Poetry

Crumble

Where would we be without poetry to express the pain and other intimations of our deepest soul?  I admire all the intensely beautiful poetry here on WordPress shared by so many brilliant bloggers.  I struggle to write my own prose poems that provide a fountain that can flow out so coagulated pain doesn’t settle like a stagnant swamp inside my silted and at times blocked channels or organs.

Today was one of those struggle days filled with panic attacks I was fighting my way out of.  In the afternoon I just took myself off for afternoon tea and then to the local bookshop for a browse in the poetry section.  I came across several volumes that really inspired me.  I had the usual inner argument over purchasing the one that spoke to me the most and ended up leaving the store without it.   I realised though how poetry is food for my aching soul on the tough days.  And so often I come across a blog or a reblog of an amazing piece that just takes my breath away often on the site of either The Feathered Sleep or One Wise Woman just to name two of my favourites.  So this blog goes out to say thanks for what you share.  For reading my own humble attempts.   I was writing poems and a diary from about the age of six due to a childhood in which there was no adult to really talk to about what was going on inside.  My blog started when someone was kind enough to share poem I wrote.  Without that help and inspiration I may never have thought what I had to say was worthwhile, but now I know just the sheer fact of someone expressing their soul is a major achievement.

Without WordPress life would be just so much emptier.  Keep writing all you amazing poets.  Keep collapsing and crumbling and sharing about it here so your implosion can become art and inspire others!

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Deep despair : on pain and being swallowed by the whale

I couldn’t even log on to WordPress yesterday.  I have not had one of those killer days that leaves me feeling like my body won’t function and my mind is in hock for some time now and I guess the only light I saw yesterday when I was in that deepest of dark spaces was shone by the part of me that saw how far I had come before my recent dental surgery in that in the past year I can count on one hand those days of darkness and despair, where as in the years before they were frequent and often crippling.

Yesterday the crush was back.  People who don’t suffer from Complex PTSD or depression never understand what an all encompassing prison it is, nor how powerful are the physical effects.  It was interesting to hear an interview yesterday with a woman who  has written a book on pain which speaks of how difficult it is in modern times for us to find powerful language for pain.  In years gone by pain was less feared and shunned as it is in modern times, people expressed pain metaphorically through poetry and other mediums, but in modern times when both physical and emotional pain has reached epidemic proportions what this woman has found is that we struggle to express pain and also we struggle to have it heard.  We are asked what scale of pain we are experiencing on a 1 to 10 spectrum.  We distance ourselves from the crushing reality of it with numbers which objectify what is a total spectrum experience that can overpower so many of us and affects us so profoundly and wordlessly on every single dimension of our being and experience.

The sad thing her research also found it that the more deeply you experience pain both physical and psychological, the less you are helped.   Often people are shunned if they are grieving or suffering psychologically or in pain.  Is it that others fear other’s pain will kill or contaminate them in some way?   Is pain now a modern leprosy?

The truth is that if we have suffered pain and suffer pain we fare better if we can communicate about it and be shown empathy.   This power of empathy to alter neurochemistry is something I drew attention to in a post last week.

As I write this I am also aware how hard deep pain is to articulate well.   Poetry or stream of consciousness writing are two forms in which through metaphor writers and sufferers try to articulate what Van Morrison has called ‘the inarticulate speech of the heart’.  Much of the appeal of the WordPress blogging community for me is that here others whose souls have been drenched in pain of different kinds make the attempt to reach out and share that deep distress or pain.  Often poems and blogs I read resonate with me so deeply in a way beyond which even therapy helps at times.

As a blogger I know how much I have feared at times sharing deep pain on my blog.   It has been hard to post those posts in which a lot of frustration fury and anger with my family’s lack of feeling and empathy with deeper emotional realities has caused me.   Often I have felt great fear and then the inner critic has lept  in and made me take blogs down.  But the price of staying silent and keeping it shut in, often in the end proves too high.  I always feel better if I can give expression in some form to my own pain.

Yesterday wasn’t one of those days.  I wasn’t capable of much.  I think I was reliving yesterday every single crushing injury, invalidation and painful experience of my life, culminating with the piece de resistance, the removal of my front tooth that supported a four tooth bridge, now gone, never to be seen again just over 10 days ago.  Yesterday I was contemplating the steps to take to get my affairs in order to shift off this mortal coil finally.  It’s not something I felt I could share yesterday, as I didn’t want to ‘disappoint’ my followers, having recently read a post in which someone said they could not read posts that discussed suicide as an intention.

