What it Feels Like to be a Baby Left Alone Too Long

Saturday, September 23

This is what I wrote in my journal this morning.  Friday morning is when I have a phone appointment with Erica, because she is in Keene.

Woke up feeling painfully isolated.  I usually say “lonely” but I don’t think lonely is the right word for this morning.  Lonely is when you are aware that other people exist, they just are not with you.  You can feel lonely in a crowd, that means you are not connected.  I guess that’s really what lonely is, not feeling connected to anyone.  What I’m feeling is that there are no other people in the world.  I think this is a baby before object constancy, when Mother is not in the room.

Talking to Erica on the phone, how I experienced her as very far away.  I said I was trying to crawl to her.  “… set myself to cover the distance.”  Can’t remember where that quote is from.  It carries the sense of the person’s difficulty in moving, and their determination and intention to get there.  Then I realized that I can’t go to her, I need someone to come and rescue me.  But no one will come because no one wants me.  So it’s very painful to even become aware of that need.

In our conversation she would ask “What are you aware of?”  Then I could pay attention to my butt on the couch, my feet on the floor, etc.  I noticed that my toes were curling and uncurling.  I asked if  a baby does that and she said yes.  She said maybe I was looking for something soft, so I put a fleece blanket on the floor, and pressed my feet into it.  Then I noticed how the cushion at my back was rounded to accept my weight.  This is an experience I’ve had in S.E. where sometimes the world curves to receive me.

What am I aware of now?  My butt on the couch, my feet on the cushion on the floor, the warmth of the dog.  The colors of the trees outside my windows, the sun sneaking in behind.  Hot tea.  There’s also a pain in my heart.  I think about the babies whose nurses were forbidden to talk to them.  Some emperor wanted to find out what language Adam and Eve spoke.  But the babies all died of lack of connection.

O yes, forgot, while I was talking to Erica and putting the blanket under my feet, I picked up Kiddo, who’s been here on the couch with the little rescue dog who still has no name.  I picked her up and hugged her, and continued to hug hard after I hung up.  She doesn’t feel like a baby, she feels like someone I can hold on to for reassurance.

Thinking about times when I was rescued: the Black maid, Herman, and Rose Marie.  Rose Marie flew across the country because she could tell I was in trouble.  That’s absolutely staggering to me now.  I think I was unable to take it in fully when it happened.  I could not believe that I mattered that much.

I also was imagining Erica’s constant, detailed, positive feedback, and suddenly saw it from the side of a person looking at a small child as another manifestation of God.

Notes:  “Object constancy” is something a baby doesn’t acquire until between 18 and 24 months.  It’s when you know that even though you can’t see mother, she still exists.  Before object constancy, if something isn’t visible, it doesn’t exist.

In Somatic Experiencing this exercise, of paying attention to your physical body in the present, is called “resourcing.”  It doesn’t work to try to remember anything about your trauma unless you are resourced.

For “language deprivation experiments,” see Wikipedia.

“Kiddo” is a doll I made of cloth for a workshop in Children of Alcoholics.  She is about 18” tall, with a sweet face that is also full of confidence.  when I introduced her to the group, she popped up and said “I’m very intelligent.”

The story of the Black maid and Herman

I realized later that my friend Rose Marie actually flew from NYC to Burlington and rented a car to drive to Franconia.  She’s been living in Seattle for the last 20 years, so that’s where I imagined she had come from.  I think my mind changed the distance to help me appreciate what she’d done for me.

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Feeling Unreal

I haven’t posted anything for a while.  My life has been very difficult: overwhelming, crazy-making.  There’s an earlier post about Feeling Unreal, so that’s been another part of this difficult summer.  I don’t even know how much sense this post will make to the reader, I’m trying to give the flavor of my experience.

This post was written on August 5, the earlier post was written only a few days before.

Feeling very strange.  The weather is strange.  Yesterday afternoon it poured while the sun was still out.  This morning it’s warm, humid, and grey.

Yesterday was hot.  I thought about lying down for a nap, but remembered what Erica said about how working “whole-heartedly” was one antidote to exhaustion.  So I started working on my Lammas post for the new Neskaya website.

