When we went in-patient for the first time almost five years ago, we wanted goals. Context (short version): We were drowning in shame from childhood trauma memories. Being productive while away from home for five weeks seemed important. Maybe from authors we read and therapists we had, we got the idea that we must love … Continue reading We don’t have to love ourself?
Both children are in distress. Older Child has reached the point of 100% stress, 100% of the time. This is the point Younger Child reached last Fall. We are beside ourself with worry for them. We are recommending that Older Child consider mental health support. Spouse wonders if Older Child might move back home (classes … Continue reading Pandemic: prolonged mental health crises
(We use plural pronouns) We are working with New T on sitting with powerful emotions. Feeling hopeless and despair is uncomfortable. We normally dissociate instead of ride it out. New T had us use bilateral stimulation to activate both sides of brain. Having T with us allowed us to just be in pain for a … Continue reading In Now we must trust
Older Child returned to college yesterday. We are bewildered and morose, funereal, weepy. First Covid case in our extended family, a niece. She and her friends tested (negative) before going to a resort together. Niece is the only one so far with Covid. So far very sore throat, taste and smell gone, fever. We hardly … Continue reading Messy life (redundant)
Trigger warning: we are feeling oppressed and want to say painful things that may trigger those with ptsd We sense that the childhood sexual abuse ruined life for us. Spoiled us like freshly killed meat left to rot. We learned too much, felt sensations too overwhelming for our precious Little selves. It was overload right … Continue reading Be gentle and survive
These are forecasted to be the final warm days of the year here. Autumn has often been a melancholy time for us. Suicidal ideation often spikes as the leaves fall. We think the trigger was the annual return to school as a child, which augured suffering because we could not sleep at night. Summer allowed … Continue reading We want to slow it down
We have lost much ground in: Being in our bodyMeditating Feeling any contentment Physical strength Therapeutic relationshipsHealing our traumas Cooperating internally Having friendships Expressing our gender We have gained ground in: Being compassionate to Younger ChildGetting off benzosAdjusting to new normals Things may not go back to the old normal. There is no knowing. Even … Continue reading Start (resume) where you are
If you know Ashley, you get it 💕💕❤️❤️
Love is probably the best we can do In general We like our thinky brain. We use it. It will help on this journey. And our feeling brain is probably where we need to heal and grow and experience life We live our life in fear. So moving to a point where we can ever … Continue reading Love is the best we can do
We are feeling very much stressed and low on resourcefulness and energy. We told Spouse. We vented. It is hard to say much at this point for Spouse. We have boxed ourselves into a corner. We want to practice Nonviolent Communication, and we know nobody who knows it. We found an online, yearlong compassion course … Continue reading Who is caring for the therapists?
We are pausing our therapeutic relationship with T-1. This is scary. T-1 has been one of our strongest tethers. Will we ever see each other again? If not, thank you for trying to help us. We learned many lessons. T-2 will know this week if T-2 can begin seeing us in person in some capacity. … Continue reading Practicing love
It’s getting close to our worst right now We tried to help Younger Child. We see the suffering. And Younger Child thinks that fulfillment lies outside us This is what society teaches Young People: Your value is assigned by teachers as grades, by the number of followers and likes Do what adults say to you, … Continue reading Liberate us while we are young, or now
When we feel Love, it is as if our heart wants to touch other hearts. It is a desire to spread inclusion, welcoming, acceptance, celebration, peace, equanimity This is not romantic love, though it is definitely a gateway and so we have to be careful. We were sexually abused and so we have shame about … Continue reading Cultivating Love
“Until I found the way to love, it's harder said than done” “Now I know the secret: there is nothing that I lack. If I give my love to you, you'll surely give it back.” https://youtu.be/M15y9NL3ANQ
Hypervigilance, as most experiences, has shades, gradations. Many people feel a heightened sense of fear in times of high stress. If you have experienced Trauma, that increase can push you out of your window of tolerance. We are finding our baseline is now out of the window of tolerance. Practices to get back into our … Continue reading Practices to calm frazzled nerves
In therapy earlier this week, we were triggered/moved with very, very deep emotion and instinctively got up to seek a hug from Therapist. T said, "No." And we crumpled to the ground and sobbed. The denial of contact felt like the parents' denial of nurturing every night of our childhood. The recognition of the pain … Continue reading Filling the big void inside
Many people reading and writing blogs, and many people living human lives in relation with other humans, want to change things about themselves and their lives. Can we agree that this is a normal behavior? For us personally, in order for changes to occur, big things must eventually shift. We want to treat people with … Continue reading The hardest changes to make
Do you get bogged down in the details of your story? In the telling and retelling? We do! In life, we feel an emotion, such as anger or fear, with the shock and force of a paper cut, and we are off on a trail of actions/events that almost always lead back to a major … Continue reading What is alive in us now?
