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Messages - woodsgnome

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Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: The C* holiday word
« on: December 24, 2020, 06:58:19 AM »
Marta, I sense the desperation in your words and wish I could help in some tangible way. With the hurt still haunting you, it may be hard to realize that those horrible times aren't part of  part of your present story. Though the memory still hurts, by writing about it you're beginning to build on a new life, starting with self-care.

Anger is often frowned upon by people who didn't have to handle what many of us endured, through no fault of ours. There are times when to express it, and grieve its senselessness, is a noble form of self-care and character.

You're in charge of your life story now, and writing about these is showing that there are welcoming signs of courage emerging from the grief. The courage doesn't stand out for you, perhaps; but I can see it, and admire you for doing so.

Unfortunately, words don't matter half as much as just knowing we support you in any way possible. And I hope that can start just with this deserved and heartfelt way:  :hug: 

Please continue to take care of your precious being.

Other / Re: Our Wonderful Healing Porch - Part 7
« on: December 20, 2020, 03:30:18 AM »
For Tee ...

words? only a couple, to paint the scene ... here it's just you, Tee, and those of us sharing with you ... breathing in the peace and safety  you deserve...

... now there is only this peace, surrounding us all in safety and love.

... no more words, only soft, silent  :hug:

This is yet another c-ptsd symptom that seems to vary quite a bit for various people, but I'll try to describe a little of my own history with it.

I'm sure I probably started during, after, and perhaps even before (if I could 'see it coming') certain triggers occurred. I didn't notice them much then.

Recognizing these, though, didn't happen until a couple years ago when I noticed I was zoning out during a therapy session. Recognizing that I was 'off', I started apologizing to the T for this, but she immediately soothed me by explaining it had happened before, but that my noticing it was a good sign. And, most important, was entirely natural, that of course there are times when the old defensive mechanism kicks in like that.

So before writing myself off as a lost cause, she suggested I just continue with the process, know it might happen, with the most important immediate outcome being that I not beat myself up if it happens again. That slight shift in attitude has helped me deal with it better and head off the inner critic's nagging me as if I'm forever damaged.

If I do notice or sense this might happen, I take a breath, try to calm with an inner saying (mine is 'love/peace' said inwardly) just go slowly, perhaps even just stopping. If I need more, my T excellent at allowing me space to re-orient to where I was and to note that I'm fully safe.

A couple of times (IF I started catching myself dissociating) this stopping helped to understand what the exact flashback or trigger might have been; but sometimes I don't catch that or things just seem too foggy.

I do this inner noticing elsewhere, but of course the safety factor I still may not feel confident about. So it varies, and sometimes I can find myself a bit off where things were, but often it doesn't even get to the point where anyone else notices. That I do is still irritating, but also relieving if I indeed realize what just happened.

So for me, just knowing it's a natural post-trauma symptom and can be recognized, especially as one gets to a safer, less defensive sense of panic about its presence, can make a difference. Like so much with c-ptsd, it's slow and takes patience, and perhaps even some painful slips back to what, after all, has often been a lifelong habit.

I hope that at least explains how I've come to see it, and that you'll see an improvement in this area as well.  :hug:


Thanks, Hope, for posting this list. Not sure how these items tend to get buried in the postings but glad I came across it now.

Spring's approach is spot-on, and it's easy to see why -- she's walked the talk, and is one of the few (e.g. Pete Walker) who personally experienced C-PTSD and has the writing savvy to share what she learned (and is still learning) with others who need the counsel of someone such as her.

Thanks again.  :)

Other / Re: Our Wonderful Healing Porch - Part 7
« on: December 17, 2020, 05:46:15 AM »
Following a recent setback to my spirits, I've made it back here to where life flows peacefully, at a pace where I can fit in.

To honour the occasion, I reached into my bag, found what I needed, slowly turned some earth and started a new/old section of a 'secret' garden to honour the hope that still can come from darkness.

May all be well.

Introductory Post / Re: Hey, I'm new here
« on: December 17, 2020, 05:31:19 AM »
Hi, kaynubz  :wave:

I hope it's refreshing for you to find this place, and that it helps you find some peace on your journey. I think many here have found it helpful to also have a community who care and understand.

