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Messages - woodsgnome

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Recovery Journals / Re: Kizzie's Journal
« on: October 29, 2020, 08:46:43 PM »
All I can say --  :hug:

All I can say again --  :hug:

Recovery Journals / Re: Further Adventures of Elpha
« on: October 28, 2020, 03:09:12 AM »
 :bighug:  ...

Marian82, you've begun by acknowledging how terrible it feels. Perhaps that doesn't sound like much, but having been there myself, I think it is huge -- just to say it, as you've done here.

Like so much of how we struggle, the worst part is when it seems like there aren't always solid answers or easy remedies. After all, we were severely injured at crucial times in our lives. So maybe that points to another step -- deep self-love, which is also a part of recognizing what's happening. The inner critic is ever at the ready to condemn even that, so another help (at least it has been for me) is to keep on trying to get past the inner critic.

You are worthy and deserving of loving respect. Doubts about progress will arise, but instead of finding sure answers maybe it's also okay to 'live the questions'. It means accepting the path, rotten as it's been, but only to this moment -- when despite no solid answers there's still an invitation to ourselves that we have the strength to do better. After all, we made it here. Survival isn't cheap, it's an accomplishment we can build on.

Being here can be lonely, but it's better than where you've been. And there are many reading this who share what it's like but have no words to tell much about it; it just hurts too much.

I'm at a loss, too -- but I can give you some support. I can write that -- but if it's okay I'd like to also support you with this  :hug:

'Living the questions', as I've called it, doesn't mean there won't be answers, it just means we are developing the inner strength, against huge odds, to find our way. We might even find ourselves stronger than those who only look the part. And who knows if they aren't the real 'fakes' in all of this anyway?

May you come to finding a way through the state of grief you're in. It's okay, but lessening the self-blame towards yourself is even more important. I wish you well with any way you can do this.

Yes, I've always felt 'exposed' as well. To the extreme of thinking other people will always shy away from me if they know even the tiniest bit about what happened to me. I know that's unlikely, especially with most people, as its rare to reach (and risk) sharing without first building up lots of trust, coupled with courage. But usually I can muster neither to the point of feeling truly safe.

Even when it seems safer, though, I retain a burning fear that I won't be believed, and hence rejected. So on top of the difficult emotions that ride just beneath my seemingly calm exterior, I feel obliged to keep myself mute lest the fear and shaky self-esteem overwhelm me. It's a rough ride on an uncertain carousel endlessly circling back to its starting point.

In recent years, I've tried reaching out more (still not very much), but have also run into results where I wish I hadn't. I don't feel a fraud so much as I feel trapped by having to be re-victimized, in a way. Stepping beyond the pain starts as an inner task, but it's awful when by reaching out one only feels the emotions are still trapped within.

Those who've come to live this set of events called cptsd already come overwhelmed with a heavy load. And, as C noted, the 'disorder' identifier can make it feel even yuckier.

At first it almost seems invalidating, and suggests there's something wrong with us; instead of the injured condition it more resembles. It already feels like we're 'out of sorts'. It's like the clinical terminology uses its own set of words, and then we learn and incorporate as best we can how to finally break loose of the storms that followed us here, whatever it's called.

In the end, we're people, not categories. Despite the difficulties thrown across our road, we're still traveling.  :grouphug:

I keep running into metaphors from this tale that matches with some of my own trek to and within my own 'inner' garden.

I pointed out in a previous post the snake from the opening scenes in the BBC 1975 version (snakes can be symbolic of shedding old patterns, if not whole lives).

There's also another 'hidden' metaphor I recently realized -- stemming from the idea of compost, or food scraps, which combined can be used to fertilize the soil to enhance new growth. This one was pointed out by my T, who said she's seen a lot of composting involved in the work of therapy.

In the BBC version, there's plenty of gardens (besides the secret, walled-off one which Mary discovers); but no overt mention of compost, although it must have been something used, at least partially. So that's something I've put into my collection of metaphors I've drawn from the book and film series.

It also reminds me of the Japanese art of self-reflection known as Kintsugi. While Kintsugi involves redoing broken pottery with gold embellishment, the garden/compost metaphor does so as well.

