​Healing Your Space

Space, we call it a thing. Star Trek started its program with the words, Space, the final frontier. Conquerors of times before claimed lands, they planted homes and flags saying this area belonged to them, and they now owned it.

Personal

Disclaimer: this article was written pre-COVID-19

Personal space isn’t so easily defined. Do you run and hug a new coworker? Is a handshake necessary? When talking with someone do you leave a two feet distance? What about crowded places, are you in their space? Every culture has their own comfort level. And within each culture there are variations. Children and parents can hug and snuggle without discomfort, but you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and act the same way. Not unless you wanted to be punched. For etiquette read- >Don’t Stand Too Close.

Some days boundaries are natural. Put up a fence. Close the door. Hide in a closet. I can do these things. The one thing I have trouble with is an emotional cut-off. How do you close the door without hurting people? Clearing your emotional space is as important as cleaning your room. Sometimes they go hand in hand.

Emotional and Mental

If you were raised by controlling parents, emotional and personal space is probably an issue for you. I didn’t have the right to my own religion. Barely had the right to my choice of clothing. There was no arguing about politics or doctrine. In my state this is normal. Strict parenting meant good wholesome children. Spare the rod and spoil the child.

But when a child has no right to privacy, or they are threatened for having an opinion that is different, a line is crossed. I call foul. Emotional space is every bit as important as physical. Don’t let anyone take your life – space.

There’s a lot of information about boundaries. Here are a few links.

Getting Space in a Relationship

The Emotional Space Theory

BOOK – Codependent No More – Melody Beattie

The above blog post was originally posted in the winter of 2017, but became corrupted. Reinstated today, October 11, 2020.

Emotions And Flashbacks

We know emotions. They’re healthy, normal. A pet is sick or dies, and we are sad. If it is sunny outside, this could be a good day. We become excited. We plan for an adventure. There’s a hike, a few hours at the zoo with our family, or maybe the pool. A little sunburn isn’t bad. Even a tantrum from the three-year-old doesn’t spoil a day. Emotions are flavors added to the stewpot.

I’ve had weeks of crying jags for no apparent reason, and I’m bewildered as to what started them. I can’t recall an emotion. Am I sad? Angry? Sometimes I’ll stare at the wall or want to hide under the covers because life seems too much. It’s the tsunami crashing over my plans to move forward into a good life. I write lists and can’t seem to accomplish the tasks.

The difference in simple terms between an emotion and a flashback is the logic. I can be disappointed in an immediate event or happy about it. If I’m having a flashback, it’s illogical. I may be disappointed about the experience but also accuse others that they did this on purpose. I’ll feel like going into a dark hole for a longer time or rage about someone letting me down. And perhaps they did. The flashback has magnified the pain.

Emotional flashbacks are sudden and often prolonged regressions (‘amygdala hijackings’) to the frightening circumstances of childhood. They are typically experienced as intense and confusing episodes of fear and/or despair – or as sorrowful and/or enraged reactions to this fear and despair.  Flashback Management

Pete Walker

How can you tell if someone has a flashback?  

“Flashbacks sometimes feel as though they come out of nowhere, but there are often early physical or emotional warning signs. These signs could include a change in mood, feeling pressure in your chest, or suddenly sweating. Becoming aware of the early signs of flashbacks may help you manage or prevent them.”

RAINN.ORG

There is a time in our childhood before we could name an emotion when we create patterns of feeling. It’s possible our parents were busy and tired. My dad worked two and sometimes three jobs. Mom helped when we had a business—three kids and not a lot of money. As the third child, it was a challenge to be noticed. I needed more than they could give. I cried with ear infections, and mom was exhausted. She needed a break. And there wasn’t one in sight anywhere for her. Now, it’s still difficult for me to ask for help.

Peaceful Warrior

One tool Richard Grannon teaches in his YouTube videos is for emotions. Many of us are not aware of our feelings. I wrote about this in a previous post, The Jungle of My Emotions. We befriend our emotions, even the ugly ones, and they soon become familiar. Name them as to recognize them. Are you afraid? Or are you feeling betrayed? This method has been helpful for me.

A decent way to do this is to set a timer for three times a day. Mine is 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 8:00 PM. When the timer chimes, check-in with yourself. Are you bored, lost, sad, or feeling angry? Being aware of yourself is a start. There is plenty of help if you need it.

I don’t know your life or your family, only you know them. You swim in those emotions deep. It takes a near miracle, as the fish pulled from the water, to realize life can be different. I do have hope for me, and I have hope for you. If you can relate to any of this, follow some of the links. There is help. It can get better.

