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Messages - woodsgnome

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General Discussion / Re: How can i release my anger and rage?
« on: June 10, 2015, 08:22:51 PM »

I started to respond to this thread yesterday, and pulled back when it became very triggering for perhaps a TRIGGER ALERT may be in order for others who've experienced any group activity that went sour and/or hurt them.

I had a horrible experience a few years ago. I was taking part in what was called an "intensive" group, not specifically geared to therapy but more general psychological health. The facilitator wasn't a therapist but had run a healing center and offered programs that were well-regarded. The approach was part structured but also "free range" for lack of a better term. The group met for 6 hrs the first 3 nights, then 12 hrs the last 2 days, and generally things went well.

I'd been in a couple of these before, they'd gone well, and noticed that some others had found relief via a process wherein they used rubber bats to vent about some inner issue. Usually the facilitator would ask for something that the individual found stressful, perhaps recalling a word that triggered them, something said by a parent, teacher, abuser, etc.--I guess the theory was that hearing the triggers would facilitate the anger, the participant would flail the bats, and...well, I"d seen several people do this voluntarily and they seemed to find great relief from it. I'm not the sort to be very willing to do anything of the sort in public, although I've since learned the enormous value of doing so alone as per Walker and many of the suggestions already found on this thread. But I was desperate to find something to release my inner pain at least a little, and based on the other reactions I saw decided I'd like to try it. It seemed a safe bet, there was an experienced leader, caring people, what could go wrong?

So the facilitator scoped out some of my triggering words and some people volunteered to role-play the people who'd said them. And yes, it brought up anger, and I had this bat in my hand, and began to vigorously hit the floor with it, venting some pretty angry language...BUT soon I turned all that anger on myself--the inner critic emerged big-time, and  I began berating myself for being such a loser, what's wrong with me, etc. Then, for some reason the facilitator had the group members actually hold me down at one point while continuing the verbal triggers. I'm guessing that was supposed to induce me to fight back? I never did get a clear answer afterwards from the leader, which made me feel even worse   :sadno:

If the intent was to relieve my stressful memories, the result was the exact opposite. My mind was almost spinning in fright, and finally I just started to cry, and went limp, curled up in "don't hit" mode; not what was expected, apparently, and when they backed off, I softly said to please stop, I'd spent so many years fighting, not this, please end what you're doing. Well, they may have gotten that message but mine was only one of a public EF and it was utterly shame-filled. I felt no release and the grief and utter, sad loneliness flooded back.  Plus there was the utter confusion--I'd trusted the facilitator not to take anyone into a situation beyond the pale. This wasn't an encounter group, or something of that sort. Afterwards, the leader asked the group to support me in the vaguest sense and never adequately explained why/what or follow up with me individually about it. It was like, oh well, just another group surprise. So for someone with issues of trust to begin with... ???

Now, many years after I've learned how to more safely vent. But I  wanted to point out the hazards of doing this in a group setting. Perhaps it CAN be beneficial...I'd seen the others find some relief, but they weren't physically handled in the process, either. 

Odd, I still feel like what went wrong might have somehow still been my fault; and clearly it wasn't, and I'm still quite upset, and keep the message at hand: it wasn't my fault.

This is spot on per my experiences, the most recent being just yesterday.

Yesterday a personable fellow in a "helping" profession (of all things!) stopped by to discuss a project we've decided to work on. I happened to have Walker's book lying around, and my acquaintance picked it up, and literally shrank back when I referred to it, and how it relates to my own journey (my visitor does know parts of my story). And he just shrugged and launched into "business". I felt hurt that he couldn't spare a moment to even lend the smallest acknowledgment...he's a major player in these parts and has a rep for being so helpful, and is, but he didn't want to touch my pain whatsoever. He calls me a friend but...well, you know.

Weird; I don't understand that at all. So your post dovetails precisely with my experience yesterday. I needed to lend my support to what you feel. At least here we're among friends.

There are very few I feel I can trust who will have a true empathy for this, and my recent visitor does it for a living! Huh? He was/is very nice, I helped him out when his wife died a while back, etc., ad infinitum; but he didn't seem to want to even acknowledge my journey in this. It wasn't like I was on my knees screaming help me out. But he didn't want to hear more and almost seemed flippant about it. Then of course my mind plays the "is it me" game and my emotions spiral downward into "I don't matter" mode. Back on my lonely trail, which I'm very good at anyway, being a "freeze" type. Fine...I'm by myself on this, always have been, it hurts, more of the same old. As you say, having a therapist is one thing, but locating a true friend is like looking for the needle in the haystack.

