Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

I Don’t Have To Go It Alone….

I did not always believe the above phrase. I spent much of my life believing that I could trust no one. I had been told and shown this repeatedly from a very, very young age. I was told that my world-(my home)- was safe, and that the outside world was very dangerous. Well, if my home life was so bad that I needed to dissociate, God help me if the real world got to me.

I was terrified while growing up and well into my adult years. I’m not talking about being a little nervous, I mean terrified. I was scared of the teachers in school; I would not put my hand up to answer a question, what would happen if I was wrong. I would not look at a teacher for I was afraid I would have done something wrong. I was afraid of the kids in the class, I was afraid to try anything because I was so sure I was too dumb and stupid to do anything and they would just make fun of me if I couldn’t do it, or worse. I was afraid to stand out and be noticed, because if I was noticed that’s when bad things would happen to me, my home life proved that.  I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.
It was ingrained in me not to trust anyone. If my own caregivers were abusing me, there is no way in hell I could trust anyone.

To say that this caused some issues with my life and relationships is an understatement.  I so longed to have a trusting, secure relationship with anyone, the only way I could do this was to dissociate. I realize now that growing up, and in my adult years when people became friends with me, they became friends with my alter or persona, because it was just not safe for the core me to trust anyone enough to create a relationship.

Needless to say this caused havoc when I started therapy. I was afraid to say anything to anyone about what had happened. I was sure if I told my psychiatrist what happened he would think I was worthless, not worth helping and all that self-loathing that abuse survivors believe. I was in shock when he did not give up on me, tell me to leave etc. With his support and acceptance I learned to trust him, bit by very little bit. It took a long time and much “testing him” on my part.

I have come a long way.  I think back to those times and how lonely and isolated I felt. I believed I could trust no one and tell no one. I now know this is a “cognitive error” and what my abusers wanted me to believe.

In time I learned that the “world” is not as scary or dangerous as I believed. People did not think I was bad or dirty or unlovable because of what happened to me. This took a lot of time and a lot of work but I am no longer afraid of the world and am enjoying living and enjoying new experiences.

Now When I am going through a rough patch or processing my past, I know I am not alone. I now know people care about me and love me for who I am. They may not be able to fix the problem, but they can support me and let me know I am not going through this alone.

I have professionals in my life that I can talk to and who support me. When I was on the psychiatric unit last month the staff 
supported me through this tough time and were there for me during the day and the wee hours of the night. I was reminded that I don’t need to be stoic, to let the process unfold as it should and that I don’t need to go through this alone. 

My family and friends were there for me, and not always in person. Some popped in to visit me with a much appreciated cappuccino form my favorite coffee shop; some came by for a few minutes to let me know they were thinking of me and gave me hugs. Others sat with me as we admired the view over the bay, no words were needed. Some sent me messages on face book and e-mails to let me know I was in their thoughts.

It has taken me a long time to learn to trust others and the world. I now know that no matter what life has in store for me, good or bad, I don’t have to go it alone.
Those are my thoughts for now and remember, no matter how bad things are you don’t have to go it alone…

Cheers and be well

Saturday, 2 June 2012

I Have Been on a Great Discovery….

The great British- Canadian fur trader, surveyor and map maker David Thompson (April30, 1770-Feb 10, 1857 )-mapped over 3.9 million square kilometers of North America during his career. Every time he went out, be it for a walk, find a fur trading route or to survey unknown territory, he was not going on an adventure, but was said to call it a “Discovery”, no matter how big or small. 

I have spent the last little while going on my own discovery and it has been an amazing trip. 

As much as I love spring, it is always a tough time of the year for me. I love the season, flowers blooming, the longer daylight hours, the birds singing and migration, and the promise of a new beginning. At the same time, this is a time of the year for me where I experience trouble sleeping, more pronounced PTSD symptoms, irritability, tiredness, lack of enthusiasm etc. To say that I am a walking conflict is an understatement. As I never knew why I would feel like this, -( besides the fact I knew it probably had something to do with my past)- all I could do was closely monitor it and make healthy choices for my mental and physical health.

This year, things in my past started to surface more than usual, with greater clarity and in time I discovered why this time of the year is a trigger for me. It has been a lot of work and a huge piece has been processed. This is very hard work and is very painful. As I process the traumatic event, I also experience the physical, emotional and psychological pain I experienced at that time. 

This time round, I have re-processed a huge piece. In fact this is, if not the first, one of the very first times I split and created alters to deal with the abuse. This is also the time I became afraid of the world.

 I have known about this incident for a long time, but I have never "looked" at it before. As I explained to my family doctor, yes, I have mentioned it before, but I have never looked at it. Its like me saying, “I cut my hand, then it gets to the point its interfering with my life so I have to look at it and discover that I have nearly severed four of my fingers.” Its time to look at it, take care of it, process it and move on. I have to process it to be able to do that.

This is a huge discovery for me in more than one way. I now know one of the very first times I split, and I have now discovered that long lost piece of myself that was lost so long ago, in fact I have discovered more than “one” piece of myself, for I have discovered the core me that was protected because I dissociated.

 That is what dissociating is all about, protecting the core self. Dissociating protected my humanity, sense of right and wrong, awe and wonder, and many other aspects of me.

It has been a lot of work and at times very painful. I asked, and received, wonderful support from my family doctor, my therapist, the staff at the hospital-( I was on the pshy unit voluntarily for 6 days)-and of course my family and friends. When I was on the unit in the hospital I posted on my face book that I was in the hospital, I received nothing but amazing, heartfelt support. This once again proved to me that the world is not dangerous, (which is what I was led to believe as a child) I continue receiving loving support from these people.

I do have moments when I grieve for what happened to me, and what I have lost because of it, I am also able to celebrate the “me” that was protected because I dissociated.

 I am 100 % living in the here and now and making plans for the future, they include improving my golf game, learning how to skate better, working on my memoirs and if all goes well making a trip- or two or three- to Ireland!

I am back up and running and am doing well. I am back to my dragon boating, golfing, having coffee with friends, and pretty much enjoying life. I also gave another very successful presentation to a grade 11/12 psychology class. The kids were great, asked great questions and gave wonderful feedback and comments.- which I will post on my Facebook Building Awareness page.

While I was in the hospital I received word that my article that I submitted to the magazine has been accepted and will be published in the summer edition!!!!

In 2005 I had applied to Outward Bound Canada to go on one of their Women Of Courage Course's in Ontario. I was accepted and given a full scholarship for the course. I was on the unit when I received the letter of acceptance. And, this time round I was on the unit, again dealing with some very ugly stuff and I  received  word about the article. 

Life is interesting.....I was in there dealing with some real ugly stuff when accepted for Outward Bound and I get word I am going to be published. I have come to realize that no matter how bad and horrific my childhood was, and the affects it has on me, I now realize that the universe has been holding me lovingly in its arms....

This has been an amazing discovery and I now I feel more whole then I have ever felt in my life, and it’s like my soul has  been satiated, like this is what I have been looking for all my life. So, it will be interesting to see where this leads.

Discoveries come in all shapes and sizes, where will your next discovery take you?

Cheers and be well