Maybe both of these came to mind today as I accomplished a major task of cleaning an area of my home that had become very untidy. Whatever -- anything pointing to new life means a lot, no matter where a survivor might be on their journey.

As long as we have a 'past' it seems that cptsd and most of its symptoms can recycle. So rather than rely on a fadeout scenario it might be best to just be aware of its presence lurking in the background.

I've gone through several cycles where certain aspects seemed to fade a bit, only to pop up again; maybe even with a slightly different twist. I've also learned to accept this more -- no, I don't mean that I accept how and why the past traumas nearly destroyed me, but I did survive. I can continue working to heal my reactions NOW, though, and strive to still find my way to a meaningful life.

Some approaches I've tried also support the idea that there is no foolproof permanent answer or technique. I find I'm still learning some discernment about how to walk the fine line between despair and hope, though. And I've even run into a couple of major surprises, so that's become another part of my learning curve -- to stay open to their possibilities.

In that sense recovery can be rather individualistic. I guess my whole point is just to stay aware and play with options, without being overwhelmed if and when some things still seem stuck.

Along the way, even if a full cure might not develop, there still might be ways to find enough healing to make up for that.  :)

Recovery Journals / Re: Rainy Journal
« on: October 17, 2020, 03:00:11 AM »
Rainydiary : I have been growing in finding what I am grateful for but have never considered identifying what I am grateful for in myself.  I am trying to reflect on that each day.  It is hard right now.

 :applause:   :yeahthat:

Here's to your finding success with reversing those negative self-attitudes that hold us back. It only seems easy, but on the other hand it's only from self-love and compassion that we'll even begin to turn the corner and move away from so much unnecessary grief that we drag around with us. It's harder to stay on course, but also worth the effort.

Recovery Journals / Re: Further Adventures of Elpha
« on: October 11, 2020, 03:14:43 PM »
At least now you've made it through a few 'ringers' and come out the other side. Now you have some substance to the faith you're speaking of.

Kudos, yes; but the best part is establishing some solid footing as you enter the next phase of a life of meaning and self-realization.

Thanks for stopping and sharing -- we need stories such as yours to point to and say -- yes, me too. Sure it's all baby steps, still there's endless possibility when each one follows on a fresh and invigorating series of previous strides, all of them taken even against great odds.


The Secret Garden has held many hidden surprises for me. I'm amazed by how so much of its story interweaves with my own recovery saga.

Recently I was re-watching part of the 1975 BBC version. At one point in Part 6 (around the 13.15 mark), something Mary said unexpectedly leaped out at me -- as if what she was saying applied to my own approach to life. I've found that adapting what she said into how I'm choosing to deal with aspects of my healing journey has been extremely helpful in shifting my attitude around a bit.

One of my biggest c-ptsd hurdles has been to accept what I can, and can't, do about certain memories and reactions (anger, rage, shame, hopelessness, etc.). When these unwanted visitors show up, it can ignite triggers which lead to multiple emotional flashbacks and I end up only more frantic than ever. It can take quite a while to cool down again.

So in that scene of The Secret Garden, there's a moment when Colin, still learning how to be 'nice' to people (in this case the head gardener), asks Mary what it was she'd told him once that one might say when finished. She laughingly spread her hands as if brushing something aside, and told Colin he could say: " ... you have my permission to go", as if it's a natural flow requiring none of the uncalled for rudeness he'd usually shown with most people (a bit understandable given his circumstances). Even the onlookers in the scene seemed pleasantly surprised.

I must have viewed this scene a bunch of times before this popped out for me. Yes!!! -- "You have my permission to go" has become a mantra of sorts for me as well. I started doing this when inevitably my painful 'stuff' would show up again. In the past, I'd yell and shout, curse and plead  and do anything to fight them and get rid of them (even if they're now only distant memories, images, or voices). I'd be mean (as they had been to me). Now, with this new phrase culled from that scene inThe Secret Garden, I've found a gentler way to coax these demons away.

While I've learned that these leftover trauma remnants often can't be wholly avoided, I've also used this little saying to not just dismiss the uninvited thoughts, but in doing so give my full permission to scram -- not a shouted "Leave" or "Get Out" but a gentler, kinder "you have my permission to go". Short and sweet, but also not the senseless "just' let it go" so popular with too many folks (and so awfully invalidating).