I don't have any solid suggestions for you, Ferzak, but just this sharing. It's sad but so typical--this reaction/non-reaction of others. And I'm coy about who I even tell in the first place--then afterwards, it's like I held up a sign saying "I have cptsd; I'm cursed, don't come near". People don't want to know. True, I have an "image" (I think) of being pretty self-assured, but when I drop the guard...go away, we don't want to know is what I sense.

So I'm back at point lonesome on this...but I need you to feel this:

You are not alone. We are not alone. 


General Discussion / Re: Physical Ailments with CPTSD
« on: June 08, 2015, 02:06:05 PM »
I can see correlations with cptsd and every health issue I've had (other than broken bones, I suppose).

Asthma--oh yeah, big time and EF's trigger that too. No medical measures can truly deal with the inner turmoil where the lungs and airways seem to contract along with the mood.

Bad knees--I noticed it early on, tried different things, and it kept recurring...I just felt so loaded down, so heavy I guess is the way to say it; like I was unsupported, reflecting the inner loneliness that's characterized too much of my life.

Glaucoma--sure, there are other factors with that, but it felt like I truly didn't want to see the visions which float through with the EFs. Now sure, there are weak eyes and then there are psychosomatic aspects and I was slow to realize the connection but feel it was there all along, this wanting to "freeze", as it's called, and not see.

General and frequent flat out numbness--the whole body just feels let down, pressed down, too banged up to want to feel, where relaxation (useful for the asthma anyway) and rest is all I want anymore--get me outta here is what my body says when this hits (often). So maybe there's one caveat--being addicted to relaxation is a better direction than some other addictions that come to mind (but which hurt the body in other ways).

I know I've had a constant mind flow related to disappointment--the pattern was set early on, and the resiliency of youth couldn't overcome it. I could never shake the heavy disappointment of just being in such a cruel world.  And then I'd turn on myself for not being able to do more and that whole inner critic not-so-merry-go-round would whirl me right back into deep depression. And it leaked over into the actual physical ailments I've touched on. The body anguish reflected the inner angst all along.

Quoting Convalescent to Woodsgnome: It seems like you've healed to the extent that you're on "the other side", so to speak. How ... how should I put this. What's it like? How much further can you go with recovery and healing. How far will it get you? How is your life today? How is it to compare yourself today with then? Is there a lot of difference?

Convalescent, I've searched for a magic “out” for years...I wish there were such a formula but if there is it's the most elusive substance ever. And so I struggle on.

The only “healing” I've experienced is slowly learning to accept the pain and grief that happened, and by cooling excessive expectations that I would magically climb out of my hole. I hate that, though; at first I thought whoa, I will never accept being abused and utterly abandoned.

Until I realized an important distinction, however—acceptance is NOT, NEVER is the same as resignation. Acceptance of a condition doesn't mean I can't change how I relate to it NOW. That's frustrating to try and sort out, as there are so many variables to each person's situation. Whatever it was that made it seem like I've reached some promised land of recovery/healing...NOPE. What's different is that I've turned off the desperate search and just try to live more coherently, in this moment. I understand cptsd better, perhaps, but it doesn't, unfortunately, wash the stains out.

I did stumble on a book (The Deepest Acceptance, by Jeff Foster) a couple years back that helped a lot, allowed me to get past a lot of the shame and angst I felt. In theory—but I'm still working on it. I still have a lot of the anger and sadness. But I realized that acceptance didn't imply I was a loser or lost cause or needing to forgive what I can't forgive. That it's okay to be me, and that I'm fine--was then, am now; and now is all I control anyway.

I'm not recovered, but I'm also not sure what that really means. The flashbacks are horrendous; today was “bad” for me as regards EF's, and my hyper-sensitive psyche was easily bruised by something that happened. It bothers me that I can't handle things better; when I can relax I realize I am doing better than I once did. But better isn't the same as finding the answer, it's still scary, and it sucks, period. I'm lonely as * 'cause I can't talk to anyone I'd trust about this, including the last therapist I had (my ninth). But I kept looking, and found Foster's and other books on self-acceptance, other items like Kristin Neff's work on self-compassion, and slowly I began to see that acceptance and compassion, as discouraging as it seemed at first, made me feel better; that okay, the stuff doesn't go away but I can treat it as a bad movie and now the projector is turned off. Slim comfort but I'll take it.

