Where I Was (August 2022)

Unlike other months where I wrote a lot in drafts as the month went on, August has almost nothing. But I’d like to add here some bullets to show where I was.

This is the only thing I wrote:

The Lost Years

I went to my first Bible study with a friend. Well, it wasn’t actually the Bible we read, but rather the book “What Is The Bible” by Rob Bell (which I very much enjoyed). I was nervous before I went. I wouldn’t know anyone besides my friend there, and I am very new and uncertain in my understanding of Christianity and my own budding faith. But it all went really well. Everyone there came from very different backgrounds and the atmosphere was casual and open-minded. I left wanting to attends next month’s session.

An interesting thing happened there though. A girl mentioned how she strayed from religion in college, as her religious friends had an attitude that just didn’t match what her heart felt was right. She felt where is my place HERE. The group discussed. And then as we all moved on I heard the pastor lean over to her (he has known her since she was a little girl), and he said something to her about how even though she may have felt off track for a few years, it was her prior relationship with God that pulled her back.

His comment hit me. Where was God in my past? As it stands now I feel He wasn’t there. I always felt so alone. I always was so alone. That lonely little girl and young adult still lives so much inside of me, all those years lost without Him. I feel those years broke something essential in me…but was I actually alone? Was He there all along?

Poems From August

I write my poems in quick burst of energy on the notes app on my phone. Outpourings of intense emotions in a moment. Therefore they capture the months intense emotions well.

You're gonna be you,
I'm gonna be me.
Maybe we'll see us 
In eternity.

--

If anyone saves me in that place
I know the face
It will be 
If any

--

Each out breath you take
Makes a space 
For me to fill

But we can never catch the other 

Though sometimes 
As your breath quickens
I feel I catch you there
A little gasp of your air

And I laugh 
And I cry

Without your fall I will never rise
Without my retreat
You will never grow

Invisible 
Bedfellows

-- 

What if I am wrong
What if you are the Son of God?

My faith in You is far too great
For even a molecule of me to shake

--

Important Events:

  • With approval from my counsellor and my doctor I started tapering off my antidepressants August 26th. I took half a pill for a week, then stopped all together.
  • My son started Kindergarten. This is a point to look back over my stay at home mom experience with him and our relationship. He is a little boy now. When I reflect on our stay at home experience, there is a heaviness. There are so many areas I wish I did better. But there is also so much joy! He climbed the steps of the school bus that first day with so much excitement. He was ready for this big transition. I feel he has a security with my husband and I, a base of love to jump into the world off of. And he seems to often feel it! (Though I know I still do have work to do in being more freely expressive with love.) He starts each day with such joy. He seems like a happy little boy. So at this big milestone I feel mainly encouraged. Oh, the work that went into getting him to this point! It is good to stop and reflect, and also to see the years pass so FAST. He is still my little boy today. How I wish I could hold onto these moments forever.
  • My daughter has one more year before school. Still my mind has started to wonder what I will do after these stay at home mom years come to an end. What will I do career wise? As space opens up for ME and growth in my life. What is next for me? What do I want? That turning back to self sounds promising and good. But there is an uncomfortableness to it. I can’t claim the “I have no time I’m a new mom” title anymore.” The time for major growth for myself is coming.

Where I Was (July 2022)

(*I’m editing this in October 2022. I am in a different place now. Different conclusions. I am tempted to delete what I no longer fully feel. But I believe it is important to document my journey step by step. There are no right and wrong parts, only parts, to whatever journey this is I am on. *)

(Written: July 2022)

Counseling

Still talk therapy. But progress. The final strings are being cut. Another counsellor is telling me my Dad has narcissistic traits. I resist, but it’s sinking in. It’s all sinking in. But as it does, I see a rising of another sun. I am forming my own family now. I am blessed, and hopeful my family can be full of love.

The Car Battery Challenge

Our car battery died in our garage this month. It is our only car. At first I felt panic – if we don’t rely on my parents anymore we have to start from scratch socially. My husband’s family is hours away, and are rarely in touch with us. Many members of my extended family live close by, but I’ve never formed close relationships with any of them.

After going through all our options, we decided to make an online post to our neighbors to see if anyone could jump us. It felt like a last resort. Immediately we had a response from one couple. By the time I got outside, to help my husband roll the car out of the garage, another 2 neighbors were heading over with battery chargers and jumpers in hand! They all seemed so eager to help, even people we’d never met. It was so joyfully done. I was overwhelmed. This was not the WORLD I was raised in, or taught to believe in. It felt like a message from God – kindness is all around me. He is all around me.