Resources:

Rick Hanson Ph.D.-The Foundations of Well Being 

Richard Grannon-The Spartan Life Coach

Pete Walker-Flashback Management

My thanks to Wade Harris for the featured photograph. Find him on Flickr or Instagram.

Authenticity In Times Of Crisis

We know instinctively that some things are precious. Your health, relationships, family, sanity, and mobility must be prized so that you can have a happy life. Your true self is also worth protecting.

Authentic – representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/authentic

I follow trends. Fashion is a hobby of mine and in my blood. As far back as I can remember, my very reason for getting out of bed was to pick my outfit for the day. The magazines influenced me on the colors I liked and the amount of brightness. It’s subtle. Soon after indulging in the magazines, I’d forget who I was. Do I like lace? Why am I suddenly craving, needing their product? I’ve been swept into a river of marketing.

Authentic


Do I remember who I am?

There were terrorists on the news. Now, it’s politics. I watch stories of sickness, epidemics, murders, crime, and war. Can I hide at home? I can’t stay this way. I don’t want to be swept into the kinetic frenzy of herd mentality. How do I handle my life?

I remember me.

I have made it through many rough times and difficult trials. Victorious. I know am strong enough to make it through the dark night. There’s light. But in the dark moments I still feel hopeless. I had to find focus on a good thought and remind myself of it over and over again. Sometimes it helped to have a physical token as in the movie Inception. Recently, I started listening to positive podcasts and guided meditations. Brain Software With Mike Mandel: Dealing With Disaster is a good episode. I also like Tracks to relax: I Am Deserving Sleep. I’m trying to laugh and do silly things. I know it’s one day at a time. It will get better.

Sometimes after bad things happen, after the storm, it takes time to find footing. I’m still finding mine. My surgery left me weak. Our nation, this world, we as a whole will need to find our strength again. It will get better. Remember who you are. You are strong. You are funny.

Ugly

I was at a stoplight, and the light had turned red when the pickup truck behind me decided that stopping was not convenient for him. He found space to pass me and ran the red light.

I know I seem like a small-town girl, but this place where I live isn’t a big city. We still claim a few rural, country roots. But we’ve certainly forgotten our manners.

We can’t pretend this is Mayberry and that we live in the scripted world they did. It’s a free choice, do as you please, live free kinda life now. This country dude didn’t know me, and his action wasn’t personal. He had an agenda of his own. If I wasn’t here, it would have been someone else he’d pass.

Keep on truckin’

Fly in the soup

Bullying has been around for ages. Sometimes we call it helpful advice. Or nagging. People who honk when you drive too slow or stay too long at a stoplight think they can push you into doing what they want. Maybe it’s your brother who wants money or your dad giving advice or your wife who hates your music. The stress of this can build until life becomes unbearable. We can learn to live with it, but how? How we handle the push is a personal choice. I do have a suggestion or two.

“Hold your own, know your name, and go your own way.”

Jason Mraz

Learn to take care of yourself. Know where you are going and watch your surroundings. Don’t get embroiled in the road rage drama. I’ve been in dangerous situations that I didn’t cause, but because someone believed I had slighted them, they sought revenge with their automobile. Believe me, early in the morning, while heading to work is not the time to check the status of your brakes. When testosterone-filled young men driving little red cars pass you and then stop, it doesn’t matter if I did something wrong or not.

Idiocy is everywhere. I decide if it ruins my life. I get shaky after these events, but I realize they are like storms. It rains on everyone. Some people become offended and believe they are persecuted, but they’re not. Unless you’re a person who creates trouble, most things are random. You can’t prevent everything. Shake free of the event and go on with your day.

Remember your values. The pebbles in your shoes, rude people, can soon become spikes in your soul. It would be sad if you lost your way and let anger, disappointment, and revenge become more important than love, kindness, and charity. Your standards are essential to this culture’s survival.

What do you there’s a serious a abuser in your life? Find help. Seek counseling. Talk to friends and ask for advice. Most importantly, find a safe place, a safe lifestyle for yourself.

see also Softness Is Your Strength and Pebbles in My Shoe

Boundaries and Bandaids

A friend of mine recently had a baby. It’s one of those smell the roses occasions when family and friends gather. And there together we hold a precious new life. That baby, who moments ago just forced it’s way out of its mother’s body with such ferocity to cause most women to scream was sound asleep. Some women curse and have such a personality change during childbirth their partners don’t even recognize them. Bringing the now docile tiny creature into its new environment was a fierce activity. Both mother and child become war partners together.

