I never felt worthy of good things. I sabotaged friendships and potential good relationships all of the time. I was almost happy being unhappy, but not.

My mid forties has been a reckoning for me. I’ve learned so much about myself, about the healing process, and about managing our pain.

Two things have to be present for healing to take place:

1. The desire to heal.

2. The right time.

You might scoff at both. You might say, No one wants to be unhappy.

You are wrong. It’s not that people want to be unhappy, but they have become safe in that place and pain has become their identity. Breaking through that requires a great deal of work.

I encounter people all of the time who say they want things to change, they want to heal, but they are stuck where they are and unwilling to take any steps away from the safety of where they are.

I get that. It sounds harsh of me, but it’s true. Sometimes, in our head, where we are and what we know feels safer than the unknown. Feels safer than risking it and failing.

The worst thing we can do though, is stagnate, not move, die where we are. You don’t want that.

And yes, the second we have little control over.

I have had opportunities my whole life to heal. Most I’ve taken, some I have not.

What I know for sure is that if we don’t listen to the whispers of intuition we get that we need to change something, our lives will eventually crash around us and force us to take action.

That’s what happened to me in 2016. I had been too scared, too stuck in the fear of life outside of teaching, that I had not left. As a result, investigation for almost a whole year.

Now, I’m grateful for every second of the torment and anxiety and life as it was.

The Phoenix rose.

Because of that, because of the psychological and emotional healing, I’m now ready to manage my weight effectively. The last frontier for my healing journey.

After this, it will become a journey of maintaining mental, emotional and physical health whilst I grow spiritually and intellectually.

I’m excited.

Healing takes a lot of work and a lot of time, but it’s worth it. Every tear, every breakdown, every second.

What Am I Learning

I am so immersed in trauma at the moment, I’m amazed I’m functioning.

My friend and I have started a YouTube channel that focuses on moving beyond childhood trauma. Each month, we will post a short discussion on a topic that relates to childhood trauma and it’s many impacts.

I’m also preparing my workshop materials for Wednesday’s course, Moving Beyond Childhood Trauma.

So, what am I learning?

I’m learning that when you are delving into and immersing yourself in this issue, you really need to practice self-care.

I am learning that triggers will come fast.

I am learning that trauma makes you very vulnerable and makes you want to be so small that no one sees you.

I am learning that trauma’s voice is shame, and it speaks when it wants to.

I am learning that I am not the little abused child anymore. I’m a grown woman who possesses a fierce spirit and a compassionate soul. I am learning that the impact of trauma is ultimately a choice: we choose to stay in it or to get out of it.

We are in control of our lives. We choose what we do, where we go, who we hang with, and whether we get treatment or drown.

We choose.

Time to Say Goodbye

This is the final weekend of eclipses and marks a new phase for all of us. The last eight months or so have been very unsettled and resolutions will now be seen to manifest. The past is the past, and our presents belong to clean slates.

Wow. I’m struggling even to write this. I’ve been absent from here. I have left teaching and have been establishing new routines and new ways of being. I am happy and significantly less stressed. And, I have started writing the book that my soul has been called to write for at least the last couple of years, if not longer, subconsciously.

Today, though, I needed to say goodbye to my grief about not becoming a birth mother during this incarnation. I will be eternally grateful that those people closest to me have not given up on me. I am still invited to the baby showers of my extended family. Difficult, but I am truly grateful.

I am also grateful that they all fell pregnant after most of my healing had been done, when there is some residual around Baby Showers, but nothing else.

Today, I had to resolve the last part. I didn’t know it before today, even though I had a feeling I wasn’t entirely good, but today I knew for sure.

I have been good with people falling pregnant, being pregnant, having babies. I haven’t been okay with Baby Showers and couldn’t understand why. I figured the actual baby would be more difficult to handle, but no. Not for me.

About three days ago, symptoms of anxiety started to surface. I wasn’t sure I would make it to the Baby Shower today. I kept breathing and talking sense to myself, and I knew in my heart that I needed to make sure I went. People can’t be sympathetic forever, and there comes a time when you stop being invited to events. There also comes a time when you need to move on within yourself.