Just wanted to share a little peek into how this simple but beautiful story has impacted me. As one song I like puts it: "Who'd a Thunk It?".   :)

Successes, Progress? / Re: Progress in healing from CSA
« on: October 09, 2020, 02:14:44 AM »
It's good, and refreshing, to be able to let loose and celebrate the insightful moments -- big and little -- we encounter on these tricky paths. It's important -- and inspirational -- to find these outbursts of good vibes breaking out.  :cheer:

Engaging in those triumphant rooftop shouts wonderfully offsets the long and deep grief process we all feel trapped by. Thanks for sharing your jubilation at seeing the other side !!!  :hug:

As to posting too much -- no way. Your observations are always insightful and, most important, spoken with a heart of integrity and authenticity.

General Discussion / Re: One thing that helped you
« on: October 08, 2020, 01:20:38 AM »
My recovery trail is littered with some ups, many downs, lots of unknowns, and ... ? I guess that's the attitude I try to stay with -- some call it 'living the questions'. Meaning -- many of the most significant turns I've been able to make while dealing with c-ptsd has involved keeping an open attitude, or even invitation, to allow surprises as I find ways to move forward.

Why? Don't I fear change? I sure do, but ... I've experienced some real changes totally by surprise, including a couple that I was sure weren't going to work out or be good for me. A couple of these could be considered shocking given the changes that resulted.

So -- just stay open and keep on trying as well as we can -- one never  knows where something positive might come from. It might not even be perfect; might even turn out much better than that!


I had the same sort of trigger reaction. As has been discussed on some other posts, there are times when it's hard to put any words to feelings, especially when it involves the sort of trigger you relate.

For me, the trigger/emotional flashback tore into some of my worst memories as I'd had a similar occurrence going back decades. Since then I've been unable to experience deep intimacy due to fearing those old triggers and how they might cause me to 'freak out' again. In hindsight, had I been able to muster complete honesty about my reluctance it might have helped; but I just couldn't muster that much pain, even though I now think it might have helped were I able to do so.

I really can't 'advise' anyone else on this, as it's of course extremely sensitive. Perhaps I'd have come away from my experience better had I had access to a therapist or counsellor at the time but it's hard to figure anything that would truly help; all I know is the experience confirmed how deeply the original incidents damaged me.

Whatever options you follow, I hope you'll find a way to feel at peace with this.  :hug:

Successes, Progress? / Re: Tentatively DARING to see change
« on: October 04, 2020, 02:58:33 PM »
 :hug: Here's hoping the change towards feelings brings you into a whole new world of self-care and compassion. Sometime the 'self' part is the hardest, I've found. But I'm realizing the tendency to always blame and belittle myself stems from a very abusive past that was more about others than it was myself.

Of course, it's kind of a double-edged sword -- one desperately seeks help but it's also extremely lonely. It's so good to see you've finally started finding your own way forward. It's truly like entering a new world. A bit scary sometimes, but there are ways to keep noticing how all those pent-up feelings may still be around, but their influence is fading.

Sometimes the openings seems to move further out of reach again, but sticking with learning the new self-compassionate way keeps one advancing on the healing path.ew feelings keep us on the healing path. Here's hoping for the emergence of even better feelings as you move forward.

Something I've noticed on my own journey is that once I started opening to feelings, I'd get stuck on old ones I didn't really want. I decided they weren't going away, so I studied and my T helped me to not ignore them entirely, as they had a tendency to re-group and find their way back in. This seemed counter-intuitive at first, letting even some bad feelings mingle with the new more positive ones. But slowly I've noticed that, with work, even these negative vibes can start to shrink; some I hardly notice anymore.

Introductory Post / Re: Still on my way to healing!
« on: October 04, 2020, 02:34:44 PM »
It's very hard to step forward while feeling wrapped up in a bundle of crippling anxiety, but finally there's a time when one feels bold enough to reach out.

So welcome --  :) -- I hope you find some relief from that horrible feeling you described. It's a pretty lonely state of being, so I wish you well as you try and re-establish the worthy feelings you deserve.

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