1996: First Hint of Early Trauma

These notes are from my journal for January 30, 1996.  I’ve clearly had a very bad night. I haven’t been able to find the previous notebook, so I don’t know what else I might have said. But my reference to Dr. Brunette, a psychiatrist I was going to ask for a prescription for an anti-depressant, and to the Brattleboro Retreat, which is a mental hospital, suggest that I’m having a pretty hard time.

I’m in the hut. Listening to Aap Sahaee Hoah. Released some tears initially which relieved some of the pain in my chest. I’ve had it since Sunday night — don’t know whether it’s physical or emotional.
Places to go for help:
Dr. Brunette(appointment a week from tomorrow)
Brattleboro Retreat
Karme Choling
Rowe & Deena Metzger (weekend of Feb 9-11)
Kripalu & sound self

I suppose I could go to Kripalu for R&R sooner. Last night was so bad, I wonder what I’d do if I felt that bad at Rowe?

Things to remember (Recopied from previous notebook so I’ll have them to go back to)
It was this bad in ’70 and ’71 and I came out of it.
Life is a mystery, health is a mystery
I have made a difference to people I care about: Dana, Beverly, Lynelle, Sybil, Alice.

SEE CLEARLY, observe myself without judgment

STAY TRUE TO MYSELF   and what self is that?

BEAR WITNESS TO THE PAIN    and don’t abandon myself


Journal for January 31

Better night last night.  I didn’t sleep well, in fact I was awake from about 4:00 to 5:00 and woke very tired at 7:00.  But at least I didn’t go into the pit of the night before.  I took physical precautions: I had a tea tree bath before going to bed, I put on the filter and ionizer, I made sure Dana would be OK with me coming to get in his bed if I had a really bad night.

But I think what was most helpful was talking to Lynelle in the car on the way to and from Hart.  I told her how bad I had been feeling, how I had lost everything I used to hold on to in the night.  She was concerned about the money we’re spending [on her] (it was $600 yesterday) and I said I didn’t know if it was too much because it felt like I was going to be dead in a couple of months so what did it matter?  She said she thought such bottom of the pit questioning of why live was related to experiences from infancy, that she thought I had been wounded very early.  I think she is right, and having some kind of cause for the depression turned it into a piece of work that I’m doing, something from the past that needs healing, rather than the eternal damnation it feels like.  Certainly I was feeling very much better, by late last evening I felt “normal” though scared to go to bed for fear of a repeat of the night before.

Lynelle is very perceptive. She was seeing that I was dealing with trauma from a very early age. It’s going to take me a few more years before I really understand how right she is.

From my journal for February 1

Spent time with Dana talking about my emotional ups & downs.  I said there weren’t any “ups” as such, there was just the “normal” “neutral” place and the blue black pit and I seem to be cycling between them.  I said I often came out of the pit as a result of a conversation with him, with Beverly, with Lynelle, in which I felt safe to talk about the depression and then, with their help, to come to some sense of a wider context.

The reason why it helped to have a conversation with a friend was that I wasn’t alone any more.

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