Past Terrors and How Far I’ve Come.

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I reflect on my initial terror when I first became ill.  And I realize how far I’ve come.  Slowly I heal.

The new year is a time for reflection so I thought of myself when I first fell ill.  It was many years ago.  I thought bad people were after me and there were psychic attacks that were so terrifying that I lay in bed petrified and afraid to move.  It was as if the psychic person was hovering above me and pushing his face into me.  Threatening me with death.  Since then I have come to realize that the delusions are all in my mind.  But the fear I felt was real.  My counselor told me that that was the fear I had felt when I was abused.  Even though I was a very young child and asleep, I felt fear.  You see my babysitter drugged me with sleeping pills and abused me.  The fear was so intense that when my body decided it was time to heal from the abuse, 40 years later, my delusions had a man terrorize me.  I was literally frozen in terror.  Medication helped but I didn’t get any counseling for many years.  So the doctors just waited for the medication to help.  Just recently I have had rape counseling and they are helping me to realize what has been bothering me.  Realizing that the delusions weren’t real was a milestone in my recovery.  Yet now I fear everyday things like driving or going out in public.  I actually sometimes feel a wave of fear go down my back physically.  Knowing that it is all in my mind and that it is me doing it to myself is a Godsend and liberating.  My counselor explained that my fight or flight mechanism was all out of whack because of the abuse.

At first I was taking a medication called Zyprexa but I was distracted and not all there.  Although I had a job I would come home and just watch television like a zombie.  It was all too much for me.  Now I take Saphris, Pristiq and Abilify.  I am much more aware of my surroundings and my position in life.  For example I am now trying to save money instead of maxing out my credit cards.  But with that comes worry and anxiety about the future.  I was petrified that my furnace would break down and I couldn’t afford to buy a new one since I’m on disability.  This fear has subsided since my furnace maintenance men say that it’s working just fine.  And my daughter has agreed.

I must admit that I was in a zone of denial and not doing much to heal.  I was taking the medication and going to my psychiatrist.  But not doing much more than that even though I had two books that I could read.  One daughter told me that I was hurting her and people I loved around me with my illness and my fear of going out.  I ruined Christmas for all of them in 2016.  They cried.  I had refused to go and partake in the Christmas meal and gift exchange because I feared too much for their safety.  Since then I have asked forgiveness and now am actively working on healing with the help of my counselor and two books:  The Courage to Heal Workbook and Anxiety & Phobia Workbook.  But it takes an effort on my part.  It has been said that when people get to some parts in the book they just have to put it down and wait a while.  It is a long and painful journey.  And it takes courage.  Like the courage that some of you need to face your own problems with anxiety.  And like me you are survivors and courageous.

I used my art for many years to soothe my mind.  I wasn’t aware of the turmoil consciously but my art soothed it.  I would paint or draw for hours and find peace afterwards.  Maybe art can help you in the same way.  Just try to draw a couple of things.  For example your favorite animal.  And then you can try pastels or painting with acrylics or oils.  You could paint that favorite animal.  And then you could search on the internet for images of other favorite animals or places that you could draw or paint next.  I loose myself completely in my art.  I am focused on the colors and the shading involved in painting or drawing a figure or landscape.  Mind you I don’t do many landscapes but they are easier than animal or human forms.  Try some art and it may help you.  I also block everything out when I read.  I read romantic suspense and find relief when the good guys win and the two people fall in love.  But reading tires me more than my art.

I also try to walk.  The picture above is where I walk when it isn’t too cold or too windy outside.  Walking gives me a sense of accomplishment and makes me face my fear of going out.  Sometimes I am so distracted by my subconscious fear that I don’t take the time to look around.  But then I catch myself, do mindfulness (concentrate on my breath in and out) and I calm myself.  Then I look around, see the birds or the beautiful scenery and I enjoy it!  I relax and interact with nature then, calming and soothing my tattered soul.  And then I reward myself for facing my fears with either a mocha latte or a small coffee and a cookie!  I love cookies.  So if you have succeeded in facing your anxiety and gone out of your comfort zone to do so, reward yourself with something small.  I would say maybe buy a book but that would get expensive.  So reward yourself with something small every day and once it becomes routine maybe reward yourself at the end of the month with a book or a meal out for example.  Remember to reward yourself for you are strong!  You are courageous.  Slowly we heal…


My healing journey…

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I have come to a place in my healing journey that needs effort and attention.  I have to analyse when I block things out which takes time.  And I’m looking at negative beliefs from childhood.  Slowly I heal.