From the moment we are born, we have jumped into the mix that we call life. If you believe in reincarnation, then your birth was part of the big circle, and possibly a choice you made. If not, this is your one shot life! Either way, we all have a birth.

Life is full of trouble, step in that shit! -not the Buddha

With birth comes the family. If yours is like mine, it’s quite imperfect. And sometimes actually violent. They might show up drunk to your wedding or set you up with potential dates so you won’t be lonely. My mom pretends not to understand what I’m saying. I honestly thought she didn’t remember stuff or was deaf for the longest time, and now I’m guessing she was playing her form of gaslighting. Why It’s So Hard to See This Form of Childhood Abuse

As adults, we have a few bruises to our psyche. Life is the ultimate obstacle course that taught us how to drive, and we know of nothing different. We develop quirks to help us cope. Keep your mouth shut and don’t tell the family secrets. Always clean your plate. Be polite. Don’t talk back. Hypersensitivities usually develop when children are traumatized at a young age. You might say some are trained to be fully aware of their surroundings.

Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you, because it is through what happens to you that God speaks. It’s in language that’s not always easy to decipher, but it’s there, powerfully, memorably, unforgettably

      – Frederick Buechner

The strategies that made us are not the best thing to keep us healthy. We need to put away our childhood coping methods. The new software is required. We must learn new ways of caring for ourselves.

Your best protection isn’t cowering indoors. That’s a recipe for insanity. I know you’re familiar with stories of people who have tried such things — the crazed few. Knowing your truth is your salvation. What makes you smile and brings you joy? Find a way to grow your will power. Do something for yourself every day. Yes, it’s right for you to be selfish sometimes. Keeping boundaries and healing starts with your core. Begin by building your values, and your limits will follow.

Portals and Spells

Magic isn’t candles and herbs. Enchantment whispers telling us we’re beautiful. And all things are possible. Or the opposite. It stops us where we stand to make us forget how dazzling we are. Someone else is prettier. All that was brilliant clunks like a piano out of tune. Ugly. We are ugly.

Trauma is a gateway

I watched a YouTube video to help me line up with the Universe. That’s a good thing, right? It’s the current “The Secret” guru-ish Vudu spell casting thing. But this one hit me at the wrong moment, and I was in the worst mood. Triggered. What the video was trying to say was, “Do these things, and you will be in a better position to receive.” It was good advice. Only, I heard, “You’re a fuck up. You can’t get it right.” This is bad magic. It’s the hurt that runs through the veins of scarred people and causes us to warp the words of others. The piano is out of tune, and it’s not our fault. Something is twisted, scarred, bent or broken, and we are a little off-balance.

There are ways of relearning, but it takes time and dedication. We must be patient with ourselves. It’s essential to surround ourselves with loving friends. Those who are kind are the only ones who should be allowed to stay. If you’ve made it this far in life, you deserve good friends. Let go of people who are cruel or who don’t support you. Learn to lean on those who are good. Remember you are probably better than think you are. Your vision is usually skewed. I know mine is.

Support

A good resource for healing – Spartan Life Coach Richard Grannon has been both a martial arts instructor and trauma counselor. His style is easy going. He knows his stuff.

Always Well Within Blog lists several good books

Kris Godinez deal mostly with abuse but also with trauma. She’s blunt and a straight forward person. She’s a writer and public speaker.

I Am Home

Do you get stuck in one gear? Ever wonder about your strange whims? We all have them. Some are more noticeable than others. Many can be hidden or written off as normal behavior, but inside you know there’s a gear that’s broken. A rattling. This isn’t a fracture for a bone doctor to repair. It’s deeper.

I’ve been watching my repetitive behavior for a few years now. I also compared it with my mom’s. It’s similar. Some people drink too much alcohol or smoke cigarettes. Others overeat. I have a name for my continual urge. Nesting. It’s common when you move into a new home or if you have a new baby, but I don’t fit either category. Birds gather feathers and yarn for their nest in the spring. I shop on Amazon. I love my home. Finally, I had to ask myself why I continue decorating?

“I have arrived. I am home in the now. I am solid. I am free. In the ultimate I dwell. What a loving place to be.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

The chaos and uncertainty that most of us experience makes it impossible to feel safe. We struggle with our place in society, in the workforce, with our family. We are like a puppy circling to find a comfy spot to sleep. Only we never relax. Circle. Circle. Keep moving.

