The Holidays in Haiku

The holidays are upon us. Hellidays in my mind. There are so many IUDs and triggers lying about that i am constantly running into them at this time of the year. I’m not of a monotheistic faith so there is no attachment. Basically i see Christmas as a tradeoff to get the Druids to stop celebrating the Winter Solstice debauchery and move over to Christianity.

In any event, i thought i’d write a few haiku addressing the immense internal stress of this time. Not in any particular order, just little vignettes. So here we go

Holidays just suck
Perpetrator went insane
Ev’ry Christmas Eve

I didn’t have fun
The Christmas celebrations
I was always hurt

Santa Claus would come
With dozens of gifts for me
Ev’rything but love

Mom would lose her shit
Too much pressure I suppose
Guess who made dinner?

I would always cry
Internal bleeding hurting
Dad losing HIS shit

I have learned to cope
With happy happy joy joy
Some girls are having

My wife into it
(Recovering Catholic)
So we make our joy

Wife makes Peking Duck
I wrap most of the presents
On Dread Christmas Eve

Bacchanalia
Of the in-laws, not so much
They’re not a bright group

We’ll go to the Zoo
And see A Christmas Carol
Our traditions now

Lots of great presents
Reindeer antlers on the cats
Send out Christmas cards

But i hate this time
Usually fade away
A hybernation

January comes
And i will be back again
For now–toodeloo

;).

The Night I Lost All Hope

May be mildly triggering.

So i was sitting in therapy, telling C that i’m feeling pretty darn well. That i had gotten myself out of my Black Pit of Depression and how it worked.

Then, because i had had my first Christmas Eve Flashback prompted by seeing the first christmas lights of the season, the conversation naturally ventured there.

I have had this repetitive flashback for what seems my entire life. It frustrates me because it’s far from the worst that was done to me. I’ve gotten pretty good at dissembling holiday-related triggers and flashes–but never understood this one. I don’t think anyone other than my wifey knows this one. Maybe, i just don’t recall it.

So, after a couple of minutes of C saying open ur eyes sweetie look at me sweetie jesus look at your posture look at me be present with me…i launched into it.

Every year we would go to visit Uncle Norman’s house on Christmas Eve for several hours. I think this one time i was maybe 6 or 7, whenever kids lose their teeth. I am looking at it now and i look like about 6ish.

Anyway, Uncle Norman had gotten to me earlier in the day but it doesn’t matter really what happened. In this flashback there are around 15 people or so, very jovial atmosphere Xhristmas songs on the radio blah blah. Uncle Norman is sitting in his recliner across the room from the tree and the presents. He motions to me and says come here, sit on my lap. No that’s ok i reply and try to leave the room. Mom catches me by the wrist and says You’re Very Rude, go sit on Uncle Norman’s lap. No, i don’t wanna. She swaps me on the butt and drags me over to him. Mind you, i had told her the previous summer what he had been doing to me.

So i’m forced on Uncle Norman’s lap. Actually i am sitting on his hand and he’s movung his fingers around under me. I say he’s like diddling me. Fifteen people are in that room, everybody jollying it up, and he is messing with me. He keeps sorta readjusting himself and i can feel his hardon.

I have two parts to this flash i tell C. There’s a sound in my ears like a Swooosh and i alternate between seeing the Christmas tree across the room in a sort of tunnel vision, like a kaleidoscope. The lights were blinking and reflecting off the gobs of tinsel. Then i hear swoooooosh again and i am looking at myself, sitting there on his lap. Just like watching a movie.

At this point in the telling of this story my thoughts become very disjointed. All those people around. I can hear all that laughter as if it was far away down a long tunnel. Mom knew, yes my mother knew but she did nothing, just laughing aling with the rest of them. Ho ho ho.

I say all those people and nobody did a thing. Jesus. It’s silent in the room then this pops out of my mouth:

That’s when i gave up. I learned about absolute powerlessness and futility and utter lack of control at that moment. I gave up that night. I lost all hope. Wow, that’s right.

