Its rare for me to go several days without posting on my site, but lately just managing daily life has been a strain.. thoughts of my sister in care worry me, there is the burden of Scott still stuck half a world away and on Monday I had a flat battery due to not being present to life on the weekend and leaving my car lights on. It might seem strange so many years on I struggle with the onset of spring which is a reminder of when I nearly died in 1979. It is also the time associated with my Dad’s birthday and father’s day, he was on my mind a lot crying in therapy over all the past memories, good and bad on Monday with Kat, listening to the Carpenters, but in the midst of those tears I had a happy memory of Dad trying to teach me to waltz in the lounge room of our old house, the one we only used at Christmas or when we had dinner guests. The memory felt so real and powerful to me, as one of the rare times we touched.
I go through these huge outbursts of grief that I never really got to express for so many years lately and then beat myself up, and it is interesting that in therapy on Monday the issue of the critic came up. I worry about going back into the past and that I am staying stuck but the truth is the more I experience the outflow of love and longing along with all the feelings I shut down before, the more I open up to wanting to give that now.. if that makes any sense, to stay open and not close down.
I just got back from visiting my sister in the hospital psyche facility.. It is a fairly calm and gentle place, when I visit lately we don’t talk heaps, it’s just the spending time that is important.. That said when I was leaving to go my sister said that she thought she was ‘just a pain’ after saying how much she appreciated my visit. I just hugged her and said ‘that is depression talking, its not the way I see you’, I really could not feel more love for her now than I do.
While there an older nurse stopped by to try and encourage my sister to go to the art therapy group, my sister says she cannot draw and then when the nurse left (her name is Willie and she older and slower and speaks with stutter) my sister said to me “its time she retired, she is too old and doddery and she doesn’t give me my medication until 10.30 most of the time and then she gets it wrong”. Part of me thought ‘ouch’ cause I kind of like Willie, any time I have had anything to do with her, she is always soft, kind and friendly, I only I felt a good energy from her. Then I just said quietly “no one is perfect.”
It got me to thinking again about the critic as well as the way we can perceive life driving home. Lately I see I perceive life so often through a disaster scenario, and one of getting at times extremely flooded adn overwhelmed, not only by my own but by others stuff. I look back to all the constant trauma and isolation and sometimes it seems impossible I survived it. But what if all of that was just my path, a kind of preparation or training to open me up and help me see all the ways in which both the inner and outer critic can sometimes derail me, or get deeper insights into how powerful such forces are in society as well as how they can split and divide us? What would happen if I just opened myself to embrace it as it was?
While I was there my sister told me her lunch time group session was all about the dos and donts for depression… I asked her what these are and she showed me a list.. a lot of it concerned how we think about things, what things we place our focus on (positive or negative, uplifting or draining) and also as to whether we try to be open in our attitude or resistant and closed. While I am no fan of embracing an attitude of manic or defensive positivity, that denies the complexity of loss, pain or other harsh realities, I do know that the attitude we take to these events as well as to ourselves and others as well as the implicit bias we carry tends to make some of us focus on what is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ and sometime not see clearly the way our focus affects our life. This is why lately I try to speak to myself with love and hope, to answer that part of me that only expects more pain or disaster with a more realistic attitude..
To be honest its not been easy lately I feel myself back sliding and having big charge of past trauma imprints coming up but the fact is the present isn’t the past even though a lot of the time IT IS THE PAST THAT IS MORE PRESENT FOR TRAUMA SURVIVORS. We can get fixated on that and breaking that gravitational force field can take some energy, due to our mind’s natural negative bias as well as the heavy pull of retrogression trauma evokes.
Luckily this week I am aware my trauma anniversary it stirring me up. I am trying to talk about it.. I would love to be able to go off somewhere like my sister and have a rest.. this afternoon arriving back late to a puppy dog who clearly felt a bit abandoned I broke down in tears. Someone I care about has needed some help and I am giving that and the round trip to see my sister took up about 3 and a half hours.. that said I am grateful today to BE PRESENT FOR A LOT OF IT.. AT LEAST A LOT MORE THAN I EVER WAS IN THE PAST.
Maybe there will never come a day when I don’t ‘time travel’ back to those years before our family unit totally splintered. I take comfort from others writing and sharing about their grief such as Bereaved Single Parent who say they have the waves of deep sadness but also waves of good memories too.. It was kind of special to feel the touch of my father trying to help me learn to waltz all of those years ago, when I, as painfully insecure adolescent stood on the brink of adult hood.
Sadly my life got splintered and our family torn apart during 1979 to 1986, I became an addict and its taken some time to integrate what I could not integrate during the next 7 years of my drinking. If I count each year of active sobriety (26 in all) then I am back at about the age of 32 by now.. sometimes I am that 17 year old self, sometimes the 6 year old child, sometimes the uncertain grown 58 year old woman who cries but then somehow picks herself up and summons the courage to face another day in a far from perfect world.. Tonight as tired as I feel I am grateful I can in some small way at least show up for it while maintaining as positive an attitude as possible despite the tears shed or frustrations felt on any given day.