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Messages - woodsgnome

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The Cafe / Re: Happy Mother's Day
« on: June 28, 2015, 03:37:30 PM »
Rock Me to Sleep

My birth mother was lost to me, in ways I won't rehash here. But her loss did leave a huge ache in my heart. So when I heard this song on the radio, it hit all the sore points, dreams, and nightmares about the loss.

The performer was Cathie Ryan, an Irish-American singer/songwriter. She says:

I found this song in an old collection of poetry.  It was written by American poet Elizabeth Akers Allen approx 1860. I originally recorded it on the Northstar CD ‘Mother‘ which is no longer in print.

Backward, turn backward, Time in your flight
Make me a child again, just for tonight
Mother, come back from the echoless shore
Take me again to your heart like before

Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair
Over my slumber your loving watch keep,
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep

Backward, flow backward, tide of the years
I am so weary of toil and of tears
Toil without recompense, tears all in vain,
Take them and give me my childhood again;

For I have grown weary of dust and decay,
Weary of flinging my soul wealth away,
Weary of sowing for others to reap,
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep

Mother, oh mother, my heart calls for you
Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue
Manys a summer the grass has grown green
Blossomed and faded, our faces between

Backward, oh backward, Time in your flight
Make me a child again, just for tonight.
Come from the silence so long and so deep,
Rock me to sleep, mother, rock me to sleep
Rock me to sleep

General Discussion / Re: Creativity...
« on: June 28, 2015, 01:42:39 PM »
Creativity isn't a rare gift conferred on only a few. It's just an expression we all have access to. It's something we do everyday, whether it's merely to struggle with pain or wonder where to turn or what we can do about something, or go back to bed. Regardless, we react to life in a myriad of ways—all of them we must create in some way or another.

Rich, poor, educated or no, it's something that everyone does; some celebrate it, some are afraid of the scorn and ridicule it might bring them. It's often hard; at other times it flows from somewhere deep within that no creative art could ever explain.

Everyone on this site is creative, whether they share a lot, a little, now and then, or not at all. The difference is we've all made the choice to acknowledge that we need help, want to share experiences, or at least read about other people's walk with this. We're curious enough to do that, because we want something to hope for. Nobody asked for this, but we're reacting as best we can...and that's creative, by anyone's definition.

That by itself doesn't make anyone uniquely gifted. Perhaps you're the only one who will ever see your art, hear your music or read your writing. Fact is, many of us were taunted, ridiculed, beaten, and ignored when we tried to express anything that we felt was beautiful or just reflected the smallest joy. To call that a fantastic gift can seem a bit far-fetched. Still, if someone truly feels that way, is that a problem? Given the choice to undergo the events that led us here is pretty obvious—we didn't want it and would never willingly submit to undergo it again. And if we express it in a way called creative, who cares what it's called if it helps us out of our pain?

Was any of the earlier path creative? No—it was just awful. It caused us to hide, cry, cringe, rage, give up, and all that brought us to this point. Only now do some of us find it's even safe to reach out for, and share the love we feel stirring within. Not special; but universal, and we deserve to share, whether we call it creative or not.

The creative act is always just to react to what life is, and when we create we can veer in any direction we have. Sometimes those choices are limited, but many of us choose (often bravely) to seek beauty. It's never because of our hurt, but it's our glorious star, and it guides us to have hope, finding a joy we can finally feel free to be proud of.

The quote that writer Laura Davis chose to include, on the writing prompt submitted earlier on this thread, was from the poet John Berryman. What she didn't mention is the irony; that despite the acclaim he achieved in the mid-20th century, he never fully escaped his own demons, and fell victim to suicide in 1972.

General Discussion / Re: Rudderless adult
« on: June 26, 2015, 12:26:10 PM »
I'm often in a similar boat, if I think about it rationally. And when I stop over-thinking what seems to be a rotten state, I reach a blank spot where, as you said, there's “Just an immense amount of empty space”.

When I draw aside the bleakness, and let the murky Inner Critic's cruel judgements fade, then I ask myself: does it all need filling? Maybe that empty space was precisely what I needed after endless years of so much inner struggle and endless searching for answers that only receded further out of reach.

I realize that sounds terribly idealistic, and is different from the societal norm of making life into one of consistent meaning and forward progress. For me the empty space became the very meaning and purpose, as it was where I found the most peace, which became the only goal once I accepted the futility of all those other voices telling me I needed something solid, not empty space. 

