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Messages - bluepalm

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Poetry & Creative Writing / Re: Trigger Warning: What do I Know?
« on: September 23, 2020, 10:30:47 PM »
Dear BJeanGrey, I continue to come back to read your piece on what you know. Most of the time I can only reads parts and then stop to recover. It is extraordinarily powerful for me and I am so grateful you shared it. I hope you don't mind but I have copied it into a document I can access readily.

I've reached the point where I feel that there's no further value to be gained from talking words to a therapist or anyone actually. There is nothing left to say. I've had literally years in intensive psychoanalysis and psychotherapy trying to come to terms with what was done, and continues to be done, to me by my immediate family, four generations of them, and the lasting injuries I've suffered that need management every hour of my life. This help from my therapists has undoubtedly saved my life and I've come to understand that my family's behaviour was and is driven by their own needs and disorders and in a sense has nothing to do with me - but that understanding does not heal my wounds. 

The outside world has treated me well and I've managed to overcome huge odds to live an outwardly successful life, but always alone, isolated, without any human comfort or touch or caring or love, but rather active abuse and deliberate cruelty and deprivation, from those who were and are supposed to love, encourage and protect me - grandparents, parents, siblings, husband and children.

I understand the threads that bind these generations together in their conduct - I am paying the price for my father's sins of abandoning his wife and child and (unintentionally) bringing me, a * child, into the world. And for the sin of being born a female child who has exercised my intelligence and spirit to survive well in this world - to free myself from a husband who continued the abuse and deprivation  and to survive better, on objective terms, than any of my family ever did or will do. 

Over these past few months I've come to feel that no doctor or therapist can understand the devastation that is left inside me - it's out of proportion to how I appear on the outside and reassuring words and understanding nods seem pointless now. However your words ring so true to me and what I live with. So I cannot thank you enough for sharing them. I have been staying off this forum for some time now, feeling it too had lost its ability to console me, but when I came back on here just days ago and found your words, I've felt renewed hope that a community of survivors does offer my last source of help and hope. Knowing there are others, anonymous and scattered all over the world, who struggle with the devastation done to them as I do. And, as always, I'm so grateful to Kizzie and her colleagues for establishing and running this forum so well.

Thank you, BJeanGrey,  from the bottom of my heart for what you wrote and shared.

Poetry & Creative Writing / Re: The ants
« on: September 22, 2020, 05:28:30 AM »
Marian82 your story is a strong piece of writing. You manage to convey what you intended - without mentioning the abuse you conveyed it in other ways. I read this with my heart jumping for you for taking the left turn but then felt sad when you explained that, like me, you were in a controlling relationship and in reality it was not easy to turn left. I experienced similar autism/sociopathic/narcissism behaviour from my spouse and unfortunately it took me many years before I was able to turn left and start my long struggle to recover.  Thank you for sharing this. I'd encourage you to share more of your creative writing. Don't worry about little cross language issues - you write well. I wish I could write anything in a second language - I can't.

Poetry & Creative Writing / Re: Trigger Warning: What do I Know?
« on: September 21, 2020, 07:55:23 AM »
Thank you for writing and sharing this beautifully written and powerful statement BJeanGrey. Your words resonate strongly with me. Almost every paragraph rings true to my experience. After more than 72 years of it, I'm exhausted. You say:

I know the fear of being precariously and perilously teetering on the edge of falling but having no safety net, no net constructed of family and friends, to catch you if you fall. I know what it feels like to know that if you fell and disappeared into the void, the world would be as if you never existed.

This feeling is the primary struggle I have right now. It helps me to feel less lonely to read these words from you. My heart goes out to you for all you have suffered and continue to suffer that is reflected in your powerful words. I send you a virtual hug. Thank you.