Very confusing.  Some things the program liked and gave me green dots, some things it didn’t like, and I couldn’t figure out why.  At some point Eleanor came in and told me she’d got the phone jack that splits into 3 at the hardware store, but it didn’t work either.  She’s afraid that mice have gnawed the wires.  I said we would need to call the phone company and have a service person sent.  I asked her if she would do that.  She said something about scheduling, so I looked for my calendar clipboard and couldn’t find it.  I burst into tears and said “This is making me crazy.”  Eleanor said to forget it, she would take care of it after she gets back from her parents.  She has to go next week for her mother’s birthday.  She sounded very cross which made me feel worse, but Erica had said something about negotiating new boundaries with her.  I know that I always feel terrible when something has to be fixed in her apartment.  I feel responsible for everything.  At first I freaked out whenever something went wrong, then there was a period of time when I was OK with it, but yesterday it was a last straw.  Possibly working on the webpage was not a good idea.  Writing is something I can do whole-heartedly, but struggling with unfamiliar technology is not.

I went back and read what I had written in response to Andrew Harvey’s work on Spiritual Activism.  I see that I have always been on the side of the underdog, that I have gone to protest marches and vigils, that I would have done more if they were closer to where I live.  I’m badly handicapped by PTSD, and having to take care of myself so I don’t become totally disabled.  Actually, I’m worried that I’m close to being totally disabled right now.  I haven’t been able to fill the forms out for Kendal, I haven’t been able to take my computer to the bank to solve the password difficulty.  I know there are more — o yes call the dentist and make appt for work that needs to be done — but getting up and looking for the yellow pad where they are written is too much right now.  I have too many pads and I keep losing them.  I keep losing things, that’s something else that drives me crazy.  All this stuff, all these little details that have to be taken care of, are right now making it impossible to take care of myself.  I haven’t been able to mediate for weeks, I keep forgetting to take Mocha for walks — even short walks outside — crazy!  It’s all crazy.  Today I feel unreal, weak, disorganized, uncentered, off balance.  Trying to build balance exercises into my day.

When is there time for spiritual practice, for sitting calmly, for spending time in “liminal space” as Erica said?  No wonder I feel unreal.  Erica says that feeling unreal is due to lack of validation, lack of someone seeing what’s going on with me and naming it.

Kendal is a Retirement Community that I have applied to.

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Pain Becomes Compassion

I was typing up from a month ago when I had woken up feeling sad & scared, and was so disappointed that I had lost the good feelings from the day before.  I was angry at myself for “wrecking” my own good feelings, as though I had done it deliberately.  I tried to understand it as worry about Eleanor’s situation, or as my trauma being triggered.  But mostly my attitude was wanting to get rid of it.  I could have understood my scared and sad feelings as a message about the whole situation, not just my personal problem.  Looking at it that way, I see that my painful feelings were because I care about Eleanor and I’m angry at a society that can’t/won’t take care of so many people who are having a hard time.  If I see it that way, I see that my pain is about a much larger pain in the world, and I start to feel compassion.  Compassion, even mixed with sadness and anger — I was reading somewhere about compassion and anger being the same thing and now I see that anger on another’s behalf is a form of compassion — even mixed with sadness and anger, compassion is much more satisfying and much bigger than worry about my own personal emotions.  I don’t even feel helpless, I see that I’m doing what little I can, I’m not in denial or complacency.  My feeling are about how much I care, not about how I keep making the same mistake.  What a relief!  What an easing and softening of my heart.

I’ve been having a fantasy of working with kids — adolescents — who are dealing with addiction and suicide.  I imagine this is something I could do when I’m in Hanover.  I’m aware of my sympathy for and anger about the situation of a young woman who doesn’t see anything worthwhile in her life.  Then it occurs to me to wonder about my teenage self, and my efforts to contact her.  She thinks the misery she’s going through is her own fault, because she’s a bad person, she’s defective.

Imagining saying to a teenage girl “No one takes drugs unless they are trying to numb unbearable pain,” and she bursts into tears.  Then I see what to say to my adolescent self: “No one cuts themselves unless they are trying to numb unbearable pain.”

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I Feel Pain Because I Love

Last Saturday I didn’t have any human contact all day.  I typed a lot of journal, played a lot of solitaire.  Washed a bunch of dishes.  Dumped a puzzle on the table & started turning pieces right side up.  I finished Wildfire at Midnight and started a biography of Crazy Horse.  I own the book, but I can’t have read it before, and it’s too difficult to keep going.  I started The Middle Window last night.

