Category Archives: trauma

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.

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Flow or No

Whether it is because of the PTSD or otherwise, I tend to work in spurts or fits and starts. I keep thinking I should just be able to schedule something for a few hours, I can, but mostly don’t.

I need to accept that the abuse, panic attacks, and PTSD all make a regular schedule very difficult, if not impossible, as much as I’d like otherwise.

I need to stop fighting this and just accept it as the way I flow, period. I think when/if I can do that, the panic attacks or vestiges of them will lessen dramatically. It’s my belief that the panic is due largely to people being able to “see” what I’m doing or have done. I have a lot fewer problems, like nearly none, when I’m working for other people. This is only the stuff I do at home.
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Can I repeat, again, how much I really, absolutely hate the woman who abused me? It totally sucks to have your brain be your main enemy. It sucks more to view any finished project as something which will be attacked, belittled, or sneered at, whether it’s a clean kitchen counter or an art work. This just makes getting anything done a real challenge. [And I needed more of those, right?]

P.S. Reading this, I realized t’s wrong. I don’t hate her. I hate what she did to my brain. If it wasn’t that no matter how much work I do, this will be with me forever, I would have very few feelings about here at all.

She’s gone, her daughter is gone. The memories of what she did just make me feel sorrty: for her that she could be so nasty, her daughter and myself because she felt it necessary to emotionally attack two innocent little girls,, who grew to be wounded women because of it. It was just a waste.

A Piece of the Clutter

are items staged to go “elsewhere.” Frequently, it’s items for sale, but sometimes it’s items to go into storage, into another room, be mailed, or some such.

I started working on those yesterday, that’s where the 45 photos (on the tally) came from. They’ve been on my desk, part of the clutter ON my desk, in an envelope to be mailed to a relative. I don’t have my relatives’ addresses anywhere.

This is a deliberate part of my moving away from my birth family and towards DH’s. Mine, whether they intend to be or not, are toxic for me, so I avoid them. Not having their addresses stored is one way I avoid them. I had to look up the recipient’s address. I knew their phone number and finally did a reverse look-up. It’s addressed and ready to to the post office this afternoon.

I have another envelope, for another family member, unaddressed. I had found her address previously, but haven’t gotten the piece of paper with her address in front of me so that I can address that envelope. Found! Will be mailed this afternoon 2/3/17.

The last pieces from this album will be donated to Dad’s alma mater, he taught there as well, so they have his “papers.” I have sold portraits of various family members at antique stores in the past few years.

Do I hate my family? No. But the person who abused me wasn’t stupid and used who and what my family was as another stick to hit me with. That brainwashing is so old and so deep that I cannot remove it, try as I might. My family isn’t the warm/fuzzy type where you can talk about things like that and actually get a response which includes an adjustment in behavior. They don’t value me enough to do the changing required to stop punching my buttons, they think my buttons are ridiculous.

I can’t undo the buttons, I’ve been trying for over 50 years, right? So, the answer is to not let them punch them at all. Removing my “family heritage” photos is another concrete way I can stop feeling tied to them. I have one framed photo of my mother, and that’s it in the entire house. We have photos of DH’s family waiting to be framed. When they’re framed, they’ll go up. That’s my family because of two things: they will try and be responsive if I ask them to change in some way. (It’s a reciprocal relationship!) Also, I don’t have the brainwashing pushing me with them all the time.

Is this my family’s fault? No and yes. No, they aren’t responsible for my behavior (buttons) but they are responsible for their own (lack of being willing to accomodate my needs). I will not fight them, and I will not ask, again. I will simply remove them from my life as much as possible.

Harsh? I suppose. But you know? I’m  much, much happier without them in my life. I have nightmares about one or more of them coming to visit here. I’d have to do an exorcism, or something. It would be awful. I keep wanting to move so they don’t have my phone number/address any more.

