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Gratitude

I started writing as a way to process trauma and other difficult things that found their way into my life. It never lets me down. I’ve been doing some journaling over the past few weeks to deal with some family stuff, and each time I write, I have a cathartic cry and end up feeling lighter. Every single time! You should try it!

Over the past few months, the need to write has decreased. Sure, life continues to shit on me whenever it gets the urge, but  I’m kind of OK when life shits on me. I chalk it up to life sometimes being shitty, maybe have a cry about it, and go on about my day. Does this happen every time life shits on me? Nope. But way more than it used to, so I’ll take it.

My therapeutic writing transitioned into writing about amazing experiences I’ve had that had nothing to do with trauma at all..still things I needed help processing/understanding, I suppose. All I know is, when my soul tells me to write about something, I listen.

Tonight, my soul is telling me to write about gratitude. Not processing anything, not pages of angst, no questions…just gratitude for what I have, what I am, what is.

  1. I am grateful for my health. Even though I have two chronic illnesses which cause chronic pain, annoying discomforts and require time, effort, money…and I can’t eat bread, for crying out loud…I’m grateful for my health. I’m alive. I can work. I can drive my boat. I can love.
  2. I am grateful for my family. Of course, my sons…my reasons for going through all this shit. God, I am blessed with those guys.  But, when I say I’m grateful for my family, I’m also referring to the members of my family that have been a part of the whole “life shitting on me” crap. Despite all the heartache…and let me tell you, it’s a LOT of heartache… I’ve learned some valuable life lessons from them, and I think going through what I’ve gone through with them over this past year has allowed me to become something akin to angelic. I’ve learned to love when I’m not being loved. I’ve learned to forgive when I haven’t been asked for forgiveness. I know a lot of people know how to do these things, but for me…it took a lot of work. I think it’s a little harder when you have to give this love and forgiveness to people you’ve been craving love from your entire life. To be able to love them, and be OK with them not loving you back, well… that’s just something bigger than any words I can come up with, so I’ll stop here.
  3. I am grateful for failed relationships. Who would’ve guessed it? Well, not really all of them. Most of them I could do without. Maybe because they’re all really the same guy. But, the last couple, I’m grateful for those ones. With them, I was able to accomplish things I never could figure out how to do with the other guys. With one of them, I’ve learned how to stand up for myself, how to value myself. How to feel worthy…at least, for a little bit. At least, until I met the next guy, ha ha. Hey, that’s a pretty big deal when you haven’t done that before. And that next guy? Well… I can’t say the lesson is 100% complete, but I think I’m pretty close. The lesson I’m finally learning, the same lesson all the other guys came into my life to teach me…I’m learning how to let go of people I’m attached to. I’m learning to not take things personally if someone can’t love me. This is so important, because by learning this lesson in a relationship, I’m also learning how to do it with the people in my family. It all comes full circle. You know, you keep unconsciously seeking out the same situations you’re struggling with, in order to resolve them. Except you don’t KNOW that’s what you’re doing, so all you do is keep repeating the same pattern over and over and over, wondering why the hell you’re so unlovable…until something clicks (really, just therapy….just go to therapy. Everyone. Just go.) and you understand that saying, “Remember that time you confused a life lesson with a soul mate?” You learn that some people aren’t going to love you, and it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with how lovable you are. Yeah. That. I’m so close…
  4. I’m grateful for my practice. “Practice” is the word I use to put all of my “work” into a nice, neat little package. Therapy (which I don’t go to anymore, but don’t want to leave out how important of a piece it was in solving my puzzle), writing, meditation, going to church, surrounding myself with people who empower me and lift me up, consciously validating myself, not seeking validation from others, service to others…all of this is my practice. And my practice is what connects me to “source”…which is a long-winded way of saying I’m grateful for my connection to God. Without it, I’d be the lost lamb again. I’m not lost anymore. I am grateful… I am touched by grace… I am love… I am light… I am.

 

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Admitting I have a project

For the first time in years, I have down time. My divorce is moving along, I’ve finished up most of the work that’s left after selling my company (doing dreaded taxes next week, ugh) and my new job allows me to be all done by the afternoon. It feels weird to not have tons of work looming over me, to not be connected to my cell phone 24/7 in case of a work emergency…to just go to work and come home and be done. It also feels weird to not have the need to write, every spare moment. I filled up a good dozen journals over the past year, processing my childhood and my current life problems. I had no control over it, like smoking cigarettes. Now, I pretty much just write in this blog, maybe once a week. I don’t have the need to go to therapy that much anymore, so when the kids are at their dad’s…I’ve got down time. I’d heard it existed, but wasn’t sure if it was a rumor or not. It’s true. There really can be time in the day when I don’t HAVE to do something! So, this week, I’ve finally started tackling a project that I’ve been thinking about for a year…. I started writing my book.