“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day unto the last syllable of recorded time. and all our yesterdays light fools the way to dusty death.  Out out brief candle.  Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.  It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  I memorized that as an adolescent, thinking I knew what it felt like.  The truth is I had no idea.  That passage from MacBeth is such an accurate description of despair.  It’s the full-blown version of “that twilight feeling.”  Yes, that’s exactly how I feel.  I ask myself if I really know that that level of despair is based on reality.  And something inside me says “No, it’s not true.”  It’s how you are feeling and that’s a combination of emotional exhaustion, “compassion fatigue,” the ongoing battle with PTSD, the pain of helplessness in the face of Eleanor’s suffering.

I think “If Eleanor weren’t living here, I could have had the kind of life I was hoping to have living in this house.”  I would have been able to scatter seeds and see the birds…  but then I would still have been battling attachment trauma, and I would not have her support.  It’s like the work with Erica, sometimes it’s so painful I wish I had never started.  But I had no choice.  Why did I have no choice about working with Erica?  Because I had to get down to the bottom of what’s causing my suffering.  I had no choice with Eleanor because I love her.  That’s the great learning I got from these past weeks of pain.  That I really do love her very much, that I am capable of loving in such difficult and painful circumstances, that this is what love is.  Some hard thing that you do, not some nice thing that you feel.

I wonder about typing up what I wrote about despair and love for a blog post.  I get that little IRNK feeling that suggests that I am bragging, an old old voice.  Actually, I’m telling the truth.  Because of early trauma, because no matter what I did I couldn’t make my mother happy, I internalized a belief that I am not loving.  This is the first time that I have seen that how much pain I’m in tells me how much I love.  And the fact that we both want to stay in connection with each other is one of the first times I have found out what it feels like to repair a major break in an important relationship.

I think this is how Jesus loved us.  He came to teach us and show us what compassion and forgiveness were, and he accepted a painful death because that was a consequence of his revolutionary teaching.  He didn’t “die for our sins.”  Unlike me, he had had the experience of a loving god and that gave him the strength to challenge those in power with revolutionary teaching.  He knew that they would execute him, but that didn’t stop him.

Because I love, I am willing to accept the pain of my loved one, even pain I have caused.  This is what my ex-husband couldn’t do.  Hurting me made him feel despicable, and the only way he knew to stop it was to cut me off.

“Some hard thing that you do,” and “Hating those we have injured because it makes them feel despicable,” are both quotes from the writings of Elizabeth Goudge.

Wildfire at Midnight is a romance by Mary Stewart
The Journey of Crazy Horse is a biography by Joseph M. Marshall III
The Middle Window is a novel by Elizabeth Goudge

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Feeling Unreal

For the last few days, I have been feeling “unreal.”  I went back in my journal trying to find where I first started to feel that.  July 17 was the first time I wrote something like “I don’t feel like I’m here, don’t know where I am.”  Other entries since then are “I don’t feel like a person,” “no sense of future,” “everything ahead of me feels like a chore.”  I can’t find compassion for myself, and I have no sense of Spirit in the universe.

Last Tuesday I wrote:

I see Erica today, but I can’t imagine she can help me.  Two friends have told me I am much stronger, but I don’t feel that at all.  That’s a little scary.  If that’s true, it means that I haven’t been able to take in, experience, the healing I have done.  If healing doesn’t feel real to me, how can I ever truly heal?

Erica’s waiting room.  I call it “feeling crazy” but really it’s feeling like I can’t trust myself.  I can’t trust myself to remember, I can’t trust myself to make a good choice, I have no idea what to do, or what I want.  My routine is not functioning very well.  I put the eggs in the pan first, not the rice.  I wonder if I’m only seeing what I expect to see instead of what is, so I have no sense of being “better,” of having learned or gotten stronger.  When I asked Jan why she thought I was better, she said I’m more present.  I brought sweet chestnut, for when you are at the end of your rope.  “When anguish overwhelms you and you can see no way out.”  But this doesn’t feel like anguish, it feels like confusion and despair.  It’s true, I don’t see how to go on.

“Sweet Chestnut” is the Bach flower remedy for “Moments when the anguish is too great and seems to be unbearable.  Your mind or body feels as if it has come to the uttermost limit of its endurance. It feels as if there is nothing but destruction and annihilation left to face.”

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My Pain is Not About Myself

This was in my journal for June 10.  I typed it up today, and saw that I was making my pain personal, and a mistake on my part.  I did not see that it might be related to the state of the world, the awful things going on out there, and my powerlessness in the face of them.  Though I immediately realize I’m not helpless.  I sign petitions, I called the Governor of New Hampshire, and I can teach writing for healing.  Also, when we do the circle dances, I know that we are creating a new and different world, where diversity is celebrated.  It feels like a powerful prayer.