That is when i lost all hope and realized i was utterly alone.

Silence. C says wellthatwasthenthisisnowlookatmehonwyit’s2010nowrighthellloooootherewhereareyou?

I hear myself say that is the Black Pit exactly. When i get that complete depression this is exactly what it felt like on that Christmas Eve. That’s where it comes from.

C looks at me. Wow honey that is really something. So when you go down that black path…..it’s really something that happened 44 years ago and you’ve juat now realized it? Yeah you’d think….No says C. This deserves incredible congratulations this is a huge, huge connection. Don’t go blowing off your acconplishment.

Ok. Silence for abit as i sit there, srunned. It’s exactly the same feeling, man. Wow.

C starts talking about how pedophiles do these things etc etc get off on the power etc etc i’m not really able to focus.

Then she says i want you to know something sweetie. If i had been in that room i would have broken every one of his ten fingers. This was a horrible thing blah blah and on we go from there.

The day i gave up hope. It’s so important to figure this shit out.

Call for submissions-Carnival against Child Abuse

I will be hosting the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse for November. Our theme, which you can choose to address or not, is….what else….ta daaaaaaa…..drumroll please….. HOLIDAY TRIGGERS! It’s a tough time for many survivors and thrivers. We’re shown all these images of perfect, happy homes, fried turkeys Santa Claus and dredles. Which for so many just didn’t ever exist. Oftentimes the abuse was ratcheted up a notch. Happy Holidays, indeed.

Feel free to say whatever the heck you want to about the Holiday Season in this month’s Carnival. Ranting and raving is allowed, please add “trigger” to rough stuff. It’s also a great time to talk about how you cope with it all (hint for you professionals out there especially!).

Your submission doesn’t have to be original, you know. You can submit something you wrote five years ago that works for you. Participatiuon is the buzzword here. Of course, you can just ignore this month’s theme and talk about any of our regular monthly topics:

-Advocacy and Awareness
-Aftermath
-Healing and Therapy
-In the News
-Poetry
-Survivor Stories
-Art Therapy

The purpose of the Carnival Against Child Abuse is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse – physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, verbal – are discussed. We highlight blog posts from child abuse survivor stories, survivor art and poetry, child abuse as a topic in the news media, as well as PTSD, dissociation and other areas of the abuse aftermath that adult survivors are forced to deal with. We link to hopeful posts about therapy, recovery, and healing from abuse. All forms of child advocacy and awareness are included.

I’m looking for new posts that you have written specifically for the carnival, or an old post from your archive. You are not limited to just one submission! I know that (surprise) I have alot to say about all of this stuff, so expect to see it. Again–participate! It’ll help you feel better!

You can submit your posts here using the form, or you can email your links to me at splinteredones@gmail.com

I’ll be taking submissions until midnight Tuesday November 23rd and the Carnival will be posted on Friday the 26th.

Thank you! I’m excited to read all of your fabulous submissions this month. Namaste _/|\_

Battlestar Galactica

My mind has been waging a huge war over me in the past ten days or so. The primary issue has had to do with whether it’s my duty to stay alive, slogging thru the shit for some unknown reason, or if I have an obligation to just go ahead, kill myself, and start over with the next life.

Frankly, it’s a tangle. Kenny Chesney the country weatern singer has a great line in one of my favorite songs. “For all the answers and the reasons why I’m at this crossroads in my life and I don’t really know which way to go.”

This is where I’ve been. It has seemed like a time for decisions, though. I did the research had the plan. Wrote a current will and fascinated myself with the perfect goodbye letters.

Once all the glam was done, I just waited. For ten days I let unedited thought pass thru me. It was a heavy time of flashbacks and exhaustion.

Ihavenovalueihavenopurposenobodywouldmissmeforlonghoqgreattojuatbedonethisonehasbeenaclusterfyxkfromthebefinningiwillpayahugepriceinjarmadorthosehorriblethingsrhathappenedbutijusycantdothisanylonger.