A Neighbor Struggles

This summer I have grown close to one of the other moms on my street. She stays home with her young children as I do, so we have hung out a lot this summer. We always have our children with us when we spend time together, so that limits our conversations, but still; I have developed a real fondness for her as a person. She has a very sweet heart.

While our kids were at sports practice together, in a private moment, she shared struggling as a stay at home mom. She was feeling overwhelmed. She said her husband didn’t understand her feelings of overwhelm, and moreover was frustrated by them. She sounded like she needed help with the kids and around the house, and her husband was saying he wasn’t able to. It was her job. She also shared that she has struggled with anxiety, especially social anxiety, her whole life. And that the recent move (she just moved in a few months before) has brought up a lot of anxiety in her.

I felt so much for her! I barely have it together most days with my 2 children, and my husband helps me constantly. My husband also is fully in touch with how much work being a stay at home mom is, and he has a listening ear and supportive words for me when I am struggling. I can’t imagine doing this alone, and feeling judged for struggling!

I tried to support her with my words. I let her know, that I heard her overwhelm and that I was not judging at all. I shared how I too found being a stay at home mom a near impossible job, and that my husband was helping a lot when he wasn’t working. I supported her feelings that she needed more help around the house. I told her that if she ever needed a few hours off to swing her kids by my house and she can leave. Our kids play together almost everyday anyway. I wanted to help. As I left practice that evening, I felt a heaviness from our conversation. I definitely felt she was in a dark spot. I shared the conversation with my husband that evening.

The next afternoon the situation escalated, and it was obvious her family was having major struggles.

I felt guilty, I knew she had been upset but did not know how serious it had been. Another of her close friends was angry with her and her husband. They didn’t like the stress and drama they had brought to our street and they told them. That family pulled back from my friend and her family. They didn’t feel comfortable with them anymore.

I was shocked, all I felt was concern for her obviously, and her whole family. I reached out through text the day of and over the week. I shared with her my own struggles with depression and moving. I shared that my family was here for her and hers. I asked her if she wanted to talk. She said she would really like that, and would call me the next day. No call. When I checked in a few days later, we again arranged to go for a walk to talk later that week. She text me day of and cancelled.

At that point, I gave her space. And I sunk into a state of doubt. I started feeling like my love and support of others is simply a burden. (Old issues deep within me were being triggered by this event).

Then the day of the sport’s practice rolled around. Our daughters are on the same team, so I knew I would see her there. That day she came and sat next to me like normal. But she seemed distant. After a few minutes she got up to take a phone call, and then came back over and said it was crowded where we were sitting so she was going to sit farther down.

At this point, I was hurt. It had seemed clear to me before that she didn’t want to speak to me about what had happened, which I totally understood even if it hurt my feelings. But now it felt like she didn’t even want to be around me anymore. And when people hurt me, I run from the relationship. I could feel that slide into running.

I sat there for about 10 minutes. My mind was ricocheting with the thoughts and feelings of so many sides of me. Finally one side started to build momentum within me “approach with love.”

I got up and went and sat next to her in the less crowded area. When I sat down she immeditaely put her hand on my knee and said “Oh, bless you for coming over here. This crowded room is giving me such anxiety.” We had a good conversation, and I expressed my complete love for her and her family no matter what “others” were saying. When the time came to leave I reached over and gave her a hug. This seems natural I imagine, but that is the first time in my life I have done so in such a moment. The whole conversation and hug felt so awkward to me, I felt stupid and bumbling. But I knew what I was trying to express, and I knew that was more important than anything else. Love and support for someone who was going through a challenging time in life. A time when some were turning away.

In some ways, it feels like another sign from God. Him showing me – I can be there for others. That (unlike what my inner critic says) others actions are rarely about me – they are about the other person’s own fears. In this case, she wasn’t avoiding me. She was going through a lot in her life. She was afraid to have the conversation. She was afraid of being judged. She was experiencing intense anxiety.

Still I resist

Still I resist it, I fear my love, fear it’s a burden. I get in the way, best to seclude myself in the comfort of isolation (my norm). But no my heart so longs for human connection, for a human difference. It knows the feel of years and years of loneliness, the suffering that lies in that.

