The healing journey continues

This blog is rather multifunctional, but one of the primary reasons I write is because I’m on a healing journey and I write to chronicle the journey, in hopes that the things I’m learning about during this process might be useful to someone in their own healing journey.   It’s not so much a “how-to” heal from trauma, because I don’t think there is any one way to heal.  It’s just my journey of healing that is unique to me as yours is to you and this is the (sometimes very winding) path my journey is taking me.

I have a LOT of search engine hits coming under “complex-PTSD or borderline personality disorder” and “Hashimoto’s and Bipolar”  I’m not the only one who discovered the connections between them and are probably worried about it.  After all, one label in each pair carries much more stigma than the other.  But, for me, the labels don’t matter.  I read about ALL of it, and take help wherever I can get it.

At some point, I ought to change the name of this blog, because The Sprightly Writer is kind of misleading.  I’m not a ‘real’ writer as someone commented to me (though it kind of sat nicely for a minute); at least insomuch as never having been published (though that might change).  But I’m a ‘real’ writer in that I write from the heart, as authentically as my level of development allows me to write.  I may actually get my ADD-ish brain together enough to publish some day.  Maybe.

I don’t think anyone truly wants to be diagnosed with mood disorders, but I’m pretty sure they want healing from their capricious moods whatever the cause, just like I did when I first started out.   I wanted to share what I’ve picked up in my journey, and also help me find my resources again, so I can refer back to them as well.

I don’t particularly believe in the concept of mental illness as commonly thought of, for as Jiddu Krishamurti said,

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society”

The term ‘mental illness’ carries such a devastating stigma to it, still.   Like R.D. Laing and Thomas Szasz, however, I am not inclined to believe in the myth of mental illness

Everything I write about on this blog is ultimately to serving an underlying personal goal – to make something beautiful out of the dung of the crazy things I’ve experienced.  It’s not always been easy, but I know creative expression is one of the major ways for me to organize my thinking and assist me on my healing journey.  So I write about the messiness of my life, take photographs, and share lessons and heal myself while I leave crumbs for other people to find and hopefully make their way out of the dense thickets they find themselves stuck in.

Or so I hope, anyway.

And the above was just a major preamble to what I’m going to talk about today.  Today is a continuation of my blocked energy.   A more specific look at it and what I’m working on.

This morning, before my husband went off to work, he gave me a craniosacral therapy session.   To understand what this is, you can read a bit about this on his  Touch of Excellence webpage about craniosacral therapy.

It may not come as a surprise that while I fully believe in the therapeutic benefits of craniosacral therapy, my personal experience of it with my husband has not been as healing as I know it can be.  And the reason does not lie with my husband, because I know he’s done some amazing work for people.  He’s very intuitive and loving (now) and people have had some very interesting releases of blocked emotional energy.

But when he’s worked on me, we’ve discovered that I’m blocking him and preventing a therapeutic release of trapped energy up around my heart, neck and head.  I feel very unusual sensations when he’s in those areas.  I feel a warmth from his hands, but also a congestion.  I feel discomfort and a feeling of…well, strangulation, I think, in the tissue of my chest, neck and head.

I have an idea why I feel this.  There was an incident with my mother and my second oldest sister and I that was pretty verbally and physically violent and ended up with my mother’s hand at my throat and pushed up against a wall with her other hand poised to strike me on the face (and my mother had these solidly heavy hands that felt like a brick when I got slapped).  It scared me when that happened, but at 24 years old, I was plenty big enough to do something about it.  My response was to steel myself, stare deep into my mother’s eyes, and dare her to hit me.    She came to her senses and dropped her hand, and told me she wanted me gone before she came home from work, otherwise all my belongings would be out on the lawn.  I moved out of my home that day.

I would guess that this incident has a LOT to do with my current fears.

