Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Finding Freedom


I suck at proof reading. It is 10:47 pm and I have no intention of proof reading now. As I go back and read this after I have posted it, I will shake my head and go back and edit it, as I do with every post. The thing is that I know what I meant to say and I can spell the wrong words correctly.

On with the Blog post!

So there have been many things that I have contemplated writing a post about since my last post. Life has had some interesting turns. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger or so they say. I don't know who they are but I would like them to know that I feel strong enough right now, and that they could lay off for a while.

This one thing though, this one really great thing, I started EMDR. What is EMDR, you ask? Well in short EMDR is a therapeutic approach proven to help people with PTSD. More information can be found here. They will explain it to you much better then I ever could.

So you have PTSD? 

Yes, I believe that I have made mention to it in a previous  post, but I am not going back through posts to tell you which one, nor am I going to leave that up to you. I have experienced 2 significant traumatic event is in my life. Now any of my family or friends who say there were more then that, don't remind me about them. I must have forgotten them with good reason. Which also implies that they were not so traumatic for me.

Trauma # 1

  • In the summer of 1999 I was in a car accident. The short story is that I rolled a car along side I-70 in South Canyon, between Glenwood Springs, Colorado and New Castle, Colorado. The sounds, the smells, almost every detail I remember vividly. The only thing that I have never been able to remember is how I managed to get out of my seat-belt and turned so that I could crawl out of the car, without falling on my head. (The car was upside down when it came to a stop.)
Trauma # 2
  • The summer of 2008 my youngest son had a near drowning experience. Don't worry, said kiddo is now 10.  Near drowning is defined by surviving, at least temporarily after suffocating in water. My son was unconscious and not breathing when I found him. Again, this is an event that I can remember in vivid detail, with only one missing piece. Also, this is the very short story of this accident. Before anyone jumps to any judgments about unsupervised children and pools, and as a word of caution to all parents, this pool was very supervised.  There were more adults then I can count with in an arms reach of my son. He was happily playing until, he simply was not.

It wasn't a decision that I made consciously. 

I walked away from these two events knowing that every choice I made was life and death. There was no in between. I hit the snooze button instead of getting up when my alarm clock went off the first time. I didn't turn around for life vests. A million half second decisions that I didn't think twice about in the moment, now effected eternity. 

I didn't say to myself "hey you sure did learn an important lesson you must now analyze and scrutinize the minutia of moment and every decision," but that is what happened. if only I had, if I had just, why didn't I...every detail of the most mundane decisions and conversations would live on instant replay in my brain for hours, sometimes days. I wished for an off switch. Heaven forbid I have an argument or disagreement with someone! Was I right or wrong, did I handle my self appropriately, what could I have said or done differently to have a different outcome? Always second guessing if I had handled things perfectly. I have feared even the smallest of mistakes. Driving in a construction zone, in unfamiliar places, at night...white knuckled. My husband and I have joked for years. While he drives he pays attention, but remembers to get some change back, enjoy the scenery. I just pay, never getting any change. 

How does EMDR work?

Scientifically I can't explain why or how EMDR works. EMDR is something that my counselor has spoken with me about for years. She wasn't trained in it though and she gave me a referral. Realistically she probably gave me 10 at least every year. Introverted, probably to a fault though, none of these referrals were people that I had let in to my inner circle and I was not stepping out of my circle. I was really happy when she finished training this summer. To this day I can't explain how it works or why it works. All I can tell you is how it feels.

One of the first things we did when I started EMDR is talk about a safe place. It was after this session that I came to the realization that EVERYONE should have at least this one session of EMDR in which you find this secret place. So that, when you are done, at the mention of a word you can visualize your safe place. Your blood pressure goes down, you heart stops racing, the tightness in your chest is gone and you are at peace! Despite whatever chaos you were just feeling, you are now calm and peaceful.

Similarly we would talk (yes more goes in to EMDR then talking but again I'm giving short stories) about my experiences and what they had taught me to believe about myself. I had been striving for some unobtainable standard, that I was unaware I had even set. I had to be perfect! Imperfection leads to death! Obviously I knew that we can't all be perfect. I knew that in any given moment and situation, we are all (well, I hope all) doing the best we can.  Knowing that in your head and feeling that in your heart are two different things.

Let Freedom ring!

As I said, there is a difference between knowing something in your head and feeling it in your heart. I walked out of my 3rd EMDR session feeling like a completely different person. I had an epiphany. These events, they were accidents! I know it sounds dumb. How could that have been an epiphany? In all of these years there was always something that I could have done differently. Something I could have or should have done that would have changed the tapestry of time. The thing is, I didn't have a crystal ball. Sure if I had gotten up when my alarm clock went off I wouldn't have been in that place at that time. What would have happened instead? Did hitting the snooze button save me from some other calamity? The fact is I don't know!  I wasn't somewhere I shouldn't have been when I took my daughter to the bathroom when my son nearly drown. I made decisions in the moment not knowing their ramifications. I made the best decisions for me in those moments. I felt like this incredible weight had been lifted from me. I felt FREE!

What I didn't expect.

The first thing I didn't expect, I will save for last. Although it was simple it was profound for me and I don't want to take away from it by moving on to the next thing. 

The 2nd thing I didn't expect, TEARS! I don't cry, or at least I didn't. In order for there to be tears my world had to have been in great turmoil and upheaval. Not so much now. Darn Hallmark commercials!

Next, I was driving down the interstate, in a construction zone, probably going a bit faster then the posted construction zone speed limit, talking on my phone hands free, during rush hour, when I had a stunning revelation. Only my left hand was on the steering wheel. My right hand relaxed in my lap! I was at peace! 

Occasion 3, I came across another person who was very upset. I bore the brunt of their frustration. With an audience! The scenario skipped instant replay! There was and has not been any dreadful longing for an off switch!