I got off the strict diet I was on (to support my wife who’s just been diagnosed w/diabetes) at the command of my therapist, the omniscient C. Within a day I was regaining my strength. I was becoming able to do a couple of my coping things and felt a tad better still.

It was said to me that even though my life to date has been this huge clusterfuck that it needn’t always be that way. Then she said these words: “your purpose in this life is to learn thru your rough life whatever it is that your karma needs to learn. Probably healing many lives’ worth of lessons. That is the purpose of this life for you. Healing”.

Oh yeah. Hummm, well. Bad Buddhist, bad! So I meditated on that for a day or so, during which time it became as clear as crystal. Yes I have a purpose in this lifetime. And yes–healing IS what it’s about.

I don’t know what has happened during earlier wanderings of my soul. But I can honestly say that I don’t know much about healing myself.

And so I see that I can do good to my own personal karma, which will improve the wisdom of the Collective. I have been so lost. But now I’m found thru my faith. Was blind but now I see.

Battlestar Galactica is over for now and I’d like to think that Universal good has won. I am not naive, I know that I have a long painful road to walk. But at least thru this round I have a purpose. Heal to teach others how to heal. I like this.

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Battlestar Galactica

I’m getting near the place of finally just quitting. Iambitadangertomyselforothers at this time but am not making any promises. A dark shroud was forced over my head in my childhood and I am realizing that nothing can ever make that go away.

Suicide is an interesting question. My soul, like everyone else’s, is timeless until something happens to mass. I figure I have around five million years to keep cycling thru and I am really not up for it.

There are lessons for me to learn this time around. I know what they are I think but I can no longer see how I’m gonna learn any of them here. I know that I am doomed to go backwards next time around because there is so much of horrendous that I cannot healthily reconcile. Evil has attached itself to me and there’s no getting out.

It breaks my heart. I have tried so, so hard to be a good person. But I will never be good enough in this life I fear.

The only thing that is keeping me alive is the fear of facing all the damage done to my karma. That and the physical act of dying.

People say all the time that everything happens for a reason. Why I have happened I do not know. Nobody’s ready this time around to hear my message. It’s nice to think that people care but I really don’t believe it. Many people have been nice to me of course and I have greatly appreciated that.

My message was this: speak up. Don’t be tolerant of abuse. Be militant. And yet every few seconds some girl somewhere is being sexually abused somewhere in the world. It’s like it doesn’t exist. Fuckall.

I have this huge pile of crap that I’m trying to be able to do. Cope. But one has to ask–is that really enough to keep going? Is feeling good for awhile really all that I can do?

I am worthless. All used up before I hit my teens. Such a shame that I am not a good enough person to be able to turn that around and be valuable in any way. I would like to think that I could be helpful, but I can’t be. I do not know why. Is what is.

The clock is ticking on this allforshit life of mine. It seems that this life has let me be strong enough to handle some very serious shit but hasn’t given me the strength or compassion or whatever it took to use it to teach. To save children. Not so much for me.

Cat Therapy and CBT

I’ve been having abit of a bad day. I can’t seem to be able to relax, to just let things flow. My home has some bad mojo in it at the moment, but I’ve put up some pretty good boundaries and that shouldn’t be impacting me as much as I am allowing it to do so.

I’d had a bit of a shin thing going on, so my normal recourse in these situations, running, is out. I’ve gone down my list but I just can’t seem to get to my coping stuff today. It’s comprised of various creative outlets but today it feels like I’m made of cardboard, just a box of nothing much. My therapist would advise me to try doing something even if I don’t feel it and she would be right. But for some damn reason I just can’t get there from here. Even my meditation is off today.

Sometimes you’re the windshield sometimes you’re the bug. Today I am definitely the latter.