However in the interests of honesty and authenticity, that was where I found myself yesterday, in a dark deep and wordless place in which inarticulate pain had nearly buried me alive.  Beyond sharing that today, I don’t have any other words.  I have shared so much of my pain on here and I really prefer not to be in pain, as we all do, and yet at times that is where I am returned,  a modern Jonah swallowed deep inside the belly of a whale sunk, deep, deep down to the bottom of a murky ocean.   At those times I can only hold fast inside, hoping in time the whale will resurface and I will find myself, head above water and able once again to gain sight of blue sky or dry land.

 

My ambivalence to awards!

I just read a comment from Vapor Sage who I nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award that he reluctantly played along with it.  It highlighted that I also felt very ambivalent about participating and about all awards really.  I feel we can become so externally focused on recognition at times, that we may lose our way.

It is important me to know that what I write or share here resonates for others.  I try to be as honest as I can.  But at times I struggle with knowing my own heart or at least feeling comfortable enough to fully express my truth.  It comes from a childhood in which I was teased a lot and often told I didn’t feel a certain way.

I remember when I was very young I used to write a lot.  My older sister had left at that stage and she was the only one I related to emotionally and so I must have started writing then due to feeling all alone.  I remember how I wrote somewhere that I was in love with Peter Woolridge, my first boyfriend from my primary school.  My Mum always invaded my boundaries and she found what I had written and then stormed at me and laughed saying “you are too young to know what love is!”  Ouch!

This is the reason at times I struggle to trust my own feelings and truth.  Initially when I was nominated for the award I was happy my blog touched someone, but were they nominating me because you have to pay it forward when you participate? At the same time another part of me balked.  This isn’t really why I write my blog.

I wasn’t affirmed or validated much as a child.  Often I was told I was too big for my boots, or showing off, or that children should be seen and not heard.   So I am ambivalent about awards.  Never the less yesterday I chose to do something different and participate because sometimes its good to try new things.   I was a bit tired last night though after having to answer all the questions and think up my own.  Today I am wondering did I do what I should have done.  Should I have gone with my first impulse and just not participated in the award?

Maybe there is no right or wrong answer and I hope I haven’t caused others distress by nominating them.  There is no pressure to participate if you don’t want to. 🙂

Feeling a sister’s heartache

I just read a post from one of the people I consider to be the closest blogging sister I know and my heart felt so heavy for her, she was feeling the pain of being so alone, wanting to be alone but not wanting to be alone, feeling that she would always be alone when she so longed for some one’s touch and comfort.  There were no words to say to know how to comfort her in that space but my heart ached and I remembered how my day started just over 7 hours ago in a black dark space.  Somehow I got all the things done I needed to do today.  Although it was freezing I got Jasper to the oval and we managed 20 minute of play time and a short walk.  I couldn’t stomach lunch so I just had a coffee and a donut and then my heart was warmed by several comments of love and support on my blog.  I tell you some days Word Press connections with their deep souls are the only ones who make the difference between the black hole swallowing me and being able to breathe and feel I can live to take the next step.

Anyway I got my shopping done and just made a curry for dinner.  But my heart was deep in the space with my beautiful sister who I probably wont ever meet but feel like I know so deeply.

And I just wanted to say to those who reach out and read what I write and at times take the time to comment, to all those who bear their own souls and have the courage to be real and brave, thank you so much, you make life worth living and just to know you are out there somewhere means for that instant the world feels like a far less lonely place.

Angry with my family

Anger

I am not going to deny my anger any more.  I have legitimate reasons to be very angry at my family and my mother and sister in particular for what they put me through following the end of my marriage and even in the years before where I was just never treated with support, empathy and love.  I am sick to death of denying the truth to myself, rationalising it and minimising it.  I just spoke to my therapist and she said my anger needs to flow out and I need to find ways to do that today… write about it in your blog, draw it out or scream it out, do what ever you need to do to get it out of your system she said to me and so this blog is part of that process.  Internalised, invalidated anger has been kicking around inside my system for so long, it resulted in my accidents and in my alcoholism.  Part of my recovery is that I need to speak about it and value and validate my inner self and inner child.

