I woke to rainy skies today. I woke in a peaceful place before PTSD flashback started to work its way through my body psyche trying to keep me pinned. It took 2 hours to get up and shower and sort myself… all those hours to finally touch base with present time, then wow what a wall of sadness came up for me. But its a kind of bittersweet sadness this morning as I am realising so many, many things I did not see before at a far, far deeper level than I could fully express and there is such a deep, deep gratitude in my soul that I can finally feel my heart beating and its life blood flowing from behind all the defences and protections I have amassed around it for years and years.
I shared yesterday how sad I was to walk along slowly by the church where Mum and Dad were married holding Mum’ s hand as she wobbled to keep her balance and to talk of the fact she will never be well enough or feel safe enough to visit my nephews and their families as we planned to last year. In two weeks time its the third anniversary of my oldest sister’s death and she died on Easter Sunday so Easter Sunday and the entire easter period will be a big trigger as she was hospitalised on Good Friday in 2014 and all the family had to be called to her bedside as we made the difficult decision to take her off life support after a life of struggle in which in her final years she was finally bedridden in a care home for acquired brain injury.
I can write all of this now without crying bucket loads, which shows to me I have grieved this death in the way I could not grieve the death of my father which occurred exactly 29 years before. My addiction and lack of emotional support did not enable that grief to begin to surface until I was 6 years sober and that was 14 years after my father died in 1983. And I see in many ways my recovery journey over the 18 years since then (1999) has been about finding a place where the grief could be recognised and not dismissed containing as it did so many other deep griefs over disconnection with the masculine and struggle to connect spanning years and years and years. In the process of running I ended up smashing my head open on an iron foundry, taking myself so far away from anyone who knew me and loved me and may have tried to be there. I have always resented the fact my family did not make the effort to travel overseas to be with me after that accident which in so many ways was the trigger to bring up all my trauma from the original accident I had in 1979 at the age of 17 when I nearly lost my life.
I was discussing the second accident with my therapist on Thursday and I was saying how sad it was that day that I felt the need to have more body therapy to bring up the pain which ended up in my smashing up again, as obviously the unconscious had be retriggered and the body work therapist failed to ground me sufficiently following it. But also I put it down to lack of protection around me. Quite simply without recognising it, I had over extended myself due to unresolved grief. Later the astrologer Melanie Reinhardt who has suffered similar traumas explained how seeking healing for these kind of deep injuries or wounds can sometimes be problematic and retrigger all the earlier trauma, but by then of course it was all too late. I had very bad PTSD in which I feel my mind and body split severely and I had massive dissociation.
I remember those following months after the accident as wilderness months. I had a dispute with the family I was living with as they were worried about my PTSD but also didn’t want a person who was suffering living with them as in recent years their daughter had lost a good friend to addiction (which is ironical as at that point I was 11 years sober and would have been a good one to grieve with and talk it all through with) but anyway such is life. I took myself off to a retreat in Glastonbury which was not a protective retreat at all. I wont go into it but the good thing that came out of it, here I met others I could cry and share my pain with, most especially the pain that came when my ex husband visited to tell me he was in love with someone else less than one year after we separated because he was lonely. To me that sucked but then I think he knew how to get what he felt he needed for his own comfort and soon after he had a daughter, I knew my own path lay in healing my past not seeking refuge in another relationships but a few years later I would get into a relationship in which none of my pain could be expressed.
Anyway this post seems to have morphed into a back track over so much of my past journey in the wilderness and brings me to present time in that today I feel I have made so much progress. I can spend time with my family now and acknowledged the good. I can also acknowledge that I did not get any of what I really needed there emotionally growing up. Understanding this helps me most, to no longer self blame. And having been able to feel the depth of my angry, sadness, frustration, disappointment and grief over the past 5 years and associate these feelings as very natural responses to the suffering I went through rather than the sign of any ‘illness’ as such has been so important. I see how much we blame and label others welding to them a diagnosis that says everything about symptom and manifestation but little about cause and source and soul reason. I am so, so lucky with the conscious decision I made in recovery never to take any psychiatric drug at all and find a therapist who isn’t into diagnosing but works in a deeply psychodynamic way.
Its natural for me to feel sad today, but there is also such beauty in being able to let myself rest in that sadness and let it flow our from my heart without any barricades of self admonishment or anger from the past turning the sadness into something else. Its so healing to know that I am blessed to be a sensitive person who can and does feel deeply and to finally know that isn’t a sign of anything wrong. I am lucky in that I find full validation with my therapist. I no longer need to burden other relationships with that demand or need and I can make a conscious choice to have relationships with others who may not be as deeply aware of or accepting of their feelings but sorely benefit when that kind of awareness and acceptance is shown towards them. And its a such a precious, sweet gift when I do find others who relate from that level and get it and get me and I get them. Then my heart really does sing and hum with joy.
Happy in the sadness, sadness in the happiness but also a space outside happy sad that is full of life and joy and brimming with sweet possibility. If I can just keep showing love and get a deeper handle on the way my fears of the past play out and keep me trapped I am well on the way to having the kind of life in which I can always find ways to connect, self nourish and pour that same nourishment out to a world that is so deeply hungry for it. For as I consider it, it seems to be that all of this pain need to be put to a good purpose. In the words of Al Anon when anyone anywhere needs my help or can benefit from my story I hope I will always be there to show them the ways in which suffering fully felt and redeemed can lead to a deeper life of soulful connection and contentment where nothing needs to be erased but can be accepted and contained in a circle of deep compassion and love.