Woke up, and was almost immediately hit by sad & scared.  I look out at the bright green trees, and feel the weight in my heart and belly.  Is my life still worthwhile?  I say yes, but it’s become a concept, not a reality.  Well, I had a good run.

I think it was probably taking a friend to test drive a possible car in Littleton.  On our way in she talked about her fears, about needing to save money for her teeth and someday she’ll have to get another car.

I can see that I’m angry at myself for losing the feeling of being OK.  I tried to tell myself that there are a lot of people out there who feel scared & sad, but it doesn’t seem real.  What happened?  This is so frustrating!  Yes, I’m angry about losing those good feelings.  I’m angry at myself because I have enough money to not have to worry about taking care of my teeth and getting another car.  The political situation doesn’t help.

Yes, I’m angry and disappointed with myself for losing that good state.  Can I find compassion for myself?  Yes, something softens inside.  Can I forgive myself?  What comes up immediately is it’s not my fault.  I don’t do this deliberately, it’s triggered by something.  Compassion for Jenny, who is powerless over her own mental state, who is powerless to help her friend.  Well, that definitely shifts things.  I feel more sad than scared — maybe the scared is related to the anger.

What I see now, especially after rereading Miriam Greenspan’s book “Healing through the Dark Emotions” is that my sadness, my loss of that good feeling, is related to my friend’s situation and all the terrible things that are happening in the world.  It’s not about my individual pain.  It’s not because my trauma has been triggered — though possibly it’s because of my helplessness in the face of so much pain.  It’s another blindness in the culture we live in, actual denial of what we are doing to the world and each other.  Going to a therapist is seen as weakness, that there is something wrong with you, not that you are sensitive enough to perceive what’s happening in the world.  It’s really a sign of how much I care about the world: our planet and all the people and creatures who depend on its life-support.

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From Despair to Meaning

I continued to work with the ideas in Stephen Cope’s book The Great Work of Your Life.

“Here are the central pillars of the path of action — the path of karma yoga — as expounded by Krishna. …
1. Look to your dharma.
2. Do it full out!
3. Let go of the fruits.
4. Turn it over to God.”   p16

Quoting Krishna “It is better to fail at your own dharma than to succeed at the dharma of someone else.”   p16

This addresses my question.  I think that helping someone else at a cost to myself is not my dharma, but someone else’s for whom the helping would not be a loss, or would be a worthwhile loss, as Walt Whitman shortened his life by giving everything he had to wounded and dying Civil War soldiers.  Cope describes a woman he calls Ellen, whose dharma is clearly to help others.  She does it with joy, with shining eyes, because it is what she is meant to do. p49.

“The Sanskrit word “dharma,” as used in the Bhagavad Gita, is so full of meaning that it is impossible to grasp its full scope through any single English translation.  “Dharma” can be variously, but incompletely, translated as “religious and moral law,” “right conduct,” “sacred duty,” “path of righteousness,” “true nature,” and “divine order.”   p21

He quotes Réné Guénon, and paraphrases what he says as:  “The word dharma in this teaching, then, refers to the peculiar and idiosyncratic qualities of each being — those very essential and particular qualities that make it somehow itself.”    p21  This means that I have do what it’s laid upon me to do, even if it creates difficulties for someone I care about.  Despite the pain I’ve felt in trying to understand and heal what happened to me, it is still worthwhile, a task worth doing.

As best as I can understand it, there is a process and I have to let it carry me, and not worry about the outcome.  I’m feeling very uncertain about whether I will get in to Kendal because of my financial picture.  I’m going to have to leave it in God’s hands.

Reading these books, the story of Job has been used as an example.  Job loses everything, his family, his wealth, even his health.  His three “comforters” tell him things that aren’t helpful, like “It’s your own fault, you sinned,” that in our culture basically mean “I don’t want to hear about your pain.”  At the end, he is comforted by recognizing how small he is.  I have always had a hard time with that.  But now, the thought of the Ben Shahn silk screen I own, with its words from the book of Job, comes to remind me of something I love.

Canst thou bind the sweet influence of Plieades, or loose the bands of Orion?  Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season?  Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?

