ptsd

broken record

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“My collection is so disorganized right now, it’s terrible. But usually it’s split into two sections: ‘hip-hop’ and ‘not hip-hop’” – Cosmo Baker
“My collection is so disorganized right now, it’s terrible. But usually it’s split into two sections: ‘hip-hop’ and ‘not hip-hop’” – Cosmo Baker

What are the Signs of Emotional Sobriety?
•  Ability to regulate strong emotions •  Ability to regulate mood •  Ability to maintain a perspective on life circumstances. •  Ability to regulate potentially harmful substances or behaviors •  Ability to live in the present •  Ability to regulate activity levels.

•  Ability to live with deep, intimate connection.

•  Resilience, the ability to roll with the punches

•  Ability to regulate behavior….tian dayton phd

this emotional sobriety thing becomes so friggin perplexing at times, that my mutterings the blog o sphere must seem like a broken record. it is said that life is a spiral which has us circling around and revisiting the same place as we try to ascend to the next level. this week brought me once again to a place that causes me to believe this theory to be true. for me, surviving the trauma that i have done has left imprints and some scars. i feel unlovable and broken as a first response to situations at times and then must steer my thinking and my my perceptions to a different place that holds more light. it takes some and it takes some damn presence of mind. it feels like a broken record, but i’m starting to believe the record is not broken but only scratched. (impish and joyful smile here)

“According to ancient philosophy life is not a cycle  but a spiral. Every life lesson that has ever been presented to you will come back again, until you learn it. And the stakes each time will be higher. Whatever you have learned will bear greater fruit. Whatever you failed to learn will bear harsher consequences.

” Midlife is our second chance […] Whatever didn’t work in your life before this part, was a reflection of the fact that you hadn’t yet integrated the different parts of yourself.  Where you didn’t  yet accept yourself, you attract lack of acceptance. 

“If you want to spend the years you have left reenacting the old drama of the past – you can. The same script be indeed coming around for your review. But if you want, you can take the script, and give it an awesome rewrite.”  – Marianne Williamson “THE AGE OF MIRACLES”

i managed to avoid running which is my go to move. instead i reminded myself that i deserve to see things through a little further. i can’t really say whether progress is happening, but i am aware of a connecting thread that began in my past and has infiltrated my adult life. that thread has survived decades of volatility and helped keep me alive when sane thinking would have guessed otherwise.

i may not be well, but i’m certainly getting better and i’m grateful. really really grateful.

The drought was the very worst
When the flowers that we’d grown together died of thirst
It was months, and months of back and forth
You’re still all over me like a wine-stained dress I can’t wear anymore

Hung my head as I lost the war, and the sky turned black like a perfect storm

Rain came pouring down when I was drowning
That’s when I could finally breathe
And by morning gone was any trace of you,
I think I am finally clean

There was nothing left to do
When the butterflies turned to dust that covered my whole room
So I punched a hole in the roof
Let the flood carry away all my pictures of you

The water filled my lungs, I screamed so loud but no one heard a thing

Rain came pouring down when I was drowning
That’s when I could finally breathe
And by morning, gone was any trace of you,
I think I am finally clean
I think I am finally clean
Said I think I am finally clean

10 months sober, I must admit
Just because you’re clean don’t mean you don’t miss it
10 months older, I won’t give in
Now that I’m clean I’m never gonna risk it

The drought was the very worst
When the flowers that we’d grown together died of thirst

Rain came pouring down when I was drowning
That’s when I could finally breathe
And by morning gone was any trace of you,
I think I am finally clean

Rain came pouring down when I was drowning
That’s when I could finally breathe
And by morning gone was any trace of you
I think I am finally clean
Finally clean
Think I’m finally clean
Think I’m finally clean…taylor swift

and here is that taylor swift song recorded by ryan adams on his tribute album “1989”

battle flag

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the past is catching up no escape from this mental hell reliving it again.... ptsd haiku
the past is catching up
no escape from this mental hell
reliving it again…. ptsd haiku

