Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Frozen flashbacks

February 2012
(c) P R

* * * triggery for discussion of childhoods abuse / flashbacks * * *

We tend to get frozen in time when it comes to abuse. Like little deer caught in headlights, victims tend to freeze and leave "photographs" hardwired in their mind of the abuse.

Something triggers the memory and instantly the image will be displayed in your mind. Flashbacks are like a haunting old slide show that is no fun to watch.

The cruel thing our minds do/did, is that victims also hardwired in the EMOTIONAL aspect of the incident also.

So BAM you are blindsided by a flashback or a trigger causes you to go to that dark space in your head and then the second punch hits are not experiencing it as the grown up you are right here and now....but rather your mind reacts as if you age regressed back to that day.

When they happen suddenly everything is giant and you feel small. That is a normal reaction, your mind/body instantly returned to the last hardwired memory.

As strange as this can't work through being abused as a child as an adult. You are not in the same head space any longer. You have many more life experiences then you, the abused child, did.

To heal you have to undergo some unpleasant digging into your past and looking at it from the child perspective. You will have to reconnect those frozen photographs into the movie format of what is your life story.

You have emotions to uncover and reconnect with.

The healing journey is painful in the beginning. People off doubt they will heal when faced with the hard work and uncomfortable emotions they have to churn through. Don't give up its very much worth the effort to put your past into perspective and get to a place where the memories no longer hold power over you.

Healing and thriving are possible no matter how long ago the abuse took place.

"healing" is not the right work for the process...Nothing will change the fact we were abused. So in a sense that work doesn't accurately define what happens. For me at least the "healing" is like this:

(prior to therapy)

I have to walk by a vicious barking dog each day and as I approach the fence the mad dog lunges and barks and tries to bite me. I flinch and jerk away and run in fear past it. Unable to even look at it.

(during therapy)

Therapist and I go stand a safe distance away from the fence and look at the dog, and talk about all the experiences and feelings that come up.

Therapist teaches me how to walk past the dog and how to deal with my emotions and physical reactions to the dog. Basically how to take back my power. We practice until I am back in control and empowered.

(post therapy)

I get back on with my life and while the events did leave a scar on my soul and mind, I am able to go on and keep living my life without the crippling emotions/memories of the abuse disrupting my life to the degree that I am non-functioning.

I still have to face the vicious dog each day, but I no longer flinch or look away. I know it is chained and though it once hurt me, it can no longer hurt me. I have taken my power back and can deal with it in my adult mind vs my child mind, most of the time.

Past a puddle

My past is a puddle.

As I grew up the puddle dried up.

But I kept refilling it with my tears,

keeping the hurt fresh.

Its time to leave the puddle,

time for it dry out.

To make statues with the mud that's left behind.

To live here and now.

To use my tears to show emotions of present day things.

Rather then to weep over things long gone and unchangeable.

to weep a ocean of happy tears

and a fresh tears of sadness to wash away the dust of day to day life.

to walk on and away.

tears of goodbye to freshen the way

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

water for the cats

what a dark story that is.



a little girl who's job it was, to twice a year, drown all the newborn kittens born to the barn cats.

To go to the pump and fill the milking pail with water for the cats. Her lean frame struggling to carry it back to the barn doorway.

How do you reconcile with that kind of pain in your young soul?

How do you walk amongst the sunny people and not reveal your dark shadow?

How do you live with such a secret?

How do you shut out the sounds of those tiny, tiny claws frantically scratching on the milk pail sides?

What a horror show peoples lives can be.

What a evil place the heart of man is.

Oh yes indeed.

Why did she confess this horror story to me near the end of her life?

Why was I chosen to share this pain with her?

Did she know her words were being spoken to a writer?

To one who could not unhear them?

One who would forever be burdened with carrying the image and the weight of it? who would some day weave that horror into writing and leave it  carved into the fabric of life, so everyone could bear witness to her pain?

Shouting her secret aloud.

till everyone hears...

and carries it too.

Monday, November 10, 2014

old enough

I totally feel like blogging some fantastic story, turning the inner writer off her leash and getting lost in a story for hours. But its so hard to sit here in this pain and focus.

When I was injured in the OJI that ended my career as a CNA, The orthopedic doctor came in and sat next to on the exam table.

Right away I knew the news was bad.

You sit with the patients when you are about to club them with bad news.


He explained the results of my MRI and told me I quote. "Your too young to do anything surgical with  this injury." He paused then hopped off the table and added. "Your going to be in a lot of pain, your just going to have to learn to live with it. Your too young to medicate for the pain."

Oh, I see...that's good to know.

I have waited patently as the years have passed to be "old enough."

This magical age where I will not have to beg for pain meds and muscle relaxers.

Each year the pain increases and I limp forward. There are days the pain is crippling. Days jumping in front of traffic would hurt less then what my body is feeling.

I take my aspirin.

I struggle.

and I get bitter and angry.

Damn it...I will be 49 in a few days, please tell me that is the magic number. That I will be old enough to finally be able to get the medication that will ease my suffering.

And that orthopedic doctor that delivered that cheer news to me...

He took a cast saw to his neck and ended his pain a few years after that.  His depression and physical pain consuming him till he broke.

He knew. He new the hell I was in as he was in it too.

That bastard.

My left sacral iliac joint has been burning non stopped for the last 3 days. That sensation always precedes it slipping out of alignment. Its a matter of time before it will set my whole back "off" and I will be rendered immobile.