The real consistency is always forgetting that peace—within 15 minutes I can become that rudderless and aimless adult Walker describes. The last few days have followed that pattern--horrible moments of hopelessness, with no friends to turn to, emotional flashbacks threatening to smash my hard-won progress. Loneliness presses in on all sides. Failure.

Somehow, maybe stupidly, I know the peace is in the empty space—it never leaves, as it has no place to go. Today my mood is better, and sadly the feeling may be temporary; it usually is. But the truth of peace isn't; its mysterious presence is like an enclosed candle lantern, and when I can open it, the light is still there.

What I had to do was alter my view, and the empty space didn't seem so scary. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but it's where my comfort was. I hope your bleakness doesn't close that window of peace. Purpose and meaning shift, but one can simply return to the true peace that doesn't require a searchlight; only a candle.

 Hi, CC

Good to see you here. Your well-presented thoughts echo into the space of mixed emotions we all feel at times. 

You mentioned family ties and the pros/cons of staying in touch. In my experience I simply had to cut them off, I couldn't function for a long time while in proximity. It helped that I ended up being able to just move far away. I probably danced a jig on my way to the land of "forget about it", for real. Unfortunately, out-of-sight didn't translate to out-of-mind. I finally scratched "forget about it" off the list a couple years ago, as the flashbacks still tumble in anyway and life becomes a frantic tumble and push-pull, which you seem to reluctantly accept as well.

You also wrote:"I realise how worried I am about celebrating my happiness and coming across as gloating! I guess it’s a good example of the layers of emotion involved in triggering and EF’s!" Precisely. My experience is just when the road seems clear, an awful storm full of lurking images and nightmares overtakes all the seeming progress I think I've made. It slams me, but then I find it passes, albeit all too slowly.

Thank you for adding your thoughtful input. 

General Discussion / Creativity...
« on: June 23, 2015, 06:41:06 PM »
My journey with cptsd has been agonizing, yet I've often wondered how it affects creativity--writing, music, performance arts, crafts, etc. I can easily find footprints of my pain, anger, grief, and more all over my trail to and within various creative fields. From being an actor to writing to teaching in a unique manner, I wonder how the talents I was lucky enough to share may have stemmed, for good or ill, from that heavy overlay of depression.

I certainly don't consider myself grateful for that stuff. Hearing some even refer to the "gifts" of cptsd annoys me. And sure, I naturally tend to dwell on the negativity of my "freeze-style" (per Pete Walker's description) but forget all about the freezer's positive traits. Still, I'll never bless the "good fortune" of my trip through * as the grand cause of a creative life. And I don't foresee myself being ready to forgive my gift-givers either. Those parts I don't care about; just wondering how others on this forum might feel about the cptsd/creativity connection, if any.

Enough of my prattle, though--what led to my wondering was the following quote and questions from "The Writer's Roadmap" on


"The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he's in business."
--John Berryman
Today's Writing Prompt:

What do you think of Berryman's idea? If you've experienced trauma in your life, do you think it's fueled your creativity? Has it given you important material for your creative work? Has it fueled your desire to express yourself in writing or has it been an impediment? Do you believe that suffering is essential to creativity? Why or why not?     

General Discussion / Re: Negative mind - wanting to change this
« on: June 21, 2015, 04:26:41 PM »
I'm of the same mindset, and it's probably an unconscious defensive posture developed early on when I bought into the notion that everyone I encountered was a potential danger. That attitude stuck. Nowadays I often display a friendly or least okay disposition when I first meet someone; then something goes awry (and it can be very minor) that seems to set off a trigger that says “be careful” and it spirals down from there. I'm aware of it better, but it's pretty hard to resist the old habits.

Even the phrase “work on it” is always hard for me, probably because when young the premise of working at something frequently backfired, and my safety was to distrust the notion that mere working at something would accomplish anything. Now, if I remember to switch out “working on it” for “playing with options”, that seems to make it easier.

My prob is that even when it seems to go okay with other people, I run into one with red flags—just one—and my old self-protective instincts kick in as if to say DANGER AHEAD, get away. I've developed an inner “helper” that whispers things like “you're okay; safe; wonderful as you are”. This probably sounds hokey to some, but it helps me out, so I stick with it. The push-pull, stumbles, starts and false leads of the inner/outer critic is another hazard that threatens to wear one's resolve to a frazzle.

