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Messages - woodsgnome

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1
Introductory Post / Re: A long journey
« on: September 20, 2020, 11:31:07 PM »
Trudging this path is by its nature very lonely, so it's always comforting to find others who know the territory.

Welcome  :wave:

2
I feel like I need to add something that, in my current rounds of hypervigilance, I forgot about until a while after I'd posted my earlier comment in this thread.

Yes, hypervigilance (and so many other symptoms of c-ptsd) is horribly disconcerting, as the mind seems to grab hold and in cahoots with inner critic run riot on one's emotions. But after writing the earlier post, another thought galloped by, and I grabbed it.

See, one of the things I've found out over the years is to stay open enough for surprises. Well -- surprise! There was a time in my life that hypervigilance worked out well for me. Huh?

Okay, by way of explanation, through a variety of other surprises I ended up for quite a few years as an improv actor in a small theatrical troupe. Improv acting is done without a script, so it requires quick changes and reactions in whatever dialogue or subject is being bantered about.

I'd never have considered myself as cut out for anything like theatrical acting, let alone improv. Enter hypervigilance, which worked to my advantage in developing the needed quick thinking (I don't consider myself as a quick thinker in my 'regular' life -- just the opposite, in fact). So, long story short, I was both surprised and pleased to be able to draw on my hypersensitive nature -- in theatrical settings, it served me well.

The caveat -- was it so wonderful that I now think hypervigilance is a great thing? No way -- it often drives me nuts. But one of my goals in recovery is also to be open to surprise and the strange twists that might -- just might -- sometimes be in store.

I offer this not as advice, just as an example of how I was able to see this uncomfortable part of me in another light. That yes, I'm bothered by being so hypersensitive, but that -- surprise! -- it actually worked to my benefit while I was in a vocation that thrived on keeping the senses open, even if coming from within a hyper sort of backstory.

I hope this is understood. Mainly just to realize and be surprised by some things not always readily seen. To be slightly tacky (wacky?), finding that hypersensitivity could have a positive spin was, I suppose, one of those unexpected 'silver linings'. In this case the good part was that I'd never have expected it.

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What you're describing, Eidolon, has been fairly common for me.

Years ago I wanted only to get to a peaceful state of being. Externally, I've gone a far ways to achieving that -- quiet life style, very peaceful and ambient home, pets (now just 1 cat; sometimes had more + dogs) -- relaxing music, great reading material, etc. Pretty idyllic except for the hypervigilance that never went away.

Yes, I'm trying multiple things to deal with it, and can do fairly well, mostly just for short periods. It's awful to have to be hypervigilant in reminding myself not to be hypervigilant!

So ... you're not at all alone, Eidolon.  :hug: I did mention that sometimes I can at least tone it down, if not swoosh it away entirely. Hoping you can find relief, and then more of the calm you deserve.

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Recovery Journals / Re: m1234 journal: one foot forward?
« on: September 13, 2020, 01:14:29 AM »
Feeling for your hurt part, Marta. It's hard as we (or at least I've experienced) have so few solid friends to begin with.

No words do justice now; only the sorts of feelings which support you with this. Hope it's alright to offer a  :hug:. I wish I could add to it; feel like sharing a cup of calming tea with you; in spirit that's what I'm doing. Please take care -- you are still a wonderful being who deserves better.

5
Neglect/Abandonment / Re: Neglect and Abuse?
« on: September 12, 2020, 09:10:32 PM »
The contrast between direct abuse and neglect/abandonment can feel very confusing  :stars: /

So I'm drawn to your plight, Gravity; as it reflects a bit of my own traumatic ride, from suffering "active" abuse for the first 9 years of life, mainly from the m but also several awful experiences suffered within a horrible parochial school situation.

Then, almost overnight (or on the f catching on to what the m was up to), the overt abuse, bad enough, seemed to flip straight over to abandonment and major neglect. I've never figured it out either; and have finally concluded that I'm probably best off not knowing any of the why details anymore -- there really is no satisfactory answer for either strand of abuse.

All I can say, but in addition to words there's this  :hug: -- I hope it's okay, just so you know you're supported and not alone in this.

6
Self-Help & Recovery / Re: Can't self-soothe
« on: September 09, 2020, 02:27:58 PM »
I recognize the feeling, and it can build until everything feels hopeless. So I can first offer this -- a gentle  :hug: , if that's okay.

I'll share something I try. It doesn't always work, either -- but such is how these cptsd aftermaths function, or don't. I've tried some more involved techniques, but I also need to keep it simple. Sometimes that can mean less than 100% soothing which is still better than nothing.