It isn’t so much that they’re deliberately cruel, although some of them are, it’s that because they think my triggers are silly, they ignore the idea that they might need to pay attention. The only response accepting any responsibility for what they did to me was the last time someone really went after me and I went into a full flashback? They said, “I’m sorry you went into your flashback.” as if the attack which caused it was someone else speaking, as if the 2 weeks it took me to get back onto an even keel was trivial. To them I’m sure it was.

That was the “best”, the most responsive person in my family. When I reasoned it out, I decided they were all just too dangerous for me to be in contact with, and mostly I stay away. Removing these photos is another way to distance myself. No more memory lane — Thank God!

Getting Back on Track?

I have wandered fairly far afield in the past 2-3 months. That is, I’ve nearly stopped posting the weekly “to do” list, stopped thinking about or working on my larger, long-term goals, except in a spotty fashion.

I haven’t done a concerted purge for the tally in the past few days, either.

The house is staying cleaner, which is great, but for more than a month I’ve been doing whatever was in front of me, instead of trying to make the work I do count towards my bigger, long-term goals.

I know why: I’ve been fighting off exhaustion and depression. Rather than simply ignoring it and trying to push it away, a couple of days ago I finally sent an “I need help!” email to my nearest friends. I got what I needed, that is, a reminder that I’m not alone, there are people in my corner. In the recent past, except for real crisis, I haven’t asked for help much (or at least that’s my perception). I had a good therapist, and that’s what I used her for, I leaned on her, and our session recharged my batteries about 2x a month, and usually, that was enough.

She retired in June. The idea of establishing a new relationship with someone else after 15 years with the same person was just exhausting. Also, the people she recommended did not appeal to me at all for various reasons. Maybe in person that would be different, but the short bio forms, much of it a sales pitch, just left me cold. This means I haven’t gotten a new therapist.

Unknown to me, my energy started to fade. When I finally realized what was going on last week, I saw that it was like a slow drain of my energy and enthusiasm. I think of myself as a self-starter, but I need energy shots or something from others. Didn’t realize that those energy shots were a lot of what I was getting from my therapy. It was my 2 hours a month to be as whiney and selfish as I wanted. For someone with PTSD, or at least for me, it was a time/place to talk about all the ways/places/times that others pushed those buttons and how I should or did deal with them.

Because my flashback is a 3 year old’s grief, I have as I say, ” a grieving 3 year old, caught in the amber of my psyche.” Accordingly  my PTSD reactions to things are almost always inappropriate! Having a safe place to start there and then see/figure the more reasoned response was a blessing I’ve now lost. That created another drain, as I’ve been monitoring myself and my behavior in ways I hadn’t had to for a long time.

All of this and a few other things created a situation where I’ve been fighting off depression and exhaustion. I’m glad I finally realized what was going on and asked for help. I’m not sure what a long-term fix is, as I really don’t think I can do this every six months for the rest of my life, any more than I think I can afford a therapist 2x a month forever either, even assuming I had one.

I need to find new answers.

In the meantime, I need to get back on track: purging, culling, cleaning, and moving towards a time/space where I can do whatever’s next, even if it’s just dying.

Lapfull of Warm: Completely Unexpected Result

DH and I went to my fave yarn shop last weekend. My holiday gift was yarn this year.

While we were checking out, the woman working asked about my muffler. What yarn had I used, how big were the needles? Would I tell her the pattern? She wanted to make one!

OMG!!!

I was shellshocked. The 2nd piece I ever finish and someone who works in a yarn shop wants to copy it???

I haven’t posted anything because I think it’s like the first book. For months I was waiting for someone to say, “No. Sorry, we really didn’t mean it.” and I refused to let myself get excited about the book. This was similar. I haven’t really let myself even think about it. But I sat in the car last Saturday afterward, and nearly cried.

Long way in two years ‘eh? From a 10 stitch square which traumatized me so much it took me 4 hours to knit to a piece which is good enough for someone who works in a yarn shop to want to make!

I still shake when I’m knitting and I think about it. If I knit and I’m not distracted by something I still want to cry. I still have issues with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th stitches casting on and casting off. But if I distract myself enough? I can knit some, and I guess I do all right. . .OMG!