When things fall apart and we’re on the verge of we know not what, the test for each of us is to stay on that brink and not concretize.  The spiritual journey is not about heaven and finally getting to a place that’s really swell.  In fact, that way of looking at things is what keeps us miserable.  Thinking that we can find some lasting pleasure and avoid pain is what in Buddhism is called samsara, a hopeless cycle that goes round and round endlessly and causes us to suffer greatly.  The very first noble truth of Buddha points out that suffering is inevitable for human beings as long as we believe that things last – that they don’t disintegrate, that they can be counted on to satisfy our hunger for security.  From this point of view, the only time we ever know what’s really going on is when the rug’s been pulled out and we can’t find anywhere to land.  We use these situations either to wake ourselves up or to put ourselves to sleep.  Right now – in the very instant of groundlessness – is the seed of taking care of those who need our care of discovering our goodness… 

Life is a good teacher and a good friend.  Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it.  Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about.  The off-centre, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit.  It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs.

To stay with that shakiness – to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge – that is the path of true awakening.  Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic – that is the spiritual path.  Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gentling and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior…”

i am emerging from another bout, albeit minimal, of the resurgence of a tidal wave of memory. it’s really astonishing how very technicolor and widescreen trauma can be.

thank you universe for allowing me the grace to remain upright after the whoosh of synapses.

Your construction
Smells of corruption
I manipulate to recreate
This air to ground saga
Gotta launder my karma

I said hallelujah to the sixteen loyal fans
You’ll get down on your mothafuckin’ knees
And it’s time for your sickness again
Come on and tell me what you need
Tell me what is making you bleed
We got two more minutes and
We gonna cut to what you need
So one of six so tell me
One do you want to live
And one of seven tell me
Is it time for your mothafuckin’ ass to give
Tell me is it time to get down on your mothafuckin’ knees
Tell me is it time to get down

I’m blown to the maxim
Two hemispheres battlin’
I’m blown to the maxim
Two hemispheres battlin’
Suckin’ up, one last breath
Take a drag off of death

lo fidelity all stars… lyrics fisk/smith

working through challenges

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“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” ~Unknown
“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” ~Unknown

bird bag six pack tortoise belt

most of come into this world without flaw. for some of us though, life indiscriminately creates trauma, wounds us, cripples us, thwarts us, terrorizes us, and drops us unknowingly like a to-go bag tossed out the window. this often just starts the challenging part of our journey, as we have to carry on as though nothing has happened. the world around seems thoroughly unaware that the slower pace we have, the longer time we require to connect the dots, the lack of rebound we demonstrate in simple situation is often the direct result of changes to our hardwiring due to our path.

just as often, we seem just as unaware. we see life as hard, tedious, flat, low on hope mostly because we prefer not to feel any more loss. i’m not sure for other just when the mediocre fades and the light comes on. for me, the last 10 years have seemed like someone cut the plastic from my body, or rinsed the oil that clogged my pores.

i feel blessed to have survived and such great relief to have loosed a burden. that gratitude shall remain with me as long as i can use my brain.

part of that which crippled me was the self-doubt and self-judgement that arose from being one of the unfortunates. there was no thought or promise of good coming from that which scarred. the gift of time has revealed so much artistry in the process of survival.

i find myself now in the throes of old fears and doubts. my situation takes a new turn and i steep in ancient waters mostly with the direct thought that good things won’t last and if they happen to do just that it won’t be in tandem with me.

i found a post from tiny buddha, which spoke to my process right now. this was written by tess marshall….

The following tips will allow you to face fear and put it in its place.

1. Get comfortable with fear.

Invite fear into your life. When you fear something, move toward it.  Feel it, and breathe through it.

Do the things that frighten you. Action builds courage. Tell yourself, “This fear will pass.” Your world expands as your courage expands.