Okay -- all I do is alternate 2 words. Here's what I do -- on the in-breath I just say ''Peace''; out-breath ''Love''.

Breaths are just ordinary, not the dramatic blows meditation teachers seem fond of (besides, I have asthma LOL). Sometimes I vary the word order ("Love/Peace"). Other words might work better for someone else. It does take a little concentration but it sometimes can deflect a trigger if I recognize what's happening early enough.

I hope you can find some relief.


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I grapple with the same feelings on a daily basis, though less than I used to. I live alone, with one elderly cat, but an extremely nice place to be. Back on the negative, I try to reach out, and it often there's maybe an obligatory sort of response,  sometimes there's none -- like no one seems to care. Some weeks only my T sees me, and nowadays that's 'virtual' as well, which has advantages (no travel) and negatives (slightly more impersonal feeling).

And still, I chose this way -- it was my dream to be away from it all. In that sense I succeeded and then some. Things have become more complicated by crippling arthritis, following a botched surgery, and adding that experience on top of the anger that drove me away from people in the first place.

There were breaks in this pattern where I was at least quasi-social, and able to relate to others via creative, artistic-oriented employment, which kept me occupied and brought me closer to others and when I felt overwhelmed I had a place to retreat to.

Well, now it's like the retreat has become my full-time occupation. Yet again there's a balance -- the extensive reading (my fav activity) available via thousands of books as well as the bottomless library called the internet.

I guess what I've slowly learned is to balance my expectations with my ideals. The latter was always paramount and of course it relates to the cptsd part of me that needed escape. Except now that escape has turned into epic proportions called loneliness. The balance is that it's kind of what I wanted, while also not being entirely hermit-like, in the sense that no one is entirely their own island; e.g. I rely on others, whether I know them or not -- grocery people, other suppliers, etc.

I'm sorry if this post is a tad lengthy, but I felt like I needed to explain how it's my perspective about this lonely existence that I've tried to balance as best I can. I'll never be a social gadfly, perhaps, but it sure would be great to have one -- one --solid friend. I know there's people who'd find friendship beneficial too -- but my expectations of this happening I've had to balance by returning to how I came to live this way.

So I guess it's those balanced expectations that keep me going. Perhaps it sounds cheap, but it's what I've found keeps me feeling sane when the 'lonelies' wash over my senses.

I hope you're okay with this distant but heartful  :hug:

8
 :yeahthat: I agree -- nothing to feel silly about.

I do the same sort of viewing with the 1975 youtube episodes -- every so often watch a 1/2 hour or so, maybe read a small part of the book, and instantly feel better. Even if, as in the early parts especially, some of the topics are a bit rugged, knowing that the journey towards wholeness will shift for Mary picks me up too.

The best part of the 1975 version (some might think them a tad long) is its correspondence with the book; even much of the dialogue is present, word for word. The music is fitting but subdued, if even there -- not interfering with the narrative as happens in many movies, and not loaded with other shenanigans that deter rather than support the tale itself.

Interesting take on the names we've chosen for OOTS. Hadn't thought of that before, but it's true -- we're all in the process of creating and reclaiming our own secret gardens, and no one else can take it from us.

 :sunny:

A

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Introductory Post / Re: Hi
« on: September 04, 2020, 10:18:41 PM »
 :wave: Connecting and sharing is what makes OOTS worthwhile; especially for so many with no place else to turn. Welcome, Gravity.

10
Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: Burned Out From Healing?!?
« on: September 02, 2020, 09:01:35 PM »
I know too well what your point is, about it all seeming too much to handle. Sometimes it is; but some progress also seems to almost lie hidden before showing signs that any of it's worked.

So often this stuff stays hidden, hidden or invisible. As with any growing system, it might be the roots are still somehow pushing their way toward the surface. The root system might take a while before it shows obvious results above ground.
So yes, we burn out and wonder why sometimes what seemed promising doesn't seem to be working out.

I often have extreme doubts like the ones you're talking about. I try so hard and has any of it worked out and if not, when will it. Yet something often feels better, almost of its own accord, but who really knows? Some very surprising things have happened to me, some of it after giving up on life entirely. Somehow the root system finally made it to the surface.

It is fine to ease up on at least some of it -- it's very overwhelming not to.to keep up trying. But every time I've been at the outer edge of not wanting to go on, something would seem to happen, surprise and even startle me.

