shame based trauma

light my fire

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You will face many challenges along your journey of transformation, but keep Persevering…. Every challenge and obstacle that you face is one that you will be leaving behind in order to move on…. You alone have the strength to allow so many positive lifestyle changes  for yourself. With each step, you will emerge the Butterfly from the Cocoon. Vibrant and,Confident…. Rready to embrace your inner smile.
You will face many challenges along your journey of transformation, but keep Persevering….
Every challenge and obstacle that you face is one that you will be leaving behind in order to move on….
You alone have the strength to allow so many positive lifestyle changes for yourself.
With each step, you will emerge the Butterfly from the Cocoon.
Vibrant and,Confident….
Rready to embrace your inner smile.

 

there is an overwhelming urge to move ahead with plans. and there is an underlying acend gnawing voice questioning my motives. it is not clear which path will emerge, but i am trying to listen to both.

addiction is often about filling a hole in the soul. my concern is that somewhere beneath all my rhetoric and good deeds, that there lies a need to fill a hole in my soul. if this new project is launched with this need to fill at the core, then is it a good intention?

or is the hesitation part of my childhood shame mentality? is it simply that i don’t believe i am good enough or worthy to do something without failing?

these questions roll over and over in head like the white numbered balls at a lottery drawing.

this long term survivor honors world aids day

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“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment, he needs help.” ~Thich Nat Hahn
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment, he needs help.” ~Thich Nat Hahn

AIDS SURVIVOR SYNDROME (ASS)

What is AIDS Survivor Syndrome (ASS)?

What is AIDS Survivor Syndrome (ASS)? reposted from letskickass.org

Is what happens after the AIDS tsunami recedes. When the survivors of the crisis have had time to evaluate the loss, grief and fear of the tragedy that unfolded. It describes where we are now 30+ years into the AIDS epidemic. Life is going on but some of us are still are still traumatized.

ASS is a perfectly natural response to surviving a life-threatening trauma. In the case of the AIDS epidemic it was a crisis that lasted 20 years. It exists on a spectrum from very mild to severe.

AIDS Survivor Syndrome manifests in aimlessness, depression, broken relationships, substance abuse, high-risk behavior and, in its most extreme results in suicide.

The signs include: depression; personality changes; flashes of anger; survivor guilt; anxiety; emotional numbness; insomnia; social withdrawal and isolation; hopelessness; substance abuse; sexual risk-taking; and lack of future orientation. It includes elements of post-traumatic stress (PTS).

Any combination of those and other signs related to surviving when so many loved ones and community members died. It often takes years to manifest after life around the survivors has returned to normal for the people around them.

 

READ WHAT Al Jazeera America says about AIDS Survivor Syndrome:http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/21/living-with-aidssurvivorssyndrome.html

But even its proponents admit that it may take some time to convince doctors that ASS is real and open up its sufferers for special treatment. For most of the people in the medical and health care policy communities, “the furthest thing in their mind is ASS,” Anderson said. “We want to say to doctors and health care professionals, if you have someone living with HIV for this many years, you need to understand that these symptoms together add up to a kind of PTSD.”

“Survivor syndrome” was coined by Dr. William G. Niederland to describe what the survivors of the death camps were going through 16 years after the holocaust ended. We are at that point in the history of HIV.

When huge swaths of your family of choice and community die and you survive, and with 50,000 or more people in the US living with HIV, there are wildly varying responses to living after decades of preparing to die.

The evidence of ASS is anecdotal but overwhelming. Health care professionals and therapists often focus on individual symptoms and not the totality of them nor the cause. So it under diagnosed and tragically under treated. It wreaks havoc on survivors and their loved ones and no one is looking for it.

All the optimistic talk about an “AIDS-Free Generation” and “Getting To Zero” sounds exclusionary to long-term HIV/AIDS survivors. If AIDS disappeared tomorrow the psychosocial aspects would remain in tens of thousands of people who lived through the 1980s and 1990s. Many survivors think the end of AIDS will happen after we’re dead. And this is a group whom are already ignored feel ostracized feel even more discounted, like our losses and grief and terror meant nothing. Like the world would rather move on.

One of Let’s Kick ASS’ goals is to research long-term survivors and measure resilience and the effects of ASS. — By Tez Anderson