I always think of old Doc C and the cast saw when my SI joint hurts like this. How long did he linger with the running saw in his hand before he put it too his neck?

How much pain is too much?

I also think of Doc R and his prediction that I will be in a w/c by the time I am 50.

It makes me struggle to my feet. Not yet...not yet Doc R...I'm not old enough yet.

I have an appointment to make the annual winter pilgrimage to beg for help, to see if I am old enough yet.

All I am asking for is "1/2" a Vicodin for those days the pain is so great I want to put a cast saw to my neck. That is all.

Or a new spine/pelvis...either one would be fine with me.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Healing or choosing not to heal

Is the ultimate goal of going into therapy to heal?

Or is it more complex then that.

Guess first we need to define healed.

For me I don't think its is possible to be healed. But rather to be healing.

Healed to me = finished /completed.

So I can't see that to be the goal of therapy. People will always be affected to one point or another by the events of the past. It has sadly left its imprint on us.

The goal of therapy is my this:

To learn to live with what I carry. To drop what I don't need to haul around and to practice the art of healing. (ie self parenting and using healthy coping skills.)

I left therapy in my 20's thinking "I'M HEALED."

as I grew and got more life experience under my belt and aged into a different head space I discovered, ...I need to heal again.

That I am now ready to tackle some of the deeper issues in my soul. I am now able to peek under some more rocks in my head.

Something I couldn't do in my twenties. That is when I realized its a healing journey. That it doesn't end, that it will ebb and flow like the tide...and my job was to learn to swim in it or learn to leap the waves.

A friend recently mentioned they were choosing not to heal. I honor and respect that. In a way holding it is standing your ground and saying, I would rather stay here in this place of familiar pain then leave and be subjected to a new pain I am not familiar with.

Its saying "I known the rules of this madness that was inflicted upon me, and as strange as it may sound...this is where I feel I belong."

and there is nothing wrong with that choice. It is after all you standing up to the lack of control in your life/body and saying firmly. "I get to choose now."

That choosing brings power and control. That is a necessary component to finding peace within your self.

Healing? peace? how about just having "life" within your soul, the ability to breath and not have to hurt 24/7.

Sometimes the goal of therapy is just to learn to breath.

What end goal you strive for is personal. What plateaus you reach only you will know, what will trigger you to work on your healing journey again in the future? only the future knows.

Realizing you are where you are supposed to be right now and not rushing yourself to be somewhere else is a strong lesson. As is realizing your back pedaling to avoid going forward.

Even if your journey is marching endlessly in the same spot till the ground is packed and hard, you are still on a healing journey.

Each of us must decide for ourselves where we are going and when its time to stop and rest and when its time to get up and run.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


My mama has had some strokes. She is slowly leaving us in her mind. The vascular dementia is eroding my mama of the past away.

 A few years ago when I showed up at the house it took her a few second to recognize me. I had to prompt her. I was tempted at the time to tell her I was my older sister and see if that would fly.

I always make sure to label everyone when we go over and use their names often.

"Hi Mama it's P and JUR and Hansolo here to visit you!"

It alleviates the stress/anxiety for stroke victims to rely on  their compromised brains.

Yesterday we finally got to make a trip over to see her. Its been a while.

My father called while we were there and asked who had come over.

She got flustered and couldn't remember my name. She glanced up to the wall of family photos and scanned them trying to get her broken mind to cough up the answer.

I called out my name but she didn't hear me.

"Its three." she kept telling him.

I have become three now. I am her third child.

In a while I will be just a kind face that comes to see her.

I have seen this progression  a thousand times in my line of work.

I have watched a lot of minds dimmed by strokes, Alzheimers, dementia.


a strange thing to be aware of and witness.

The absolute worst I ever had to endure was a elderly doctor. He would stay up late at night being haunted by the babies he had lost in his practice. I would come on shift and find him sitting in is rocking chair cradling a wadded up blanket. Rocking it.

I would go in and touch his shoulder.

He would open his papery eyes and look up at me thought a puddle of tears and whisper. "I couldn't save him."

"I know." I would whisper back, and gently take the bundle from his arms.

I would put him to bed, but in a few hours I would find him kneeling over the bed doing "autopsies" on the babies who haunted him.

He once gabbed my hand as I went to remove the blanket from his arms. His eyes clear and sane for just a moment. "Tell me, is it wrong to pray for an early death?" he asked in a painful tone.

"No." I answered back and hugged him.

How awful it must be, to be just aware enough to know your loosing your mind.

What an frightening place that must be.

I took the "baby" from him and tucked him in bed.

Not long after that night, I walked into his room and he was sitting in the rocker as usual, but no blanket baby in his lap.

I touched his shoulder, and he looked up at me. There was only a quiet dull expression in his eyes. And...just like that the dementia had consumed him and his mind was separated from the painful past.

No more autopsies...

....and now no more P's.

Just me, Three, is left.

someday soon Three will be gone too, replaced by the kind face who stops by to day, the dementia will erase me completely. All she will see is a distant reflection of herself in my face.

That's a issue when you resemble someone so much. When her mother, my grandmother died, she was a patient in my nursing home.  Her illness giving her rapid onset of dementia like symptoms. I would sit with her on my breaks and she wouldn't see me either, she only saw her daughter, and she told me a thousand things as if she was confessing and unburdening her soul to her daughter.

I got to hear all the apologies, explanations and sorry's that my mother spent her whole life wanting and needing to hear.

I wonder who will get to hear that stuff from my mama.