What I'd like to do is get to a point where the words are only pointers—we learn and forget 'em all anyway. But if we keep absorbing what we do learn, there's hope, and then we incorporate that too; to where it's not just possible to change, we gladly surrender to it. Sounds like your therapist has set a good starting point for you and I wish you well.

Introductory Post / Re: Finally Dealing With This
« on: June 21, 2015, 01:57:59 PM »
Elizabeth wrote: "I feel so stupid. I should have done better and I didn't, I couldn't...[in relationship] and I've been having panic attacks, crying fits, I've left without saying anything..."

Elizabeth, the first step can be a hard one, so congrats on doing that. Looking into this site, too--the key is finding people who've not just been there/done that but acknowledge, like yourself, that the journey out can present situations one never encountered before. But this site offers a vantage point where you can at least stop and take a deserved breather while trying to negotiate the new territory.

Your panic attacks/crying etc. ring a loud bell that resonates with my own experience. Mine resulted from a deep layering of unworthiness and self-contempt and loathing that I couldn't have stopped some of what happened, couldn't change it when it did, and it mushroomed to where I gave up on myself. In relationships I sometimes couldn't fathom that anyone would accept, let alone love me, for real. The reality is I'd been a defenseless kid when I was abused (the first times anyway), but I didn't know the full effects of how that had hampered me 'til I hit situations as an adult where I could barely function. Sounds like that may have happened in your situation.

Part of your fortitude you've just demonstrated, though, by accepting to somehow take the courage :applause: to step out and begin helping yourself. A motto I ran across once on my own climb was: "fortitude in distress". I hope you continue to find your way out.   

Introductory Post / Re: Stuck
« on: June 19, 2015, 02:37:29 PM »
First, I feel for/with you :hug:

One of the hardest things is to accept the stuck part; we're all told it's all onward and all that kind of stuff.

I don't say this to discourage anyone, but I'm 65, and the onward premise was high on my set of assumptions...I mean, it couldn't get any worse, could it? And while the youthful situation I was in certainly set lots of things in motion, the memories "stuck" and I'm still peeling off the residue. I don't want to discourage you, but that word includes something we all need to treasure on this site, and by joining I think you've exhibited that trait.

Take the first 3 letters off of discourage and it leaves courage. And that's what you've demonstrated by opening to seek assistance, even this way if, as you say, resources are hard to come by in MS. And if you read many here have found the Pete Walker book on CPTSD enormously beneficial. It's hard at first--I could only grope my way through for a while, but even though a book will not heal, it can point out some things that easily sneak by our bruised psyches.

I hope this makes a little sense..., sure it's just a silly little word game, but...I don't know. I have huge confidence probs in some areas; my worst goes back to those times when no one listened to anything, and I was totally abandoned to find my own way out. In the last couple years I've come to appreciate another little word that can say a lot: acceptance...another way to say it is..."Regret is the longing to change the past. Fear is the desire to control the future. Peace is the surrender to now." (Jeff Foster)

So just by being here=courage. Stuck? It seems so, and there is another route, and it may even get worse in the meantime, but the first step of reaching out is getting those 3 letters isn't magical but starting is starting.

I'm a personable, friendly person. People scoff at my personal notion that I'm shy, and I've come to believe that my self-definition was perhaps a screen to hide behind.

But I'm still lonely.

I'm valued for my knowledge and lauded for the natural ease and artistic skill to communicate what I know with passion. I'm described as fun, even wildly funny. I've had many adults and lovely children express their appreciation of my talents. I'm told I'm the greatest; often.

But I'm still lonely.

I never really wondered as to the why; there's a story and it's painful. It stays tucked in, 'cause the inner pain is at least safer than the outer risk of showing it. Even those who've gotten a peek—their words of comfort come off as cliché-laden streams of good intentions but they don't register. In the end, there's always the distance, the gap that won't bridge to my island of grief.

So I'm still lonely. Friendly, personable, lonely. I tell myself there's a difference between being alone and being lonely, and I realize I'm seeking self-comfort using other people's words from the books and articles I devour. Then I check what I feel inside; yep, still lonely. Then the mind-loop spins to wonder what am I doing wrong again. Maybe I really did deserve to be abused and abandoned in the first place, rejected as me but accepted for the show.

Therapy? Well, I hesitated seeing a T for years, found a couple (out of 9 total) who made a little sense, but it still seemed so...artificial. Like I really have to pay someone to be a friend? But I'm so friendly and personable—that's what I'm led to believe.

