Lucky One

Lucky One

The Process When it comes to recovery, I am lucky. I am lucky because I get flashbacks along with my emotions. I know what you are thinking. That doesn’t sound very lucky. But flashbacks give me valuable information about why I am experiencing the emotions. It can keep me from drowning in them because I know where they are coming from. I can say to myself, “This emotion is about that flashback.” And I can calm my brain down (sometimes). But there is an unlucky part. I often get the emotions first. Sometimes I get the emotions a day or two before the flashbacks, sometimes it is only minutes, but there is some period of time where I am not sure where the feeling came from. But even with this, I am lucky. You see, my memories come in themes. I get a wave of memories back at a time and they all relate to something I am processing. The great thing about that is the emotion and memories are similar. So after I make it through the first in a series (which is a bit of a mess), I know what I am in for. This latest round of memories has been quite the journey. There were a bunch of people in my childhood who felt the need to tell me what was wrong with me and why I couldn’t succeed. My adult self recognizes all of these conversations as projections, but my child self is still trying to determine if they were right or wrong. With each memory she shows me, I am able to show her...
The Future is Bright

The Future is Bright

Inner Battles Planning for the future is hard for survivors. In many cases, we spent a childhood seriously questioning our ability to live to the next day, year or decade. The end always seemed to be right around the corner. In reality, it might not have been, but it felt like it. We may have even wished it was. I am no different in this regard, although I was unaware of it for quite some time. While I have a part that doesn’t see a future, I also have a planner perfectionist part who always overrode anything else. She was in charge for all the big future-oriented events. She saved the money. She bought and decorated the houses. She planned the vacations. She made sure everything was in perfect order all the time. She pushed through the exhaustion, the flashbacks, the emotional swings and any hints of the truth. She was a direct replica of my mother in that she internalized all the survival mechanisms that were employed by my parents. The most important mechanism was the mask of perfection. It wasn’t until I started to override her (which caused quite an internal war) that I began to notice the other parts. And one such part was holding all the futility, all the resistance to the future. For a while, I wished I could push that part back where she came from. Based on my willful default personality type, I wanted nothing to do with futility. But I knew that pushing this aspect of self back in to the shadows would do nothing but make it more prominent in...
Suicidal Ideation: How to Avoid the Thought Trap

Suicidal Ideation: How to Avoid the Thought Trap

This week, I experienced a physical release in my body. I get these often as a part of my recovery. The emotions and memories have been stored in my body and I am releasing them as I recover. But the physical releases come with  good and bad. I love the feeling of freedom that comes with the release. I have to expend much less energy maintaining that particular defended place. I have less muscle tension to keep me drained. However, with those releases come emotions. And they can be hard to handle. I have also noticed that location matters. When I have a physical release in my knee, the impact can be more tolerable. I can handle the anger and sadness as long as I can keep it from impacting my family. But I knew I was in trouble with this one. The physical release happened just below my heart. I can’t think of a more potent spot than that. To make matters worse, I could feel the desperate attempt to shut it back down. I had to focus for hours to allow it to stay released. I knew I was in trouble. After the release, I was inundated with hopelessness. It is the worst feeling of all the feelings. It is the feeling that brings the suicidal ideation. To stay present with that feeling is the most difficult thing I have ever done. To make matters worse, I have noticed I am not alone. While the feeling of isolation can contribute to suicidal ideation, I certainly don’t wish these feelings upon anyone. Yet I have been approached by...
Beneath the Emptiness

Beneath the Emptiness

The Emptiness Over the past few days, I have been feeling an unusual emptiness. It isn’t sadness or depression. I am used to those feelings. It is as though a part of me has dropped away. But this part of me is not really me. I am still here. I have checked in with my parts. They are still here. But they are a bit quieter, a bit less distracted, a bit less focused on the past. And maybe that feels empty to me. What do I do with all of that extra time, energy, focus that was spent on the past? I am assuming I should spend it in the present moment. I should spend it manifesting my dreams. I have read that is a good thing to do. But I think I am in this middle period where something has left but nothing has come. And honestly, it feels weird. It isn’t a bad weird. It is like the first time I felt joy and I started to cry because I didn’t understand it. I am not crying though. I am just sitting here staring at the wall (or writing like now). I am trying to understand this new feeling and let myself feel empty. I am trying to visualize the positive things that could fill it up. If I am not inundated by the response to my traumatic past, by the feelings of anger, the need for revenge, the grief of the deep loss that was my childhood, what could fill that space? More joy? More love? More present moment experiences with my children? More of...
Anxiety in Parents and Children

Anxiety in Parents and Children

Over the past month, I have written two articles with a focus on anxiety.  I have experienced anxiety from a young age.  I have also noticed it in my children.  And I have some observations about how it starts, how we pass it down, and how it manifests. PsychCentral: The Anxious Cycle: How Children Inherit Our Anxiety The Huffington Post: Anxiety in Children: Don’t Look the Other...