Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Self Care 19 of 25

I want to take the same care going through these as the last group of statements, focusing on solutions. I'm not good at self care, but I am learning.

Original link:

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/25-obvious-non-obvious-self-care-issues-complex-trauma-survivors-struggle-with-lilly-hope-lucario/

19. Sleeping... I’ve slept about 6 hours in the last 48.

My response:

I haven't had as much trouble with this as others. On the occasions when I don't sleep all night, I confess the problems resides squarely with a book I couldn't put down. Then again, it might be that I couldn't put it down because I couldn't sleep or didn't want to sleep.

I've written before of the power of sleep deprivation to act as a tranquilizer, if you're in deep enough. This is sleep deprivation past the cranky/grumpy stage. I'm not saying it's healthy; it isn't. I'm saying I used it to keep me mellow. Considering the fact that I hadn't yet learned to cope with the lake of rage boiling inside me, anything to help me remain calm was a positive. Okay, not so much positive as basically preferable to the alternative. Living that way isn't actually living; it's existing.

It's important to figure out why you aren't sleeping. It might be a physical problem. It might be nightmares. Do your homework and find out. A plan of action can't be formed until you have some idea of what you're battling.

Why did I have struggle sleeping? If I went to sleep, the next day would come sooner. Yes, I'd have to face another day. Was my way of dealing with it logical? Who said logic had anything to do with it? Abuse is not logical. Avoiding the unavoidable is not logical. "Normal" but not logical.

"Normal is a setting on a dryer." Important to remember that. "What's normal for the spider is chaos for the fly."

Lifesaving information about sleep: When you sleep is when your body repairs itself.

Sleep is when your brain works through your day, hence nightmares. I used to run and run and run but never went anywhere. I felt like I was running in water or jello or wet cement. I learned enough about dream interpretation to know I was trying to escape.

I learned how to change my dreams. It was usually easiest to make changes as I woke. This usually meant planning ahead. Not always successful but often enough I was able to curb some of my worst dreams.

I've experimented with any of a number of things to help me sleep at night.

I created a routine to help me know it's time to go to sleep. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

I have used Benadryl to help me sleep. I also discovered it helped with motion sickness.

I've used relaxation CDs of various types. Some work better than others. The CD shutting off woke me sometimes.

What I use now: Routine, rainymood.com, children's lantern that shines stars on the ceiling, lavender and/or frankincense and myrrh, a sunrise clock that slowly brightens over a half hour and finishes with the sound of the ocean, and a second alarm that turns on my favorite radio station (K-LOVE).

Practice, practice, practice. I know I sound like a broken record.

One more thing: What helps me turn off my brain when the thoughts are spiraling? I've worked through a lot of mantras, endeavoring to find one that works consistently for me. Repeating this over and over helps me to calm, like focusing on a flickering candle: Give the battle to God and praise God in the storm.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Luke 1:37-38

For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday Links

Anne Leueen, over at Horse Addict, shared a bit of the remarkable story of Eddo Hoekstra:
https://horseaddict.net/2017/11/19/when-life-hands-you-lemons/
https://horseaddict.net/2017/11/20/monday-minstrel-the-dance-of-prey-and-predator/

An unexpected essay. I'm so grateful I took the opportunity to spend a few minutes reading. Dear Lord, help me to be a loving sapper. From Devoted Life:
https://devotedlife.net/2017/11/25/the-loving-sapper-nov-25/

God bless.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Self Care 18 of 25

I want to take the same care going through these as the last group of statements, focusing on solutions. I'm not good at self care, but I am learning.

Original link:

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/25-obvious-non-obvious-self-care-issues-complex-trauma-survivors-struggle-with-lilly-hope-lucario/

18. Saying no instead of pushing through something I really don’t want to do.

My response:

As an abuse survivor, I never had the right to say "No." I had to survive a lot of things I didn't want to do. Abusers push, demand, threaten, expect their victims to cower and give in, no matter the cost.

Silence is usually not acquiescence, however, the other person believes it gives them permission to interpret what it means.

"No" is not a dirty word. It is not disrespectful. It is not cruel or unkind.

Learning to say "no" was one of the hardest things I ever did, and I still fall on my face sometimes.

Things that have helped me learn to say "no":

"No" is a complete sentence. I still feel the need to explain. Old habits die hard. I'm learning.

Saying "no" to one thing means I'm saying "yes" to something else.

"No" is easier to say when I know what my priorities are.

I'm allowed to change my mind. I've found it helpful to stop and think before responding to any request. I'm allowed to take time to think.

Start small. Say "no" to something that doesn't matter simply because you can. It's easier with practice. For the record, the first few times saying "no" to something that matters is terrifying. It's also empowering. You are worth protecting.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Self Care 17 of 25

I want to take the same care going through these as the last group of statements, focusing on solutions. I'm not good at self care, but I am learning.

Original link:

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/25-obvious-non-obvious-self-care-issues-complex-trauma-survivors-struggle-with-lilly-hope-lucario/

17. Biggest problem I have is remembering that I need to give myself more attention and love. Rather than continuously giving it all to others.

My response:

After being taught that you are unlovable the above is a huge mountain to conquer.

I think it's important to note that there are so many people who were taught they are unlovable are also people who endeavor to love and give to others. There is a concerted effort to treat others not only differently than they had been treated but to treat them better. In some cases, it goes to an unfortunately extreme of believing that we can somehow buy love by being generous. Sadder still is that in doing that, we are missing the point.