Marta, I was very touched by the sad tone in what you wrote about The Secret Garden's effect on you. I also felt that way when I first read it, and later when I viewed the 1975 BBC-TV adaptation (the best one in my opinion).

I've read and watched it since, and each time its beautiful messages sink ever deeper into my being, and the lingering sadness about my own childhood begins to blend with satisfaction for the hopeful turn the book has begun to point me towards.

One point that resonated with me isn't so much that it turned Mary's life around, but that we all have our own secret gardens. No, they don't always need to be started from scratch. Indeed, this wasn't how Mary's originated either. The garden's base was already in the ground, and some of its key elements were still present, though some of it had become invisible; what Mary was really about was renewing the promise of her inner spirit, symbolized by the dying and/or dead plants -- tangled and confused just like her own life had become.

Slowly she found out about the old secret garden, and was further excited to learn that often old roots, shoots, and stems of certain species can even exist for years underground until, if tended to, they can be nurtured back to 'new' life above ground. They don't always need to be created from seed, but what's there can be renewed. The analogy with one's own spirit found made me realize anew that's what we're all trying to do -- renew ourselves.

In a way, we've all been tending our own inner gardens, taking what we can find and care for, then crafting them into new/old creations that can blossom and bloom. Even the tiniest suggestion of hope can surprisingly appear, as when Mary first hears Robin, and remarks, "that's a nice cheeful song; please sing it again ... please." This just after the lowest ebb in her still young existence.

Our "piece of earth" can take many final forms, if we allow ourselves to be on the lookout for new possibilities. So something else that struck me about the story was how it began to focus on the potential of each of our secret gardens. Or at least it did for me. For instance, Mary tells Dickon, "but let's not make it a perfect garden ..."; then it would become static, and she wanted to see what other beauty might emerge on its own. Plus the effect of it began to have a growing impact on every character in the story.

No question, I still grieve terribly that my younger parts didn't have an easy go. But Mary's chance didn't come along, either, until she found herself bitterly alone. More by instinct than design, she just quietly, carefully, and playfully went about growing things. For me, reading and seeing her experience has helped shift my perspective from dire helplessness to consider the possibility of hope, even if it shows up not as I expected. Mary had assumed the roses were all dead, until Dickon pointed out that they were 'wick' -- "still alive on the inside, as much as you and me."

For me, I'm trying to cultivate an attitude that even if remnants of my dead or decayed inner garden are still present, there's still 'wick' that I can find to renew my own long-lost inner garden. Maybe something better can grow from it after all.

I hope you too will find your life to be such a garden, whatever the current circumstances and state of hope (or its absence).


I've tried several ways to describe the full story of grades and me, but there are so many twists and turns to it that I get tangled up trying to explain the whole mess. So I'll just try and lay out a rough backdrop.

So the basic summary is that I did reasonably to extremely well per grades at all levels, but both school (gr. k-12) and home environments were encrusted with abuse and trauma featuring as almost daily events. The school had religious ties, and its abusers (plus many of the bullies they shaped) hid their perversions deep within their 'blessed' exterior image. (to clarify, I always had a strong spiritual pull, but it increasingly seemed separate from the convoluted message I got from the 'authorities')

Learning-wise, though, I had a sort of 'inner code', I guess, for learning however and whatever I could, grades or no. Eventually the public library became my place for book learning. Almost paradoxically, all the combined trauma sharpened my hypervigilance (not always a bad thing I found out) to the point where I could discern the den of hypocrisy the combo of school and home was. My prime relief became my interior self.

Despite being extremely depressed and socially inept (never have fully recovered from either). I felt best when I wasn't at either school or home. I also either ran away or was kicked out of school a few times in high school. They wanted to cast as the derelict they judged me to be. One reaction on my part was especially the reverse of what they wanted -- I aced several top scores in all subjects except their branded religion classes, which I chose to fail as my message there (while enduring the heightened abusive reactions).