I recognise what happened when I spoke to my mother yesterday when writing my blog A hollowed out shell was that by crying and becoming really vulnerable my Mum roped me into compassion.  Earlier on I had ended the conversation when she was once again telling me I needed to forget about things and put them behind me.   She called me back out of guilt to ask me to dinner and at first I said no and then wanted to relent when she showed me how much pain she was in and how insecure and unable to truly express herself she feels.  While I feel compassion for her I cannot let that over ride my own anger about what happened to me for it is anger that lets me know something hurt me deeply and wasn’t okay and that then helps me set some kind of boundary.  If I get told I shouldn’t have it or feel it that is invalidation abuse pure and simple and if the person is trying to guilt me out of it that is worse abuse.  Full stop! No argument, no debate!

I had a difficult day yesterday.  I noticed I got onto You Tube and posted some videos in two posts which although they had interesting insights don’t really help me to cut to the depth of dealing with the trauma and anger I am still carrying from the head injury that happened to me 12 years ago as the result of my sister and my mother’s meanness. At that stage I needed support and help to heal and grieve and know my truth, but I see how impossible this is to attain from anyone in my family they were just not that awake to the inner self or emotional realities.  My Mum is close to waking up but she seriously needs therapy.  I am sick of trying to be her therapist.  It isn’t my job really and she often told me that its not a good idea to go to others with your problems.  Her bottom line is that you need to work things out alone but that comes from a childhood where she was left alone and had to figure things out all alone.  Yesterday she was touching into deep realities and she told me how she feels so helpless and alone with no one much to talk to about all the things she goes through.  I want to say “well Mum get some therapy” but she never would.  So I end up being the font of all compassion but my compassion now is only prepared to extend so far when no recognition of past hurts or any apology has been forthcoming.

Second reason for anger and terribly acute body symptoms over the past few days has been unresolved issues with my living sister.  She was so awfully mean to me at the aforementioned time, telling me I was a selfish little girl and that I had had a shit of a life and she pitied me.  Oh and also going behind my back to my nephew (my older dead sister’s son) who I was really establishing a close relationship with and telling him how jealous I was of her.  Luckily at that time (just under 3 years ago now) he told me and I confronted her on the day we putting a party on for my mother.  I wish I had just walked out for at first she tried to deny it and then she said he had no right to tell me and then that she thought it was true.  But what I actually think is true is that the situation was the reverse and narcissists always believe they are so wonderful that the universe is jealous of them, why I do not know when the are such superiority junkies looking down their noses at all and sundry.  I have never been that person, as those who know me and have told me its just NOT ME.

Anyway she has softened somewhat in later years and actually did give me a grudging apology about what occurred in 2005 when I confronted her and Mum about it 2 years ago around this time of year.  But it was in no way an apology that came from her heart or truly recognised the damage done and the other day when she rang me about my tooth issue concerned to see how I was, it was I who ended up apologising to her for reacting to the horrible way she traated me.  Did I need to apologise  NO!  And my inner child is very upset with adult me about it and let me know as I woke up with shocking PTSD symptoms yesterday.  Whenever I see my sister my anxiety level goes through the roof and I was telling my therapist today that it was because I feel there is a lot of anger and hurt my body is carrying and the only way it has to come out is as anxiety.  But the mixed up irony is that as anxious as I feel I try even harder to bond with her and its a trauma bond and end up having an extra coffee with her even though its not really good for me to do it, because I feel she may be lonely.

I am aware as I write all this out it may seem like sour grapes to some.  I don’t really care as what you think isn’t my issue.  But what I need to know and see more clearly which is why I am putting it out there in black and white is how I can over ride my own impulses and intuitions. I often find my inner critic attacks my real attempts at feeling the truth of my feelings and most particularly that includes genuine expressions of anger.

Katina, my therapist was today reminding me that as much compassion as I feel I also need to remind myself that its okay to be angry.  So many of the messages around me growing up in family and Catholic school were based on anger being a ‘bad’ or negative emotion, when really anger is a signal of something from our deepest, truest inner self.  If we deny or over ride our own angry impulses we end up in such strife.  I have had so many accidents due to traumas from my past or pain replaying over in the present moment and this is one of the saddest facts about trauma,  it tends to attract more of the same to us but most particularly for those of us who were taught to value compassion, rationalisation and excuses over valid expression of anger.  So many times I have been told I better be careful as anger is dangerous, but this is only the case when it is not cleanly and clearly expressed, or if it is expressed aggressively.   We need to be so mindful of where our sore angry spots lie because when triggered they are signs of something from the past that needs to be dealt with or is calling for our awareness or attention, if we don’t pay attention we are in trouble  It won’t do us any good to act our anger out on those who really are just triggering a massive back log of past stuff but we still need to be aware that such people aren’t good to be around on a long term basis.  I am sad to say that goes for my family at present, much as I long for their love, when they are around it comes with huge reminders of pain from the past.  I have not ‘let it go’ yet, it hasn’t let go of me.