I falter in this all because I fear. And so quick those fears old fears all come back up. Social rejection cuts me deep. I see that now. It shifts me on to whole different tracks. That tracks of no one loves me, and my love means nothing to anyone. Everyone is just “putting up with me, pitying me”.

When I feel so unloved, and old more narcissistic coping side of me comes out. And I judge others, as I push them away. But those old narcissistic coping styles aren’t able to last as long now, as I feel I am growing beyond them. I see them as harmful and damaging more quickly now. It’s a good thing those old defenses are falling away. But still I struggle and new coping mechanisms come up to try to help calm me – but often the new coping mechanisms aren’t healthy or helpful either.

But I am having moments where I see progress in my learning the art of loving. Something as simple as a hug to my friend as I said goodbye to her – I feel so silly to feel so proud of it. But it is the first time in my life I have ever let that urge express itself. I have felt the urge to hug a friend going through a struggle or even simply saying goodbye before, but my feelings of uncomfortableness or fear have always won out. I see, I am bumbling, but I am trying to express my love of others.

Where I Was (June)

(June 2022)

  • Working with new counsellor. Getting ready for EMDR.
  • More realistic expectations of parents. I’m less hurt by their words and actions, or lack of.
  • Busier. Working a lot to decorate and get house straight. Enjoying new neighborhood. Getting to really know my neighbors (which is a totally new experience for me). Some of the women on my street are stay-at-home moms or off in summer. So we’ve been meeting up weekly to go out and about with the kids. We also see each other daily as the kids play together outside. I’m finding I love being social, I love being a part of a group – but it exhaust me. I often don’t find the time now for my more introverted hobbies. I miss them. I feel they keep me in touch with myself. There probably is some sort of balance I need to find between being social and “me time”, but I don’t have it down yet. Social anxiety is immensely better though due to the antidepressants.
  • Overall I’m feeling good. But I want to get off my antidepressants at some point.
  • Drinking more alcohol…again. But that’s okay right? I’m not so sure… Trying to eat healthier.
  • My son starts kindergarten this fall. I don’t know where I am emotionally with that yet. The reality of it hasn’t sunk in.

– June 2022

Where I Was (May 2022)

(Written: May 2022)

A New Counsellor

My counsellor has been wonderful. I have gained a huge amount of self confidence with her help. Confidence in myself and my perspective. I have gained an assertiveness in who I am. Yet still her and I have both observed there are deeper somewhat nonverbal emotional selves in me that come over me and in those states I feel and struggle with intense emotions. These emotions pull me out of the present, and sometimes even somewhat out of reality. The anti depressants help with the intensity and frequency of these sorts of rising up, but I feel unhealed and still struggle when my coping mechanisms for these intense emotions come out.

We have both realized that it might be time for me to try another route. I mentioned EMDR, and she said it would be something that may help me. However, she is not trained in EMDR and would have to transfer me to new cousellor. This week I made the phone call to switch from one to the other.

And almost immediately I heard a side of me release a huge sigh of “thank god”. That side felt like it was finally being seen, and help was being attempted. In other words I was finally taking my own pain seriously. I was acknowledging it was time to try another path.

Hoping EMDR will help me with the intense emotions I can’t speak with well or for. They seem without words, often presenting themselves to me in images. I think this side may be where I get triggered from – and where my RAGE comes from.

Anger/Rage

(* Sept. edit* – This section was originally called “I Yell…”. On reflection though I realize this isn’t quite accurate. Though interestingly enough it is accurate of how my mother expressed her anger when I was growing up, and something she accuses me of. Often it seems I confuse my self with her, as odd as that sounds. Still my anger is sharp and damaging. But it expresses itself more through sarcasm/mocking, contempt and extreme conclusions. Which is in fact my Dad’s route of expressing anger too. *)

Not sure whether it’s clear on here or not. But, I become extremely angry (rage?) at my parents. And this month that all came out again. Many words were said, but I think what started the initial blow up was something along the lines of my Dad pushing back in the idea that I’m struggling and could use support. He said he had no idea I was struggling that’s why he hasn’t been checking in on me. Said he has seen me smiling and laughing at one of my son’s soccer games, so he thought I was doing better. That level of denial of and indifference to my emotions often sets me off.

My words rose to a yell. And as I drove home crying, I turned inside to do IFS dialogue. And this is what I heard.