For over a year now, my local chemist has dispensed a particular generic brand of Fluoxetine antidepressant when I filled my GP's prescription. When originally asked if I would accept a generic brand  of fluoxetine, I did not hesitate, assuming that the active ingredient would be identical to that in the original brand, Prozac. I tolerated this particular generic brand well and over some weeks I experienced a growing sense of emotional stability and ceased the constant crying, suicidal ideation, bursts of anger, acute startle reflexes, rumination and other symptoms of deep depression which had overtaken me, yet again, when  I decided, with the chemist's advice to help me, to slowly cease taking my previous anti-depressants (Lexapro) altogether - thinking I was well enough to manage without. 

What I learnt from that experience is that I cannot risk being without the help of antidepressants because, despite living a secure and undemanding retirement life, physically and emotionally removed from my abusers, without the help of antidepressants my body reverts to the state in which i lived for most of my life - struggling with deep depression. The involuntariness of the constant crying amazes me - the grief feels overwhelming, paralysing and absolutely out of my control.

Two weeks ago I was unexpectedly dispensed another generic brand of fluoxetine. The chemist said my previous generic brand of fluoxetine had become unavailable in Australia. I thought nothing of it and assumed the change would be seamless.

How wrong I was. Within a few days I felt my mood lowering dangerously as my mind became lost in rumination, suicidal feelings and despair and the tears started to flow ceaselessly. I returned to my chemist and explained I was feeling nausea and had no appetite and felt my mood lowering. The chemist advised taking ginger for the nausea. Within two more days I was becoming frightened of my fixation on thoughts of self-destruction and went back to the chemist and explained I felt the drug was not working and I was becoming in danger. The chemist said my original brand was still not available and did I want to try another generic brand or persist with the current one. I decided to persist but made an appointment with my GP to ask for his help. However, I returned to the chemist the very next day frightened, unable to stop crying, and pleaded with them to help me. It turned out that they had just been restocked with my original generic brand  - apparently the packaging was being redesigned - so they dispensed those and I have now taken nine days of my original generic brand.

Two days ago, in the middle of the day, I suddenly became aware that I'd crossed a threshold, that I'd surfaced, that I had regained my footing in the present day world and could pay more attention to 'now' without being dragged back into recriminations and ruminations and unending grief. I'm still not back to where I was three weeks ago but I feel confident that I'm getting better.

I'm sharing this experience because I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has had a similar experience when changing between generic brands of fluoxetine or any other antidepressants. I've lost confidence in generic brands now and will talk to the my GP tomorrow about whether it would be better to take the original brand, Prozac, assuming that it is reliably available in this country.
Thank you for reading.

Introductory Post / Re: Fawn type recovering from multiple NA
« on: April 03, 2020, 09:21:38 AM »
Welcome New_Life - I'm glad you found your way here too. This is a healing community.

General / Re: To Kizzie
« on: April 03, 2020, 09:18:27 AM »
And mine.Your work is invaluable Kizzie. Thank you.   :cheer: :cheer: :cheer:

Thank you to all who have responded to my initial post. I was worried about stating how I felt but I knew it was real. I trust my body, and I know honesty is fundamental to understanding and healing. Your responses have helped to relieve me of a sense of guilt for responding to lockdown with relief when I know this tragic Covid-19 scourge is causing untold amounts of trauma and grief for so many. Thank you all for allowing me to feel less alone at this frightening time. :grouphug:

I hesitate to write this because there are so many people suffering terribly at the moment, but I feel so surprised at my body's paradoxical reaction to being 'locked down' in the midst of a pandemic that I want to record my reaction to see if any others who are affected by CPTSD feel similarly.

I am an elderly woman who lives alone (with two dogs). I will shortly turn 72 years old, have a recent history of illness from flu and pneumonia, and I'm probably considered high risk for a severe illness if I catch this contagion. I live in a rural location, physically remote from any family or long-term friends, with limited access to hospital facilities. If I become ill, it is likely I will need to manage it myself, alone at home, and I could well die alone at home. In recognition of this I have now arranged for the RSPCA to rescue and re-home my dogs if I become critically ill, because I have no-one else to help me do that.

Nevertheless, I feel safer and more relaxed than I ever have before. I feel protected in a way I have never felt before. After an initial few nights of nightmares and waking screaming, my sleep is now restful. My dreams are warm and sensuous in a way I've never previously experienced during my entire life. I feel cocooned in a way I've never felt before. As far as I am concerned, I wish this state of 'lock-down' would continue forever until I die and am safely off this earth.