I worked this morning (not that I necessarily call Sunday’s client, work at all). I came home for a shower, put the dress on I had been wanting to wear, felt overdone, and changed, resulting in feeling boganesque. I wasn’t going to win by changing outfits continually, so I stayed dressed this way, resisting the urge to wear yoga pants, cons and an oversized cardigan.

The anxiety became stronger. I started to experience heart palpitations and nausea. I questioned why I committed. At this point, I stopped, took some deep breaths, and acknowledged that I loved these people. That’s why I committed. Because I’m grateful I was invited and because I want to be part of these children’s lives because I want to be part of their parents’ lives.

These are my people, and I’ve been very absent for a very long time. IVF altered me and made me not me for a long time and I lost a lot. I didn’t know how to come back and I don’t want to lose these people.

I cried on the drive in. Thirty minutes of increasingly feeling worse. I willed myself to stop crying and to stop shaking. I tapped whilst I drove.

Even though I’m feeling exceptionally vulnerable, I completely love and accept myself.

Then, I forced myself to fake smile and visualised talking to people and feeling safe, confident, unimpacted. I debated calling ahead, asking to be met outside, asking to not go in and giving the gifts and apologies and running away. I debated turning around and going home. I debated pulling my head in and just going.

I arrived, took some deep breaths, grabbed the gifts, and walked to the door. I hugged the Mum to be and thanked her for the invitation. I spoke to my mum to be sister and burdened her for a while, then went outside to relieve her of my angsty self. I started to breathe evenly and calm myself. I spoke to people. I interacted. I think I did okay.

I left to see members of the birth family.

I drove home. I cried most of the way. I felt ridiculous. Then I spoke to myself and loved myself like I would others in this position, and I owned my grief.

It is okay to still feel this way. It is okay to hurt. There is no time limit. There is no pressure. This was the time. This was the place. This is the beginning of a new phase. I had to grieve and cry out this residual from my old phase.

It is okay. I am okay.

Whilst I had been in the shower, I had had an epiphany or realisation for why Baby Showers are such a struggle. I share this in case one day you, or a friend, or family member, go through something similar.

Baby Showers are a celebration of motherhood. And it is important to celebrate this journey.

As a middle aged woman who has failed in this society to bear children, for me, this celebration is hard. For me, it highlights my inability to conceive and carry, and it highlights that I don’t live a normal life, have never been normal, and probably won’t ever be normal.

As a middle aged woman without children, you don’t tend to fit so easily into this world. You can carve out your spot, but you don’t belong to the motherhood tribe. You can’t talk about your kids or share wisdom about raising children, with others. Often, the first question you are asked is if you have kids. Or you aren’t asked, and people assume. After all, you look old enough now to be a mother, so you must be.

I don’t think we realise how much the expectation of women is to mother. Until you can’t. And then it becomes very clear. And I think the expectation marginalises those of us that cannot fulfill the expectation. Especially those of us who try and fail.

I dunno. I’m writing about childhood trauma. If I hadn’t miscarried in 2013, my baby would be turning four next week. Maybe that’s why Baby Showers are hard. Maybe, but not likely. Meh.

Showering by Candlelight

On Sunday my anxiety was a twenty on a scal that goes up to ten. Monday it was probably at a thirteen/fourteen. This morning it started at an eight. Dropped to a five/six after moving my office back to English. A zero after yoga. 

Calm again, feeling a little India bliss (my yogi has just arrived home after her own Indian retreat), drove home, decided to shower in candle light. 

Amazing serenity. The light was bouncing off the walls and reflecting in the mirror. No noise apart from the boys playing. Just calm. Peace. Quiet. Happy play. Water washing away a forty plus degree day. 

Reflection on the relaxation. An image of me leading my first workshop for next year. Now needing to write the program, advertise it, find a space to run it in, find a date, and done. 

This world truly can be your oyster. Courage. Patience. And more courage. And it will be. 

Namaste. 

Day 9

An unusual gratitude this morning. As is normal at the moment, I woke very early. Rather than toss and turn I thought I had better use my time productively so I decided to catch up on my reading of others’ blogs in my reader. 