“When I yelled I scare others. I feel bad. I don’t like to be scary.”

A more rational side seemed to join in “Yes, My words were meant to push away, to cut. I went too far”

Another side, in hearing this acknowledgment of shame and guilt for my behavior, offered an option to help make things right. I could: Apologize to my parents.

The sad side said “Yes, that sounds good.”

And that is what I did. When I got home I text that I was sorry I had yelled and said hurtful words. That isn’t the way I should express myself. I was going to work on expressing my anger in better ways.

If felt good to say sorry, and I felt like in doing so I was holding myself more accountable. Making it more likely I would be mindful before I spoke in anger in the future.

Knowing the Mark & Missing the Mark

It is important to me. That no matter how others treat me, I am still proud of how I treat them. That harm is never my intention. The largest truth of all is only love can heal, only love can open people’s heart’s to others or themselves.

Now I know I will never be able to be perfectly loving in all my actions and words, still that is the goal. And I must acknowledge when I’ve missed the mark. Also, it is important I remember that it is not my responsibly and I shouldn’t expect to change others or make them more loving. This is about following my own moral compass and doing what is right – it can not be done with expectations.

-May 2022

Where I Was (April)

(Written: April 2022)

The Birth of A New Parent

I’ve been donating clothes, and buying new one’s. New styles for me. I have figured out a very simple and natural makeup look I love. I finally understand what it feels like to look in the mirror and feel confident and beautiful. The energy I see, reflects ME. It’s new, and wonderful. Something young inside me, is giddy over it all. Delights in this new found expression of self, and confidence in it.

At home that is…..

Out in public other sides of me seem to gain a voice. When I was dropping my kids off at preschool this week that “other side” got busy. In my mind I was hearing what “everyone else was thinking” – judging me and my new clothes, my new makeup. Judging me as a person and a mother. With all these thoughts playing loud in my head, I walked toward the front door of the preschool with my head down. I couldn’t wait to get back to the safety of the car. I felt foolish.

And then, something I’ve never experienced happened. An inner voice showed up to “protect me” from myself. This new voice said “even if they are judging us – let’s defend and encourage “her” (me). She needs us. It is not a time to join the voices of judgement, but a time to support “her” (me).”

And in that new self-loving and self supporting space, I felt peace again. I remembered how happy I was with my new look. How I felt myself expressed in my style. And amazingly once I got this breathing room, reason returned to me as well. None of those busy parents, were paying any attention to me that morning. Those thoughts were purely my own fear speaking.

Freeing of an Old Parent

Whenever I have to interact with my parents for a long period I always feel so sunken the day after. Recently after one of my visits, I laid in bed in the morning, heavy. I don’t understand how they have the power to twist my perspective into darkness. I feel alone, invisible – abandoned. That alone weakens me greatly. I stayed in bed 30 minutes to an hour longer than usual. This meant my husband was going to get to work later than usual (he works from home).

I did get out of bed though and into the shower. Where like usual, in that lonely and rejected state, the inner critic found me and had a lot to say. “You are lazy, dragging everyone down. You are a burden. Your husband might lose his job now -he’s too busy for this”.

Another side of me (which is fairly familiar to me now) rose us to respond in anger to this voice. “Leave me alone!” “You are so cruel!”. I still feel the hits of my Inner Critic, but I’m at the point in my journey where I don’t “believe” everything the Critic says anymore. And I most certainly don’t believe any human should be spoken to in the tone of harshness and hate the Critic uses. It’s not a voice of love, compassion, grace, or growth – it is not a voice of Jesus.

Still, the emotional hits on an already emotionally struggling me left me rubbing my head in frustration and helplessness. Then something interesting happened (probably because I had just been researching how to work with these sides of me through IFS). A voice came in to stop the resistance to the inner Critic. This voice seemed to have an understanding of the inner critic. It knew the inner critic wasn’t “evil” it was merely “confused”.

As this side talked with the Inner Critic I was able to come to understand the Inner Critic (like always) was trying to protect me. It assumed “these accusations” were coming, or soon would be if I let myself lapse in my productiveness. It was trying to make sure that I didn’t “upset” the schedule for anyone, that no matter how I felt I would keep quiet about it and “get the task done on time with no complaints”. That I behaved so I wouldn’t get in trouble.