But like I mentioned in my previous post, I get on the verge to Something Big, and then I back away from it.   I think that’s what happens with him, as well.  We talked about it, and we concluded that my mind sabotages this process. I get distracted, I start thinking about things and he says he feels I lose the connection to my body, and to him.  I think I may be  having trouble trusting him because of our past.  In addition to having his drinking binges, he had a history of walking away from me, usually either drunk, or to go drink.   A number of times he’d take off in the middle of an argument, or he’d walked off from my mother’s house, or his own birthday party, or left me on 22nd street in Chinatown at 10:30 at night because he was driving drunk and he was getting road ragey and I didn’t like it.  So he thought he’d teach me a lesson by driving around the block.  Instead, he accidentally drove onto the expressway and proceeded to get lost.  A friend of ours had to come pick me up.

I WANT to trust my husband, and he has been working on his own issues, so I KNOW I can start trusting him.  The rest of me just hasn’t caught up yet.

I have a LONG history of being abandoned and pushed away.

My mother divorced my dad when I was 2, and though he tried very hard to keep us in his life, my mother managed to get us away from him nearly permanently when I was 11.  My mother’s final rejection of me was just the final straw for a lifetime of other kinds of emotional abandonment and abuse.   My step-dad never really accepted me, and I never accepted him, so I didn’t feel abandoned.  My grandfather wrote me a letter once where he told me he was ashamed of me, and that after all my mother gave me (financially, etc), I was an incorrigible ingrate and  he was considering disowning me.

I come from a financially wealthy, but spiritually bankrupt family.  I married someone who, though I loved him very much, was in denial for a very long time about his own dysfunctions.   We didn’t know how to get the help we both desperately needed.  We fell on hard times financially due to his dual layoffs from his engineering job, which increased our problems.   There was a time when neither one of us was working for just about 2 years.  Yes, that was a very hard time for us.

I’m working very intensely on my recovery, though I don’t always think I’m getting very far.  I know NONE of what happened to me in the past matters, and that I’ve been carrying this stuff far too long.  But it’s just the utter overwhelming feelings of it all I can’t shake.  Not just what was done to me, but what I’d done to me trying to cope with it all.

Last night, during my adult child of alcoholics meeting, that I wasn’t sure I was going to go to until I was deeply moved by a fellow blogger’s post who is himself recovering from alcoholism, I revealed a few things about my past that I was pretty sure is interfering with my life and my healing process.  I wanted them to know these things that are devastating to me on a spiritual level.  That do block healing.  I told them how I feel like all the things that have happened get in the way of me being a good person.  Sometimes I have a voice in my head that will say, “people think you are such a good person, but you really aren’t.  you’ve done some pretty shitty things and if they only knew the truth, they’d reject you too…”

So, I fronted it.  I told them the things I’d done.  I’d confessed to them because I know in order to really get the benefit out of the group, I couldn’t NOT tell them how deep into trouble I’d gotten myself and how I felt that the ACoA group was pretty much the last stop for me.

I shared with them, through my tears, that if anyone else had told me what I told them, I’d have NO problems accepting and loving them, no matter what.  But that when it came time to giving myself the same grace and love, I couldn’t.  That in the private spaces of my heart, I didn’t feel like I deserved healing, or love, or even Life.

Another blogger, Michael, who has gone through A Course in Miracles and A Course in Love, had given me some courage to speak these things to them when he said,

“[there are] No mistakes in former lives. No hell. No balance or score to settle. No failure or judgment. Nothing that is not forgivable. Acceptance of who you are (truly), or resistance to it. The answer to this question is the scene we paint with the oil colors of our being.”

And I so I’m taking this message from the angel Michael to heart.  Oh, and don’t tell him I told you I think he’s an angel in the guise of an engineer.  On second thought, DO tell him I said that, I think he ought to know.

I mentioned to the group that for all the intellectual understanding I have of grace, I find it very hard to have it for myself. My group responded with compassion and love, and said some really affirming things to me in the “burning desires” section of the meeting (I’m not sure what that is, exactly, but it’s another opportunity to speak after everyone has spoken).   They told me that I can have faith in the promises of ACoA, and that if I stick with the program, I’ll start to heal those deep wounds.