Okay, better end before I throw in some other factors. Bottom line is I guess I did 'learn' lots, some negative (about human evil disguised as 'good') but also lots of self-education which I was drawn to seek out wholly on my own.

Okay, one other huge factor. I was encouraged by a total stranger I met one day. He apparently was somewhat acquainted with the school I was attending (probably about grade 4 at the time), and without showing any obvious judgement about it, strongly encouraged me to "look into" what their true take on life was.

I never saw him again, but I call him the "Alley Angel" as he forever turned me on to seeking my own learning, starting with questioning authority (even though it cost me in terms of abuse over the years to come).

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: Stuck an in EF
« on: December 14, 2020, 06:47:00 AM »
Dear Owl25, I've been struggling hard with the same crud you're describing and also decided to just lay it out there: I felt I also don't deserve help and nothing can or will ever change that.

I've been slowly coming around to ok, but I haven't perhaps fully emerged yet either. I'm beginning to realize getting fully out of these tangles sets up false expectations that there's always a perfect way out. There may be a way forward but the pain still lingers and threatens to overshadows everything.

I will share one thing that may be pertinent. And that's just to say how deeply I was touched by your response to my own desperate story of hopelessness. Your kind words of support were a major help for me, and I hope I can at least offer you a little perspective from being in my own ball of pain so recently (but it was far from being the only time I've been that discouraged).

Bottom line: it's all horrible. Bottom line 2 -- we're always somehow capable of finding unexpected cracks in the pain that may render it possible to find another way. Perhaps it's not the perfect one we envisioned, but in the process we may run into something we didn't expect.

I'm very much concerned for you right now. I wish I could offer certainty that you would find a perfect way out of the pain. But I do know, too well almost, that my own pains may never have been fully erased, but I've been surprised often enough at discovering other approaches I hadn't thought of.

I wrote, concerning my own recent spin downwards, how a counter-memory popped into mind; of a time when I lit a candle and pledged.  to stay with things. This settled me enough to at least accept that some slight forward movement away from the absolute pain might be doable. My sudden recall of that worked like a counter-memory which worked to lessen the recent agony I had about even wanting to exist.

All I know is, from everything you've shared on here -- you fully deserve to be supported and honoured as the strong person you are. It may not seem that way for you, but we're all pulling for you right now, big-time.  :grouphug:

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Re: Adrift in a Sea of Despair
« on: December 13, 2020, 05:47:40 PM »
TW*** brief reference to suicidal ideation ***

I have an extreme fear of ever asking for help. This probably stems from the times I cried out for help and no one was there, or things even got worse. I soon not only didn't ask, but lost trust in people -- they all just seemed to be frightful variations of each other; some a little more tolerable, is all. The really good people imaginary and/or out of reach.

See, I'm still  scared -- even here -- to ask for help. But I risked doing so with this thread, as this site/forum has become a refuge filled with people who've shared their tales of finding, and giving a chance, to the light called love, even when it seems dimmed to a hopeless flicker. I'm better right now, thanks to the comments received. THANK YOU ALL!

Today's calendar tells me it's St. Lucia Day, an observance of the light that can still emerge out of darkness. On one such day, only a couple of years ago, I showed up at my therapist's appointment with a candle snub tucked into my gear. This was a last-minute thing, the result of a challenge the T had made at the previous meeting. Knowing I was suicidal at the time, she'd wondered if I could perhaps somehow pledge to at least put a temporary hold on my self-harm ideas.

So I tucked the candle-stub in my bag and headed to her office, not even remembering that indeed it was St. Lucia's Day, still known as 'old solstice' in certain areas (personally I don't usually formally observe the holiday season as such--esp. the family emphasis; but remain fascinated by some of its folklore). As that day's session wore on, there was a certain point when I reached into my gear, drew the candle out, lit it and pledged to not follow through on my ideations.

It was only later, after I'd returned from the appointment, that I realized  :doh: it had been the exact day -- December 13 -- when the Lucia observances occurred. I was pleasantly stunned to realize this, and took it as no mere coincidence.