It always amused me to play the part of God, as I felt when I ran a planetarium, and sent the planets racing along the zodiac.  And I love to say these lines in a God voice:  “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the deep?”  But now I think of my vision of the universe, that comes from Astronomy, my major in college, and what I’ve learned since: “The universe is beautiful, interconnected, complex and creative — the universe is unbelievably beautiful, extraordinarily complex, intricately interconnected, and outrageously creative.”  The universe is way beyond our power to understand.  At the same time, how could a beautiful, interconnected, complex, and creative universe create anything that’s not beautiful, etc?  So I have to accept that there’s no way I can understand why things happen as they do, and have faith in the unfolding of the universe.

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PTSD and Dharma?

I’m very grateful that I’ve been reading Stephen Cope’s book The Great Work of Your Life.  I’ve read it before, but this time many things spoke to me in a very personal way. I’m wondering about looking at my struggle with PTSD as my dharma, as a learning to work with, not a battle to the death.  In the last chapter he talks about Harriet Tubman and Gandhi, how they asked for guidance, listened for the answer, did what they were told.  Put their lives in service to some good for everyone.

Cope says “If you don’t find your work in the world, you will inevitably make yourself your work.” p244  Is that what I’m doing with my hard work in therapy?  I think about Journey Into Courage, how I saw myself as a voice for the voiceless.  Seeing the video of Journey I was reminded that I was guided to it when I talked about wanting to make guerrilla theater about domestic violence.  When I realized I couldn’t do it by myself, I said to God “If you want this to happen, I can’t do it, so you have to make it happen.”  Almost the words of Harriet Tubman.  Then Lynelle saw a poster for a “Drama class for survivors of domestic violence” and I went eagerly.  This was Bess O’Brien’s way of starting to create a theater piece about domestic violence, which became Journey Into Courage.  When the movie had been made and we were no longer doing performances, I dropped into a serious depression.  I was guided to get on medication, and then Lynelle got me to try Somatic Experiencing, and I discovered that I was, in truth, suffering from PTSD.  I was guided to Erica, and the work with her seemed to reach the foundations.  Does in fact work at the foundations, but it’s harder and more painful than I ever imagined.  I guess I could say that I was guided to “Kindred Spirits” by Erica being away for three weeks and what Jack said about people in AA telling the truth.  When I got there, I found out what it was like to feel like I was OK just as I am.  I didn’t have to hide my defects, and I didn’t have to hide my gifts.  That is my goal.  Not fame or fortune, but to feel OK just as I am.

In my life here in Franconia I’ve discovered that I simply don’t have enough support to be OK just as I am, and as a result I’m unable to share my gifts with people who would benefit.  Kendal was, in many ways, a good solution.  Moving to Kendal means that I will have enough support to begin to share my gifts with other people in a way I can’t do here.  I could teach astronomy, teach circle dance, facilitate writing groups around grief, writing for recovery, writing for healing.  But in moving I have to abandon my dear friend of thirty years.  Eleanor has been living in the apartment attached to my house, but if I move she won’t be able to live there any more.  She’s on disability and has a housing voucher, so moving, especially if she has to move to another state, is full of difficulty and risk.  She has enough stress in her life, aging abusive parents, many health problems along with PTSD, a therapist who isn’t really helping her, etc.  I feel terrible about letting her down, and it also triggers early trauma about having to take care of my younger siblings, and not having my needs acknowledged.

This conflict/crisis has caused me enormous pain and mental/emotional confusion so that I have made serious mistakes in relationships with people who matter to me.

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Bleak and Dark Inside

From my journal for October 2003

I’ve been writing and run out of things to say.  I’ve finished my tea.  I don’t want to move and I need to go on with my day.  There there Jenny, what you are doing is very hard.  Courage my dear.

Breakfast, wash dishes, water plants, dance to Shoror.  My heart aches so that it’s very hard to keep doing things, but now that I’ve stopped I’m feeling the fear again.  There’s no place to rest, no place safe to be.  It’s a beautiful day out there, autumn gold — intensified by mist earlier, and it doesn’t touch me, doesn’t lift my heart.  I feel so bleak and dark inside, and I so love the beauty of the world and grieve that I’m unable to celebrate it.

Dear Spirits, I’m pretty bummed out.  Please help me.

Dear Jenny, we think you should raise your meds back to 100.  This is being altogether too hard for you.  Medication is neither good nor bad, it is a way you can support yourself when other kinds of support aren’t available.  There is no support for you in the culture and too much pressure in the opposite direction, not to mention all the COA stuff: judging yourself without mercy, making things too black and white, etc.  Yes, if you lived in a therapeutic/spiritual community you might be able to get by on less medication, but that’s not a realistic option for you right now.  Yes, go ahead and call Dr. L.