The healing is the journey; we already have enough anxiety without defining the destination. Just by our being on this site, for instance; sharing insights as best we can, we're healing, albeit it may not always feel like it. And sharing the roadblocks and sheer desperation we all feel is a form of healing, ironic as it seems. I think acceptance is key, though; and it's not resignation to feel stuck. Cure? Well, maybe, but I've no idea what that means either.   

Everything in this thread rings true for my experience. I now can do this better, and I think one factor is just knowing I'm not alone; that others have wandered into this swamp, and somehow are all of a sudden on the other shore, or at least we see it on the horizon.

I'm an inveterate reader, went through tons of reads about psychology, personalities, enneagram studies, spiritual tomes of all sorts (though I distinguish here from over religious ones--it was in a "religious" school of that type that...well, maybe I can go there another time; to go there in this post would push me over the EF edge :sadno:).

Still I avoided directly confronting the cptsd issue until I went to start with a therapist and discuss "spiritual" matters. So I naively thought. She poked around a bit, and it was obvious to her, and soon to me, that uh-oh--if I'm really wanting to get to the crux of my roiling mind, it would need to take me through that obstacle for any hope of healing. I cried at the realization, let go, and while I've had a long go over the years, feel that if no cure will ever be at hand, the healing is there, even if it disappears into the fog at times.

So all the reflections in this thread are very familiar, and those flashbacks do make for slow slogs, sometimes. And then, a few weeks ago, I'd been delving into Walker again, did an internet search, and came up with this site.

Similar experience here...I'd read a tad, but was finding it was EF city. So I'd look again, and it became more clear that here were, at last, people who GOT IT, who understood and were willing to share their own fears, quirks, wonderings, and keen observations to advance the healing from the storm.

So it's a hard row, but the currents and winds hitting the boat do die off sometimes, and we can at least experience some common relief. Lastly, I'd rather read as much as I can (if it's not the pandering and/or judgemental sorts of some). It can and does bring up EF triggers all over, but I even made it through 20 pages of Walker the other day without having to close it.  And I'm finding this site a rich font of wisdom based on experience.

General Discussion / Re: HIghly Sensitive People and Empaths
« on: June 07, 2015, 12:15:05 AM »
Good observation, Kubali--thanks for bringing it up.

I say I don't like to categorize but I do anyway; probably to help make sense of the unfathomable tugs/pulls of the cptsd travels/travails. Anyway, I come in at the high extremes of what passes for HSP.

Funny, one of the first questions therapists (I've gone through 9) ask is invariably "are you easily startled?". My answer is always ready--Not at all, quite the opposite, I'm hyper-alert to everything and everybody. Although I guess some of that could be considered intuition. So if there's a positive take on some of the cptsd "effects" it's that our intuitive sides can be uniquely developed that way. But the curse is indeed the tendency to notice so much that it easily overwhelms, and in my case it's the sense of critiquing a situation to be sure the activity or person won't hurt me. Sometimes consciously, often I'm unconscious of it, but it's always there anyway; good/bad, I guess.

Empathy...big time there, too. I've been naturally drawn to volunteer roles with hospice and headstart pre-school programs. My attraction? I find non-judgmental people there, which counteracts my hesitation with social situations. Similarly, in my offbeat "career" as an actor/educator  my intuitive/sensitive nature has allowed me to be effective in those roles as well.

This is just me, but I'd hesitate to call these traits "gifts". Granted they're probably positive which somehow stemmed from negative origins. They happened in spite of the pain we endured, but none of us would volunteer to go there again to receive our "gift". I just feel odd to think that it was good to endure the pain no matter the positive end. 

Truly a paradox, but I'm quibbling with words...ah yes, another obvious cptsd outcome, for me--I tend to tread carefully in writing, as it was once a given I'd be misunderstood, no matter what I tried to say. :stars: Stop me before my inner critic pours it on!


Well, Painted Black, that's at least two of us...'cause my inner critic rises up and yammers about what can I really contribute? Who cares what I think? Can't really be useful, what do I know? Who do I think I am and who cares (again)?

But at least on this group I'm learning that it's all of us sharing, some more/some less and the judgments we're so crippled by were left behind.  We've all dealt enough with those.

By nature (learned from my freeze style of cptsd) I shy away from hugging much, but you deserve a huge one.  :hug: Thanks so much for opening your heart; I've slowly realized it's not as risky or dangerous to do that here.