I don’t feel safe. When I was a child, my home was chaotic and full of anger, so I grew up frightened. As an adult, unconsciously, I’m making a home for myself. My quilts, books, and pictures are only tokens. They are security blankets. Maybe I need them, perhaps I don’t. I’m trying to be patient with myself.

Bless you on your journey to wholeness.

Painting by Leticia Banegas, taken from The Girl God

Drug Addiction is Not a Crime

Don’t be stigmatized. Shake it off. Be free of traditional labeling.

With the new Federal regulations, there is a tightening on pain medicine, even for those with chronic pain. The label I feel stamped across my forehead is Addict.

Yes! Pills. Give me drugs. Stop the pain. A friend’s mom is a pain med junky, according to my friend. It’s been a driving force for keeping my friend away from the treatments. Maybe. There’s the ex-boyfriend who called my friend a druggie when she took her pain medicine. Ironic since he once lived in the tunnels of Las Vegas because of his illegal drug use.

Stigmatism.

I’m uncertain of how to help since there is the of money. If the insurance paid for the medicine, it’s great. If we pay for Ayurvedic or other Holistic treatments, then it is all personal money. Most of us aren’t wealthy. I asked my new pain treatment physician what other alternate treatments meant since the Federal guidelines state doctors are supposed to phase out opioids into different types he said they include physical therapy, surgical interventions, and steroid injections. But these come with copays and deductibles. We are talking about $300.00 to $1000.00s of dollars per visit with no guarantee of any success. Thank you Federal government for your love and concern!

It seems that every TV show and podcast topic lately has a splash of bias, making anyone who needs medicine appear to be a drug seeking criminal. Honestly, if all the answers were found in nature, then our bodies would damn near heal themselves. Even on my favorite show, Joe Rogan Experience, it’s one I can listen to while I work, it’s long and doesn’t need constant visuals. The one I was listening to, #1301-Laird Hamilton, was a health-conscious episode. Mr. Hamilton and Joe were bandying back and forth about people they knew who did outrageous marathons such as 125k. Quite impressive. My annoyance came at their assessment of their source of health. With much pride and enthusiasm, the guest kept repeating that people wouldn’t need medicine if they would exercise (as he does?) Seriously? In all cases?

Be Lucky Like Him

Yes, these big, God’s gifts to the world, do irritate me. There’s a blind spot in their Narcissistic vision. Humility. Mr. Surfer needs a reality check. Genetics smiled upon him. But….

When you have all of the answers, why bother looking anymore? I work in medicine and see the opposite side of the mirror every day. There are babies born without a chance to every run 125k marathon. Babies don’t do a damn thing right or wrong. Many times neither did their parents. Life happens, and we pick up the pieces. It is a fools arrogance to assume we have such control.

I want to be grateful for the gifts I was given, for each day, each person in my life. I want to create a better world for tomorrow. And love my people today.

Here are a few resources:

Gabor Mate is an Author and speaker. He has excellant YouTube videos. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction-Gabor Mate

Richard Grannon is a therapist and speaker I’ve followed for several years on YouTube. He has multiple courses on trauma recovery and offers a free course if you sign up for his emails. Spartan Lifecoach

How Stigma Against Addiction Devastates Pain Patients-Article

Talking Kitty Cat-Catnip Addiction HELP!! (Funny) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMnco5w7yeI

Cursing the Darkness

I curse the darkness.

I know I’m supposed to believe. I’m supposed to visualize good things and make vision boards. But in the end, you’ll find me yelling profanities out my window-maybe not literally, but figuratively I do curse the depression.

You will not torture me!

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light…-

Dylan Thomas

There are three common responses to abuse. Fight, flight, and fawning. Fighting, raging, not trusting anyone, that’s how some handle life. They walk taller, live faster, and work harder than others. But a cockfight is not my first tendency.

My first response to problems is panic! I freeze, like a fawn. I’m a deer in the headlights, and my mind stops functioning. I swear that running would be healthier.

Depression, that deadly chill, is why I curse the darkness. It’s a night which can swallow me, and I hate it. But, I force myself to face its ugliness. I build massive fires to fight the chill.

I curse the darkness. I use any of the tools I have. I love music and watching movies. Writing and studying my ancestry are more than a distraction; they bring me joy. These are my bonfires. My friendships. My family. Memories of favorite moments. I’ve stockpiled a cache of fireworks for whenever I need them.

I refuse to live in the darkness of my fears.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914  1953

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”