Its difficult writing this, as I was the television was just turned on by some automatic process.  I went over and Jasper my dog had his ear on the remote but what was most interesting was that it was a show called Compass and was on a priest’s life, and at that moment in time he was speaking of the ‘false ego’ that has to die if we want to fully embrace our humanity.  It made me question the wisdom of hanging onto my anger.  Maybe my sister had changed now and has soften, maybe she regrets what she did to me all of those years ago.  Maybe my mother wishes she hadn’t been so cruel to have chosen my sister over me when I was ‘too sad’ grieving at the end of my marriage.  I truly don’t know the answers to these questions.  Is my anger coming from ‘false ego’?  Is that why the television automatically came on?  I don’t know either but I am putting this in my blog as part of the mental process I go through on a day when I am trying to make sense of and deal with this anger from the past and the deep wound in me that gets triggered around this time of year.  I feel less angry now after writing this.  I have attempted to express my true reality, for what it is worth.   And I appreciate any feedback or any sharing from others about how you have dealt with your own anger.

And in the interest of openness the following are just a selection of anger quotes I came across on line :

 

 

Desperately Sore

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Today my throat is desperately sore and raw, not from cold, not from flu, but from the pain buried deep, deep down inside that’s coming to the surface with having to have my tooth out but that is just the iceberg, the cold hard thing that has buried underneath it countless blackness and desperately sad memories of painful times and it doesn’t help to wake to a freezing house which is impossible to really warm on the minus 3 mornings.  I am reminded I had an option to move somewhere warm but that would have involved losses of things I loved here, so I’m not going to beat myself up and say I made the wrong decision.

This morning instead I have been working to honour the deep sadness and pain I have deep inside and really listen to my true self when she tells me how hard it was, because as I write this and before while I stayed in bed late keep warm I was aware of how often I have been dismissed and my pain minimised.  How often I may have been told it is not real.  Realising this I can decide to treat myself differently today, in gentle loving soothing way.  There is always something loving and positive I can do for myself.  I don’t have to follow on with words of inner condemnation and shame.

Today my therapist is away too and that is hard as I finally need to see the dentist who will take my tooth out, possibly next week.  A part of me is struggling and doesn’t want it out, its another bloody procedure but I have to face up and get through it.  It isn’t the end of the world but its also another loss so I have to walk a fine line between self compassion and self care which means doing what I have to do to take care of my health.

An empty house full of stuff in the mornings triggers negative thoughts for me right away however I got a little book out of the library on panic attacks yesterday written by a psychologist who recovered from her own panic attacks.  It is written in cartoon form and gives some really positive suggestions about how not to let critical inner voices win.   In the mornings alone on the dark grey days I am more susceptible to being captured by the negative voices.  As the writer Bev Aisbett describes this inner force it really is a downer that wants to paint everything black and heavy and I need to keep being conscious of what it is up to, so as not to be captured!

I also realised there is an other trigger for tomorrow as friends have asked me over for dinner but I have painful memories associated with the times we had most to do with each other in the years after my father died when I was in a bad way inwardly and drinking too much.   Tomorrow night I need to come clean and talk some things through with them, as I know they have changed and matured more now and they are aware I really struggled at that time, everyone in that immediate circle was abusing alcohol or drugs at the time and they don’t do that now.

Despite the fact I know I feel a lot better when I get up and get myself moving about, today I stayed in bed until just before 10 am.   I am aware its okay not to have rules and regulations my inner critic uses to keep me stuck or locked up inside, at times I need more rest and this week has been busier with getting my car fixed, but I also know the happiness that comes for me when I can embrace a day when I connect with someone or something outside of myself.

I don’t have a lot that is really positive at the moment to offer in my blog.   I am finding that my poetry has dried up somewhat.   I look on others blogs and see that mine has just puttered along, followers come and go and the precious few who stay over time mean so much to me, but I will probably never achieve the kind of popularity I see on other blogs and that is okay.   Do I really have to be popular?    In I just need to be myself  and express as honestly as I can.  I don’t have a lot of great life achievements to share in my blog, I just live a quiet life with my dog and try to look for the positive but can at times get very consumed with the negative and with the old ghosts that try to haunt me.