The essence of the change is that I am protected from other people in a way I've never been before. No-one will come to my front door and expect to come inside. I no longer need to wish I could build a brick wall across my front door to keep people away. I do not need to engage in any activities with people (other than virtual ones). I feel 'the law is on my side' in keeping other people away from me, even when I am out walking my dogs. In short, I no longer need to struggle with my raw vulnerability, my continuing inability to set boundaries to keep people from hurting me.

My body's reaction feels amazing to me. My sense of safety and relaxation amazes me. It is a deep bodily 'letting go' of vigilance at a time when the whole world is in fact being told to be vigilant against Covid-19. For me, this situation is the first time I can genuinely relax what has been an ever-present state of extreme vigilance, not against a virus, but against the pain other people inflict on me.

And it is throwing into sharp relief how 'under siege', how profoundly threatened, how deeply dangerous I have experienced the world and other people to be throughout my life, including and most importantly my immediate family. It is throwing into sharp relief how I've carried a deeply wounded body, mind and soul through the years.

In a small way, I feel my body's reaction to feeling protected from other people in the middle of a global pandemic, the fact that my body reacts to protection from people more than it worries about dying from a virus, is yet more evidence (as if more were needed) of how important it is to protect children from the injuries caused by abandonment, abuse, neglect and other adverse experiences. And how important it is to provide access to effective treatments for those who've suffered relational trauma. I do hope this mass experience of trauma will accelerate understanding of these needs.

And for me, it's as if I've been given a small glimpse of what life must feel like for people who've experienced bonding, security, attachment, love, touching, kindness and warm human connection.

I'm grateful for this unexpected blessing from a tragedy.

Religious/Cult Abuse / Re: New flashbacks of extreme ritual abuse
« on: February 25, 2020, 11:45:21 PM »
I really feel for you RA-Survivor. I don't know if you already have the help of medication, but I found it helpful when, despairing of being able to calm myself all by myself, I went to my GP and explained my feeling of being tearfully out of control and asked for medication to help to calm me down. I now feel I have a 'floor' under me through which I should not fall as a result of taking anti-depressants and my anti-anxiety medication gives me the comfort of knowing I can always take it and get some relief in my mind and body when breathing and other things are not enough. I don't take this very often but knowing it is there for me is itself calming and comforting. For me, having the support of medication has been wonderful and has enabled me to get to a point of calm where I can work well with my therapist. I hope this may be helpful for you.

Successes, Progress? / Re: Work
« on: February 23, 2020, 08:26:43 PM »
"So with these developments now, I can say I'm definitely further along the road to healing." - This is such a satisfying thing to be able to say. Progress to be cherished Blueberry.  :cheer:

Successes, Progress? / Cutting my tormentors down to size
« on: February 21, 2020, 09:09:06 PM »
I dreamt last night that I was still with my former husband and suddenly realised very clearly that the marriage must end and I accomplished that almost immediately ; in that I asked him to go and he went out the front door and, after turning once to threaten to punch me in the face,  he walked away. In real life, nearly 40 years ago, it had taken me many many months of painful turmoil to convince my husband that our marriage must end (a marriage in which my husband said he felt 'complacently happy') and there were many moments when I felt I would not survive the process. Certainly I knew that I could not go on living if I had to continue living with my husband.

Waking from this dream this morning, I have felt a new freedom and realised how I have inflated my tormentors in my mind for so many years.

Recently I have been talking with my therapist about how the pattern of abandonment, neglect and abuse that I experienced with my parents was carried on through my marriage and then carried on to my life with my adult sons (although not with my sons during their childhood, thank goodness). It has been a long and reluctant process for me to acknowledge that my adult sons display characteristics and  behaviour towards me that mirrors that of my husband and my parents.