I was still lonely. Recently, someone who did see across to my island of hurt placed many long-distance calls to me. The message was always to reassure me that my kindnesses were always treasured and that she and her husband loved me, despite the passage of years from when I'd been their neighbor and boss, even. She said she knew I needed reminders...then, her husband dies, she follows shortly after. She even instructed her daughter while she was dying to remind me that I was loved. But have I said those awful words yet? I still feel lonely. Even the friends who could sincerely touch me, died. Alone and lonely, again. Totally illogical, I answer me this: how logical were the wounds  that landed me in this hole to begin with?

Who'd really love me; the L word remains my biggest mystery.
I reach out to promising friend candidates, the ones who seem most likely to be open and honest. My personable, friendly manner—oh yeah, that's still there, is the response I always sense. To a point. And it stops there, 'cause no one can still the roiling waters. Sometimes I don't let them, I'll admit; but then I really try, and...what's wrong with me? 

Looking for help? I can find bits and pieces, sometimes lots, via some reading, some music, other artistic endeavors, but the feeling I've dreamed about the most remains elusive...I'm just a lonely mess. A friendly, personable, smart, cool, total mess. Still. And maybe the surest way is to have no way anymore. Heck, I already live in a semi-wilderness, a very real one I can see right out the window, in every direction. People tell me they'd love to live in my situation. Paradise. Yeah, right. Oops—I need to finish this rant and be off to some friendly, personable thing, I reckon. If you've read this far I'm sorry it was so dreary. And too long, but the words slipped by and I couldn't tuck 'em all back in.

Odd—I glanced at a daily meditation I receive just as I finished writing here and  found these words leaping at me:  “Do not abandon what is moving within you. Weave a home for the lonely one, the confused one, the hopeless one, and the disappointed one. For these ones have come as love in disguise, to reveal just how vast and alive you truly are.”

Perhaps. I don't believe it, but maybe don't have to. I'm lonely is all I've ever known. Must love always come as a disguise? 

General Discussion / Re: How to renew strength
« on: June 17, 2015, 06:45:27 AM »
Trace said: How do you renew your strength to fight? Do we even really need to fight? Or is it more about accepting what we have to deal with and learning how to deal with it? Fighting is so energy consuming. It's really hard to not want to fight though.

I'm in and out of this question daily and it's a huge paradox. Giving up, plodding on, seeking friends I never seem to find, frustrated the human company I long for eludes me. Searching for ways to dull the painful memories that haunt me. On and on. Despair just sits there, and it's ugly, but fighting it seems counter-intuitive. Paradox again.

At first acceptance can be interpreted as giving in, but it's just exploring the territory to find a new route in search of the peace we crave. That can tire one as easily as a drawn-out fight would, though. And the answers seem to always fade just out of view. 

My means to renew my spirit range from enjoying the beautiful area I live in, listening to and/or playing music, reading, and other low stress activities. Even some of that could be construed as fighting against loneliness and despair. Or hiding from those nagging feelings of self-negation left over from years of “stuff”. It's like a built-in fatigue factor.
Plus there's all those other silly macho notions encouraged by a competition-oriented society. We are beautiful people without being constantly challenged to prove it.

It's probably just a quibble with definitions. Sigh. No matter what words we choose, we're at least striving, if not fighting, to feel better about ourselves, I guess. Hard to wrap any logic around it, and so we wander on. And sometimes, when the hope fades yet again, the peace is just there, beyond understanding.   


General Discussion / Re: What do you want???
« on: June 15, 2015, 09:11:22 PM »
Certainly, Kubali, take whatever time necessary. One of the realities of cptsd seems to be, for better or worse, that while we're sometimes feeling rushed and need to know, answer, or respond right away, finding the proper time and space to participate is pretty individual. There's a lot of material on here to digest, and some of it requires oceans of patience; we're all eager to get to the end, but find we have to step back now and then or the end just fades into more confusion anyway.

I don't participate in many sites of this nature, but the approach here of being able to search and respond (or not) in due time is what some of us seem to need more than others. This shared learning runs in a timeless loop.

Poetry & Creative Writing / Re: Poetry Corner
« on: June 15, 2015, 05:50:20 PM »
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

   David Whyte, from his poem "Sweet Darkness"

General Discussion / Re: What do you want???
« on: June 15, 2015, 02:17:53 PM »
Kubali, the quote under your name on your posts resonates deeply with me: The Truth comes from a place of Peace

I've winnowed my want list to one permanent desire, a solo goal—Peace. In everything I do. And one thing I seem to have realized about the search for it is that I can't find my only desire elsewhere. Because it's within each of us.