It’s hard for me to analyze when I block things out since I do it subconsciously.  With the help of a form I am recording the date and time, how long it was, what I was doing, who was with me and what they were doing, how I was feeling and what was disturbing me.  In addition since I block out my thoughts when I am anxious I rate my fear, I rate the belief in the negative thought, I rate my belief in a positive counter statement, and then I rate the subsequent belief in the initial negative thought and my emotion at that time.  With this I hope to better understand when I block things out and why.  But it’s taking a big effort because I don’t think about it when I’m doing it.  I am so used to doing it that it’s hard to pin point when I’m doing it.  If that makes sense.

I am also looking at negative beliefs.  I have about 30 of them.  For each one I am trying to see if it’s true all the time, if it’s promoting healing and whether it stems from childhood.  Some of my negative beliefs are due to a bad experience I had as a child.  Some are due to the way that I was brought up.  For each negative belief I am trying to formulate a positive affirmation that can help me stop believing in that negative belief.  This is work.  I plan to take the list of 30 affirmations and look at them every day trying to make them part of my thinking process.  Hopefully that will help.  But it’s work!  And it takes time!

Slowly I heal…

My healing journey…

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  It is winter now.  New everyday worries increasing her anxiety.  With courage, slowly she heals.

I had thought not to post today.  I feel that I haven’t had anything worth saying but then thought of all of my followers.  I am facing anxiety in a more conscious way now.  I read a book that touched me in a negative way.  My whole routine is in jeopardy.  My coping mechanisms are working but it takes all my courage to go out and walk.  My anxiety is so great.  On top of that winter has come.  It brings with it new worries.  Worries about snow tires, scraping the windshield (which I hate with a passion!) and warming the car.  Before it was driving that caused me some anxiety now it is winter!  Will the car start?  Do I have enough time to let it warm up?  Will the roads be slippery?  Is a snow storm coming?  Will I be caught in a storm?  It goes on and on.  So I do some mindfulness while I wait for my daughter as I am warming up the car.  Now for sure I have to be ready before her so that I have time to warm up the car.  I did this anyway but now I have to do it!  Thank you!  Just writing this down has made me laugh.  Thank you for being there.  It helps writing about it.

I am more conscious of my anxiety.  And what it does to me.  But with courage I face my fear and continue on.  I went for my walk today and afterwards bought myself a mocha latte.  That is my reward when I face my fear.  In addition I bought a cookie with my meager change.  The lady gave me two!  I sat in the mall and ate them as I drank my mocha latte.  I relaxed and looked around me.  Appreciating where I was.  Appreciating.  There was a spot set up for a Remembrance Day celebration.  I appreciated what soldiers, pilots and sailors have done for me.  I appreciated their commitment and service.  There is much to be thankful for.  Thank you for your service.  I took a moment.  Looked out beyond my fear and saw that the world was good.  It helped getting out today.  So I say thank you to myself.  Instead of blocking my fear and succumbing to it I went out and saw that the world was good.  Now I have to notice when I am blocking things out and start working on that.  Slowly I heal.

Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash

My healing journey…

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  She is finding it hard to follow her usual routine.  She is learning about speaking up.  Slowly she heals.

I am sorry that I didn’t post on Thursday.  I am forgetting my schedule completely.  I even forget at times that I’m working on the computer.  I am distracted.  It has to do with reading The Courage to Heal and remembering.  I am also reading about breaking the silence.  If one starts talking of abuse one has to be careful because the person may be compassionate or confrontational.  The compassionate one is the easier one to talk to.  They will understand and show compassion.  The confrontational one will challenge the abuse and it will be harder to talk to them.  When talking to the compassionate one one has to still prepare.  One should think of what they want to say, how much they want to say, what they don’t want to say and what they don’t want the listener to do.  One should also think carefully of where they will talk and when.  One should think hard and be sure that the person will be compassionate.  If the person listening has also been subjected to abuse they may deny your claims or get very upset themselves.  Or go blank.  One never knows.  I still haven’t read how to talk with the confrontational person.  I have one in mind and fear talking to them about this.  But at the same time I want to protect them from knowing about this.  I also thought of talking to a friend.  She would be compassionate.  It will be hard to talk to her but I think that that is the next step in my healing.  I think that the more people I tell the more I will heal.  I’d like to thank you all at this point because it has been very therapeutic to write about my healing process to all of you.  It has helped a lot to write it all down.  Thank you.  From the bottom of my heart!  Thank you.

I don’t know what the next step in the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook is.  I have faced my fears, some of them, and face them in an ongoing way.  Every day I face them.  Sometimes I really force myself.

I have decided to spend more time with my friend.  I had been anxious about seeing her.  But my fears are not real.  They are not interested in me.  I will spend more time with my friend rather than just concentrating on my children.  I need more out of life.  I also want to start to clean up my house a bit.  But I have a major block about cleaning.  I just realized how major it is.  I’ll have to work on that.