It is painful to acknowledge that my adult children distress me, trigger me, in ways that infiltrate every day of my life. This is not how life should be and it's hard not to feel ashamed of my urge to run away from them to escape the threat. After all, they are still my babies, my life has revolved around caring them and I know that they have limited control over how they are as people, given that we are all creatures of our DNA inheritance through the ages.

This dream has somehow allowed me to realise how I have inflated my husband and my adult sons in my mind so they have the size and presence of my huge parents, looming over me, threatening and frightening me when I was an absolutely helpless infant and tiny child. 

Something about my ability to get my husband to walk out the front door in my dream has allowed me to realise that I can cut these people 'down to size',  I can release the sense of looming threat and shame that I carry inside when I think of them. It's a holdover from the trauma of my infancy.

I feel this freedom to see  them at a 'normal' size will be good for our relationships as well as for my peace of mind.

However, because I'm not sure if this sense of freedom will last, although I dearly hope so, I wanted to record my realisation here on OOTS to see if that will help me hold onto it.

And also to ask if anyone else has had a realisation that their tormentors in adulthood loom in their mind with the same enormously inflated size as the tormentors of their childhood.

RE - Re-experiencing the Past (eg Flashbacks, Triggers) / Re: Nightmares
« on: February 04, 2020, 12:09:45 AM »
Hi Windflower - I feel for you. I know how exhausting and frightening what you are experiencing can be. I wanted to pick up on two things from the helpful posts on this thread and add one other thing that helped me.

First: writing down what you remember of your nightmares.

I have found it to be immensely helpful to write down what I can remember of my nightmares. Even just hurried words on a scrap of paper in the middle of the night. For this reason, at times I have kept paper and pencil by my bedside so I can record these words without even turning on a light. 

Also, writing in my private journal the next morning not only the remembered aspects of the nightmares but also any thoughts that arise from them. I follow these thoughts wherever they lead without censoring them. In the past, I have filled page after page with thoughts and in doing so I've unravelled some understanding of what my nightmares are working on. On the other hand, I have also come across scraps of paper with my scribbled words from a nightmare and even months or years later they make sense to me as something I was struggling with or may still be struggling with.

I've come to believe that my capturing in words on paper or on my computer evidence of what my brain is working on in my sleep is like mining gold nuggets. Nothing is wasted. Everything is important. And if I can hold onto this evidence of what my sleeping brain is telling me, I can work with it in the safety of quiet reflection and this takes the sting out of the experience.

Second: seeking therapy.

I understand your fear that inappropriate therapy may actually worsen your situation. However, I would strongly urge you to try anyway. If you can find someone with whom you feel comfortable, in my experience the very fact of having someone with professional skills and ethics who will listen and respond to you with understanding, kindness and support is healing, no matter what the type of therapy may be called. If you approach therapy with the knowledge that you need not continue for one second more than is comfortable if you feel in your gut that the experience is harming you rather than healing you, then I feel it's worth trying. Certainly I would not still be here were it not for therapy with people of varying effectiveness over the years.  I once decided to walk away from an accredited 'trauma' therapist who I felt was harming me (only to have her taunt me over the phone, thus confirming my judgment of her). Whereas, at the moment I have a therapeutic relationship that is giving me the chance to do some of the best emotional work of my life. It's a lottery, but I wouldn't have benefited at all if I hadn't given it a go.

Finally, one thing that has helped me to deal with nightmares is to consider them as my mind trying to help me by working something out. This way of framing nightmares helps me not to feel so frightened when I wake up. I now feel that what happened while I was asleep to cause fear, anguish and sometimes wake me up screaming, is just my mind trying to help me by processing things that are troubling me. They are only thoughts and they are arising to alert me to issues - whether it's processing yesterday's distress or the feelings of abandonment that go back decades and still haunt me.

I hope my thoughts are helpful for you. Oh, and one more thing - I feel that I have a better chance of dreaming a dream rather than having a nightmare if I calm myself with deep slow breathing before I fall asleep. I may be wrong, but I do it anyway in the hope it helps.

Thank you very much for this thoughtful response Arale.