Before I get to number 1, I expect for the next while I will be shocked as I realize just how stuck I was and just how free I feel now. I know that everyone won't have the same experience with EMDR, If it is something that you have heard of, something that you have contemplated and just were uncertain of, I can't express the difference I feel. You should feel it too!

Now completely out of order, and almost out of place after that last paragraph, the first thing I didn't expect after session number 3. At the end of Session 3 as instantly as I felt free I realized that my unrealistic expectation of perfection, even if I hadn't been aware of it, had been holding others hostage. The I should have, if only I, why did I, they were all equally, you should have, if only you, why didn't you... for that all I can say is, I apologize, I humbly ask for your forgiveness. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Just a girl

So many thoughts I don't quite know where to start. All of these thoughts have left me sick. 

I lack understanding. I'm sitting here waiting... I don't know what for. Some glimmer of hope. All of the cliches... if only they were not so true.

I am just a girl. I know that I am brave and strong and beautiful. I know that I am worth so much... I know these things... I know them.

You don't see my heart being ripped from my chest... because I am strong.
You don't see my fears... because I am brave.
You don't hear my cries... because I laugh.
You don't see my broken pieces... because I hide them.

Maybe all of that is true... or maybe

You have closed your eyes.
You have plugged your ears.
You have turned your back.
You have walked away.

I am though,
Just a girl wishing that I was enough.
Just a girl who doesn't understand.
Just a girl who is broken.

I am just a girl. I know that I am brave and strong and beautiful. I know that I am worth so much... I know these things... I know them, I just wish that my heart did.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The woes of life need no blame.

I have been sitting with the above statement for a few days. I'm trying to make heads or tails of it.

I thought it might be helpful to break out the dictionary.
        1. great sorrow or distress.
            Synonyms : misery, sorrow, distress, wretchedness, sadness, unhappiness, heartache,
       2. things that cause sorrow or distress; troubles
           Synonyms trouble, difficulty, problem, trial, tribulation, misfortune, setback, reverse
       1. assign responsibility for a fault or wrong.
           Synonyms: hold responsible, hold accountable, condemn, accuse, find/consider guilty.... this
                               list goes on extensively. 
        1. responsibility for a fault or wrong. 
            Synonyms: responsibility, guilt, accountability, liability culpability, fault, rap.

So then, there is no need for accountability for the things that cause great sorrow or distress in life.

Woes can be separated the same way that my insurance company separates claims, "Acts of God" and "All other perils." If  there is a hail storm, that is considered an "Acts of God" I pay my deductible and I get my car fixed. If I get in a car accident a person is assigned blame, be it me or another driver. Someone is paying a deductible and I get my car fixed. Three things happen here. Something bad happens. There is accountability, even when there is not a person to hold responsible. There is restitution.

"All other Perils" ~ Should there be no accountability for my choices when they cause someone else heartache? I believe the flip side of this would be to ask, do we want to be acknowledged and given praise when we have done something that brought someone joy? If yes, then is it right to only take responsibility for the good and not the bad?

 Remorse is not a pleasant feeling but, so that our children never feel it, do we stop teaching them right from wrong?


Saturday, May 23, 2015

I might just bite my tongue off...

I know, for those of you really know me, this might be almost unfathomable, but there are lots of times that I bite my tongue. There are times that I just feel it better to say nothing. This was probably one of the more difficult things for me to learn to do. This blog post is a fine balancing act between the two.

First, let me own my knee jerk response:
(It should be noted that computer screens do not photograph well)
This wasn't quite my first response. A bit of Darwinism probably helped a girl out there. This brings us back to me biting my tongue. The debate to respond always starts with is a response warranted. Obviously you can all see at this point where I stand on that. Then, when responding to something or someone online I had to stop and consider the following:
  • Do I really need to engage in an argument on line for all of the world to see?
  • The whole world!!!!
  • Why does it mater? 
So again here I am still proceeding. What am I responding to:
See me biting my tongue! There are no identifying features! It isn't even the whole post! 
Why? Why does it mater? I would hope that most of my friends and family know me and can see through something posted like this. However, I would also think that the person who wrote it would know better. It was also posted in a public forum where people who don't know me very well or at all could read it. There are two sides to every story for those of you who have seen the original post and or know the writer, I feel the need to tell you my side of the story. For the rest of you, if you  ever questioned my self-esteem I hope I answer some of your questions. 

Let's start with self hate. I took this to mean that the writer thinks I hate my self-image. While there are things about my body that I don't like, I don't think hate is a word I would have used to describe them. In my 34 years of life my body has been stretched and pulled and scarred. While I would say that I need to loose weight, and that is a constant struggle, for probably the first time in my life I can look at my self in the mirror and say if I never lost another pound it would be ok. I can appreciate every scar every stretch mark and every curve. I can say unequivocally I do not care what anyone else sees when they look at me. Now just because I don't care about what y'all see, doesn't mean I think you need to see it all. 

Self doubt. I can't argue that I doubt myself. I don't know anyone who doesn't have some self-doubt. I am certain that I have more then most. 5 years ago I experienced a life altering event that left me with PTSD. That day, I made choices that nearly cost me the life of my son. So, yes I doubt my choices constantly. It is hard to not doubt your self when, in your mind, even mundane decisions can mean life or death. On the other hand I do not doubt who I am or what I believe in.

While I struggle with my weight (folks my BMI is 34 I should loose a pound or two) and I doubt my decisions, I do not hate myself. I like who I see when I look in the mirror, both physically and mentally and I can say that I am proud of the person looking back at me. She is beautiful. She is strong. She is patient. She is caring. She is smart. Sure she has her flaws, we all do but, I love her anyway. 

While there is still much that I could address I find it necessary to stop here and bite my tongue again.