I was also told by a very kind, older woman after the group meeting was over, “yes, you understand it in your head, but it’s time to get it into your heart”.

I believe the energy that is trapped in my head, neck and chest prevents this understanding from moving into the rest of my being.   But I’ll be thinking about this more and seeing what might help those ‘restrictions’ as they are called in craniosacral work to release.

After the ACoA meeting last night, I went to the coffee shop and brought my journals.  I didn’t realize I slipped in some articles from Gede Prama’s Songs of Compassion that I printed out.  I was surprised they were there and very grateful, too.  I sipped my tea, relaxed, and read.  Interestingly enough, I almost felt like Gede was sitting with me, talking to me and trying to help me out.   I read and listened very carefully and I took notes.

I’m going to share those links right now, because I think it’s so important for others on their healing journey.  I’m going to add them to my holistic healing for PTSD up on my blog, because I want more people to know about these articles.

Healing Self, Healing the World

The Art of Healing

Journey of Healing

Home of Angels

The Healing Power of Joy

I have a little ‘action plan’ thanks to Gede Prama.

1.  Accept, flow, smile.

2.  Spend at least 3x a week walking in Nature.

3.  Become well-connected, because then it is easier to access the energy of healing that is available in Nature.

4.  Since you can not go back in time to change the past, learn to embrace the past.

5.  Focus on the lesson, not the person who harms.

6.  Plant the seeds of forgiveness. Water them with acceptance.

7.  Be mindful to self-conversation, it’s the conversation with the Universe.

8.  Understand that pain, suffering and sadness are only messengers of the inner, pointing the way to go much deeper.

9.  Go much deeper.

and this last one, I’m going to quote verbatim:

10.  “Generate strong intention to help in your field.  If you are a writer, you can write with the intention to help, a mother can take good care of children like treating the babies of angels, if you are a rich person can donate some of your wealth into scholarship for the poor.  In this way you do not only heal yourself, but also make the journey of your soul much more mature.  At the end, you are part of the effort to make this planet a home of angels.”

At this point, I wanted to make a public thank you to Gede Prama for helping me in my journey.  I do feel that you are doing amazing work there on your blog.  Bless you and your work.

I know I still have a ways to go, but I can honestly say, I’m feeling better than I have in a long time. I’m feeling safe and connected with people, both online, and in my recovery group.  I know I’ll be getting around to feeling more connected to my husband, too, as I continue on this journey.

I hope to continue to bless my readers and those people searching and finding my blog with something that they might find will help them in their lives.

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About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
This entry was posted in ADD, adult child of alcoholics, adult survivors of abuse, Bipolar, Bipolar Misdiagnosis, Borderline Personality Disorder, Child abuse, Complex-PTSD, Connection, Creating, Creativity, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Healing, Hope, Joy, Mindfulness, Moods, Peace, Personal growth, R.D. Laing, Sadness, Soul, Soul wounds, Spiritual Teacher, spirituality, The Myth of Mental Illness, Thomas Szasz and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The healing journey continues

  1. ptero9 says:

    Hi Casey,
    I love how open you can be with us. The healing journey is a very personal one, as it must be. Some days are full of insight and peace, others find us feeling, once again, like a two year old child.

    I am grateful to you for sharing so much of yourself and the tidbits of wisdom that you find with us here.

    • Casey says:

      Debra,

      One of the things that struck me so hard growing up was conflicting messages. EVERYONE around me gave me the impression that they had their act together and they were so incredibly functional and that the only way I could survive in this world was if I could do what they said to do and be like them.

      Only, that was just it. It was an ACT. And anyone who didn’t follow the scripts (which was usually me, but once in a great while it was my siblings) was punished. As I had been.

      To this, day, my siblings are grappling with petty things and still creating all sorts of dysfunction in their lives.

      I make it a point to show people I DON’T have my act together. I have no script. I have to view my life as this grand experiment. And sometimes I truly screwed up. But I also take ownership of screwing up, even though that hurts sometimes. It truly does.