2. Make your dominant thoughts positive.

Fearful thoughts attract more fear. Positive thoughts attract success. Instead of expecting the worst, train your mind to expect the best. Make positive assumptions about your future.

3. Don’t give time, attention, or energy to fear.

Hold yourself accountable. Be consistent, be prepared, be dependable, and focus on solutions.

Be innovative, take the initiative, and go the extra mile. If you don’t take action despite your fear, opportunity will pass you by.

4. Never dwell on scarcity.

Learn to think, speak, and live as an abundant person. Turn off the news. Celebrate what you have. Be generous.

Focus your attention on being ready, willing, and prepared for the beauty, wonder, connections, good fortune, and favorable circumstances that are yours if you are willing to work and be open to it.

5. Revisit your victories.

Strengthen your belief in yourself by reflecting on the last three years of your life and every success you’ve experienced.

Close your eyes and feel the celebratory emotion of each one. Bring the same drive, persistence, and talent into now and allow it to inspire and motivate you.

6. Live vicariously through the victories of others.

Use the success stories of others. Read how the Brooklyn Bridge was built. Study the success of Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey. Take note of the courage they developed and follow their path to greatness.

7. Ask your family and friends for encouragement.

My family can see my strength when I forget I have it. At my request, they don’t hesitate to remind me of all trials and triumphs we have come through. They’re generous with praise and encouragement.  Ask your loved ones to do the same for you.

8. Create a support group of friends or colleagues.

Robert Fulghum said it best in his book, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: “When you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.” Sticking together makes tough times easier and easier times more fun!

9. Plan to be great.

Step into your power and dream big. Follow it up with calculated risks and deliberate action steps. Have no doubt about your success. Your dreams are at stake here!

You have the power to do what it takes to break through any obstacles that stand in the way of yourself, your dreams, and your happiness.

house of flying daggers

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“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”  ― Gautama Buddha
“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
― Gautama Buddha

today i am reposting something from my 1st blog first published in 2007. this time was instrumental in shaping the direction of my interest in emotional sobriety. as i lived in recovery for my 3rd year, suppressed feelings and memories began to emerge and sometimes i was completely overwhelmed. my life and the step work were unravelling what i had been unable to do for myself. if you encounter this happening in your life or someone close to you – try not to panic. you are not failing sobriety. you are awakening. your life and your heart are inviting you to let go of baggage that is no longer necessary to carry. it requires work. it is not easy. but it is worth all the bullshit to move forward in a healthier frame of mind.  Happy Holidays !!!!

i am expressing something personal today. i certainly hope will bear with me.

god does not create junk.

my sponsor has been having me write this as well as say this repeatedly since we started working together. and now i realize that he has helped me develop an amazing coping mechanism for my life. this is important because that phrase addresses the perspective i find myself returning to with regularity. in my life, i have become so accustomed to believing that i am without worth, or that someone is going to take advantage of me, that even in sobriety i find myself returning to that pattern. i am not sure if it because of the trauma i lived through growing up,( repeated sexual abuse followed by ridicule and shame from many of the male peers in my life), or because i am missing some main ingredient that is handed out when creation happens. i would imagine the former has something to do with my own brand of insanity.

dennis cooper wrote a book titled “the tenderness of the wolves” and i think that accurately applies to me at times. i am vicious to myself, almost to the point of chewing my own foot to free myself from a trap. this is because i have been trapped and i have memories of and recoil into this only too vividly on occasions when it is not necessarily appropriate or beneficial. but there’s memory of fear and so i react to it. and then i bite, and scratch, and tear at myself with these junk thoughts almost savagely at times. i think the clinical term is post-traumatic stress disorder. i call it hell.

this is one reason why i am required to reiterate often, that god does not create junk and that whatever shortcomings i may perceive myself to possess do indeed have a purpose and a meaning in the scheme of my life. and no matter how much i try to separate myself from the rest of the world because of these shortcomings or differences, i am not separate. i am included. i am needed. i am required. i belong.

those thoughts are not my first line of thought about my life, however. and first and foremost, i needed to stop self-medicating through these “junk” feelings as i had been doing most of my adult life. that is why i needed the 12 steps and a program to help me navigate my heart, mind, and soul. i don’t think i would have gotten to a higher source of power without them.