Anxiety makes you very selfish. And that’s okay – we all have to do, and have to be what will keep us alive, functioning and hopefully happy, eventually. I have enjoyed reading the blogs. I have not been very connected or present. 

There is a community here. And I miss it when I’m not connected as much as I miss my real life friends. 

It was nice catching up.

I feel a little guilty, but know that I need to push through that. A time for everything. 

I am grateful that I started my blog. I am grateful for the cyber connections I have made along the way. I am grateful for my IVF journey because many of those connections would not have been possible without it. 

Today, I am just grateful … 

Day 2

I have decided that May will be my month of public gratitude. Yesterday, unintentionally, started it. 

My anxiety shifted during today. I am closing today in a more positive mindset. I had almost three hours of no anxiety today. First time in many, many weeks. 

I love teaching. I am grateful that I am able to do it each day for as long as I choose to. I am grateful for each and every one of my students, both past and present. I become inspired every day by my students. Most battling their own demons, and surviving with love and courage in their hearts. 

I love my colleagues, my friends. The love that they show me every day is a very special gift. They tolerate me on my bad days, and never fail to try to pick me up. To go to a workplace every day, where people have your back without knowing what is going on in your life, is such a special thing. A smile, a hug, a kind word, a giggle … Goes a long, long way. 

There are no words. For the first time in months, I arrived home happy to do some more school work and feel light after completing it. 

And to Liam, your essay impressed me. 

Gratitude

The anxiety rollercoaster continues. But I can laugh at it. Today. 

Sometimes I think my life is a rollercoaster of events because I want to be able to understand and know everything, to be more empathetic. That is the result of this introspection and processing. I hope. šŸ˜‰

It’s a positive reason for suffering: to learn, to grow, to become more resilient. 

One of my friends said that yesterday at work my face expressed that I was somewhere else. I did find it difficult to be present yesterday – in every moment. I did bring myself back as I realised I had drifted. The lack of control is difficult with anxiety. Maybe, the perception of lack of control. 

At any rate, it is difficult but not hopeless. I have taken control where I can. I am off work today. This is hard for me, assuaging the guilt that follows. But I was surrounded by people who told me, instructed me, dictated to me, that it was okay to put me first. And I trust and love these people, so they must be right. 

And I am grateful for that, and grateful for them. 

Amen. 

šŸ˜ƒ

  

Anxiety v DepressionĀ 

Hmmm … It isn’t a competition lol. The use of ‘v’ is hyperbole I think. However, I have been processing the differences between the two over the last little bit of time. 

As far as I can tell, the only real similarity is the impact both exert on your ability to function day to day. How it impacts is vastly different. From my experience. 

Prior to March I thought I understood anxiety, and I had been giving advice to sufferers like I understood it. I was so wrong. But I thought I understood it because I have suffered from depression in the past. I thought they were two sides of the same coin. But I haven’t experienced them that way. 

When I was depressed I didn’t feel sick. The anxiety is causing a sick belly for me most of the time (the last week was good but it’s back as return to work approaches). It forces me to second guess everything that I think, feel and say. Before, during and after. It is insane. And as a result, it is hard to commit to anything and everything. Even communicating with other people is too much. 

I am better than I was. Significantly. I can now believe that this is temporary and that it will pass. Then I will rebuild myself. I think committing to an alternate plan has helped with this, ie. removing the source of the anxiety from my life. My strategies are in place. And I am willing to put myself first and if something feels too much I am postponing it. 

Depression was different. I just wanted to die. I was able to function in public and in my roles but could only perform for short periods of time. And I had a desire to keep it hidden. And did, generally speaking. This might just be my experience though. I think everyone’s is different. 

What I understand about anxiety now is:

* as well intentioned as other people are, tough love does not work for anxious people. 

* very small steps are required and only in the sufferer’s time; rigid commitment is impossible. 

* suggestions are great, especially if they are strategic, but the sufferer only wants to hear them once, and will probably feel very vulnerable and incompetent as the strategies are given. 