      But one thing I know (and forgot to mention), I didn’t grow up thinking up ways to mess up my life. I’m sure my parents didn’t grow up thinking up ways to mess up their lives either. But the different between them and I is that I don’t want to keep messing up.

      I am growing in insight, AND acceptance for the days when I feel like a two year old. I am learning to embrace my inner two year old. And I’m learning how to connect with the Universe/Higher Power/God Essence, in order to shore up the insecurity I sometimes (okay a lot of times) bump up against.

      Have you ever seen the documentary, I AM? It’s a beautiful film.

      I believe in this stuff…more and more.

      Thank you so much for your kind words and loving support. It does mean a lot to me.

      Blessings to you, my friend.

      Casey

  2. what a whirlwind of experience, trauma, and the self-loving notion of acceptance. I too thank you for the honest and open share that you unfolded here.

    I can’t speak to trauma per se. I was more of the person who created internal trauma and trauma in other people’s lives. Namely, the ones I love the most. All of my problems were of my own making. I had a good upbringing. I had some curveballs my way, but not the kind of circumstances that happened to you. In that way, we differ. What we do have in common is the journey of discovery and healing. Oh how I wish we could all open our eyes and see that we are in pain, and that we have given pain, and we come from where we’re at, and when it comes down to it, we are just as human as the next person, and just as strong and just as frail. My own alcoholism didn’t come from kids bullying me or from too much love or not enough love or what not. It was an internal condition that bred from selfishness and self-centeredness. Something about not feeling that I had the instruction book on life…the book I just knew everyone else had. Why not me?

    And drinking was the only way I could breathe, feel normal, be able to function. And the alcohol itself became an issue, with increased tolerance, blackouts and poor decision making that got me into one jackpot after another. So mind, body and eventually the spirit were all bankrupt. I needed to break out, and luckily I did with 12-step recovery and other things along the way. And so here we are, talking about healing, spirituality, God / Higher Power and digging within to find our truths. How wonderful is that? Amidst the issues of the external and the what if’s and the issues that plague us, we can find dialogue and solace within a community of like-minded folks who seek enlightenment and relief / freedom from the things that bond us to the False Self. The Authentic Self is where I aim to be. And that takes work, for me. Meetings are great to connect, but I find my true source of power through a Higher Power.

    You mentioned it in your first response above – tapping into that God Essence helps. And that is what keeps me sober, frankly. That is what guides me. That is where I find strength to do the right things, even when ego is telling me otherwise. One doesn’t need to have addiction or mental health issues to do this kind of thing. My wife is also into a Course in Miracles, and there is so much in there to tap into as well. So much of what AA talks about is easily found in other spiritual and sacred texts. And that has gotten me more into non-AA paths, but bring me back to the Creator and my connection with Him.

    Much, if not most, of what you said resonated with me, Casey. Thank you for this.

    Blessings,
    Paul

    • Casey says:

      You’re very welcome, Paul.

      Incidentally, every Paul I’ve known has been very good to me, so it’s very auspcious that you’re named Paul. The persons who’ve worn that that name have always been a good friend to me. That’s why I have to listen really intently to your messages.

      Though, quite honestly, I’m drinking some merlot (which I really don’t like, and rarely indulge in a glass of wine…but I’m out of Calm tea), so I’m probably not listening very well right now.

      My husband, as I’ve said, is not in any AA program, but at least I’m in ACoA and no matter what he does for his own healing, I’m glad I am going. Thanks for inspiring me to go last night. I could hug you for that…

      I have about 3 million things I’m thinking about…but mostly physics/quantum mechanics, old friends, and new ones and finding a new job (whenever I can decide what I want to do). I’m also learning how to trust in Love and be able to have real life friends again who I can trust, REALLY trust, not to hurt me and have NO hidden agendas.