12 step may have some relief for you, too, even though your situation may not be so dramatic. (any readers who doubt it i can identify-i never thought it could or would help me. but help me it has.) i do not have to stay stuck in those thoughts i have about myself anymore. this is one of the greatest gifts i have known. and i have hope that there is a break in this cycle. and i have hope that something wonderful will happen. i am shaking loose this secret sadness.

and here is laymen’s interpretation of those steps.

1) Drugs/Alcohol will kill me.
2) There’s a power that wants me to live.
3) Do I want to live or die? (if you want to die, stop here)
4) Write about how I got to where I am.
5) tell another person all about me. (let God listen)
6) Want to change
7) Ask a power greater than me to help me change.
8) Write down who I’ve hurt.
9) Fix what I can without hurting anyone else.
10)Accept that I’m human and will screw up. fix it immediately.
11)Ask a power greater than me to show me how to live.
12)Keep doing 1 through 11 and pass it on.

i felt like a change with my posts today (obviously, i hope)
i am a huge fan of kathleen battle’s voice, so i thought i’d share a bit today. and just to be sure, inside of me is sometimes like a house of flying daggers.

There was a field in my old town
Where we always played hand in hand
The wind was gently touching the grass
We were so young, so fearless

Then I dreamt o’er and over
Of you holding me tight under the stars
I made a promise to my dear lord
I will love you forever

Time has passed
So much has changed
But the field remains in my heart
Oh, where are you?
I need to tell you I still love you
So I reach out for you
You fly around me like a butterfly
Your voice still echoes in my heart
You are my true love

There was a field in my old town
Where in spring all flowers blossomed wide
We were chasing butterflies
Hand in hand ’til close of day
Your voice still echoes in my heart

epiphany

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Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.
Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things…Buddha

unless i’m mistaken, life has shown me a curious mental twist that i may inhabit. there is an underlying and primal urge to blow into the face of calm. this probably stems from a history of trauma and drama. mebbe i feel more at home with chaos than with serenity. this sounds insane. i understand however that this is a coping strategy. better to create chaos than fall into it while i am looking at the stars.

although depression is not the force majeur, i am now led to believe that it could be possible to rewrite the program. there is definitely an “ugh” beyond this “aha”. but beyond this “ugh” there is hope.

for this long term survivor, hope is not always in abundance. gratitude yes- hope- well not so much. the train has left the station is a mask i wear frequently. fear not here. there is no magic in this. i am naive, but not to the level that i might believe knowing a thing is the same at all as living and breathing a thing. i have to inhabit this idea of rewriting my emotional program now. for the last few years i have spent much time recognizing it- and some would say still working on it.

the break of dawn here is that moving forward may have opportunity. not just to recognize, but to galvanize and reappropriate and redistribute. hella lotta work. something worth working for, i’d say.

 

rewriting your emotional program (click here)

 

Well, I’m hiding my eyes from the morning sun
And I keep on working till the work is all done
But a voice in my head keeps ticking away
As the sweat’s hosed down from yet another day

Well, he works hard
And he lives hard
And he breaks his back without nothing to gain
While the boss man sits around and drinks champagne

All day
In life, there’s just one transition
All day
In life, there’s just one decision

Well, I’m peeling the blisters off a working hand
Is that what it takes to make you understand?
That it’s something you read, not something you meant
To be slaving away without a shred of integrity

He worked hard
Oh, and he lived hard
And he broke his back without nothing to say
While the man in control was just laughing away

All day
In life, there’s just one transition
All day
In life, there’s just one decision

In life, there’s just one transition

Was it something you read?
Was it something you meant?
Was it something you said?
Or was it Heaven sent?????

 … Al Jourgensen