And I heard this voice reassure the Inner Critic, “That all isn’t going to happen anymore. She is not at risk of getting in trouble”. It told the Inner Critic that people around me now don’t think like that. I am safe to have big emotions. I am safe to share them. I am safe to ask for moments off if needed. And I felt a huge release of inner tension. The inner voice was quiet. And in that now quiet space I felt grief. A sense of my past reality sinking in. How my childhood world and then by extension “the world” hadn’t felt safe psychologically or emotionally to me.

But also, what freedom. That old parent (my Inner Critic), caught a glimpse of a new environment, and for a moment backed off. I am not failing. I am not weak. This is simply what is required for me to let go of what I learned over decades and to relearn that today I am safe to be me. That I am not alone, that love exists, that I am loved, that I am safe.

I asked my husband if I could have another 30 minutes after my shower to type this all up. The final step in me processing it.

Another Step

In the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, my heart kept pulling me to attend an Easter church service. But I was unsure of where to go. I do not have a church, I have never had a church. Well, besides the one my Grandma brought me too as a little girl. So I asked my Grandma if I could attend Easter Mass with her. “Of course” was her response. She was delighted to have company and delighted to hear I wanted to attend.

So Easter morning, after my kid’s woke up to their Easter baskets, I got dressed and headed to church with her. My heart found a peace there, a determination there, I felt myself somehow make a promise there to LOVE. Whatever comes.

I am starting to feel, and step into, being a Christian. A follower of Christ. Which to me feels like the most natural of impossible challenges. LOVE. The highest meaning of my heart and soul. LOVE. However, I find the words “being a Christian” very complex. Some aspects I relate to, some I do not.

But my heart knows, when I am with nature, when I watch the face of person after person receiving Communion, when I walk through the empty chapel at my son’s preschool after morning drop-offs – I am there, I am not alone, I am home.

(April 2022)

If You Were Given All You Desired (An Old Poem) & My Journey With Poetry

If you were given all your desired
Would you just grow tired
And ask for more past what you got
And just keep asking for more, and more, and never stop
Never stop to wonder why you want what you yearn for
Just keep repeating MORE MORE 
Would you leave Earth mad?
Mad because all you had wasn’t enough, All you had!
Not thinking of what you did possess 
Not thinking of the one’s who had less
Or are you really better than them all
Are you better then the baby who will starve
Do you deserve more than her, but why?
You must realize we all die
We all smile, breathe, hate, and cry
Then why
Should anyone have more than any other?
I think it is because we don’t truly love one another

- Me at 14 (2005)

My Childhood & Poetry

When I was growing up the bottom shelf of our pantry was full of notebooks and marbled composition books (left overs and extras for school). Around age 13 or 14 I started grabbing them to use as poem notebooks. I continued this habit until I left for college at 18. I never spoke to my family or any of my friends about my poem journals. If someone came in while I was writing in one, I hid it.

My poems hadn’t always had this level of secrecy. Or at least my first one didn’t. I can’t remember if I showed my mom or she simply found it (it may have been for a school assignment), but when I was 12 my mom read my first poem. I remember clearly how much she seemed to love it. How impressed she seemed. I felt proud of what I had created!

I believe her encouragement and enthusiasm for that first poem probably freed me to believe in myself, and continue writing. I am very grateful for what she gave to me in that moment. As poetry allowed me to maintain a voice to myself throughout my childhood.

And when I stumbled across my poetry journals a year or so ago, I discovered they were also invaluable time machines. They allow my adult self to hear my child self speak. I wanted to read back through them all, and I noticed the pencil on the pages was smearing. So I decided to type them all up into a word document. It took me about a year to transfer them all. And it seems it will take me about another year to rewrite my favorite one’s down again by hand. This time in a few beautiful journals – I love the designs of the Peter Pauper journals.

Me Today & Poetry

As I move forward in my journey, I am unsure what place poetry will have in my life. When I was growing up all the words I wrote were solely for myself. Often my poems focused on interpreting the meaning of what I was seeing in my mind or feeling in my heart. Some rhymed, most didn’t. My poems were the place I felt free to express myself authentically and to observe and process what I found inside of myself. When I started writing poems again, about 2 years ago, they seem to have naturally followed the same pattern from my earlier years. The same purpose, the same style, the same intended audience.