      I have to re-learn love. Because what I thought was love, wasn’t. It was adoration. You can’t see people clearly when you put them on a pedestal and adore them. I adored my husband. I was addicted to my husband. Not knowing what healthy relationship was, I became addicted to anything I thought was love. So much that I couldn’t…or maybe didn’t want to see problems. I excused a lot of bad behavior in the early years. I cleaned up his messes and called his boss when he was too hung over, even HE didn’t see the kind of problems he was having because I shielded him from it.

      I didn’t know about his blacking out until much, much later. All I knew is that he had spotty memories of what really happened. I was too busy escaping in my work and my after-work socializing with my colleagues to notice he had problems. It was only after I came home to be with my babies full time that I started seeing the problems add up. Not that I had ANY clue what to do about them.

      But, in a way, I colluded with him. It was our secret. I kept up the appearance of the ‘perfect’ couple at least outwardly to family and friends. Or tried to anyway. Some of our friends I think might have had an idea, though they themselves were all big drinkers too so they weren’t about to blow the whistle.

      One thing I did do, was distance myself from our college friends long before my husband did. There were big Nascar race weekends where he would spend the weekend at one of the guys’ houses near the Illinois Speedway track. Twice a year husband spent the weekend at the “crawl-de-sac” – where they went from house to house to party and drink. I was invited but could never bring myself to go. Some of our friends were nice, funny, mostly friendly, but some of the friends of friends were mindless arrogant jerks. Nobody I really could stomach being around. I didn’t want to spend an entire weekend at the track with people I didn’t like. But of course, my husband did. I didn’t want to make a huge deal of it, so I let him go. Even though it was hard.

      Not that there was anything wrong with racing itself. I frequently went to the smaller racetrack at Illiana speedway to watch my friend Paul race. That was a lot of fun…but I digress.

      I struggle with my faith, no doubt. I’ve felt incredible loneliness, shame and disconnection. What keeps me going is sheer stubbornness, sometimes. And the idea that maybe there is a reason I’m here, learning all these lessons I’m learning.

      I had always had some kind of relationship with a higher power. I’ve talked and cried to God since I was about 10, when I went to Auschwitz during a three week trip with my grandmother and my two older sisters. I used to have a lot of nightmares as a child. They started long before I went to Auschwitz, but after Auschwitz, I had a lot more global worries about WWIII.

      I went on long walks and talked to God…and I felt assisted many times in my life. But during my marriage, I didn’t feel his presence like I used to.

      Sometimes I felt a keen sense of abandonment by God, even though I know, at times, it was I who turned away, battered by the treatment of so-called Christians in my life (the spiritual abuse has been another trauma that’s been unbelievable – apparently Catholics and Protestants are still enemies – and I had been in the middle of a religious tug-of-war with how I was going to raise them between my family and husband’s family).

      I’ve been so effin’ mad about this all. I don’t really understand why my road has been so complex and hard…but sometimes I have to step back and think maybe this was no accident. Maybe, before I was ever born, I knew how difficult this life was going to be, and I CHOSE this life anyway. I mean, what if, you know? What if way back then, I had a choice to choose a happy, loving family, or the one I got, you know?

      I don’t know. That thought comforts me sometimes.

      I’ve stopped being so angry. I’ve healed enough to not be angry anymore. Though I still get very sad sometimes. I’ve also been more honest about my journey, not for sympathy sake but because I had tried so much to be self-reliant. Only…I know where that got me…painted into a corner. There was no accountability for myself either.

      At least now, I feel more in this. There’s so much good stuff I’m finding out there because I’m asking for help…and getting it. I somehow feel very blessed by your story.

      Maybe you had an easier life. I don’t know. I don’t mind if you did. We’re all deceived by Ego in our own ways. I was, too. It wasn’t alcohol though. Sometimes I thought I was above rules too, sometimes.

      I’m not used to getting real help. But it feels really good.

      Slowly, ever so slowly, I’m recognizing I can’t do it all by myself and I don’t have to use the same compensations either. There’s better ways.

      And I intend to find them…

      Anyway…I’m sorry if this is disjointed and not making sense…but I wanted to try and respond tonight.