When winter comes and I see how over the years instead of reaching outwards I have so often isolated myself it gets painful on some days.  And then I feel that on the contrary side the inner life is really what is most important and cannot always be shared with others.  We never really know who others truly are and how they suffer inside.  One of the good things about blogging is that fellow writers share from that place which makes real honest connection all the more possible.

Writing takes me out of myself and it has worked this morning. I will do what I can to bring some love into my day.  I need to keep reaching to build a better life while keeping the connection of self compassion strong to myself deep inside so that I can comfort myself on the tough days and build myself up rather than let my inner critic tear me down.  When I show myself that softness and love the harshness melts within me as I realise how hard on myself I have been in the past and realise I can work to change that if I stay awake and aware.

Blog on

The hardest time of day

I am becoming more aware lately of how this time of day, 5pm to 7pm is often the hardest time of day for me.  I was born at 7:10 pm and I am not entirely sure how that is related only to say I can get a tightness in my chest and start to feel deep, deep loneliness and sadness at this time of day.  Leading up to this over the past four or so months I became aware that at this time of day I tend to stuff my face with some kind of snack.  Lately I have been trying to make it a healthy snack but eating in a compulsive way, even if what you are eating is good for you is not the best idea.  Today after a tough day where I finally got out to the park around 3 pm and didn’t eat much more than an apple to clear my system out I went to the fruit and veg markets.  I needed some Brazil Nuts and I slowly and very mindfully at 3 of them remembering to breathe.  I then got home and swept up some of the autumn leaves but a lot was going on inwardly within, memories of how the trees shed in this way in the days leading up to my sister’s funeral in 2014.  Deeper memories are there of how my life also began to fall apart in 1990 towards the tail end of my days of active addiction when I woke with stomach pains in the middle of the night and being unable to rouse my them partner drove myself to emergency,  I had an ectopic pregnancy which had to be aborted and the trauma tore my relationship apart.  Within a few weeks I was out of the group house I shared and back with my godparents and then later in a new unit and my relationship briefly resumed only to hit the wall and then I gave up my job and the darkest years of my addiction followed.

I am very aware that I am not there now.  But I will always have a life that has been marked by trauma.  I had at that time already been through three terminations of pregnancy.  In the early years of recovery and sobriety when I undertook my first therapy I wrote a letter to each child that never got to live and named them.  I asked their forgiveness for not being able to bring them into the world and explained why.  I grieved them over years and have acceptance now over my choices. But as autumn draws in darker memories are near and this afternoon I am making the conscious choice to keep my ‘eating’ to a minimum and wait for an early dinner.  I am also choosing to blog about it more for myself, for I am sure it will be boring to some readers or they may even judge, nevertheless I make the intention in this blog to be as honest as I really can about what I am going through.

I am in the cosy living room now.  Jasper has just had a bone and its time to get us both dinner.  I haven’t had a panic attack yet and I usually get them religiously between 5 and 7.  Today I also chose to politely end the conversation with my Mum when she told me I was being ‘ridiculous’ for being traumatised by the events of the past my brother brought up yesterday, she also would not give me further information about something that would have helped me put more pieces in place and I am learning that everyone in the family has their own take on things and Mum is invested in not really owning up to all of her shortcomings.  That is her business, not mine.  I just need to detach otherwise it really hurts too much.

I have written a fair few posts today.  I have needed to.  Mars planet of action moved into Gemini planet of siblings and communication a day or so ago.  Its hitting my Chiron and it explains how what my brother bought up yesterday triggered essential placements of Mars planets in my Mum and sister and dead father’s charts.  I don’t know how astrology works only that when something get triggers I see it in the charts and Mars being in Gemini would suggest its good to communicate about it and get it out in the open which is not something my Mum or sister really want to do.  That much I realised last night when I got no support from my sister to understand things and anyway I was defending Mum at the time which was not right.

I have to keep reminding myself it is okay to reach for understanding of my family, the past and family dynamics.  I was very young when so much went down and had not a lot of way to make sense of it.  I can shame and judge myself for my struggle to make sense and there are some things I will never know.  But in expressing I get to contain my feelings to a degree and make sense of them, which helps me be not as unconsciously overwhelmed as I can be at times. I feel less sad now simply for writing this post at this time of day.  If I can bring my patterns to better consciousness and not over eat at this time my panic attacks may just stop, so this process is, in the end, essentially for me.