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Messages - woodsgnome

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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.

Symptoms - Other / Re: Hard to form words
« on: October 03, 2020, 04:26:44 PM »
I experience this sense of not finding the right words, or any at all for that matter. In person with someone, this seems connected with what's called dissociation. While writing can thus be easier, I still find it difficult on places like OOTS, where my old fear of being misunderstood triggers me into doubts that I can even make sense.

In this dissociative state, thoughts and words can freeze up entirely. What's really odd about this, then, is how I thrived in my old career as an improv actor, where quick wit and readiness with words was of prime importance. I wonder about this but have no consistent answer as to that contradiction -- maybe it has to do with being outside one's own hurt personality while performing.

One other note on this, though. During this time of extra social hardship, my therapy has gone to tele-therapy and I'm finding it easier in some respects. Even though my T is very non-judgemental and congenial, I still tend to kick into  fear mode in-person, and I can fall into the frozen-words state.

She always reassures me when these incidents occur that dissociation is very natural for survivors of deep traumas. I miss her saying this in person, but still find the distance aspect a bit easier than in-person. This may be due to the fact that I've been with her a few years. Perhaps that helps the more indirect format.

This is all so mysterious, and sometime so contradictory. And always a strain to try and figure out. So we plod along as best we can.

General Discussion / Re: What do you call your abusive "parents"
« on: September 24, 2020, 04:54:16 PM »
First, I just hope it never arises. If it does, I try to minimize it just by using f or m to establish their roles. I also can't abide using their given names. I remember one other person on this forum who used the term "dna donors" if something needed to be expressed about their status in one's life.

For me, if I can't avoid the topic wholly, I just never use the names, explaining it's too painful. Of course there are bunches of people who don't get this, but I decided for my own sanity I could only use the f or m as reference points.

I have come to not recognize them as family. I enjoy the concept and am envious of those who can feel at home with the idea, but I also know my limits in this regard. It hurts, of course; but I choose not to make it worse.

Art / Re: Feeling Safe Because of Forum Members - Thank You Art
« on: September 22, 2020, 04:09:33 PM »
That feeling of safety (at last) resonates deeply for me as well. Your beautiful depiction taps new feelings of relief.

Thank you  :hug:

Other / Re: Our Wonderful Healing Porch - Part 7
« on: September 22, 2020, 07:49:01 AM »
Here I can trust. No wonders about -- do they get it; do they understand anything I'm pouring out to them; do they care? Or is it all just a charade and I will once more be abandoned, as too much to handle, best left to my loneliness. The big lonely -- the only thing I'm truly skilled at.

Here the peace permeates my being. It's odd how here I feel a love I cannot come up with in the world of 'normal'. There it seems so distant -- here it's my birthright, and I don't have to prove anything to earn it. Here even those who scorned me will never bother me.

I settle down by the fire, pour some tea, and drift off, alone and whole.

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:

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.

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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