Category Archives: healing

New Ideas About Cleaning

Aside from the PTSD, bad habits and panic attacks, as if that wasn’t enough, I’ve had one other major problem about cleaning up the house. No one ever taught me how! This means that no one ever showed me the “right” order to do things. I was taught at boarding school how to make a bed, clean a toilet or trash can, but not how to make a schedule or plan to cover the basics, regularly.

And, I admit, that doing anything regularly wouldn’t have happened anyway, because of the panic attacks. Cleaning is like writing a novel or any other longer piece, you have to keep slogging away at it I’ve found. Difficult for me, if not impossible for much of my life.

That said, I have discovered a few things:

  1. Always clean more than you have to. That is, if the dishes are done and you have 1 item in the sink, find a candlestick or decorative something to clean too. This also applies to sweeping the kitchen, putting clothes away, whatever. Especially if the chores aren’t involved or big, add something minor. Cleaning the bath counter? Wipe down the box on the shelf, etc. etc. etc.
  2. Hard surfaces, impervious to water are the easiest to clean; where soft surfaces, which absorb water are the hardest.
  3. Clean the areas used the most more than others.
  4. Clean the most obvious areas first. (I have [had?] a tendency to clean closets and drawers when the urge to clean hit me. Before I realized the clutter was what I needed to feel safe, it was dumbfounding to me that I could spend a whole day cleaning and you couldn’t tell. This is, of course, backwards from the way most people work. And that’s the reason why those “toss this” lists really didn’t work for me.
  5. Find whatever works for you and run with it. I spent DECADES trying to use flylady or other cleaning plans, and couldn’t.  This caused more of the internal I’m stupid, flawed, and just screwed up mantra.  I figured “Of course this doesn’t work for me and it does for Mary or Jo. It’s me after all.” I finally accepted that I couldn’t adopt someone else’s plans, I had to come up with my own — in my 60s!
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I May Hex Myself

But I have to say this: the PTSD hasn’t gotten up in arms about what I’ve been doing. I’m amazed, really I am. For DECADES I couldn’t do this, make a list of 5 things and then do them without feeling vulnerable, targeted, panicked, and weepy.

Not there this time!

As I said, the tacit acknowledgement of what I’m doing may be the thing which ends this, Gawd knows it has 100s of times before. But, it doesn’t feel that way this time.

Maybe that’s why I’ve felt compelled to write this post? It’s a sort of emotional running your tongue over the hole where your tooth used to be.

We’ll see!

J

Blind

I just looked at a graphic which is about the 7 things you need to do for your “vision board.” I have NEVER been able to do one of these. I made a brief list of where I’m trying to go:

  • House: no more culling required.
  • Writing: projects finished
  • Job: make $.
  • Debt: gone.

I have no other goals. I have no pressing need to become someone else, create something others want, etc. I suppose that after 50+ years of trying to do something I eventually did, that is learn to deal (mostly) with the PTSD and the pain associated with it, the rest is anticlimactic.

I’d like to be DONE with the long-term projects: writing, house culling of stuff, and I’d like us to be debt-free because I worry about our retirement.

All that said? Do I have other things I’d like to do?

Yes:

  • I’d like to sell my crafts, more I’d like to sell articles about doing crafts, so that I don’t have to keep hauling STUFF to shows to try to convince someone to buy whatever.
  • There’s some math things I’d like to play with.
  • I’d like to do the tutorials I’ve had in mind: wood stack, using my cleaning plan, etc.
  • I’d like to learn how to control my body so I can lessen as much as possible the effects of being anxiety-ridden from the PTSD.

Except for the 3rd one, they’re “pie in the sky” and I won’t be depressed or see myself as a failure if I don’t do any of them.

I know where I’m going and I believe that (eventually) I can get there. Why find another person’s image which is likely to not be very close and put it on paper? What’s the point?

I know people I respect who make vision boards.Maybe I’m different? Fighting to see myself as basically not a bad person for 50 some odd years and then getting there makes a lot of things others get bent about pretty unimportant.

That said? I wish I could do a vision board even for this much. But it seems silly to even try.

 

 

 

Crisis

People who know/see me IRL know that things haven’t all been jolly-jolly here. To the point where I thought I would have to talk to a lawyer about divorce. The issue isn’t something I’ll talk about here, because frankly, the sordid details of my life aren’t up for public discussion.

Suffice it to say that I’ve been dealing/coping with potentially life-changing issues. Last time things got this bad, about 20 years ago, we got help. We may do that again, or may not. The last time we thought we’d acquired the skills to deal with whatever potential problems we might encounter, unfortunately, that may not have been true.

I always wondered how people who stayed together for more than 20 years could then just split? You had it beat, didn’t you? We’ve been married 37 years and together 39.

The one good thing I know that’s happened as a result of this is what I said in my post here. No matter what, I’ll weather it. I know that again. For a long time I wasn’t sure there was any of the fighter left in me to face a major change. But whatever way things work out, I’ll make it.

Energizer-Bunny-300x270

Workin’ On It

Our house feels like it has been attacked by giant termites. In reality, what’s going on is that they are (finally) tearing the roof off the laundry room. Hurrah!! The old roof has to go before the new roof can be put on.

I intend to make cookies this morning. It’s a grey/gloomy day here and although there are a few drinks in the cooler outside, I think the workers would like warm cookies more!

Opened the memoir file this a.m. and got through the front matter and first 3 chapters before I quit. If I keep myself doing 3 sections at a time, eventually I’ll get through the thing. I’m sick of working on the piece!!!