Wow. I haven’t really admitted that to anyone, yet. It feels weird to say it… to read it. I started writing my book. I’ve told my friends “I’m transcribing my journals”.  That’s my way of tricking them/me into thinking I’m just writing them out on word docs for the sake of having them in one place. I don’t think any of us really believed me, though. They all have been telling me I should write a book, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to actually admit that this is what I’m doing. I think maybe I’m afraid. It feels kind of grandiose to announce, “I’m writing a book about myself“. What if people say, “Who gives a shit?” Hell, I say that to myself all the time. But then, I follow it up with, “I don’t give a shit if people don’t give a shit” and let it go. That’s the glory of spending a year diving head-first into intense therapy, yoga, meditation and writing…you learn to not give a shit and to let things go. It’s freeing. If something hurts me, I let myself cry and feel whatever emotions it brings up, without shaming myself for having those emotions and most of the time, without shaming the person who hurt me. Then, I just let it go….most of the time. Hey, I’m not perfect…

I finished transcribing my first journal into a word doc last night. Over 30,000 words. I’m using Dragon dictation software (something I highly recommend, if you have a lot of writing to do). It doesn’t really like swears, though. I keep trying to train it to understand I’m not saying “ship” or “flock”, but I guess it’s more pure than me.

It was interesting to read where I was exactly one year ago. Amazing how much a soul can grow in that amount of time. Who knew souls could even grow? I sure didn’t. I was full of despair and was so sure I’d end up a failure. I felt so broken and damaged beyond repair, like a seed cracked wide open. Little did I know, that’s what it takes to blossom.

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Mar. 4/17

This post was written in response to Linda G Hill’s Stream of Social Consciousness. It’s organic, free-flowing writing in response to a prompt. I like participating because it makes me write! I’m lazy!

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I was a bully #SOCS

Somewhere between the ages of 12-14 or so, I was a bully. I was one of those kids who made a few other kid’s lives miserable in school. Not a lot of kids, just a few. They were actually friends of mine, that I “sprung” being a bully on.  They never saw it coming. Neither did I.

I hated that part of me. I never knew why I was doing it. It made no sense that I could be walking out to gym class with a friend and just punch her for no reason. I actually did that…we were walking and talking and I punched her in the cheek. I instantly said “I’m sorry” and acted like it was no big deal. What the hell? And she stayed my friend. She was a quiet, meek sort of girl. Just like me. Except I hated that part of me, so I guess I hated it in her. And because she was quiet and meek and didn’t have a lot of friends (like me), I knew  I could get away with it. I didn’t understand why I needed to do that, it’s just something that erupted from me. I felt guilty afterwards. Shame.

I did it to a few other girls. I can remember starting a fight with a friend of mine in 9th grade. I made up a lie that I had heard her talking about me, and I punched her. We had been friends for 3 years, and I spring this crazy shit on her. Just awful.   There was another girl who was new and befriended me. She would come over my house sometimes. No one really did that, so you think I would have valued the crap out of her. Nope. This one day, I decided to become really angry at her and chase her out of my home with a big kitchen knife in my hand.  How scary must that have been for her? I can remember thinking to myself “why am I doing this?” as I chased her, scaring her… like it wasn’t even a really me. Like I was harboring a wild animal inside me and it would just break free on it’s own. I really had no control over it….or at least, that’s how it felt. It was sort of like watching a movie of it happening. When it came out, I think I felt a little powerful, or maybe in control…both things I never had in my life.

Over the years, I felt terribly guilty for how I treated them. Still, I never knew why. I just chalked it up to me being a bad person. I had always inherently known I was “bad”. I was never really sure why this was so…it’s just how it was.  I think I must have thought I was bad since my mom decided she didn’t want to live with me anymore. And I must have thought I was bad because my dad would keep reminding me that he offered me to her and she didn’t want me. He must have offered me to her because I was bad? Is that what I thought? I’m not sure I consciously thought those things, but looking back, I can see that I felt them. You don’t always have to put words or labels to feelings, or even understand what they are. You still feel them, and they define you.

