Lesson #1 Since Recovery: Journal: Story: Shutting Self off so I Can Reach It

Photo at Etsy

Listen While You Read: One and Only, Adele:

or Otis Redding Cigarettes and Coffee:

or Black Coffee (Peggy Lee):

I see I’ll be sitting under a menagerie of oaks, the canopy of green over the park. Emma will be older, playing, resilient, maybe even better. Because maybe I will be. But something will be missing. SOmthing I can finally put a finger on and label and recongize the associated emotion and feel it. It’s overwhelming, the emotions. I will be at my peak of my game yes, healthy, living, working, and God, laughing again. Picking flowers and planting them, making friends, writing, singing, traveling when I can afford it. And when I am alone on a more balanced plank of moods I love and need to be myself, I will feel in my chest what I feel now, what I felt when he said he was leaving, when he last kissed me and shut the door, when he knew to understate my emotions and hold me alittle longer but not too much or I start making fun of one of us. I wanted to tell him so much. It had been almost nine years, our daughter, seven. He was my only friend there too. My best friend. No one so opposite from what I am could get me more–understanding what I do before I do it, and opening his arms to consequence. He never treated me like I was “special” when I got really sick, hell I’d been sick the previous ten years with chronic, complex PTSD. He never knew me healthy. Huh, me either. I’m truly starting over here, alone, and I’m terrified. I could never…NEVER…tell him how much I loved him. I couldn’t feel him when he touched me due to my own past traumas. I could never see passed myself, I could never see this gentle, kind-hearted man who took on quite a case–me. And I exhausted the inexhaustable out. And here I sit alone, crying. Christ. This is not a pity therapy bullshit journal, it is a “piece” of shit to help me figure out who I am, what my emotions are. You want to know who I really am? Put my fingers on the damn keyboard cuz’ I don’t fucking know. Sorry anyway, hang on kinda jump back into that flowing void of my thought-strings that’s playing Adele and Cat Stevens. Man they are the tears. Anyway. I told him I loved him, and that I felt he deserved to be with someone who was emotionally capable of showing him that love every day, because I couldn’t. No matter how bad I always did. No matter how many times I’d turn the corner and cry, wipe it away, and change the subject. I believed it was weak to cry in front of him; no; I believed if he saw me emotional then I was…real. Vulnerable. I had to be stone, even after so many years with him. He couldn’t melt me down. I had to. But what he did do was by his very own shining character I was able to see what he was missing from me, what he deserved. What I was incapalble of. I tried. I tried to kiss, to say the I Love Yous, to say sweet things, to hold hands. We had nothing in common. We had everything in common except stuff. He has never known me well, all this time, except for this last half a year, and I can still barely say “I love you, take me back, I’ll be better” because I know he can’t do it. He can’t do it anymore and I don’t blame him. The thing is it IS DIFFERENT this time. I’m a new person. I’ve never been this person. I’m taking babysteps. I’m whole, not fractured. I have an identity, which, let me tell you, is a fucking handy thing to have. I can’t stress that one enough. Had I had one ten plus years ago, I would be married…right? Does everything happen for a reason? When I’m not with him there are parts of me, old parts of me, that wakes up–my music, my singing, my art, my charcoals, my drawings and portraits, my photography, my CURIOUSITY, my oldest, closest friends, traveling, and I’m becoming quite political. I’m waking up to a world OUTSIDE OF MYSELF AND IT’S LIKE THANK GOD WHERE THE HELL WAS I AND WHY DID I GO???!!! But the thing is he is not why I slept through myself, I was too sick to live inside myself, and it all accumulated and came busting through in one horrible year of ptsd, psychosis, bipolar, and dissociative states that wore us to the grind. He had all the financial burdens plus learning how to help me. He still doesn’t talk about those days. I feel three things. Guilt. Selfish. Alone. I don’t know why and no I’m not gonna explore it there’s too much to say here and I have to figure how to get it out.