But could I expand my poetry, could I also consider other readers? If I write poems with a reader (besides myself) in mind the focus probably should shift more to sharing what I see in my mind and feel in my heart. The beauty and the truth I believe does lie in that- not my interpretation of my inner world. My interpretation is helpful to myself, it has a more practical focus.

I would like to open my mind more to the reader, and give my reader the freedom to have their own experience of my poem. I have been practicing “show not telling” with my words. Yet, it feels like a tall mountain to climb. I am comfortable with myself as my reader, and familiar with that style of writing. I feel self-conscious to start writing poems from a different approach and sharing those poems. I know so little about the art form, and the skills that lead to a poem being impactful in the hearts of others. Do I even desire to write “differently”, to write “for a reader”? I think I do. I think I’d like to give it a shot. But my fear holds me back from diving into practicing and sharing.

My Blog

As I move forward in my journey, I am also finding I have uncertainty about my blog. Do I post more and share more, but with less focus? Or do I post less, and in a more focused way? Should I set some sort of schedule? What’s my goal for this space anyway? Wait, do I even need a goal?

My time is more limited now than when I first started this blog. My kids both stopped taking daily naps. I miss having the time to really get into the flow of blogging. I had gotten into that state with this post, and it’s gone….as my kid’s have come down the steps with a million words after getting out of the bath my husband was giving them.

I do find documenting my journey month to month in my (“Where I have been” posts) helps me get my inner self organized. ** It is also nice to look back on those updates. When I am in the thick of life, I rarely feel I am on any sort of good “path” forward. Yet on reading back through my updates, I see the outlines of a path I am on. That brings me some confidence and peace, in where I stand today and in the choices I make today. I am starting to trust this journey. Trust that I am being guided to where I need to be. Trust that my job is to keep an open heart/mind to that inner guide, so I can feel the next necessary steps, and take those steps forward.

** I did write monthly updates in April and May. I will post those soon.

Where I Was (February/March)

(Written March 2022)

Battling The Past

I have been battling with the past these last 2 months. I am observing how my present life gifts many moments of beauty, hope, and meaning to my heart. Yet, the past always finds a way to rip those feelings from me as they bloom. It also tries to destroy any buds of hope in me for a different/better future. The future will be like the past it says.

It’s as if the present moment is a place merely to grieve about the past, and to ruminate on “why it was that way” and “how it could have been” or “should have been different”, and how “much better my life would be if X had or hadn’t happened”.

Over the past 2 months I finally got to a point where I just wanted to “cut the past off of me”. I wanted to be left alone in the present with my 2 kids and hopefully a lifetime before me. I wanted EVERYTHING from before to be disconnected from. Just to be ME, as if born at 30.

The Past In the Makeup Aisle

I had been noticing a curiosity in myself towards giving makeup a try.

My mother never liked makeup, doing her hair, or dresses. She seems to have a personal rift with the color pink. She isn’t a feminine person. She just “never understood why anyone would like all that” – and that “anyone” included me. Like most things in her life “her preferences” were the “right answers” for everyone. I guess I believed her, or whether or not I did was irrelevant. I was offered almost no guidance in anything related to personal care or beauty as a woman.

However since this inner curiosity in trying makeup kept coming up over the last couple months, I recognized I should give makeup a try. My inner child was expressing a clear interest. So, I watched a few youtube videos. And the next morning, after dropping my kids off at preschool, I headed to the store to find some supplies.

What I found were dozens and dozens of options within options. What brand, what color, what texture, what thickness. Would I need a brush to apply that? Which one? Could I just wear mascara without eye liner? Is the weird? I had done research, but had mainly focused on brand names and of course none of them were at the store.

As I went down the 2 or 3 aisles, I became more and more overwhelmed. Here I was a 30 year old woman wandering the makeup section clueless like a 12 year old girl. “How embarrassing” “How pathetic” an inner voice said within.

And as I continued down the aisles I noticed a mother shopping for makeup with her little girl in the cart. The mother’s hair was up in the tight bun I still can’t manage to do. Seeing them brought up a sort of lonely pain. That at the end of the day here I was alone in this, like I usually am with life events. I was a 12 year old girl in a 30 year old women’s body, who still no one showed up for. Seeing that little girl and mother also brought the thought “What a resource I’ll be for my little girl!”.

I picked up a few things I thought might work, and called it a sucess. However the makeup trip, which was suppose to be a new and exciting kindness towards myself, ended up with me leaving me with a heaviness in my heart. It didn’t feel healing, it felt painful.