I continued to do “bad” things, because that’s what “bad” girls do. That’s how I made sense of it.  When I was molested at 13, that was me being “bad”.  I figured I had “let” that happen to me because that went right along with me being “bad”. So, it only made sense for me to have sex with other guys when I was 14, because I was already so “bad” for doing what I did at 13. Even though I told those boys no, and looking back now I can see that what really happened is they raped me…I thought I was just “bad”.  I had no control over it. It was just who I was. It was me. I was bad. Not even just bad…I was a whore. But hey, we all know whores are bad, so really, what’s the difference?

When Facebook came on the scene, I found a few of those girls and apologized. They had moved on, of course, but seemed genuinely happy to hear me say I was sorry. I apologized for ruining what should have been the best years of their lives. I couldn’t give them an excuse, because I didn’t have one. That was 7 years ago, and I hadn’t started therapy yet. I was still bad.

Fast forward to now. I’ve been in therapy for a year now. And I don’t mean “just therapy”. I mean deep, painful, hard work therapy. I was going twice  a week for most of this spring and summer. Writing up to 10 times a day in my journal.  Peeling off those 30 year old layers resulted in PTSD…nightmares, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, confusion, panic…really life changing stuff.  I describe the whole therapy process as a giant jigsaw puzzle. After I process a few layers, I’m usually able to put a few pieces together. Last week, the pieces that seemed like they just might fit was the piece of me being a bully and the piece of me being sexually abused. I wrote to one of my victims and asked her about the timeline. She remembered it vividly (which sucks, because I know she remembers it because that’s when her life was hell because of me). It was right around that time. I’m still not sure if it was right before the sexual abuse started or right after. If it was right before, it must be related to my mom leaving. If it’s right after, it must be related to the sexual abuse (or maybe the physical and emotional abuse of my stepmother?) Either way, in the big picture, the point is moot…. it’s not going to change what happened. I have my answers….I was a bully because I suffered trauma. Does it really matter which trauma caused it? No, it doesn’t.  Trauma is trauma. Which one is minor details. All I need to know is that my trauma caused someone else’s trauma, and that sucks. We are in our 40s now, and they have all moved on, and even consider us “friends” now, so I am grateful for that. And hopefully, by me making amends, maybe when they think back to those awful times, they might not be so awful now. I’d like to think their memories sting a little less now that I’ve reached out to them, but I’ll never really know.

One thing that does not make this whole question moot is… most bullies do what they do because something bad happened to them. Well, I can only speak for myself. Maybe some kids are just born bad, or just have bad role models… but I really don’t think that’s the answer for most of them. I love that schools and society are addressing bullying now. Back then, it was brushed under the carpet as “kids being kids”. That’s wrong. Kids kill themselves from bullying. It needs to be addressed. But I also wonder…if someone had dug a little deeper back then…if they had found out why I was acting that way…do you think I could have been saved? Saved from 30 years of carrying that heavy load of guilt and shame inside me? Saved from making lifelong bad decisions because that’s all I thought I was worthy of?  I’m not going to wonder too much…it’s a moot point. The past is the past. I can look back at it, but only for so long. I need to look forward, because I’m not going back. I’m moving on. All I can do now is try my best to add happiness to the world, including to myself. I hope by doing so, I might reduce the amount of bullies in the world…even if just by one.

 

This post is in response to the prompt “moot” in part of Linda G Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. It’s  neat way to stimulate writing. It’s organic…we can’t edit it. So, what you just read is raw…straight from my brain to yours….

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Dec. 17/16

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45

Today I turn 45. I’ve never been one to regret growing older. I’m grateful to have made it this far. Since I was a teenager, I’ve always had this feeling that I was going to die young. I never really knew how young, but I knew I would never make it to grandparent age. I think I often pictured it to be in my 30s or 40s, so to make it to 45 is pretty good. Why? No idea. Just something I’ve always “known”. Not a suicidal thought, just regular old dying…like disease or accident or something out of my hands.  Kind of like how I’ve always known that living “happily ever after” was never in the cards for me. I grew up knowing I wasn’t the type of girl who was going to have someone fall madly in love with her and want nothing more than to spend the rest of his life with her.  Sometimes, I would imagine it, but inevitably scolded myself for dreaming about things I didn’t deserve. I was never quite sure why I didn’t deserve them, but I was smart enough to be aware of it. Like not living to be old, it was out of my hands. These are things I’ve just inherently known, like knowing I was female, or I was Native American, Italian and French…you are who you are and the things that are going to happen, well…they just happen.