Took Bella up Rte 3.  I carried my painfully tight grieving heart and paid attention to my feet on the path and the colored leaves.  Sat by Skoogumchuk Brook for a little bit.  Was able to take in a little of the beauty of yellow leaves against the sky.

My intention: I offer myself to the process of grief, to allow it to transform me in its way.  I wish I knew better what to do next.  I’m afraid that my ability to grieve is badly compromised by the nature of my losses.  I found myself crying on the trail with the pain of losing the “real life” that I had for such a short time.  And even when the loss was clear — loss of Shenanigan, of Dana & marriage, I wasn’t able to participate fully in my grieving because I kept falling into depression.  I do not know how to let myself grieve, sit with my grief, without falling into depression.  I keep trying to do it but I’m afraid my efforts are sabotaged by dysfunction so I’m unable to really surrender into the process of grief which then creates more toxic depression.  It would be much easier if I could spend one day wholeheartedly grieving and the next have some respite and joy, but it seems like I am either stumbling through the fog and dark and cold of depression with very little joy, or else I’m “doing well” and the grief doesn’t appear at all.

Shoror is one of the parts of the Oratorium.

My sense that if I could grieve adequately I wouldn’t be depressed was right on.  But I didn’t know enough about grief.  Francis Weller’s work helped a lot this past year.

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Pattern of Overdoing and then Crashing

October 2003

Put on the Oratorium CD.  Sitting on the floor, moving with grief, pain in the heart, lack of hope — walking out into the desert with the fragments of a culture, knowing that it’s most likely I will die in the desert, least likely that I will come to people who will receive joyfully what I’m carrying.  (Noise down the hill, there was so much noise last night that I was only able to sleep with ear plugs and fan on and relaxation CD.) I have only the vaguest knowing that there’s divine energy out there, buddhas and bodhisattvas, and they are holding our wounded planet very gently.  Whether or not anything ever heals does not matter because it will all die, but at least all this suffering is held in compassion.

Bring compassion to this poor woman, who’s fallen into the pit of terror and depression, who’s lost whatever sense or belief gave her life its meaning, who is having a hard time with noise, and is angry at herself for being so sensitive.

Went to Kayla’s for lunch.  I was feeling pretty lost — still am actually — feeling like it’s not OK to take up space, I don’t belong here, I don’t feel safe.  It’s true, this could be because I wasn’t held enough as a child — I just need some explanation so I won’t blame myself and get angry at myself, and I suppose with some hope that it will change.  If it’s a loss due to things that weren’t there in my early environment, can it be healed?  I have no idea.  And I don’t know what to do.  Can the work with Dave help with this?  I have no idea.

I’m feeling so discouraged and defeated.  I see how, when I was feeling better in the summer, I did the COA black & white thing “I’m all better now.” And so I immediately wanted to widen my life — to take workshops in counseling techniques etc — so I piled more stuff on myself as well as trying to get off the medication.  I see now how foolish that was — I’ve lost ground so badly — I’m back in the place where it’s too hard just to get up in the morning, just to keep up the normal schedule here at Neskaya.  I’m very angry at myself for being so stupid.  And I’m very disappointed because somewhere in me I want to have that wider life — to go to Jalaja’s workshop, the Windhorse training, visit Bobbi on Cape Cod.  I can see better the cycle that Karen talked about, how when I’m in an upswing I pile on more & more instead of building in time for the down cycle and so I crash instead of coming down gently.

So discouraged.  But at least I don’t feel as lost as I did yesterday.  I didn’t do anything to try to bring myself out of it.  I started the music for “Turning Toward the Morning” and did the dance to express my bleakness — but it helped.  I look at my painting of the dancer that appeared when I surrendered to disappointment.  That’s the sort of transformation that Greenspan talks about.  I suppose if one could get skilled at allowing these emotions to move, it would not be so upsetting that they keep coming back again and again.  I imagine/hope that I can be completely free of them — that’s what I thought last summer — Dave tried to warn me, but of course in the up place the downs don’t look like a big deal.  Somehow I have to find a balance — enough little joys every day to strengthen me for the inevitable losses and disappointments.

The Oratorium Cd is the Oratorium in Memory of the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
Recording        Blog post about the music

Dave Berger was a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner I saw in Concord for a while.

COA – Children of Alcoholics

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