The “feeling stronger” I talked about in the last post affects this. I have two or three things I’m feeling a lot these days: I want to keep feeling safe, I feel strong enough (I think) to finish things, and I’m tired of wading through my past/stuff associated with it. Time to go on!

street signs

The One-Trick Pony Lost Its Trick…

There are days when I wonder wtf I’m doing on the planet, except wasting resources?

I haven’t changed the world, I doubt that there are more than a few lives which are better for my having been here, and I wonder, seriously at times, why I’m here?

I used to feel heroic, challenged, and as if the challenge mattered. I had to feel that way or I would’ve quit. I didn’t quit and I made it through.

So what?

My last insight isn’t mind-shattering, but obvious, if you’re not me. For years decades I thought if when I beat the PTSD/pain I’d be invulnerable, super-powered!!! Then when I did get to where I could really cope, I felt like a wimp and tissue paper.

I think I finally know why: after fighting for approx. 50 years, I was emotionally exhausted. Sounds obvious, right? Much of my life I thought of myself as an “emotional heat sink.”  Throw trauma at me, I’d “hug” it and push it down into my gut. I’d get up again and keep going, over and over, like the stupid Eveready bunny.

Suddenly, I couldn’t cope — I became someone who was weepy at nearly any challenge — and I’ve been that way for years now.

So instead of ending a 50 year challenge with strength, I became a quivering nerve. I’ve just wanted to nest: stay isolated in these woods, this house, my marriage. I’ve wanted to cook and garden and read and hide from almost anyone and everything. There was a part of me, a small part —  it was the old voice — that just couldn’t understand it? I had never been like this!

I spent 5 decades fighting myself, the terror that I was a homicidal maniac, really f’n crazy, actually damned or flawed in some awful molecular way, only to win against that and see that I wasn’t crazy, or a murdering maniac, or damned — and I became a weepy raw nerve???

Talk about unexpected consequences! And no wonder I wasn’t interested in being an advocate for anyone or anything!

I have had to grant myself grace. I have to understand that yes, I’ve been exhausted, and that’s okay. I also have to let myself move on.

I’ve been afraid, as much as I let myself get involved with anything, that there was nothing else, I was a match, I’d burned myself out, and now it was my time to die. Seemed pretty stupid and it’s the damned Ibsen play I always wanted to avoid being. But. Maybe there’s more? I don’t know.

I have passed a magic marker, somewhere. I can feel strong now for short periods. I can and have been making small lines in the sand and I’m doing whatever it is. Things are getting done, finished. I don’t feel like a dandelion floating in the breeze all the time any more. The anchor maybe very thin and long, but it’s still there.

For the last 3 years or so of my therapy I’d just get overwhelmed by the idea of something and say I couldn’t cope. My therapist would reply, “You’ve weathered so much. Why wouldn’t you think you’ll be able to cope with this?”

I never had an answer: I had no strength. More, I had no belief in my strength. Maybe that is (finally) turning around?

Rather like this blog — this is NOT the topic I intended to write about!

The human brain is bizarre and wonderful.

 

Going Down for the 3rd Time

I can’t do this.

No matter how much stuff I get rid of, there’s more. No matter how many books I get rid of (and I’ve been doing that for 13 years now, ‘eh?) there are still more.

It will never end.

I have (literally) gotten rid of 1,000s of items. And I’ve done it for years. I’m still drowning in stuff.

See? I can’t do this. It will never end.

The old storage unit still has stuff in it. I don’t have anywhere to put it. I don’t know what to do, donate boxes to Salvation Army tomorrow I guess. I have a bookcase in the old unit which came from S.A., I can donate it back. The library is taking books again. But that’s one piece of furniture, there’s at least 3. One of which has to come home (no room for it either). There’s about 25 boxes of books, maybe more still in the old unit. I have given away books every-single-day for the past 3 weeks. EVERY day. As few as 3 and as many as 3 boxes at once.

drowning

This isn’t quite as bad as figuring out I couldn’t beat the PTSD (or whatever it was, before I •knew* what it was) by just being stubborn and being willing to work at it, for 42 years to diagnosis, 50+ for most of the rest of it. So, the last piece, the very last piece is this stupid, neverending purge o’ crap, which believe it or not hurts on occasion, and is terrifying on occasion too. I do better and worse and I’ve kept going. I have been determined that I’d win — at least this battle.

But I think the abuser won instead? Can I just blow my brains out? (No gun.) You can bury me under a pile of books and papers and put on the headstone: she never actually accomplished anything and couldn’t finish anything, except her life. I really have no desire to commit suicide, but if suicide is the absence of pain, yes, that I DO want! How squishy does your brain have to be from beating it into the wall before you just give up?

Maybe the abuser was right after all? There just is something “not right” about me. I can’t do things.

Or maybe I’m just discouraged? I wonder why! And I suppose that tomorrow will be different. One of my largest life lessons was that I learned to “skate” when things are bad. Just let it go and don’t do anything permanent or dramatic: don’t break up a relationship, don’t hurt yourself, don’t drink & drive. Just find an emotional rabbit hole (for me that’s a book) and jump in, and hope you keep falling — at least until tomorrow. And tomorrow? Tomorrow you may find your life is completely different?

It usually is.

Let’s see, tomorrow starts in three hours. Can’t be here soon enough!

J

Note: Tomorrow, having come, isn’t perfect, but I’m not as overwhelmed as I was yesterday. Of course I didn’t sleep well, which never helps, but it is what it is.