Of course that gets covered over, and it seems more acceptable to strive endlessly until, like mythologist Joseph Campbell used to point out, one reaches the top of the wall and finds out their ladder was set in the wrong spot on the wrong wall. Everyone said that's what was necessary.

Even wanting only peace can create misunderstanding. I was even told by a couple therapists that peace was a good idea, but not that practical as a goal. Perhaps; but for me I've traveled all the roads leading to “somewhere” and what worked for me always came back to the same place, and that was to cultivate inner peace, and let the externals fall into place. Otherwise my wanting can quickly deteriorate to one of frantically trying to control every circumstance, and then be utterly disappointed if it falls apart or deviates one iota from the goal.

Of course I have plenty of short-term wants; have to. And maybe I am denying the practical, like some have told me. My peace probably won't be found following a straight line. Being on this site it's clear I'm still traveling with fear, grief, anger, and all the rest we know too well. Certainly I set out to accomplish goals, but it's still just peace I really want. If it sounds too dreamy to some, that's okay, but I DID search hard and peace remains my only answer.

General Discussion / Re: then and now
« on: June 13, 2015, 05:54:09 PM »
Wingnut wrote: “...are we remaining in victim mode when we continuously don waders and muck around in bad memories?”

I'm reminded of a book by mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn that was called WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE. And I feel that “you” includes all those memories of the mud, for good or ill.

My own experiences with this ranges from changing my name, moving to a different country, denial, acceptance, therapy, intense seeking, giving up seeking, in therapy, out of therapy, against therapy, back/forth/around, rare feelings of worthiness, more usual ones of inadequacy, times of just feeling dizzy with it all. :stars:

I've come to accept that this moment is all there is, cliched as that sounds, and to let go (short of forgiveness; I can't come to that point, and don't care to anymore; scratch it off the list). But staying with the present in these monkey-minds of ours; I've given that up as well. It's like the old saying of “try not to think of an elephant for the next five minutes” and of course you can't NOT think of it.

So I accept that there's mucky territory and it always somehow does pass, but it also could be lurking around the next corner and/or when the next EF happens. But I feel better equipped to accept it (which is NOT equivalent to giving in to it). Otherwise my expectations can outpace the reality when I hit the bumps, and it sets up my disappointment cycle for another crash.

Neglect/Abandonment / Re: It wasn't THAT bad, right? (triggers)
« on: June 12, 2015, 10:53:41 PM »

Degrees and comparisons of what we think others experienced, or fantasies that “oh I didn't have it so bad” are sort of like false leads; tricks the ego plays which only abets our avoiding some things head-on. Quite understandable, as it's scary territory and surely this pain will cease on its own. Yeah, right--that's what I thought, too. Until the pain cried out, "help me!"

One of the first therapists I tried noted that on my info sheet I'd checked the child abuse line as an issue I was aware of. But I didn't indicate that to her when I initially inquired. Because I was still in huge denial and, frankly, afraid of going there. All I knew was I wanted some vague relief from my long depression.

We went through various life episodes and she started to hone in on some things that kept cropping up; especially those related to parental abandonment and physical/emotional abuses from religious schools I'd been in. And she began to sense a pattern.

Well, okay, but I assured her I'd worked with that stuff on my own, that I knew so much about personality issues, etc. She didn't buy that and continued probing the abuse issues.

I started to point out that “others had it worse”. She explained that the abuses I had described were as bad as any she'd ever come across. I'd venture a “but” about some incident and start a comparison with the “worse-off others” and she'd counter with...”how do YOU feel—its' never about THEM.” Slowly I saw the truth of what she pointed out, the real pain I'd avoided for years. The tears rolled, and I realized that my cover for seeking therapy only concealed a huge iceberg of pain, grief, and anger.

So, Tiasarah, comparisons truly don't count. It is about you--your feelings, your bruised soul, your frustration. You began by saying the physical abuse wasn't there, and then relate the school incidents, plus the constant threat of physical consequences to back up the emotional slams. And from what you've described, and your guilt over even thinking that maybe at least it wasn't so bad—no, it WAS, and is, and don't worry about the others (easier said than done). The only person you know hurting is you, and you want to find a way beyond the pain. It's not easy, but avoiding the comparison trap might at least keep it more focused on your healing journey. And no one else's.

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