J

 

 

Lapful of Warm, v 2.0

I had a second skein of the yarn I used to make the muffler. I’ve been using the muffler, but it’s a bit narrow. I started playing with that second skein and had a slightly bigger pair of needles and wondered how that would change it? Well, after a few days of knitting, I have the following to report:

  • It’s wider
  • My knitting is better
  • and, because I quit deliberately when I did, it’s a bit shorter.

I intend to use this one rather than the other. It’s better made and slightly more practical. I may (or may not) rip the other one apart and make a pillow cover from it. I haven’t decided.

No shaking, cold, etc. until this morning when I was casting off. Of course, I kept myself distracted while I was knitting. This time I’ve been watching episodes of the original Ironside on youtube. Whatever the trauma related to knitting is/was, it definitely is its worst during casting off!

The frustrating part is that without an actual memory of what occurred, I can’t do more than I have to combat it. For me to “erase” a trauma, I need to know/understand wtf happened so I can rewrite the scenario, filtered by my adult understanding. It’s the same process I talked about with cleaning the house, here . The “easy” traumas, the obvious and clearly remembered ones, have been dealt with as much as I can. Otherwise, it’s shadow boxing, you guess and try — lather, rinse, repeat — hoping to narrow down what the issue is/was.

The second lapful of warm is a deliberate repetition and a better variation, if I say so myself. Happy holidays to me!

Happy holidays to all of you too, whatever midwinter festival, holiday, or break you practice.

Lapfull of Warm

Over the past week+ you would think I was a youtube addict. I’ve watched Nero Wolfe TV shows, music videos from Burlesque (the movie) and a lot of the “blind auditions” at The Voice.

Why? Well, especially with those auditions, what I got was distracted, just enough that I could knit.

On occasion, I’ve noticed what I was doing and the fact that the muffler I was knitting had gotten longer and longer and the ball of yarn correspondingly smaller. When I did, my hands would shake, I’d make mistakes, and  I’d fix them. My back would get cold and when I wanted to cry I’d look at the video, whatever it was — and keep knitting.

Of course I do have a life that doesn’t include sitting at my desk, knitting and listening to music or half-watching video. But. . .I tied the piece off about an hour ago. I  have 2 strings one on each end to weave in. There is one more ball of this yarn here. I may (or may not) make fringe for this. I don’t know. But it’s done. I intend to use it.

My heart is pounding a little. My palms were sweating as I did the last few decreases.

Somewhere, there’s a little girl, sobbing curled up in her bed because she doesn’t know what’s “wrong”with her, crying on the top of the cliff she was too “cowardly” to jump from, in a hospital because she doesn’t know how to cope with the world, and, and — there’s a thousand slides of the wounded child/youngster/woman I was, defeated and dragging herself  — plodding to her next probable failure, somewhere. . . .

There was usually just enough hope and whatever the F it is that always made me a fighter, from my first breath.

I got a man who stands at my back. I started winning sometimes. There are friends who “get” it. I got diagnosed. I won a lot more.

Then there was knitting: the fact that knitting was traumatic was not just laughable on the face of it, but it seemed absurd. Last year, I found someone and took a lesson. I knit and I knit and I knit — until I knew it was possible for me to do so without a total meltdown. Then I quit.

Last year, my husband’s holiday gift was a gift card at a local high-end yarn shop. I bought this beautiful yarn. For a long time I thought I’d just hang the skein on the living room wall. The skein got misplaced in the rearrangement for painting the living room. That didn’t matter as I’d stopped knitting.

I found the skein about 2 weeks ago and couldn’t keep my hands out of it. Eventually I rolled it into a ball. I started pieces and ripped them out and started something else. Nothing got finished, of course. Then I started a 20 stitch thing not all that hard, but not boring either.

I finished it tonight. I’m shaky, scared, wanting to cry — and fighting a smile. Because I won.The muffler is over 5′ long and it certainly has mistakes. I don’t care. I have a lap of warm stuff which will keep my neck warm,  imperfections and all, I’m proud of it.

Take that Abuser!!!