Everyone and everything and all experiences are teachers if and when we are receptive to the lessons. We spent much of our working career in a college, which means we spent most of our life at school. This was by choice because we like learning and teaching. Here is what Nonviolent Communication (NVC) teaches about … Continue reading Empathy for those who piss us off
"...take your time. Those three words give you the power to come from a spirituality of your own choosing, not the one you were programmed for... It's critical for me to be able to slow down, take my time, to come from an energy I choose, the one I believe that we were meant to … Continue reading Take your time
Until we were a young adult, we could not solve the mystery of realistic paintings hanging in art museums. People would stand in front of a painting that depicted throngs of people frozen in time, and the observers would study the painting and talk about details in specific, knowing ways, as though they were watching … Continue reading Our original stories
Older Child returned to college this week. This house is filled with people grieving. When our body and mind experience pain, Punisher--one of our protectors--begins a long-establishes process of self-harm. Punisher ranges from a newborn to age 3. Punisher often initiates chaos and then becomes an infant, with whom you cannot plead, bargain, reason. Punisher's … Continue reading Changing Established Patterns of Behavior
We are alone by choice. Spouse and Children are with Spouse's family for holiday celebrations. This is not for us right now. The problem is that we are slipping further and further into dissociation and delusion in general. We are living in conflict in our head much of the time. Punisher invents scenarios, dramas, delusions … Continue reading Agency
Have you read _Nonviolent Communication_ by Marshall Rosenberg? The concept of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is not at all transparent. The reason NVC works as a mediation tool is because there is no compromise required: everyone gets their needs met. No one has to give up what they want because, when human beings truly listen to … Continue reading No compromise.
So much of our thinking is flavored by these plotlines. Our mind does not appreciate uncertainty, and so these familiar stories help us write the rest of an unfolding or prolonged situation to its bitter conclusion.
We're studying consciousness and trying to notice our states of being as they arise (someday we might notice when they pass, too). Paying some attention to how our emotions and sensations affect our particular moment-to-moment consciousness has yielded some strange mind thoughts, too. For instance, why does the name of every Canadian city with a … Continue reading Reflections on Consciousness
A poem about always investing in yourself
You practice a fire drill when there is no fire. The goal is to know what to do in case of a fire. So it goes with mental health coping skills and crisis planning: practice when you are relatively calm so that you know what to do when you are panicked. We are panicked. We … Continue reading This is why we practice
We all have magic. The way to find yours is to spend time noticing. Avoidance of self and inner-experience is a barrier to being. Running to the next distraction. Running from the crying child inside your mind. This culture has all the augmented reality and not-you experiences needed to live a life that is devoid … Continue reading The only True You
Just concluded the most challenging week outside a hospital. We chose to show up. We were vulnerable in public. Still showed up. Scared. Shaking. Staving off tears with strangers in a closed room. Stayed there. We didn't want all that blood drawn and the pain from the shot. Still showed up and did it. We … Continue reading We showed up
We may not share disorders in common, and we may share feelings of low self-worth.
Have you ever heard of "off-label" use? We don't do this with medication. We do this with books. Let me explain.