His family has never known the healthy side of me either, and I’m afraid to show it to them. Well I was, but he’s gone now, it’s over, it’s time to grow up and move on and only return to each other if we don’t find what we’re looking for out there. His family is close and loud and they’re ALWAYS laughing and doing things together but what I mostly loved about them was how they cared for eachother–there were no strings attached to each other, they simply love each other and are there. They’re not forced to feel bad about themselves and others, guilty, judging, it could go on and on…as it was in, well, my family. I wanted my mother to love me the way Justin’s (that’s his names) mom loved him every time he walked into the room. So here I’d just like to say, that even though I do think his mom is not too crazy about me (i also used to be helplessly paranoid and it’s hard to shake on certain attitudes), I think she’s lovely, with a huge heart. And maybe I don’t blame her for possible negativity towards me, I’ve put her son (well, my illnesses and my perpetrators did) through the mill and he does so much for me and I can barely utter a meaningful thank you. I wish I could tell her all the times I cried just because I loved him so much and couldn’t tell him. Given the chance again, could I do it? I DON’T KNOW. How am I buildt? Is Chronic, Complex PTSD forever? I know scars are. I know bipolar is. I wish I could just hug that lady and tell her “thank you” for raising such a wonderful, amazing, stand-up, real man, a real friend, a kind, very thoughtful, compassionate, peaceful person who’d give the shirt off his back but spot a scam a mile away somehow. Anyways. I think I’m rambling. His dad, now, his dad is the dad I used to dream I’d have as my dad. He’s fricking hilarious, he pretty much lives at his cabin by the Pike Chain Lakes, fishing IS HIS LIFE. We used to have some pretty good parties at the cabin, earlier on. After Emma was born, I see that I slowly, gradually slunk inwards into myself, away from everybody. Instead of growing closer to his family, I got farther, and I know that bothered him as much as it bothered me. But they were alll so healthy and sane and I just wanted them to approve of me, to say “Hey, you can have a good family too”. Ahh well. His siblings aren’t that fond of me and I totally don’t blame them. How could they have ever known what a wreck I was beneath it all? And I played off my illness to Justin as if it were a joke. I wanted him to see me as smart and cynical, instead of flooding with emotions–more like drowning in them. I was humiliated by my mental illness “stigmas”. One of his sister’s husbands pretty much said i was too damn lazy to work and I was beating Justin down to a pulp because I didn’t want to work or some shit like that. Yeah Doug you. Ass. But a part of me felt like he was right–only for the last year I COULDN’T work because I was afraid of everything, the flashbacks were starting, psychosis, blah blah blah. But in the part I felt he was right about–I was “something” to go back to work. And as I got better little by little I realized I was afraid to work: I was afraid of change, I was afraid of people making fun of my weight, but mainly it meant it was time to begin. Time to begin to start building this life, from the ground work up, all over, all new materials, all new. And that’s scary.

So coinciding with this change is his change as well. He left yesterday for North Dakota. Probably for two years I’m guessing. We sat down one day (after we had originally split when I was still pretty sick but too much for him by then) and discussed how we weren’t living our lives, we weren’t living them together, neither of us were doing anything remotely close to what we wanted to do with our lives. He wanted to make money and get a headstart so he could come back to Ashland and start his family life with Emma in our hometown. My plan was to move three hours away to my sisters and niece. I always felt better there, alive, wanting to do stuff, meet people. But now that Spring’s here (I was going to move in June), one of my sisters might not be there, and I’d have no help with Emma, all her family and cousins would be back home. I don’t know. I’m probably not going to move. Yet. Which is a downer. But I start my classes not soon enough.

Back to the bench from the beginning. I’ll be sitting there, watching Emma play with her cousin. I’ll be alive, inside a real, whole, healthy body, respected body, a fighting body. I won’t be seeking anyone. I believe we find who we’re “meant to be” with through our journies–our choices and our rhythms lead us to them, it’s only natural. Maybe there’ll be no one. I wonder if I’ll be off most my meds by then… It’s quite fine if I’m alone, because I don’t feel alone anymore. I was alone my entire life, until I broke, and someone loved me enough to try to help me pack myself back together, to stop the flooding. We were a good team. I know that, twenty years from now, should it return, I could (though I wouldn’t) call him and tell him the signal “It’s coming” and he’d show up ready to be there. This time, his leaving, meant a little bit of everything. He’s urging me to move to be happy. He says he’ll never leave here. I love him but somewhere hidden inside I’ve somehow let him go. And it hurts. Hurts like a bitch. Life has to happen, and lots of it, before we could ever be whatever it is that we could be. The strange thing is, if I hadn’t been sick and abused my entire life, I wonder, where would I be? What would I look like? Would I have friends? Would I be singing? Would I be doing what I love most–writing? No. I don’t think so. What the fuck would I have experienced and learned in order to write about it? I wouldn’t take it all back for a “normal” life. We crazy-asses have sunshine, too, and let me tell you our good days are a hell of a lot better than yours! I’m not sure who I”m directing that too. White space. I’m trying to tell myself to stop being afraid. Everything I ever had to be afraid of already happened. So fn’ relax. That’s true. But I’m impulsive and maybe the smallest percent neurotic so my minds imagines big fears, big ones. Stupid. But big. I’ll write more later. Summary: I have a well-deserved heart-ache due to the loss of a dearly lloved one though who deserves it–is not so much me as the situation. What you gonna do?