The Past Wanting to Show Me How Things Could Have Been

Another way the past likes to show up to me is in bringing my attention to “how things could have been so different if…..”. It’s as if my brain seems to think the solution to today’s struggles or tomorrow’s possible struggles lies in the past. My mind constantly pulls me out of the present to “reflect and learn” from the past…over and over again.

“If only you had only recognized the mental health issues in your family earlier…things would be so different”

“If only you had expressed your needs more clearly when you became a mother..you would have received help”

“You were closed off emotionally in highschool and college…if only you hadn’t been life would have been and would be so different.”

“If only you had communicated more calmly to your best friend….you and her could have weathered the storm and remained close all these years”

“If only you had read the Bible earlier…”

If only…If only…If only…

But, is this constant turning necessary? Are the present and future so hopeless that my time is best spent reflecting on “what went wrong”? As if I somehow “lost” this game of life, and I’m in a mad dash to figure out why before I play “life” again. In my depressed moods, that’s pretty much exactly how I feel. However, a more logical side of me KNOWS my life is actually much better than it was a few years ago. TODAY I am blessed with 2 beautiful children, I am building a circle around me of kind and loving people, and I am becoming a more kind and loving person to myself and others.

But in some nonsensical way, my past is usually tight around my neck. It’s as if I am taking my last breaths, and desperately wondering “what went wrong, what went wrong!”.

Conclusion:

These were the months of a growing frustration and desire to cut the past off of me/ or out of me.

I felt the past was the problem. It offered me nothing but pain. I was over it. I wanted to erase it.

I communicated this feeling to my husband. And as I listened to myself share these feelings with him I observed something interesting. It was certain events about the past that I seemed intensely focused on erasing. And it wasn’t just all the “big negative events”. Rather it was events I still felt strong emotional about, whether they were seemingly “big events” or not. It was the existence of these strong emotions inside of me which allowed certain memories of my past to jump into the present and color both my present and future outlook. I realized it wasn’t past events in themselves I wanted to erase, but rather my still living strong emotions towards them.

And by this point in my journey I KNOW emotions can not be erased. Even the sentence hits as cruel. Emotions, as strange as it is to say, are people. They need to be heard and they need to be accepted. And they may need help.

Still though I KNOW this, I struggle to live this. I observe over and over how I go to my emotions with anger and frustration. And when I battle them, no resolution is ever found. When I ignore them (or run from them), I’m merely deluding myself. They are still right there, everyday with me. Effecting me.

So, I guess I know what I must do. In order to lay these past emotions down, I must stay right here with them in the present. Even in their intensity, I must stay. And if I do, more and more of my past will lay down peacefully.

This will not be an easy process for me. It will take honesty, vulnerability, courage, determination, faith and time. The areas of my mind where intense emotions lie, is a laregly wordless space. A shaky place, a loud space, a timeless space, a confusing space.

But parts of me are stuck there, and I can not live fully until I have found and accepted and heard all the parts of me.

*** The past also intrudes on my present in a more beautiful way (though it contains unsettling elements). This way involves having memories of life before this life. Of a mother who is not my Earthly one. It didn’t quite fit with this post, so I didn’t include it. One day I’d like to write about it though. ***

– March 2022

I’ll Bind Myself

Many afternoons
I've promised evening. 
I'll bind myself in boldest black,
On brightest white.

I bet you think it's fear
When each morning I reveal 
Fresh layer, 
Winter white   

But I declare, 
I feel despair
For I have found 
There is no me to tie down

Just these rattling straights and curves
Fooling you into belief
There is something underneath 
Finally!

March 2022


 
 

Where I Was (January)

I’ve Lost the Narrative

I’ve lost my direction. I have always been a big planner, someone who has multiple future goals I’m striving towards. This aimlessness is new. It feels uncomfortable. It leaves me feeling detached and unconcerned about life. A “what’s the point…” is the common bedrock I hit inside of me now.

But that “what’s the point” indifference is not the only emotion I feel now a days.

I realize more month by month that I am an extremely split mind/body/soul. I believe this is a major factor causing my sense of directionless. I am full of wants, needs, emotions, dreams, beliefs, but they do not make a coherent whole. I struggle to say what I want, need, or feel. Which one do I pick? So many sides of me are passionate. So many feel authentically “me”.