I still forget this day, and suddenly it rolls around like a fresh dawn. I'd forgotten it again this year, yet here it is!  :sunny: Once more I feel invited to renew that pledge to continue, even in the hardest of times, on the path of the light. And now you're all a part of that trail.

Thanks again for helping me find my bearings.  :hug:

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Adrift in a Sea of Despair
« on: December 08, 2020, 09:08:55 PM »
For while, I've sensed that underneath surface hurts, I'm really alright, even well-off sometimes. Then it all seems like a mirage, and I feel phony for even trying anymore.

I've realize for the umpteenth time that I may have mad what looks like progress towards re-claiming the beauty of life. Except, there's always been one huge block of inside grief/anger/bitterness that I've never been able to budge. I'm in one of those stuck places now; although it comes and goes, this time it almost seems as if it's appeared yet again, this time to reclaim its rightful place.

I'll spare the rhetoric, though. The reason I'm writing here is, as hinted, pure and total desperation that I'll ever feel right about life. It's the sort of cycle where I justve up on myself. It's sort of fraudulent for me to lament my own distress, when so many others need the same. But it's where I'm at.

Mostly what bothers me is this block that won't budge -- when all is said and done, the feeling that I was irreparably damaged at birth -- unwanted, despised, rejected, and ill-treated from there. I can't shake that original flaw.

Yes, I can say things have sometimes improved my overall defeatist attitude, but it always falls apart again. I can't shake the original wound is what it comes down to. My inner terror always resurfaces at this point of hopelessness.

Not to bore you any further, I just felt like letting some of my mood dissipate. But that's always temporary -- soon it collapses again into the repetitive cycle -- I'm no good -- all I have to do is acknowledge that and surrender myself as a lost cause.   :spooked: :fallingbricks:  :'(

Recovery Journals / Re: Moving Forwards
« on: December 06, 2020, 03:57:33 AM »
 :) Good to hear you may at least not e in any danger zone, for the moment.

Your situation got me to thinking, though, about how in some respects covid-19 bears similarities to how C-ptsd works. Which is -- they are both unpredictable. And how the only thing we can do is to find out how best to move forwards, as you're doing on both counts.

Yes, there's hope for treatments, but in the end we also have to utilize the best self-care we can along a rocky route to, if not a cure, at least meaningful healing.

Anyway, good to hear you're okay so far and hope you can continue in a safe manner.  :hug:

Recovery Journals / Re: SaB's 2nd journal
« on: December 05, 2020, 03:44:48 AM »
SaB, so true what you said about realizing that though these traits tend to hang around and threaten our stability, it's still possible to re-orient towards what can be done. It may not be dramatic, but having the gumption to at least lessen the negative inner chatter a bit might help. In the end, those voices probably aren't your own, anyway.

Like so much, there's no perfect way that always effects this, but in working the new direction there's also always the chance of some surprising perspective you'll discover. I thought, as you were describing your intention to burn the contents of that messy box, how that could turn out to be a rather meaningful ritual for someone embarking further down the recovery trail.

I hope you can continue looking for new ways that will turn your tracks towards some better outcomes along the way.  :hug:

Recovery Journals / Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« on: December 05, 2020, 03:17:33 AM »
Whatever you do at this point, Bach, I think you might acknowledge that bottom line, it is your life and you're discovering the boundaries that support your continued survival.  Even if they change, feeling out the boundaries you feel you need can be important as you build self-esteem and confidence in your own well-being and ability to live your truth.

It's also important, I think, for you to know that we fully support you. For my part, I offer this  :hug: as a sign of my  own support and appreciation for how hard this is for you. I hope that you'll continue to find ways of self-discovery and especially self-care to help you navigate these rough times.

Recovery Journals / Re: Not Alone: Reduced Visibility; One Step at a Time
« on: December 02, 2020, 12:23:48 AM »
My cat literally waves, and he's sending a good vibe to the kitten (okay, my human interpretation; but he does actually wave. It's also cool to note the therapy visit went well, and hopefully that can continue as time rolls by.

For, myself, and my own feline acquaintance, I hope this is okay to end on --  :hug:

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