AlisonTyne on Etsy
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Ali Farka Toure’s
“Ai Du“:

6 thoughts on “Lesson #1 Since Recovery: Journal: Story: Shutting Self off so I Can Reach It

  1. oh, sugar, I can so identify with you– truly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to climb out of that dark place and transform the darkness into something else. My big epiphany lately– and I too have PTSD and a host of “issues” is that it’s o.k. to stop worrying and berating myself. those two things really pull me down and I suspect they pull you down too. My therapist says, “Forgive yourself. Go around say ing I forgive you to yourself until you believe it.”

    I bet you’ve done your very best at any given moment, and have been forged into a very strong person. You can do it and are doing it and you have us with you. xJenne’


    1. Jen, well you brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your words. Yeah see for me I have trouble understanding what that means to forgive myself. And I am hard on myself. I work so hard on separating myself from the illness(es) but when everything around you gets infecting by it sometimes, then it gets hard. When I’m not doing this and re-examing everything and everyone in my life, when I’m just existing and doing what I want to do and playing and writing and singing, then I’m light as the sun. I’m unstoppable. That’s how I know it’s getting better. And you’re absolultely right about being at your very best at any given moment and dammit that’s exhausting. Maybe I need to stop worrying about pleasing everyone. I’m enough. Thanks Jen, big hugs and love to you today.l


  2. “Life has to happen, and lots of it, before we could ever be whatever it is that we could be. ” — amen, friend, and welcome back; welcome home to the place where your shadow-friends like me love to congregate and listen. Did I tell you what Rilke once said when he refused psychotherapy? “If you would rid my demons, you would also rob me of my angels.” Or something like that. I’m not saying therapy and pharms are wrong — by ALL means, get the help — but the deep-wave work of psyche and emotion goes on, over a long, long time, BECAUSE of who we are. As you say. High cost, I know, but shamans never had it easy. Singers shouldn’t, either, though it’s nice to get a break now and then. But it’s wounds into wombs, right? One step, one post at a time. – Brendan


    1. “wounds into wombs” you know I carry those lines with me everywhere, I really do. Sanctuary in the night, even when there’s no light, there is, just be still, take it in. We are nothing without the experiences, who could live a tame life? Controlled. Meds, yes, at times necessary, but you decide what you need, not them. I’ve given up two prescriptions and I feel loads better. Back to my fabulous tea. I missed my tea, it was like a special time.
      Reminds me of my first apartment with my little girl. Did you listen to the link at the end of the post? I hope you love it as much as I do. I’ve never found another song that compares. You gotta play it loud, and alone. Right to the core. Makes you dance with your demons and angels. I LOVE that Rilke line, not one I’m likely to forget. Yes, as I was sick in bed or trying to sleep to avoid the day I thought of all my buds around here. I like it here 🙂 We’re all just shadows…ooooo….sorry spongebob is on. It’s just so nice to hear from you. I’m halfway through one of your posts. Are you a columnist or anything? Tell me you’re using your honest talent to truthfully educate an america being trained to be ignorant, at least us poor folk–they’re tryin. Ok, I’m rambling. More later. 🙂


  3. welcome back, amy! Glad to see you here 🙂 I don’t know if this is how it is for you, but for me my first breakdown occured when my daughter got to the age I was when my bad memories begin. Something about her reaching that age triggered a lot of stuff I had buried for all those years. She is the reason I began my journey of recovery.

    I was a victim as a child…I had NO choice. However, as an adult I can choose to be a victim or a survivor. Some days it is still a toss up…yet, better than it used to be. Progress not perfection is my mantra. Praying for you.



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