Eris, I feel deeply moved by your words. Your dreadfully difficult situation brought to my mind Congressman Adam Schiff's moving words in the Senate yesterday: if right doesn't matter, we're lost; if truth doesn't matter, we're lost.

You say: I realize that just because others find me expendable, it doesn’t mean that I have to. But I feel expendable. My life seems nonsensical and without value or purpose. My life seems like a series of senseless abuses. I stood up for my rights, and I got smushed. I lost. It is pretty horrifying to feel like you lost through being abused, but also losing by telling the truth about the abuse... that is just crazy making. And depressing.

You are articulating at a personal level the same fundamental plea and my heart goes out to you and I hesitate to try to say anything in response lest it be inadequate, but I want you to know that I hear you in your suffering.

All I can say is that, although I have never had to endure your particular circumstances, in moments of feeling my life 'seems nonsensical and without value or purpose', in moments of feeling utterly lost in this world, the only things that have cut through my despair are immersing myself in music - singing, making music, listening to the notes of music made by others - and somehow cutting myself off from all the turmoil of being human by immersing myself in nature. It comforts me to cling onto knowing I am a spark of life in animal form amongst many other life forms - my lovely dogs, the singing birds on my bird bath, the ants walking together on my terrace, the tree in my garden. Music and the natural world somehow enable me to feel that insofar as there needs to be a purpose to my life this is it. I exist. I didn't ask for my existence. My existence will end.  There is no rational reason for my existence. There are no fair rules of the game governing my existence. At some fundamental level I take comfort from knowing I share my aliveness with other life forms around me and I can sing my life into being just as the birds do. And I try to retreat for as long as I need (in emotional as well as practical ways), to disengage from all the horrors that humans inflict on each other, and comfort myself that we are all equally just brief sparks of life on this earth. Once I can get to this bedrock comfort, I find I often slowly regain the strength needed to re-enter the fray - to try to deal with the injustices and abuse and pain of living amongst other humans. May I say it again - my heart goes out to you in your struggles.

Yes Arale - this is so well put: In desperately trying to matter, I transplant myself into other people's lives, leaving a big painful worthless void in mine.

You have articulated what I did for many of my early years. I was totally focused on the other person, trying to please, trying to placate, trying to understand what they wanted of me, trying not to cause anger or blame, and yes, trying to matter to them. And always failing. Aways feeling a worthless void inside me.

I can remember vividly one day when I was in my late twenties, sitting on a bus feeling utter despair and thinking that I, me, my life, my body, mind and soul, had all the substance of a piece of paper 'being blown hither and thither by the wind'. I realised I had no idea how to make judgments about such things as a work of art. How did people know what they felt about a work of art? I don't know why I chose this particular example, but I think I was realising I had no inner self strong enough to respond one way or the other to a work of art.

Looking back now, with my knowledge of the effects of trauma, I feel I was starting to understand the enormous extent of the inner disintegration that abandonment and abuse had caused inside me, without being at all aware that I had been abandoned and abused because I was unable to see my life with any objectivity through all the buzzing confusion. I think I was starting to articulate to myself that I had not spent enough time focused inside me, on my inner growth, because I had been so focused on surviving the relentless demands and wrath of the people around me. Something, I know no what, must have happened to stir me to question why I felt so deeply worthless and adrift. 

It has been through working with good therapists and learning through reading (something that has accelerated in recent years since I've learnt about complex trauma) that I've managed to fill that void inside me and come to the realisation that for many people little outside themselves matters, and not in a good way either. Such self-involvement can so often result in cruelty and self-righteous anger. But I can now usually recognise and avoid people whose behaviour or words stir feelings of worthlessness inside me again and understand that it is primarily something inside them, not inside me, that is in play.

I wish I could have had healing relationship in life, because I think that would have been the best 'therapy' - but in the absence of those, my therapists have given me enough good 'holding experiences' that I have been able to fill that void of worthlessness that used to be inside me. So I am hugely grateful to my therapists for the structure and promptings for self-reflection that they gave me while they 'held me' in a safe place for short periods of time. It's been enough to allow me to rebuild myself to feeling worthy. It's been life saving for me.

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