      Thanks again so much, Paul.

      Casey

  3. ksbeth says:

    this is so very beautiful, heartfelt and loving. thank you so much for sharing and i hope that this helps you on your way towards your healing. peace, beth

    • Casey says:

      Thank you Beth, what you said it means a great deal to me. Sometimes when I hit publish, I get a little nervous feeling, but not today. I felt pretty good about what I needed to say today.

      I’m thinking it does help.

      Everywhere I turn, I keep seeing the message that we aren’t meant to be doing this alone, and it warms me to know I can share here and have people come forward and say something kind to me afterward.

      And, as I mentioned before, I think there’s enormous potential in the global connections we make through WordPress. I’d like to be a part of whatever global consciousness shift there might be.

      I’m thinking about all those people who come to my blog, too, but don’t say anything and I hope they find something they can use. I know they, or their loved ones must be hurting too. I want them to know they aren’t alone…that there is help.

      Thanks again…

      Warm regards,
      Casey

  4. Michael says:

    Thank you for the heartfelt sharing, Casey. I echo the thoughts of others here who hope your opening up brings with it release and ultimately peace. I think of healing as the steady relinquishment of everything that obscures our awareness of Love to the warmth at the center of our being. Initially for me, the warmth was not obvious or even perceptible, but with devotion it arises, we sneak peeks, and then it becomes sustainable. Our minds become so entangled, the roots of past experiences and our interpretations about what they mean and imply about ourselves and our world block our access to the one place within us that is eternally valid. As Ptero said, this disentangling is so intensely personal, and I think as a result it can seem we are isolated in this impenetrable thicket. We are not.

    I have this Ladinsky translation of a Hafiz poem bookmarked:

    What can you see of existence’s attempt to honor
    you, when you keep turning back to a time
    where some event you seemed to take part in may
    cause you to lower your head, and
    whisper again… I am sorry?

    We are waiting for you to arrive at your own
    coronation, but you really can’t accept the crown
    with any regrets in the past. Where does
    that then leave you… in line for the throne?

    What can you see of every object’s attempt
    to pay homage to you, because of your divine
    lineage, if you are stuck in any kind of
    confessional?

    All happenings needed to be; accept that
    my dear. Ask for any forgiveness one more time
    if you must,

    ask for forgiveness one more time if you must,
    then move on to your glory and sublime reign.

    • Casey says:

      Michael,

      That poem is quite extraordinary. I’m going to have to print it out for use in one of my art journaling pages.

      “Initially for me, the warmth was not obvious or even perceptible, but with devotion it arises, we sneak peeks, and then it becomes sustainable”

      That comforts me, knowing this it’s possible to go from where I’m at, to where I’d like to be. I’m looking forward to when A Course In Love arrives.

      “Our minds become so entangled, the roots of past experiences and our interpretations about what they mean and imply about ourselves and our world block our access to the one place within us that is eternally valid. As Ptero said, this disentangling is so intensely personal, and I think as a result it can seem we are isolated in this impenetrable thicket. We are not.”

      There are days when I’m doing very well.

      There are times when in my meditations, I’m feeling incredibly connected. Most often when I’m doing guided meditations, or I’m able to visualize…and sometimes, I have a setback. Then I’ll walk into a place in my psyche where I am full of intense doubt and anxiety.

      Something small might trigger it, like when my husband emailed me saying he wanted to go out for a drink after work Friday night. Since he worked late, that meant he’d go out after 10:30. Since his DUI two years ago, I have feelings of discomfort and fear when he wants to go out to relax at the bar (when I go out, I take my art journals and a book to the coffee shop). He ended up coming home Friday night without going out…but the incident left me unsettled all day Saturday…at least until I watched Pride and Prejudice

      http://www.focusfeatures.com/pride_and_prejudice

      Sigh…appeals to the romantic in me…

      I’m going to keep at this, though, Michael. I’m going to believe with my mind until I can believe with my heart.

      Thank you so much…

      Casey

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