 

Now that I’ve started on my journey this year, I think I’ve started to unravel the mystery of why I’ve always had those feelings. They seemed so normal my whole life, up until this year. Now I know they are not normal feelings…unless maybe you have unresolved childhood trauma. It makes sense for me to feel my life is not in my control. How could it be? It never has been.  At 9, I learned the first lesson: It just wasn’t in the cards for me to have my mom want to stay. At 13, I learned it wasn’t in the cards for me to choose with who and when I wanted to have sex for the first time (and second, third, fourth….15th…20th time….). At 14, I learned I could not control the anger of my stepmother, nor her impulsive rage towards me. It was out of my hands. Just how things were. At the same age, I learned it just wasn’t in the cards for me to have a dad that could protect me from her. Through the rest of my teen years, I kept on learning that first sexual lesson I received at 13. Actually, for the rest of my life I kept learning that lesson. I can’t remember at what age I figured out that it just wasn’t in the cards for me to ever know what real emotional intimacy felt like. It’s sad that this realization didn’t make me sad. It was something I accepted before I even realized it. I knew I wasn’t worthy. I even had come to the realization that it wasn’t in the cards for me to have kids, because really…how can that happen when no one is going to love me? Thank God I was wrong on that one…I have somehow been blessed with two of the most lovely, compassionate, amazing boys anyone could ever dream of having. I’m always surprised at how these two awe-inspiring human beings were created from the nothingness of me.  I knew I didn’t deserve them. I figured I must have slipped one past God, and was so terrified that he would realize the mistake and take them from me. So far, he hasn’t noticed, but the fear still exists.

 

I’ve come a long way in the past year. I’ve started to understand how I’ve become who I am. I understand why I have that hole inside my soul. Heck, even understanding there is a hole in my soul is pretty amazing. I always thought my feelings were normal. Just how I was. Now I know they are from trauma. Lots of trauma. So much trauma that I kept hidden in a box, deep down inside of me. The jagged edges of that box are what carved the hole inside my soul. That’s often how it works…one trauma sets you up for the next, and so on and so on. It’s a pattern that keeps repeating itself because it’s all you know. Since it’s all you know, as far as you can see, it’s normal. It is what it is. People can live and die without knowing any better. Luckily for me, I happened to stumble across a little glimmer of light while in couples therapy. It turns out, that little glimmer of light was a crack in that box I kept my trauma in. Amazing how a little bit of therapy with the right person, at the right time, using the right tools (writing in my journal, meditating) is powerful enough to crack open that box. I ended up spending the past year diving head first into that box. I saw the darkest parts of my existence and for a while, I thought I might suffocate and die in there. By the grace of God, I came out. I’m not all the way out…I think my feet are more often than not, still standing in the box, and sometimes, I get tired and just lie down in there, but other times I step out of it. I stepped out enough to realize that I actually have some control over what happens to me. The trick is to understand that I can’t control what others think or do, but I can control how I respond, how I act….what I’m willing to let happen to me.  It took me reaching the age of 45 to realize I control me. I control me. I could have just taped up that crack in the box and went about my business. I think that would have been a lot easier, but you know what? That just wasn’t in the cards for me.

glimmer

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Crying

“You need to have a good cry. I mean the kind of cry where you are wailing, and it comes from deep within you. And after it happens, you need to set aside time to nurture yourself…take a bath, make some tea, be comfortable”. I remember my therapist telling me this back in February, back when I started therapy. Right away, I didn’t like the idea. I hate baths. And nurturing myself? That’s selfish. We had spent a few weeks trying to peel back the layers regarding my mom leaving me when I was 9 (a story for another day).  We had spent weeks on it, because it seemed like this was the unresolved trauma that was affecting me as an adult. I can’t remember crying much about it, when it happened…which is weird. What 9-year-old would just be quiet and go with the flow with  her mom moving away? Me. I would. I did. So, we started processing it, thinking that if I could get to the point where I could cry, where I could let out all of those pent-up emotions, I would start to heal the 9-year-old Jami. And if I started to heal her, then I could start to heal 44-year-old Jami and work on what was keeping her from not feeling anything in her marriage. Then she could become a better wife, the marriage would be healed and we could all live happily ever after. Just as soon as I fixed what was wrong with me.