Ideas/Tools for Recovery / Re: HOPE...
« on: June 02, 2015, 06:10:51 PM »
Thank you, BeHealthy, Hysperger, and Trees,

I think parts of all of your commentary reflects what I saw in the Zach Sobiech story I described, where he had no practical hope, but still expressed his zest for life by doing "some crazy stuff", as he put it. While he inspired hope in others, for himself it became irrelevant, mute, something he didn't need or control. But he could still live, accepting it, and expressing himself despite his condition.   

In several respects, hope doesn't really make much sense anyway, it's just kind of a tape running in the background someplace and we don't really know what it is or what to make of it. We express it as a wish, can sincerely think we have it, or pine for it when it seems elusive. But it's only in the living that we truly express it. Perhaps the word "hope" is even a trap in that regard.

As Trees says, "cherishing any split second spent outside of the pain" cycles what we call hope back to square one. In the end, the striving for something else won't make that much difference, and the peace of accepting it isn't a defeat, a giving up of hope; rather it's an embrace of the life we're here with, right now, and no amount of idle or even the  speculation we call hope changes that. It's the nature of our humanity.

And yes, a big part of the acceptance carries the pain we've encountered. Elsewhere, in the cafe section, I posted a quote I came upon just the other day that hit home: “The smart have their books. The wise have their scars.” (Wayne Wirs). The overwhelming grief and anxiety that looms so large in our cptsd journeys can thus be deemed a gift, I suppose--some well-meaning people even suggest that it is.

But "gift" is an even worse word trap ("oh cool, I got this pain called cptsd and it's just what I wanted; hit me again, I like gifts"). In that context, I hate that word--I don't feel grateful for any of it, but it showed up on  life's agenda. And so I wander on.

Thanks again for nudging me along the path. Your musings and counsel makes the steps easier.

The Cafe / Re: Favorite Quotes
« on: June 02, 2015, 03:02:20 AM »
“The smart have their books. The wise have their scars.”...Wayne Wirs

Ideas/Tools for Recovery / HOPE...
« on: May 28, 2015, 08:55:59 PM »

CPTSD is such a roller-coaster. The 1 step ahead, 2 back cliche kicks in here. But sometimes it feels more like 1 forward, 10 or 100 back. And then you start over again. Maybe. So from where do we derive hope? This has been a daily challenge for me for years. But I often wonder why...why so hard; why so repetitive; so enticing; so endlessly disappointing?

For a while I felt the answer was self-acceptance, and that certainly helps—it's still a work in progress, and I still have trouble with it. I don't know. The danger of self-acceptance is it can become stupid resignation, like ho-hum this happened, poor me, now I go on—just like all the well-meaning folks who prattle their “you'll get over it” wisdom. And of course in reality all life is lived now, in this moment only, and what's past or future is really irrelevant. Fine. But I still hurt, and it stems from the past and it lives via flashbacks that rein me in, and I flee into safe retreat mode yet again.

So where is my hope or do I just cycle round to accepting again? And doesn't self-acceptance seem like just another compromise, sellout, false promise, foolish notion? Always more questions than answers, and they drive me stir-crazy. Hope? Yeah, right.

My best recent inspiration to find and accept hope stems from a story about a teenager from a couple years back. He was dying, slowly, of a rare bone cancer, and was fully aware of that every excruciating day. He wanted somehow to help others once his own fate was sealed, but he had no idea or plan as to how to make that happen. His mother suggested he write some goodbye letters to friends—he tried, it just didn't feel right for him. But he did love his guitar, and he had gotten confident enough with it to start playing around with songwriting. He liked that notion better than mere letters—write and record some songs for people he knew, and by which they'd remember him. So he started scribbling some lyrics and set them to music.

A series of events led to his recording some tunes, and one in particular (“Clouds” by Zach Sobiech) touched millions more than the few friends he thought would ever hear it.  It was about falling, into a hole where there is no hope, but ends with a forward vision and...a hope. Not for cures, or for ease, or any specific--just hope, despite his line “I'll never get my chance”. The upbeat tune matched the hope, but the message was both dark/bright and there's a perceptible drag towards despair right in the middle of the song, where the hope seems about to fade, but doesn't. It did eventually make its way to I-Tunes (all the proceeds to cancer research), YouTube, 2 documentaries, tons of news stories, and was a worldwide sensation of sorts, this tale of a boy and how he lived his wish to help others see the beauty in life in spite of it all and just this vague...hope. And within a couple of months, he was gone.