I was sitting on the couch, trying to be conscious of my breath, shedding each icky though as it arose, one after the other, when my huge cat Silas jumped up and laid down on the wide leather arm. He looked at me, closed his eyes, and instantly fell asleep. I absentmindedly started to scratch his favorite place, right behind the ears. He started to purr (Silas has the loudest purr of any cat I’ve ever owned, which is many many cats), leaned into my hands. His eyes opened, he gave me a good “meow”, then closed them again and renewed his pleasure mode of just digging being petted.

It hit me like a thunderbolt. Dharma was giving me a present of my cat just at that moment. I noticed how completely he was in each moment. Just being fuzzy, warm, comfy and cared for. He wasn’t thinking about the past or considering future paths. He wasn’t thinking about filing quarterly taxes he couldn’t seem to get to today.

Silas was just noticing how happy he was in each moment.

I petted my cat for twenty minutes, just noticing him noticing. I became aware that my body was releasing tension I hadn’t even realized was there. Just sitting there, listening to a deep rich cat purr and allowing him to be happy.

Allowing him to be happy. I forget to do that for myself. I have this life that is healing, but I’ve been missing the big point of why the healing is taking place. It’s not that running or painting or writing or playing piano make me happy in and of themselves. These activities allow me to give myself permission to experience myself thru their action. Sure, there’s dopamine release and endorphins when I’m running or doing yoga.

I’ve misunderstood CBT for a long, long time. I have always thought substitution of positive activities to be distractions from what is really going on. So it rankles as much as it helps. But just as thru the actions of my perpetrator the person I was had changed, it’s thru self-expression that I am able to learn who I am becoming.

As I type this I am staring at the light of a candle. I breathe softly on the wick and it moves. Thru action it is altered. It’s essence remains the same. It burns, plain and simple. I can directly impact its motion but it stays true to itself. Just burning, one moment at a time.

There is an essence in me that burns serenely. Just like the candle, just like Silas, who’s still sleep-purring next to me. It’s so simple and yet so hard. Now all I need is a cat I can put in my pocket and I’ll be all set. I’ve decided to rest for the remainder of this day. Non-harm to all sentient beings includes me, after all.

My Relationship

I have grown/recovered at a furious pace in the past five months. I look back and while I recognize that poor bescattered woman, she seems a thousand miles away.

I am running–outside. I am working. Not as much as I need to no but working at all is new for me so I’ll still keep it in the Win column. I meditate every day. I’m painting again and am teaching myself to play the piano. I am writing far far less than I ever have. I used to type the same things, over and over again for hours on end.

Now I write what I want. I am in the process of getting a trademark on a killer invention and I am getting together the book I was meant to write.

So I have all this really great growth stuff happening. And my relationship with my partner is beginning to weigh very heavily on my mind.

I love my partner and she loves me. We’ve been together for 17 years. We’ve gotten thru the loss of three parents, all within a year or so of one another. We’ve made it thru the worst of my illness.

I need for the basic dynamics of our relationship tp change with me. But I don’t know that it can. It isn’t up to me, really. I’d like to say that it is up to us, together. But I don’t know that I can.

I have been as flexible as I could be during the course of our relationship. Basically wifey runs the show. She’s very rigid in her thinking. Once she sets a neural pathway there is no changing it.

Like the sex thing. From out of nowhere a decade or so ago she declared that she was celibate. She could never explain it, never went into detail. Just…done. Lays down the line and that’s it. No questions no answers.

I’ve been very patient. Learned to not take it personally (she says it’s my fault but won’t elaborate), learned to just deal as best I can. I get laud every now and then–when she decides. Were I to ask for it all he’ll would break loose. Accusations w/out explanations, vindictiveness…..not pretty. So I just adapted.

She has a complete inability for intimacy. She had a horrid growing-up. Older siblings just brutal to her, alcoholic dad victim mother. Lots of emotional scarring. I get it.

But the bottom line is that as I get healthy this is going to have to be a healthier relationship. I love her, I really do. But I can’t live forever being emotionally and verbally abused. My patience wears thin.