The problem is, I couldn’t cry about it. Well, I could cry, but not cry…you know, like the cry she described. There was no wailing involved, which was strange to me, because I’ve always considered myself a crier. I tried channeling the old days, the days of me crying for weeks over a broken heart. I journaled. I talked. I remembered. Then I journaled and talked and remembered, again. Still, just some regular old tears…the kind that form so easily, because they are always right there, bubbling just under the surface. Just waiting for the slightest trigger. They are slightly cathartic, but not healing.I guess it’s like a volcano. You know, how they simmer and bubble, but you can’t really tell because it’s all under the surface. Every so often, they release a bit of steam, and that eases the pressure enough so it doesn’t erupt. I guess that’s the kind of crying I’ve been doing all my life…just enough so I don’t erupt.

A few months later, I let out a whole lot more steam. I guess peeling off that layer of Mom was just the beginning of this giant onion we call Jami. Turns out, there was a whole lot more than just her that I needed to process. My brain had hidden it from me. Not really hidden, as I knew it was there. Disguised is a better word. My brain disguised the other layers as a weird way of protecting me. Once we removed that outer shell, the next layer was suddenly right in front of my face. I don’t know how I hadn’t seen it all this time, but there it was… a raw, stinging layer, just ready to be peeled. I remember going into her office…crying, trembling…not wanting to tell her but having to tell her. I blurted out the story of my childhood sexual abuse, which turned into an epiphany, resulting in me tearfully asking her,  “Is this why I don’t like having sex?” I remember her staring at me, wide-eyed, nodding her head. It turns out, 13-year-old Jami needed a hell of a lot more healing than we could ever imagine.  I can remember her, a month or so later, commenting “you did not originally present as a typical abuse survivor”…referring to when we first started seeing her, for couples therapy. I said, “I know! My brain was so good at disguising it, even I didn’t know!”  It’s true…I had spent my entire life thinking I was a bad person. A month earlier, if you had asked me if I was sexually abused, I would have replied “no”, and that would have been an honest answer. I spent my life thinking I was responsible for all those horrible acts. Thinking I did bad things. Not once did it ever occur to me that bad things were done to me. It’s funny how the brain tricks you like that. I guess it’s much easier to blame yourself than to acknowledge the horror of what’s really happening to you.

8 months later, and we can see the game plan has changed. I went into therapy to try to fix myself so I could become a better wife and save my marriage. Turns out, I did fix myself..well, some of it, at least. And I probably am a better wife now, except we’ll never really know, because I left my husband. Come to find out, I couldn’t save my marriage and save me. I had to pick one, and I chose me. The thing is, this work is never done. I am going to need to work on saving myself for the rest of my life. If I stop working, I stop healing, and I turn back into 13-year-old Jami. I’m not going to be her again. So, I’ve been using my voice. I’ve been speaking out, standing up to comments that perpetuate this awful rape culture our country is so accustomed to. The problem is…not everyone likes what I have to say. In the past few months, this election has brought sexual abuse into the spotlight. I have been made extremely uncomfortable by the words of friends, strangers, media, politicians…and I have made others uncomfortable, too. I’ve called them out on comments made about “locker room talk” and “fake Trump victims”. I’ve lost friends over it, though most probably weren’t really my friends. Though this evening, one of them was. As I typed out to her how her words made me feel, how they triggered deep emotions of fear and  shame, and while I told her how people not caring about any of this reminded me of feeling like I didn’t matter…it happened. I erupted. I cried, and cried and cried. I wailed. I shuddered. It was loud. It came from my soul. I heard myself talking out loud through the sobs, “Please help me”. I was talking to God. I was talking to my angels. And, I think maybe…I was talking to me.  

I think it lasted at least a half hour. It ended with a yawn, which for some reason, I found funny. I thought back to that day in Susan’s office, when she perfectly described this cry. Ah, Susan…you’re always right. I wish I would just do what you say the first time you tell me…I could save so much time! I know how she would reply to this…”Trust the process”. I heeded her advice. I’m going to nurture myself.  So, I made myself comfortable. I put on some comfy clothes, made myself a cup of raspberry tea in my new butterfly mug, cuddled with the dog…and told my story to you.

fullsizerender

 