Some of you may be familiar with this story, but what always struck me was how/why/where did he get this hope from? And, really, hope for what...? One thing I did note from reading about him was that he had a strong, loving family. Well, okay, I didn't (that hope burned), but the story still resonated--how there was hope in spite of no-hope. It didn't make the most sense, which is part of its appeal, I suppose.

His sister wrote a blog about how his death affected her and she notes:

“People often say you need to “have hope”- like it’s this thing you can capture, cage, and keep with you.

“But you don’t just “have” hope when your life is threatened with zealous bone cells or slogged through chemo machines. You don’t just “have” hope when you watch helplessly as your brother dies, when you try to pack all the future, past, and present love you feel into a weak whisper an inch away from a cooling ear. Because every needle p****, every inflamed rash, every pulsing and tender tumor forces the decision to hope to be made over and over. Hope takes practice and intention.

“Zach had to decide that threat of death would not take him alive, that the best case scenario could be real. Even at the end, when there was no best case scenario, he made one. He hoped anyway. I saw him fight for it.”

(Her full blog entry is at and is the entry for August 27, 2014, near the top, titled “To Hope, Anyway”).

She actually surmised that he made hope look easy, and found out in her own grief that it wasn't, that he had just decided on the hope, anyway, and lived it in his own best way.

Combined with some other things in my life, I found the story inspiring and it gave me a new affirmation—to hope, anyway. No, his hope wasn't directly tied to what we call cptsd, but to me cptsd is sort of a death in another guise. And to just have it, illogical as it sounds, and to put it in my heart each day, is what I strive for. My box of pain is still there, close to the flame of hope. But...sounds easy, and then...

I get wildly discouraged...lately I've fallen into a sleepless pattern where the attempt to rest falls apart as memories revive my own cptsd scars, haunting my quest for peace. Why? Why? Why? ...the hope always seems just...out of reach. It comes into view and then fades, sometimes well beyond the progress I thought I'd made, so eagerly, so desperately fought for, so easily gone.

You know what I mean, and it's nice to be on this site where those explanations aren't always necessary. So my question for you is, simply, what's your take on the hope conundrum? Is it always up ahead, or like Zach, can we indeed hope, anyway?   

Ideas/Tools for Recovery / Re: Self-referencing
« on: May 27, 2015, 08:43:01 PM »
A huge thank you, CAT...

Your post represents a big reason I joined find others who've been on the trail and who choose to communicate their discoveries on our common yet individualized journeys as we search for ways around that "piano in the hallway" blocking our steps to the door and into the sunshine.

My own steps feel a little lighter, at long last, for having been here. Thanks again.

This is a frequent EF symptom for me...the waking can/can not be related to a dream, it seems, but I often awake and feel like I'm a kid trying to feel or some notion that I'm not safe. I sometimes hear a distant "inner" voice with an admonishing tone, too. One difference nowadays is I can talk back to the voice, which I couldn't do when younger and which seems to help clear some anger that I bear. One of my cptsd symptoms is hyper-vigilance, so night is also a vulnerable time--something bad could happen, etc.

Nights were often a push-pull for my emotions when young. I was asthmatic, and sometimes awoke with a severe bout of it cutting off my breath. The caregivers gave me meds, and then left me to my own devices--i.e. you're a nuisance, I did my duty to give you drugs, now shut up, sit there, and you're on your own, you didn't die. I felt scorned for being a problem...which wasn't only related to night--but nights spent in a chair after the asthma, awash with thoughts of other familial and school stuff going on; yeah, nights became a real terror. There were other occasional nighttime triggers, but I don't want to get lost in that swamp here.

Regardless of the "then" story, the cycle of waking up in panic mode, and with no obvious present trigger, still happens.  That's kind of what this seems like, with the terrified part being the only constant. Once awake, though, there's other layers that activate a whole line of emotional reaction and I can't get back to sleep--a combo of feeling scared, abandoned, scorned, and then the thoughts expand, grabbing all the loose memories and making me into one scared little boy again. My only remedy is to put on soft Celtic music--my own form of music therapy, I guess. I'm now an expert on that genre.



Yes, and kudos for finding your way through.

I've many reservations about affirmations as well, but sometimes they can work.

And seeing the past as past, that's key and soooo difficult, especially when one finds themselves within a trigger-prone situation.