Observing my chaotic inner world often leaves the whole of me in a “what’s the point” attitude.

Experience with Antidepressants (Lexapro)

Anxiety

I have been taking antidepressants for 3 months now.

I noticed within the first week or 2 my level of anxiety plummeted. My mind would still have anxious thoughts, but the emotional component of my anxiety was significantly less intense. I was no longer getting stuck in those vicious cycles of terror at what “might happen”. I was no longer spending excessive amount of time seeking relief through proving that what I feared wasn’t going to happen. (Health Anxiety for myself and those I love was a major one for me).

I still have concerns and fears. But now I can handle them more logically. I can consider the probability of what I fear. I can think through any actions I may need to take at the present time to deal with the situation. After these steps, my brain is now able to simply drop the issue. My body and mind feel at peace, and ready to continue on with my day.

This early experience with antidepressants reveals to me just how much anxiety has been affecting me. I knew I “struggled with anxiety”. But this new non-anxious way of living is like a whole new me. My life would certainly be different if I’d always had this freedom in decision making, it would certainly have FELT different. I now see, without a doubt, that anxiety has been an EVERY DAY struggle for me for as long as I can remember. It wore me out physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s a heavy realization, a sad realization.

I do not want to experience that endless anxious headspace ever again. I worry without antidepressants it will return.

Depression

In helping me with depression antidepressants have had more mixed results. Within a few weeks I was feeling more energetic and more motivated. I felt I was able to handle my daily tasks more smoothly. I ruminated about the past less. I interpreted my daily mistakes more leniently. “Everyone makes mistake, oh well” became easier.

Then I started taking better care of myself. I am kinder to myself now. I bought some pretty and comfortable pajamas and an automatic candle for my bathroom. I take a shower every night (I’m not a morning person), and look forward to wearing my comfy pajamas. After my shower I brush and floss my teeth, I put lotion on my hands, I brush my hair, and wrap up my wet hair.

This might sound like a normal routine, but I have never taken care of myself like this before. I didn’t own any pajamas that went together. I had lotion, but never used it. I’ve never bought any sort of candle. I’ve always used an old comb from my parents house I took with me to college.

Since I am less weighed down and focused on my pain, I’m able to think about others more now. I am extending simple gestures of kindness and generosity. I am noticing when others do this to me, and the joy in brings to my heart. And I am eager to share the kindness I have received with others. I see now love is simple. This is another heavy realization to me, a painful one.

I see now I have lived all my life just trying to get by. I didn’t take good care of myself. I didn’t take good care of others. It was senseless – but I didn’t know better. How much simple comfort and joy I’ve missed bringing to myself and bringing to others! The past is painful to even think of.

The Mixed Results

I am more resilient to stress than I have ever been in my life. I am more engaged than I have ever been in my life. I have more energy. I have more fun and carefree moments with my kids. My emotions are more level. I’m more present. I am more freely loving. I spend more time on my hobbies and exploring my passions. I am functioning better than I ever have before.

This all sounds wonderful, right? And it is. Antidepressants have given me a perspective I believe I would never have been able to find on my own. I know now life can have light moments. Life can feel safe. Love can be simple.

This new perspective allows a different view of myself. I can see that my past cut me. It damaged me. It feels the cut was to my very soul. The best way I can express it is – brain cells without oxygen die, soul cells without love die. My antidepressants do numb the pain from those cuts on my soul. And for that I am thankful, I can breathe. I can see and feel a better side of life. I am able now to talk about my hurt, and then move on with my day. I can distract myself away from the cuts (which I do now with loud happy music, and being productive). Numbed out and distracted one could almost think I’m a functional person, a strong person, a fun person. But I am not. I am a person deep in pain. A pain I can not name. A pain I can not bare. If I go off antidepressants won’t they just flare up like a wildfire again?

But I feel helpless to heal. I feel I can never have normal relationships with others, or even just be a normal human. Like a brain after a stroke, I struggle to learn what once could have been simple and I will have to accept some life-long effects.

Is any of this true? I do not know. But this is what it feels like to a side of me.

Conclusion

Externally – functioning very well: good energy, developing good and healthy daily routines, getting out of bed earlier and easier, more joyful with kids, going easier on self and others, resilient to stress, keeping up with house work, better self esteem, finding better balance between time with kids and me time, present focused, high and stable mood.

Internally – observing the incoherent whole of me.