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Bully in my brain

bullyWhen I was first diagnosed with PTSD (and really, even now), I punished myself for having it.  I guess that’s pretty common for people like me. As I journaled through the influx of emotions and hyper-vigilance of those first overwhelming weeks, I wrote and said some pretty nasty things to myself. Stop being such a drama queen! You’re such an attention whore…these things happened YEARS ago! Get over it!” It was pretty ugly, but I was ugly, so it makes sense. I was a bully.  I shamed myself for needing to go to therapy twice a week. I shamed myself needing therapy at all. I shamed myself for being dramatic and sleeping with a knife by my bed and one eye on the door. I shamed myself for how I felt when I was faced with a trigger. I shamed myself for even having triggers. I shamed myself for my nightmares.  I shamed myself for not being a good enough wife. I shamed myself for spending so much time writing in my journal.  Yeah, I shamed myself for just about everything. That’s PTSD for you. It’s a self-centered bitch that likes to be in charge. Oh, you’re planning on spending time snuggling your husband on the couch tonight? I don’t THINK so! You’re going to have tachycardia and nausea instead, loser!”  My life was like a giant puzzle tossed in the air…pieces flying everywhere and nothing seemed to connect. I couldn’t put any of it together to see the bigger picture, or even a fragment of the picture. Pieces would fly right in front of me, and slip away before I could make any sense of them. Even a four year old can put together a puzzle. What the hell was wrong with me?

Somehow, I managed to keep it together enough to continue raising my kids and keep my business running. It took every ounce of energy and concentration I had, because what I really wanted to be doing was lying under my blanket in my locked bedroom. I spent most of this year like this: kids, therapy, journal, work, bed…kids, therapy, journal, work, bed.  Unfortunately for my husband, there was no room for him. Journaling was a tool my therapist gave me. She gives me the tools, and I have to figure out how to use them to fix my problems. At least, that’s the plan. Anyway, I just so happened to have signed up for a four week course to become a Certified Alzheimer’s Case Manager, right around the time all this PTSD shit hit the fan. “Great”, I thought. “I have to learn about dementia right now?!” She started the lecture by discussing the brain, specifically the limbic system. I dreaded where this was going, but once we started,  I actually found it to be a welcome distraction from my flashbacks and paranoia. But here’s where it gets exciting… I actually learned about something that was directly related to what I was going through…the amygdala.

In a nutshell, the amygdala ( pronounced “ah-MIG-dah-la”) is a section of the brain that is responsible for emotional responses, including detecting fear and preparing for emergency events. Any physical or psychological threat activates the amygdala. When this happens, the pre frontal cortex part of the brain activates. It assesses the situation and decides whether the threat is real and what to do about it, then shuts down the amygdala. Like when someone startles you…your amygdala reacts with fear, and the pre frontal cortex realizes it’s someone you know and shuts down that fear response. Pretty simple, right?  However, chemical and biological imbalances can present after trauma, resulting in an over-stimulated amygdala. So, instead of the quick “fight, flight or freeze” then relaxation, sufferers often find themselves without the relaxation part of that process. Basically, the amygdala holds on to that trauma…and won’t let go.

“Ahhh…so THAT’S why I feel this way”. It made sense. It was like I put at least 6 pieces of the corner section of my puzzle together. Validation! “So, I’m NOT a drama queen, after all…it’s just my amygdala”. I felt the heavy weight I’d been carrying around just lift from me. I felt…good.  I sort of skipped out there, humming U2’s “It’s a Beautiful Day” and replaced the word “beautiful” with “amygdala”. “It’s an amygdala dayyyyy…..” (yes, I’m that big of a dork). I felt free. Wow…I couldn’t believe an Alzheimer’s class cleared up my PTSD! So easy! Why didn’t my therapist know about this? We could have saved me so much angst…and so many co-pays!  I couldn’t wait to fill her in on the cure I’d just discovered. She was going to be so grateful to me!

Well, that’s kind of funny to read now, isn’t it? Yeah, that euphoria lasted a good 45 minutes or so, before I returned home to my trigger of a husband and learned my next lesson… just because you understand why you have these feelings, doesn’t mean you can control them. So, in perfect traumatized form, I beat myself up for singing that song… for thinking I was better. “You fool. There’s no fixing you. You’re damaged. The whole world doesn’t change just because you took a dumb class, you dumbass. You’re still scared. You’re still needy. You’re still worthless. What’s wrong with you?” God, I  hate that damn bully.

So here I am, 7 months later, still finding I’m beating myself up for my feelings, my needs, my expectations. Only now, since I’ve learned about why I’m such a bully, I’ve found I’m a little less mean. I’m slowly rewiring my brain to allow myself have these feelings and not judge them so harshly.  When I’m feeling sad or insecure, I allow myself to feel sad or insecure (well, sometimes). That in itself takes a boatload of work, but that’s what this journey is: work.  The rewiring work is a heck of a lot easier when you’ve got the right tools. Each therapy visit, each journal entry, each mediation, each yoga class…each one gives me a new tool. Now it’s up to me to remember to use them.

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