Slowly I heal…until next time…

Relaxation technique…

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  I have a new relaxation technique and a new exercise.  Slowly I heal.

The relaxation technique is to sit comfortably and relaxed.  Then close your eyes and think of a forest.  Just relax and hear the birds in the forest.  Then you hear a stream.  Slowly you walk towards the stream.  There you find a warm rock and you lay down and close your eyes.  The warm rock supports you.  It gives you strength.  It supports you.  Listen to the stream as it flows by.  Then open your eyes and go to the forest.  Pick up something in the forest.  It is a gift from the forest.  As you are leaving you see a path up a mountain.  The sun is setting.  You reach the top and sit on a warm rock and watch the sunset.  Think of your troubles as you watch the sunset.  Then walk to a cave where you see a bed of pine needles.  Lay down and sleep.  Relax.  Feel the pine needles beneath you and relax.  Then become awake with the light.  Go out of the cave and see the moon fall and the sun rise.  It is another day.  You are healed.  You are one.

The exercise I have is to study an orange or a tangerine.  I have to sit with the orange in my lap.  Then I have been invited to describe the orange in my hands.  The size, the weight, the smell.  Just look at the orange thinking of the orange.  Does your mind wander?  What is it thinking of?  Then pierce the skin with your nail.  Describe what that is like…perhaps the smell.  Then quietly peel the orange thinking only of the orange.  Then describe the orange.  Does your mind wander?  What is it thinking of?  Then place a piece of the orange on your tongue.  Describe how it feels to swallow the orange.

I don’t know what we’ll do with this exercise but I’ll keep you posted.

I have been facing my fears and slowly I heal.  My mind has to adjust and sometimes now I worry just about little things.  But I have been strong and faced my fears.  It takes courage.

Until next time…Thursday…until then.

My healing journey…I don’t have to remember.

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  I don’t have to remember to heal!  Slowly I heal.

I am trying to get back on track and post on my usual days.  Thursday is one of those days.  I wasn’t able to function well during the week because I was putting off reading about remembering my abuse.  I didn’t want to remember.  The free writing I had done left me raw with emotion.  It was all too much.  Therefore I just read my romance novel and blocked everything else out.  I didn’t even start a new art project but just read.  Then when I wrote my last blog I realized that I was putting off reading and then I read.  It was a relief because they said that people don’t have to remember to heal.  They can heal without remembering.  My counselor told me that I had experienced the abuse once there was no reason to have to remember it all.  I have remembered some things and that’s enough.

I’m sorry I’ve been recuperating today.  Yesterday was a heavy day with me facing the fear of remembering.  It always tires me.  Even just reading a novel is tiring too.  So I haven’t read further in my book.  The next section is about believing that it happened.  Free writing has helped me realize that something happened.  Something traumatic.  I’ll do more free writing when I can but not yet.

So I don’t have much more to say except that I don’t have to remember.  That is such a big relief!

Until next time…

My healing journey and remembering…

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  She is scared to remember.  And therefore does not heal.

I am at a place in the Courage To Heal Workbook where I have to read about remembering my childhood.  My counselor advised me not to spend too much time with this section.  That I had remembered enough.  I have been reading a romance novel all week avoiding my workbook.  I can’t even pay my bills today.  I just want to read the novel.  So thank you for being there.  Writing this post has made me realize that I have to read the section on remembering today to be able to function normally.  So I’ll do that right after this post.  Then I’ll be able to heal.

I did my warrior’s mask over again.  The Inca inspired mask was just too ugly.  Even my dog was scared of it!  The new Celtic design is below.

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The design between the eyes is the Celtic symbol for wisdom.  The design to the left of the nose is the Celtic symbol for strength.  The design to the right is the Celtic symbol for inner strength.  And the two designs on the forehead are the Celtic knot that symbolizes three trios:  earth, air, water; mind, body, soul; and past, present, future.  It’s energy is for protection, eternal love and unity without end.  I need a lot of inner strength, strength and wisdom to face my fears.  The mind, body and soul are involved.  And I need protection while doing it.  That’s why I chose the symbols that I did.

Now I am going to light my candle.  Read my Courage to Heal Workbook.  And then have a cup of hot tea with milk.

Until next time…

My weapons for battle…

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  I have been guided to design my weapons for battle in a story about myself where I battle evil.  It is therapeutic and symbolic.

Above you see the dagger that I have designed using a Celtic dagger as a guideline.  In my story of me battling evil the first weapon I needed was a dagger for the evil came creeping in at night.  I have also designed a snow leopard totem in Celtic design.  Shown below.

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The original design used a wolf but my totem animal s the snow leopard so I designed this with a snow leopard in mind.  Next came the sword and shield.  Shown below.