Here is a video about ASS:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/97766152″>Aids Long Term Survivors</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user2331972″>Kelly Dessoye</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

the right wrong

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Every bad experience, painful relationship, and compromise you’ve ever made in good conscience will somehow transform into a beautiful inner reservoir of spiritual gifts and blessings. Life wants you to take notice of three things when you’re going through a difficult time that may seem eternal: Trust life. There’s a higher purpose behind every seemingly impossible and difficult phase. You’ve just got to hang in there and know that it’s for the best. Change. If you find yourself feeling bad a lot more often than not, take time out to reflect on whether or not you’re happy deep down with what you’re doing. Believe. Believe in yourself, even if the world around you doesn’t. If you don’t, who will? Hold onto what you believe in. You’re meant to emerge as a beautiful butterfly from your chrysalis. Always remember that, with a smile, and give yourself a chance to delight and revel in the mysterious workings of the universe.
Every bad experience, painful relationship, and compromise you’ve ever made in good conscience will somehow transform into a beautiful inner reservoir of spiritual gifts and blessings.
Life wants you to take notice of three things when you’re going through a difficult time that may seem eternal:
Trust life. There’s a higher purpose behind every seemingly impossible and difficult phase. You’ve just got to hang in there and know that it’s for the best.
Change. If you find yourself feeling bad a lot more often than not, take time out to reflect on whether or not you’re happy deep down with what you’re doing.
Believe. Believe in yourself, even if the world around you doesn’t. If you don’t, who will?
Hold onto what you believe in. You’re meant to emerge as a beautiful butterfly from your chrysalis. Always remember that, with a smile, and give yourself a chance to delight and revel in the mysterious workings of the universe.

5 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship

“Toxic” doesn’t only entail obvious damage like physical abuse, stealing, or name-calling. It also represents all the internal turmoil that results from an unhealthy relationship. I’d like to share how I learned to recognize when I was in a relationship that was not suitable for me.

These are 5 signs that you are in a toxic relationship:

1. It seems like you can’t do anything right.

The other person constantly puts you down as not good enough. They mock your personality, and you feel ashamed most of the time. You only feel pardoned when you take on the traits of the person doing the condemning or judging.

2. Everything is about them and never about you. 

You have feelings, too, but the other person won’t hear them. You’re unable to have a two-sided conversation where your opinion is heard, considered and respected. Instead of acknowledging your feelings, they battle with you until they get the last word.

3.  You find yourself unable to enjoy good moments with this person.

Every day brings another challenge. It seems as though they are always raising gripes about you. Their attempt to control your behavior is an attempt to control your happiness.

4. You’re uncomfortable being yourself around that person.

You don’t feel free to speak your mind. You have to put on a different face just to be accepted by that person. You realize you don’t even recognize yourself anymore, and neither do your closest friends and family.

5. You’re not allowed to grow and change.

Whenever you aim to grow and improve yourself, the other person responds with mockery and disbelief. There is no encouragement or support for your efforts. Instead, they keep you stuck in old judgments insisting that you will never be any different than you are now.

If you’re experiencing even just one of these signs, check in with yourself to see if the relationship is doing more damage than good. Evaluate the relationship and what it’s worth to you.

Embrace the answers that come from your intuition, as it wants the best for you—and this relationship might not be it.

Take deliberate action according to your gut feeling. You won’t be sorry.

Maybe you choose to talk about your feelings with the other person, or you decide to put more space between the two of you.

It’s important that if you’re feeling uncomfortable or unsettled in the relationship that you not wait around until the effects of the misery settle into depression. Taking any action is the best medicine.

Now it’s your turn: Without giving names, do you find yourself in a toxic relationship? Have you left a toxic relationship and want to share how that decision has changed your life? Or are you afraid to leave a toxic relationship because you fear the repercussions? Leave a comment and share your experience….. reposted from tinybuddha.com

 

 

take me to the river

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I don't know why I love her like I do All the changes you put me through Take my money, my cigarettes I haven't seen the worst of it yet I want to know that you'll tell me I love to stay Take me to the river, drop me in the water Take me to the river, dip me in the water Washing me down, washing me down .....Talking Heads
I don’t know why I love her like I do
All the changes you put me through
Take my money, my cigarettes
I haven’t seen the worst of it yet
I want to know that you’ll tell me
I love to stay
Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Take me to the river, dip me in the water
Washing me down, washing me down
…..Al Green

life is queer. or at least mine is. the circling and cycling of emotion, perspective, and clarity can be exhausting as well as exhilarating. time is the factor that is the most friendly in this dance. i am often acutely affected by situations that freeze my emotional availability. time is the ingredient that turns the stone to sand and lets the wind swish it away. time gives the gift of perspective and de-escalation. time washes away some of the grime.

i have come to realize that a very unpleasant set of encounters that i have had probably are connected to an unconscious letting go of a toxic pattern. i have gotten to a place in my life that i feel comfortable erecting boundaries around the way i am treated. and there has been depression around this perhaps because i am grieving the old ways. the independence and serenity that accompanies a lack of bullshit takes some getting used to.

i haven’t been immediately clued in to the telling signs of healthy grief, but they are now a bit more familiar. it is sad business to let go of old beliefs and habits. i just hope it doesn’t remain infinitely sad. i am hoping that some joy and room for growth comes into play.


The Eighth Step is not easy; it demands a new kind of honesty about our relations with other people. The Eighth Step starts the procedure of forgiving others and possibly being forgiven by them, forgiving ourselves, and learning how to live in the world. By the time we reach this step, we have become ready to understand rather than to be understood. We can live and let live easier when we know the areas in which we owe amends. It seems hard now, but once we have done it, we will wonder why we did not do it long ago.

