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?
We have unmet need for Safety. We are always looking for risks, dangers. Is there a way to look for evidence we are safe? The one person we’re not feeling safe about is us: we are worried our behavior will turn violent or will embarrass us or humiliate us. In that case, another unmet need … Continue reading Anchors to humanity
If we do not attempt to meet our needs, who will? If we wait to be rescued, we are putting our agency on hold, staking our life’s fulfillment on others. If they are well-adjusted, they know they cannot be responsible for our existence or even our contentment. Thus, we will wait in anger. We can … Continue reading Responsibility as a goal
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
Lots of energy in our house. Feels crowded. At night, we feel oppressed by it, threatened because we think people are scheming against us. They are absolutely not. This is delusion and trauma. It is morning. We are preparing the turkey before we cook it. We can see our lack of compassion to self and … Continue reading Brave enough to cook a turkey?
The meds that helped us get off xanax are themselves leaving our system. We have chosen no meds. Why? We don’t remember what we know and do not know. We know we are low on skills. But we don’t know what we need Now. We used to have energy. We used to have a fire … Continue reading Wait at the intersection
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
COVID-19 pandemic is not over in our house. We are still social distancing. Some people act like it is over, and we do not want to judge a view as right or wrong. We walked with Spouse this weekend and saw elementary school kids playing organized American football—close contact among players, coaches, and parents with … Continue reading Is the pandemic over or continuing?
We usually write when we have something to say or if we want support. This post does not fulfill either of those. We are just writing so that people know what is going on in case they are interested. Older Child will return to college in a few weeks. All classes are online. So why … Continue reading What’s going on with us
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
The empathy gap seems to be a primary barrier to widespread acceptance that institutionalized white racism exists.
Maybe take in a deep breath Maybe let it out slowly Maybe repeat this a few times. Maybe sigh if it feels like a release Can we have compassion for ourselves to start? For how we were raised, for what we believed, for questions asked and unasked? Now can we have compassion for those we … Continue reading Compassion for change
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 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
If we cultivate compassion within us, we can learn that our contentment is accessible anywhere and even under difficult circumstances For this to be true, we must practice states of mind that allow compassion Honestly, this feels almost impossible for us. Almost. Little wants compassion. So we seek it. Our cup has been empty for … Continue reading We must get to compassion
Somebody left our body and noticed we were lost in delusion. They came back in and invited us into the actual world. The actual world scares us. So we make other worlds. In these other worlds, we are usually being hurt. Usually emotionally. The premises are: Predictability is bestWe should suffer These are easy and … Continue reading End punishment
“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
What if there are no "bad people"? What if there are only people who try to get their needs met, most of whom have no experience connecting with other people so that the other people's needs are also met simultaneously? What if everyone was raised by human parents and everyone internalized ways of seeing and … Continue reading What if there are no good or bad people?
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
We self-harmed physically yesterday. We do not do that often. We do not yet have the skills to fill the emotional void that wet intend to fill with self-love. The emotional pain was long in duration and deep in intensity. It’s the pain of Trauma from abuse and neglect. It’s pain of not yet understanding … Continue reading Being with pain
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
Little ones still get confused sometimes when breathing. When we were young, we used to think our tummy should go inward on the in breath and balloon out on the out breath because you breathe in and exhale out. We could not quite understand the synchronicity of the breath, until a few months ago, when … Continue reading Breath work is work
It's OCD. Every decision is an attempt at optimization, perfection, economy. Don't crack the egg for the pancake batter until the pan for the fried eggs is heated or you'll have to wash hands twice and crack eggs twice. Who cares? They're fucking eggs! You can't use another knife to make this meal. You already … Continue reading Perfectionism is using up life energy
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
Negative thoughts are setting us up for a negative outlook. If we think, "We didn't do a good enough job," then we feel like a failure. We don't want to replace the negative with a positive, though, which might sound counterintuitive. Positive would probably help our outlook more than negative. And what would help the … Continue reading Reframing thoughts without judgment
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
You’re not doing it wrong. It takes practice. When you find yourself in the same thoughts, circling the same carcass like a Turkey Vulture, look at the carcass—study it. What can you call that pile of roadkill? If you're worry is, "Will I succeed or fail?", that sounds like "attachment to outcomes.” Outcomes are what … Continue reading If you’re stressed about outcomes
One of our therapists said the "middle way" is felt, not thought. You can't rationalize your way there. You have to dwell in the land of feelings to know. We acted out of accordance with our values. Spouse called it a choice. That may or may not be accurate. She views it as a choice. … Continue reading Choosing to respond versus reacting
Seeking pleasure ignores whatever is happening now. If we do experience pleasure, we try to cling to it. It ends anyway, and then we mourn it. Avoiding pain ignores whatever is happening now, especially when it's pain. Avoiding what is actually happening causes suffering because we want pleasure and have its opposite. We crave pleasure. … Continue reading What is the “Middle Way”?
If we could accept our emotions and experiences in the present, or even when we reflect on them, our load would be lighter. Yesterday was spent with Older Child, who leaves for college in a few days! We're not sure who among us was present with him, and we worry, "Are we doing it right … Continue reading Acceptance for Tin Man
We wrote 26 different intentions/affirmations on scrap paper and put them in a brown lunch sack. Each morning, at breakfast, each present member of the family picks an intention. Then, at dinner, we discuss how we did. If we followed through or tried, we praise. If we didn't try, we still have time before bed … Continue reading Intentions project
I have so much to say. Our inside people have so much to say. We're trying to prepare to speak to each other. Right now, we're experimenting with a new inside place. Many thanks to KenKen and Naomi and therapists for inspiration. We have magic. We're not spending much time exploring or developing it. We … Continue reading So much to say
We sprang off our bed and ran foot-first into the edge of the bedroom door. Pain. Blood. Lots of both. This happened on July 4. Yesterday, it became clear that we might not need medical attention. The wound is still weeping, and we kept it clean enough that it could start to heal. Luckily, we … Continue reading Another injury, another lesson
"To strip yourself of pretense is to overthrow a hard master, the fear of giving yourself away" --Tobias Wolff Old School No routine right now. Summer brings children and spouse co-occupying this house. We are lucky to have spouse, to have children, to have a home, to have therapists invested in our healing. We are … Continue reading Give your truth
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.
3-day weekends are hard for us. Lots of time around other people. We and our children are much less effective at night: decision-making poorer, emotional brain overwhelms rational brain. Consequently, at night, little problems seem bigger. For us, that often leads to nightmares, and then we wake up disoriented. We finally have some alone time, … Continue reading Practice, patience, and repetition
We injured ourselves again via inattention. Walked home from mental health therapy without being grounded in our body. A child operating a heavy machine. Twist. Foot ligaments damaged again. This is our most common injury: twisting foot ligaments. Two years ago we injured the left foot at least 5 times. We strengthened both feet's ligaments … Continue reading The practice is to be human
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 react differently to mistakes we make when we are alone versus when other people witness our errors.
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.
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