Something I've tried to incorporate is just a different way of viewing the life story, starting with the idea that it is indeed a story. Albeit the story kind of continues, but how it affects me now can be altered from the trigger-patterns that have been so strong. Full change is very hard, as the "stuff" got so ingrained, but "one step at a time" comes into play.

We all tend to view our lives as singular linear straight-line journeys, when in fact what's ever truly constant? I know it gets overplayed, but a popular observation nowadays is to realize that life is never constant and always changing.

So a favorite thing I try to do is picture "myself" as a movie screen. On it I run a host of screenings ranging from comedies to tragedies and horror flicks, through tragi-comedies to documentaries, and of course I'm often the major character I see. And, like happens with any movie or stage production, I can get drawn into thinking it's all real, right now.

Then the show ends, the lights come back up, there's the stage or screen and what was seen there is nowhere to be found. I can have memories of it, some of them powerful. But the show is over. Nothing changed. Or...?

I might stumble on my way from the theater, I might laugh, or cry, or wonder, maybe even want to run away (again) but then I realize--I'm not in that production anymore. I am free...feel! Now!

First, Indigochild...yes, I'm the same as you--wonder if and especially why anyone should care about what I write, etc., that old self-esteem/compassion conundrum. I just don't feel worthy, but one reason I'm here in the first place is to not feel alone, so I plod on and yes, hope I'm not boring others...and yes, this is supposed to be about mutual support, not just info, and certainly not just to not be boring, but I'd better get myself out of this self-revelatory word-ditch and back on track...

Birthdays. Abhor them. Trigger City. Mainly it involves who's pulling the trigger, but for years even the thought of my birthday being a big deal--nah, not me. And I was able to do it, lots of times--but eventually I "allowed" some friends to make it worthy of some attention. Fair enough, I reasoned, and as it never involved FOOs or other trigger-vibes, it was usually okay.

There was one last remnant, though--my sister sent me a card every blasted year...trouble is, she factors big-time in my cptsd story and I'd brace myself for triggers that would blast me from that card, but I'd never respond (she doesn't live close either, which is cool). Nonetheless, every single year it would happen, and even if I didn't open the card, the triggers blew my psyche to shreds to think that she, of all people, would....I'm stopping myself there.

But here comes the better news--no card this year. Two friends wanted to come over and it was tranquil, peaceful, fun, and what I needed for what I still don't regard as a big day.

Feeling has always been difficult for me. I recall being in groups and the leader would say in a guided meditation...”feel this in your body” and...I'd feel nothing...I was just numb, and my body matched my hollow inside self. Nothing.

Now emptiness is sometimes quite a desired trait, a goal of many who meditate, and they strive hard to be empty—so maybe this is a blessing. One could think that—but mine isn't that sort of empty; it's an injured empty that doesn't want to feel, for it brings up all the old fear/shame/aching my case, the strongest is the fear that I can't love, don't deserve it, can't have it, not for me, too risky...ever, ever, ever. And the cycle turns over and over, no matter what some very sincere people have told me to the contrary.

In my very small social circle (outside of employment, I was very hermit-like), there was a lady who sensed my inner loneliness...until she died last year, she'd call me just to remind me, out of the blue, “We (her family and mutual friends) love you.” She did this many times in her last years and I'd try and accept the sentiment, but the old sense of no, love isn't really for me, she's just saying that, would resurface no matter what. Always the freeze effect returns, and even after years of therapy and reading, some bodywork, etc—the numb feelings always settle in. The door just won't open, or if it does the fears obscure the view. What's weird now is,  most of the ones I know have died, and I've become more isolated than ever and I ask it all gone?  Then the mind voice-over says: “Figures--you don't deserve love, anyway.”

My vocational life often involved intense feelings--hospice work, teaching, always a social component despite my own hermit tendencies. I was absolutely adored by children and others I assisted with their lives, but in my own life I was still untouchable--love all around and none for me.

Okay...stuck in circles of unworthiness. Is there really a way through? Or perhaps there is no way, it's always/already here, and this confusion is the only reality? Or...please help me becomes my nightly mantra, and memories rush in, and my response relives the fear, agony, confusion, bitterness, helplessness, until I go numb, again, my only sure escape, not to feel. Numbness fills the void and I give up.  It's almost as if it's my natural state, like walking around in a block of ice that never melts.  Some writers suggest this is love too, just in disguise. I try to grasp this, want to feel it, and...numbness. Maybe the trying is, indeed, the obstacle. And so I wonder, and wander, in this awful search to feel.

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