We are considering some sort of morning video or ritual to remind us the crucial rules, the ones people tell us are real, such as these 12 "rules"
I was getting annoyed that family member was starting to re-ask the same questions and was getting stuck in "analysis paralysis." I tried to look inside myselves to see how I could survive this
I'm in a challenging spot. I'm low on energy and my therapist says I'm low on resources because I've pushed away the parts of me that know how to cope in new, healthy ways. So we're using old ways: OCD, anger and self-punishment. OCD sees the out-of-control world (our spouse is sick and we're stepping … Continue reading Back to basics
Now it's time to parent myself. To provide my many Littles with the love, understanding, and safety they never received.
You probably want to be free of suffering. I want to be free of suffering. Deep down, we're probably all compassionate beings.
The air turns toothy and gnaws memories back to plasticity like two-day-old gum. The past stretches and bends and lacks the flavor of then. It absorbs ambient tastes. Feeds on dying leaves and burning wood. Instead of withering, I lose 30 years in a train whistle blasting through porous trees. I am dying of youth.
Shame doesn't have to be permanent. There is a "cure":
Though it won't stick, today's winter preview is beautiful to me. Heavy, wet snow clumping on everything. I think of the baby birds now on their own and seeing snow for the first time--and so early! This experience may make first-year animals more cautious with food caching. Survival imperatives kicking in. Something I am learning … Continue reading First Snow
One of the primary difficulties with incorporating new coping skills is that when you need them, you are in crisis, which often means you don't know that you need them or can't remember them! This is why it is important to practice coping skills when you're not in crisis. The barrier to practicing when you're … Continue reading Practice coping skills when you’re calm
I am practicing the noticing and naming of (1) my body sensations (throbs, tingles, rumbles, hot/cold, etc.) and (2) my feelings (anxious, excited, masterful, etc.). I am practicing naming them because somehow I missed this body of information (pun intended) when I was growing up. Until recently, I could name mostly feelings of fear, dread, … Continue reading Not everything needs fixing
Feel your power!
I just spent 20 days as a patient in a trauma hospital. Patients were from all walks of life. No one complained about material deprivations in their lives, no one wished for more stuff or money, and plenty of patients were financially bereft. I pointed out that winning the lottery wouldn't help anyone here have … Continue reading Experiencing Life
There is no 'one kind' of caring. Spoiled by fiction we too often overlook the love right beside us and within ourselves.
Collage on construction paper mounted on poster board
Note: This blog's author often uses plural pronouns for self-reference. Most of what dictates how we are supposed to act (in public, at school, at work, etc.) is made up by people. We're not saying there is a committee actively making social norms for others to follow, though Ms. Manners and other champions of etiquette … Continue reading Breaking social expectations that violate your values
Last night, we dreamed of zombies. In it, our spouse was straying from our side amid a nighttime zombie attack. We couldn't keep spouse close to us, which increased panic. We saw a fallen body and instinctively moved toward it to help. Before we could get within 50 feet, the body was dragged away legs … Continue reading Turning stress into joy
These are hard faults to admit. And they are true.
When we were little and acted contrary to someone's expectations, we were usually chided with, "Don't ____." Don't hit. Don't swear. Don't drink grape juice in the living room. As adults, when we're trying to change a habit or practice, we often default to the same thinking: Don't judge. Don't yell. Don't eat that. We … Continue reading What are you doing? Why “Not pooping” is an insufficient response
As we aged, we transformed the rich experience of surviving the tornado into a static data point to prove our misfortune. Our therapist shows us how to add it back.
It’s all going to be right now
Maybe if we honk our horns less and talk to our neighbors more, we will all feel better.
Which pursuit is worth our life’s energy? It’s not the one you think. Yes, this post will really reveal the meaning of life.
When contrasted with the seasons, the events of our lives seem unpredictable. In reality, we probably exert some control over these seemingly less predictable circumstances.
When we judge, we label, reduce, and remove context. When we observe with specificity, we provide richness and still allow ourselves to express our values.
We keep reading in self-help books that "feelings are natural" and "judgments are dangerous." Wait, what's the difference between a feeling and a judgment? Can you have one without the other? We had to have it explained to us repeatedly, and we think we understand! If our boss says in front of coworkers, "I received … Continue reading Are You Intensifying Unpleasant Feelings with “The Layer”?