Early Trauma and Knee Pain

This blog is about living with PTSD, so what’s the point of writing about my sore knee?  I did a post about it on December 27, but then I thought it wasn’t directly relevant. It turns out that I am dealing with bursitis, and it has been very painful to walk, which has made life extremely difficult. I’m doing a program to heal it, but it’s improving very slowly. I’m very grateful for the friends who have walked Mocha so she can walk faster and more than I can do. I’ve not been dealing very well with it, and gotten angry with myself, which doesn’t help at all. Finally the witness reminded me that my helplessness triggers my early trauma of being left alone as a baby and being utterly helpless.

From my journal for Saturday, January 13

What am I learning from working with this pain?  I don’t see anything yet.  Emotionally, I feel irritable and uncomfortable.  I’ve been trying to accept the pain.  I really don’t know how to do that.  I can accept emotional pain by stepping back from it and saying “there there.”  I can do that with my knee.  “There there.”

Thinking of the snow, I had a sudden hit of that first winter in Franconia in Crosby’s cabin and the time I was so short with Letty — I’m so impatient with the meaningless “How are you?” that people say so automatically — and Dana called me on it.  It’s true, I don’t need to be rude.  And the time with Mom after Dad’s death, when I was so angry because she was drinking.  I think I’m being angry and impatient with myself for not getting better faster — as if there was anything more I could do about it.  I choked on my first sip of tea — too impatient — and I ran into some furniture and hurt the little toe on my right foot.  Something I used to do a lot, run into furniture and hurt myself.  Sometimes I didn’t even notice until I saw the bruise.

So what am I learning from this injury?  To be more patient and kind to myself.

From my journal for Sunday, January 14

I haven’t talked to Inner Teacher in a long time.  I haven’t done a scribble drawing in a long time.  though I do put a hand on the little doll and the stone that represent parts.  Somehow I feel that we are still connected.

My leg is lying across the footstool and my knee hurts.  I try to hold it in compassion.  I try to hold myself in compassion.

And it’s very hard.  I was thinking that I had got to the place of “conclude I can’t do it,” some part of me just wants to quit, and I’m angry at myself for wanting to give up.  Then I step way back and find compassion for Jenny who’s having such a hard time.

Sitting here feeling utterly discouraged.  I step back into the witness who says “you must consider that the early trauma is making it much harder to deal with the pain in your knee.  It triggers the real helplessness of a baby, and leaves you feeling vulnerable and more helpless than you are.  Struggling with pain is bad enough, feeling helpless to move, finding necessary tasks very difficult, is hard.”

I think I need Harriet in The Rosemary Tree.

Harriet is a character in a book by Elizabeth Goudge, who is nearly paralyzed by arthritis, and also has a great deal of wisdom.

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