It’s not U it’s Ur Illness

So I’m in therapy with C last week, talking about this awful depressive state I’ve been in for awhile. I said it feels like something just takes over and smothers me.

C looks at me for a quick second then says well that’s because this is exactly what is happening. It’s not you, it’s your illness. Like a fever is not you, it’s an illness right? This is not. You. This. Is. Your. Illness.

CLICK. you mean I’m not totally fucked in the head, there’s a Me that is separate from all the shit that’s in my head? Yes, exactly. That is what your illness is. The fear, the heartbreaking sadness, the panic/anxiety. That’s. Not. You.

Wow. So just like if I had the ‘flu and I go to the grocery store to get Nyquil or whatever. Treat it. This is the same thing? C says well it’s abit more complex than the ‘flu of course but the principle applies.

Wow, this completely changes the dynamic between this cPTSD Dissociation blah blah and my head.

I have always thought of myself as being just a total whackjob. That I am harming myself or I should be locked away because there is something just too wrong with ME. I am the mess. I am responsible not for what happened to me perhaps but how I have been unable to handle it well.

But this idea that it’s something that is outside my humanity. It makes so much more sense to fight it now. CBT has a framework that I finally understand. So when I get a panic attack I can say this is not me. Self-hatred, you no longer belong. I can say panic you are part of the sickness that was brought on by a bad bunc of people in my kid life. Stop it. Breathe meditate run paint play piano do whatever else.

It’s a wicked cool perspective for me. Pf course I have to wonder why this has never come up before. Smartass me says why have I paid out well over two hundred G’s and nobody has ever explained this to me? C says well probably because they didn’t know you as well as I do. My therapists of five years? Ten years? C says well that can be true. We click and I know what I’m doing. I can tell you’re a cool chick, maybe they didn’t see that.

Grr Whatever I know she’s right about that. This isn’t important. What matters is that I am able to truly set myself free.

Because it’s not me, it’s my illness.

It’s not U it’s Ur Illness

So I’m in therapy with C last week, talking about this awful depressive state I’ve been in for awhile. I said it feels like something just takes over and smothers me.

C looks at me for a quick second then says well that’s because this is exactly what is happening. It’s not you, it’s your illness. Like a fever is not you, it’s an illness right? This is not. You. This. Is. Your. Illness.

CLICK. you mean I’m not totally fucked in the head, there’s a Me that is separate from all the shit that’s in my head? Yes, exactly. That is what your illness is. The fear, the heartbreaking sadness, the panic/anxiety. That’s. Not. You.

Wow. So just like if I had the ‘flu and I go to the grocery store to get Nyquil or whatever. Treat it. This is the same thing? C says well it’s abit more complex than the ‘flu of course but the principle applies.

Wow, this completely changes the dynamic between this cPTSD Dissociation blah blah and my head.

I have always thought of myself as being just a total whackjob. That I am harming myself or I should be locked away because there is something just too wrong with ME. I am the mess. I am responsible not for what happened to me perhaps but how I have been unable to handle it well.

But this idea that it’s something that is outside my humanity. It makes so much more sense to fight it now. CBT has a framework that I finally understand. So when I get a panic attack I can say this is not me. Self-hatred, you no longer belong. I can say panic you are part of the sickness that was brought on by a bad bunc of people in my kid life. Stop it. Breathe meditate run paint play piano do whatever else.

It’s a wicked cool perspective for me. Pf course I have to wonder why this has never come up before. Smartass me says why have I paid out well over two hundred G’s and nobody has ever explained this to me? C says well probably because they didn’t know you as well as I do. My therapists of five years? Ten years? C says well that can be true. We click and I know what I’m doing. I can tell you’re a cool chick, maybe they didn’t see that.

Grr Whatever I know she’s right about that. This isn’t important. What matters is that I am able to truly set myself free.

Because it’s not me, it’s my illness.

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