…The final difficulty in working the Eighth Step is separating it from the Ninth Step. Projecting about actually making amends can be a major obstacle both in making the list and in becoming willing. We do this step as if there were no Ninth Step. We do not even think about making the amends but just concentrate on exactly what the Eighth Step says which is to make a list and to become willing. The main thing this step does for us is to help build an awareness that, little by little, we are gaining new attitudes about ourselves and how we deal with other people.
– Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text, Chapter 4/Step 8

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

 

mistakes of my youth

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In the waning days ahead, I gotta look back down the road. I know that it's not too late. All the stupid things I've said, and people I've hurt in my time. I hope it's not my fate, to keep defeating my own self, and keep repeating yesterday. I can't keep defeating myself, I can't keep repeating, the mistakes of my youth. In the dark of night, I might be able to make myself think that I'm still a younger man. But when the light of day shines down, there's no way to get around it, I'm not the younger man...... eels
In the waning days ahead,
I gotta look back down the road.
I know that it’s not too late.
All the stupid things I’ve said,
and people I’ve hurt in my time.
I hope it’s not my fate,
to keep defeating my own self,
and keep repeating yesterday.
I can’t keep defeating myself,
I can’t keep repeating, the mistakes of my youth.
In the dark of night, I might
be able to make myself think
that I’m still a younger man.
But when the light of day shines down,
there’s no way to get around it,
I’m not the younger man…… eels

there are so many things about my youth that can stir deep emotions with the wink of an eye. a sound, a smell, and so often a feeling. i was such an impetuous young one- dancing under the stars while channeling the spirit of isadora duncan- listening in on adult conversations with the precision of a tape recorder but with the interpretation skills of a deaf lad with no sign language skills. i understood the depth of the feelings i had and the conversations i heard, but i had no grasp on the impact those things had on my soul or my naivete.

impulsivity was probably my closest companion and my greatest rival. like a mime, i could mirror life to onlookers in a normal way, but the mere fact that it was only a reflection and not a true depiction fooled those around me and kept me trapped like the boy in a bubble.

i didn’t understand that i really needed to feel loved. my family loved me and it never occured to me this love might not be enough. i knew i was viewed as different- without a father around and very much effeminate, but i had no idea what it would be like to not be that way. i didn’t consider my differences unless in the company of others- and then being different – being me- would hurt.

i became strongly independent because of necessity. i wouldn’t dare speak to anyone about the shame i felt being different. i didn’t want to vex them with my shame. and i didn’t want to make them see it if they didn’t either. so i stuffed these ideas and feelings into an inner secret container that barely saw the light of day. i protected it with the bright light of denial for years and frankly became a master of deception- a skill many gay men of my generation developed over those years to remain sane or at least coping.

If gay men are going to have to self-diagnose and treat their own mental-health issues, lending a well-thumbed copy of The Velvet Rage might present the first Elastoplast to the problem. “When you read it, it all seems so very obvious,” says therapist David Smallwood, “but no one had written it down before. I don’t want it to seem like I’m a single-issue fanatic. All I’m saying is that when I see someone that is troubled in this way I will bet my next 20 years’ salary on where it started. I start dealing with gay men that have issues around sex or drugs or alcohol and within five minutes I know that we are into their childhood. So I think that every gay man to some extent will have been affected by velvet rage.”

Downs has assumed an almost messianic place in the lives of those who have absorbed his thinking. He has broken the implicit language of half a century’s gay culture and flipped it on its head. The central axis of an individual’s gay narrative, one that used to concentrate on the coming-out story either as a teenager or later, has been shifted back into childhood. The result is that gayness appears to be a psychological as much as sexual condition. Historically, gay culture has been underpinned by the word “pride”. Now Downs has identified a clear relationship with shame.

“I do think that a lot of the issues in The Velvet Rage have pushed gay men and gay culture to create thoroughly wonderful things,” says Downs, “but the question that each of us must ask is: ‘Is this the life that I want for myself?’ When you read the biographies of most people who have been incredibly successful in the creative world, they haven’t always achieved a personal life that is satisfying and fulfilling. That is my concern as a psychologist.”…. paul flynn theguardian.com

i have written and spoken of emotional sobriety for a few years now, but i am only beginning to get a taste of what this term may actually mean in my 4 dimensional life. i will continue the quest to understand my barriers to love- no matter what they are- and i hope i am able to manage this task. the fears and the shame i developed early on have paths deeprooted in my psyche- like the sewers in paris. i sometimes slip into one to get home safely and without fanfare like the phantom leaving a night at the opera. so much music and so much intrigue can easily send me to isolate in the quietly dark to stave off the intrusion of feeling.

emotional sobriety for me is first understanding this about myself and then hopefully reaching the place where i don’t have to slip away- but stay and linger in the feelings and the mood.

i recently heard this preview of “the cautionary tales of mark oliver everett” and i must say i’m hooked. there seems to be an understanding of the simple and beautiful that makes up peace in life. peace is not complicated. nor is it contrived or gimicky. it is simply there.