* telling yourself it is a temporary situation does not alleviate any anxiety. The sufferer knows it is temporary. 

What has helped me work through it and be a little resilient over time:

* focusing on breath. 

* yoga. 

* meditation. 

* planning forward after some time. 

* time out. 

* not being there as much for other people, ie. putting myself first. 

* gratitude. 

* writing. 

Two different mental health experiences. Anxiety impacts life but I refuse to let it destroy my life long term. 

A DriveĀ 

I have only sat outside in my backyard twice since moving in ten months ago. Abnormal. 

I started to question why. I also haven’t gardened much and recently, I am struggling to contact my lawn man to have it cut. It’s like I don’t care about it. Abnormal. 

So, before I moved I debated getting rid of my outdoor setting and buying a new one.  My backyard, and especially my covered area, is so much smaller here. I decided to bring the setting here and set it up out the back. I’ve cleaned it. I bought new cushions for it. I put solar lanterns up and my wind chimes. 

And I’ve sat out there twice. 

My sister introduced me to her outdoor setting, purchased on EBay. I looked. I found. I bought. 

Today I picked it up. Saturday I will assemble it. It’s perfect. 

I drove an hour each way to get it. I’ve stopped listening to music when I drive, preferring to absorb my environment and process. A beautiful run through the country today to get my new setting. I felt relaxed. Calm. Peaceful. 

This week I have felt more like myself. Still some anxiety but my personality has come back a little more strongly. I thought about why. 

1. Away from the cause of the anxiety. 

2. Controlling what I can control:- 

a. To Do list

b. When I go out 

c. Who I see

d. My home environment 

e. Organising to buy a new car

3. Realising the whispers are turning into roars and focusing on my business plan again; making a stronger commitment and devising a strategy forward. 

And I think this is key. I was ready to take back control of the things that I can control but had to be out of the environment of the anxiety for a good solid week before I was able to do that. 

I’m still feeling anxiety, especially in my tummy. But I feel like I have some control over my life and I’m starting to slay the fear. 

Interesting. And as a result, I don’t think I’m going to be ready to return to the source of anxiety on Tuesday. 

We’ll see. 

A Conspiring Universe

Just sometimes you can see or feel the universe at work. Just sometimes, and when you do, it is magical. 

My anxiety has been up this week, quite significantly. Every moment, every conversation, every decision, has been agonizing. 

I have a new found understanding of what suffering with anxiety is like. I do not wish it on anyone. Mostly because it is debilitating and/or exhausting depending on how hard you fight it. And either way, because it steals your life from you. I’m working and for the most part, I’m functioning at work, but my life is gone. 

I can’t do both. 

And the resolution I had hoped would come before the holidays, allowing me to recover and reconnect, has not come. 

I have, at least, another two to three weeks of uncertainty ahead of me. And my fear is that the toll from my anxiety will be larger as time goes on. 

I’m open to strategies. I’m open to try. 

Yesterday I booked in to attend an Alana Fairchild workshop in Berry in May. By myself. Huge. 

And last night I messaged a friend to let her know that Alana was returning to Berry. She replied. And talk turned to her business in Body Talk. I did some quick reading and I booked in for this afternoon.

This will not do the session justice. It was amazingly empowering. My anxiety dissolved during the session. It’s back but it is minimal and a different type – more like a nervous excitement. It might not be anxiety. 

Anyway, Body Talk is not necessarily well known as an alternative therapy. My practitioner, my friend, is very accomplished. I went in open and without expectation. 

I felt it working immediately. 

The practitioner utilises sections within the body, energy and tapping (on the head and on the sternum) to ‘reprogram’ the way the body is working. I could feel my body talking to Mel and I could feel her responses.

I know it sounds nonsensical. If someone was telling me this, I think I would be dubious. But … I experienced it. Immediately. And I left whole. My body felt together. My voice was stronger. I felt open again. 

I’m sold. Bugger medicine for healing the soul.

Thanks Mel. 

If anyone in Sydney wants to give it a try, email me and I’ll send you Mel’s number (tinameyer@live.com.au).