I'm still learning to ease up on some of the outer and trust the inner with this. I fear I might sound like another of those happy-talk sorts, but I'm definitely not. I've just gone through the same rough stretch of road you've described. Still, l I've gone through enough hurt to have seen the other side, and even been surprised that there does indeed appear to have been some progress where I least expected it. Perhaps it was just a matter of time before those underground roots started to show above ground.

Please take good care of yourself, Bach. And know we're all behind you -- we know what it's like, both to feel like giving up but also finding light further on.

If alright, I'd like to offer a gently and supportive  :hug:

11
In my previous post, I referred to how I noticed various metaphors in The Secret Garden. There's lots, some more apparent than others; some silent, others included in the script dialogue. As has been mentioned, the robins obviously are very symbolic.

In the opening segment of the BBC 1975 series, there's a scene showing Mary alone in her bungalow in India, following its desertion by the people fleeing the cholera outbreak. Mary is left behind; then she spies a snake slithering away. She begs it to stay, not realizing the drastic change to her life already in process; then the snake moves on, ignoring Mary's pleas of "don't go" and leaving the scene.

This didn't occur to me at first, but on later viewings I remembered how highly symbolic snakes can be. One big one is that some occasionally shed their skins, and new growth replaces the old layer. So I saw that as a huge unspoken metaphor, silently suggesting how Mary's life was about to undergo a radical change.

And of course how that's true for all of us at some point -- shedding what needs to be discarded. It might not be what we wanted at all, but perhaps -- just maybe -- it might end up better than we ever could have imagined, as it did for Mary (and how dramatically she affected the lives of those around her).

There's lots of other little/big messages embedded in the story, adding to the delight I found in it.

12
So glad this thread popped up again. It's almost odd (or not) how when I feel down I always find it soothing to watch a bit of the 1975 BBC version, or read some from the book, and feel so much better about the resilience, beauty, and magic can be found in life; and how we each have our own secret garden to cultivate and care for.

Now that I know the story so well (I've written mountains of material concerning it in my private journal), I'm even noticing new metaphors and symbols woven into it that I hadn't noticed before. In other words, it's grown on me just like a garden.  Discussing it with my T today, I started calling this my 'summer of the secret garden'.

I had no idea how powerfully that story would be for me, but am so glad I found it.  :bigwink:

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I find the topic of inner voices fascinating. There are a couple of themes that have shaped my experience of these.

Starting with the worst, I've been haunted with the 'remnant'  voices of my principal abusers -- parents, teachers, preachers. They're not around physically anymore but nonetheless infiltrated my mind's fearful side early on and have never left.

With help from my T on this, I'm doing better at my response to these voices which can become a crescendo of noise (like hearing dozens of maximum output radios blaring at me).

My best and most effective response was the early development of other inner voices that countered the mayhem (though not always). They probably originated as dissociative responses, but they were wonderful when they made it through the other noise.

These were what I call my humour feed, as their main focus is to build a humourous (contradictory as that seems at first) inner response to the outer terror. I can recall this happening during abusive episodes, for instance, where I blanked out the negative screaming (and worse) going on around me, but my inner self's message was like "look at these buffoons with their gloomy twisted faces screaming away. These are people I never want to know", etc. Sometimes it seems as if it was these other voices that got me through.

That was the kid response, but as an adult I've lately been able to visualize doing things to them I'd never consider in real life. This is with the encouragement of the T, who encourages me even though she knows I'd never really treat people as I fantasize about what I'd do to those of the original voices. After all, she's pointed out, nothing ever stopped them from their cruelties, and they're not around as people anymore either. Yelling back has helped, along with these other visualizations.

Plus my mainstay -- that inner humourist who somehow showed up in my psyche early on and still 'saves' me even now.


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Recovery Journals / Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« on: August 30, 2020, 11:21:02 PM »
 :applause: Hi Bach -- those are good signs, and it's cool to see the perspective coming in a bit clearer for you. May these new directions continue for you, past the scary places into the new sunshine.  :sunny:

15
Symptoms - Other / Re: Trouble with fantasies
« on: August 30, 2020, 12:25:08 AM »
Fantasies are alright, often useful. After all, they're where lots fiction and other creative art forms have their origin. We are, after all, endowed with imagination, and using it is natural.

That said, I've had many fantasies, for sure. But only one has ever took hold to where it's power almost devoured me, to the point of destroying my will to live. Simply put, it was the fantasy of what it might be like to have had loving, caring parents who supported me. Such was never the case; it became and is still the overriding grief of my life.

That's all -- it may not fit the parameters of this thread, I don't know. But when I saw it the fantasy that instantly leaped out was that one. There -- now that I've said it perhaps it will act as a release of something that's eaten away at my core being forever.

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