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This is all symbolic of my inner battle against what happened to me in my childhood.  I feel stronger having designed these weapons.  Finally they are done!  I have designed a warrior’s mask but it isn’t finished yet.  It has an Inca flavor to it but with Celtic symbols on it.  I may post that tomorrow.

Forgive me I didn’t post yesterday.  I usually post Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  Yesterday I had computer problems.  An IT Tech took over my computer for most of the afternoon and fixed it.  I was so stressed out!  I couldn’t handle the stress so I read and watched television.  I was exhausted by the time I went to bed.

It’s funny.  I was very scared when I was walking on a forest path.  My counselor explained that I was very scared when I was a child.  So I now walk on a less secluded path but today, after I was afraid for a moment due to inner demons, I was worried that a bear might come onto the path.  It was early in the morning.  So if I’m not scared of my inner demons my mind finds something real to be scared of next.  Will I ever be calm?

I still have to write more in this story where Miriam faces an evil Celtic goblin now.  I have to describe him as a Celtic goblin in the story.  It was symbolic that in my story I didn’t face the evil just once but repeatedly.  It’s my memories trying to show through.  Slowly I heal.

Until tomorrow…

Courage and Hope.

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  It takes courage and hope.  She lost hope when she was a child.  But has stayed strong.  Now hope springs eternal in her adult life.  But she has blocked her childhood.  She has much to be grateful for and much to be proud of.  Slowly she heals.

While reading The Courage to Heal I read of courage and hope.  It has taken great courage to face my fears.  But this book that I am using to guide me through my healing spoke about hope.  It said that in my childhood I had given up hope.  I hadn’t even realized it.  I have always been a positive and hopeful person.  The book asked me to think of my childhood, in the language that I was speaking then, and to free write about a time that I gave up hope.  I have blocked my childhood.  I hardly remember any of it.  It is my teenage years that I remember.  If you remember free writing is when you write without thought of grammar or spelling and write what you are feeling.  If you get blocked then you continue writing and repeat until you are unblocked.  They also say in the book to use the language that you were using when the abuse occurred.  In this case in my childhood.  I gave up hope as a child.  I free wrote for 20 minutes.  It was difficult.  Sometimes I blocked and in the end I was drawing too.  I cried.  I remembered a little.  So the free writing is helping me to remember.  It was very therapeutic.  The book went on afterwards to talk of what I hope for and then realistic goals that I can make to reach what I am hoping for.  To heal was the most common goal.  Happiness is what I hoped for and to obtain that happiness for myself and my family, I have to heal.

My last post told you that I had had a difficult week.  I couldn’t write, barely painted and didn’t walk much.  But it was different because I was facing some major fears.  So yesterday I took a day for me.  I drove around looking for a gym and then pampered myself.  An afternoon just for me.  I needed the time for a pause in my life.  This morning I woke rejuvenated and eager to start the day.

Then wham! I do the free writing.  Now I laugh but it was intense.  I have always been a positive and optimistic person.  The way that I have coped has been to be calm and logical.  But I have blocked my childhood.  Now to heal I believe that I have to remember.  To remember I have to do free writing on a regular basis.  It is a powerful tool.

Slowly I heal.  I am doing my warriors mask to give me courage.  I have decided that my totem animal is the snow leopard.  I have found a wolf celtic design for my mask.  I will adapt it to portray a snow leopard.  Then I will paint it on my mask.  However I am in trouble because my one daughter told me that my sword and shield had to match.  So I presume that my warrior’s mask has to match the sword and shield.  So that means that I have to redesign my sword and shield to be celtic in nature.  All with the snow leopard celtic design.  That’s a lot of work!  I’ll keep you posted.

Sorry I should have posted this yesterday.  I completely forgot but here you have it now!  Until next time…

I’ve been busy and my healing journey.

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Miriam speaks of her healing journey.  I have been very busy and it’s all been a bit too much.  So I missed my post yesterday.  But slowly I heal.

It’s been three days of anxiety because I have had appointments and it’s been my birthday.  First I went out with a friend, then I had people come over, then my daughter had a dentist appointment and today I have a doctor’s appointment.  All stressful and anxiety builders.  My way to cope is to block everything out, do what I have to do, stay calm and just get it done and get home.  My safe place is home.  But now at home all I am doing is reading.  My anxiety is so high that I can’t concentrate on anything else.  And I don’t do anything else but read.  It would be good to do some mindfulness I think.  So I’ll try this afternoon.  Maybe I’ll stop blocking then and try to heal.  It’s just been too much.

But slowly I heal.  I have less anxiety about going out or having people over.  I use positive counter statements to help.  And now I believe in the positive counter statements more than my fears which is good.  Slowly I heal.