Being truly generous, loving, giving includes an important ingredient we were denied: No expectations, no keeping score, no payback.

The thing about being an abuse survivor is that I was taught score was always kept. I should not only be grateful for every single little thing I was given, good and bad, but I was in debt to my abuser. Yes, I know how insane that sounds that's because it is.

As an abuse survivor, my world was skewed to the warped vision of the predators in my life. Part of my love of books is that I was given the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of different authors. Funnily enough, I could see how unhealthy some authors' views were, because they mirrored my own growing up. I sought out authors with healthier perspective than mine. Favorite authors would be replaced by healthier favorites.

I had to choose to change.

I want to be loving, giving, generous, compassionate, kind. I couldn't keep my mindset if I wanted to become a better person. I had to find healthier people to emulate.

In my journey to become healthier, I've met people who were generous, at a price. I didn't always see it right away. It's a challenge to see the good and incorporate it into my own life and to weed out what isn't healthy and let it go.

My third counselor told me that I couldn't love others if I didn't love myself. I really hated hearing that. I denied it. I wanted to fire him, except he was the counselor I needed right then. I had to learn to see through his eyes. He was willing to teach me.

Why is it impossible to love others when you don't love yourself?

True love is good, filled with light, open. When you don't love yourself it isn't good, it's dark, and weirdly enough closed off. We see ourselves in others. The people who have annoyed me, not the ones that have chosen evil, but the ones who do things that irritate me, are frequently reflecting something I don't like in myself.

When I love myself I'm able to better see the good in others because I see the good in myself.

When I didn't love myself -- and I'm not saying I'm perfect at loving myself now, because I'm definitely not -- there were empty spaces in myself I was trying to fill. My giving was often an attempt to somehow fill those holes.

Something else I discovered along the way, when I hate myself I'm saying that God made a mistake in creating me. That's how I learned to change my perspective. God doesn't make mistakes. God created me. He is Love. The ultimate Love of the universe decided I belonged here, at this time, in this place. I'm a creation of Love. How can I not be lovable?

As I recognize the Love in me, I'm able to see the Love in others. I'm learning to share the Love that's a part of me.

Here's a secret: As I've learned to love myself, I've learned to better see how to be loving toward others. I give myself the gifts that warm my heart and recognize that others need different things. I don't need them to meet my needs or give me the love I crave. And here's the really funny/cool part: As I learn to give to others what they need, people appear in my life who give me what I need. I don't feel deprived if someone else doesn't come through for me because I know I'll take care of myself. The gifts from others are delightful surprises, and I enjoy sharing delightful surprises with others.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Self Care 16 of 25

I want to take the same care going through these as the last group of statements, focusing on solutions. I'm not good at self care, but I am learning.

Original link:

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/25-obvious-non-obvious-self-care-issues-complex-trauma-survivors-struggle-with-lilly-hope-lucario/

16. Not feeling like I’m a bad mom/housekeeper etc while I struggle with chronic pain and health issues.

My response:

I'm lazy. At least, that's how I felt. It had been implied, often. I admit I cut corners on my chores. In my own defense, why should I put in the effort when no matter how well I did my work was declared lacking. I'd have to do it again anyway. More than once, I did little more the second time, and the job was declared an improvement. How could it be when I hadn't changed anything? What was the truth and what was the lie?

Talking about chronic health issues is more difficult than I thought it would be. So many unpleasant memories. I suppose I'm not prepared to go there after all. Too much information to fit in a blog post. Suffice it to say, I've had my difficulties. I'm working hard to improve my health. Not having a family of my own, I often feel like God was sparing me from feeling guilty for failing to properly care for them. I have trouble enough caring for myself.

So what's the positive side? The improvement? The encouragement?

My health has had its ups and downs. One of the low points was herniating a disc in my back. The struggle back has been long and hard. I had to reach the point where I could no longer pet my dog before I was willing to seek medical attention. I didn't want to pay the bills. I didn't want to see the doctor, afraid of what he would say, afraid of what I might have to do. I wanted life to be smooth and uncomplicated. It so isn't.

Rule #1: Stop lying, especially to yourself. Pretending everything was all right didn't make it so. In fact, it made it worse. It wasn't until I was deprived of one of my favorite things, petting my dog, that I was willing to do something. An epidural injection and physical therapy improved things. That was twelve years ago. I'm still married to my PT and will be for the rest of my life. I'm only now back to my regular walking. I still can't go upstairs normally. My back trouble started with ankle trouble and my knees were caught in the middle. I am improving.

I worked hard to be able to go on an adventure, this year. The journey to healthy isn't over. I may never make it... I will never make it entirely. However, I will continue to work to become healthier, as healthy as possible.

God blessed me with a dear friend who struggled with horrible health problems. From her, I learned patience with myself and others. We would schedule a meal out and cancel more often than we went because one of us wasn't feeling well. We kept trying. She's been gone for several years. I miss her, her courage, her patience, her grace.

I've learned that pushing myself beyond my capabilities is a way of punishing myself for not doing what I think I should. With practice, of course, I've learned to take small steps forward and accept that I will sometimes fail. I'm doing more now than I have in years. I've had to learn to listen to what my body is telling me. It wasn't quick. It definitely wasn't easy. Sometimes, it's as slow as molasses in January during a snow storm. Giving up is not an option. I will never improve if I quit. Resting and regrouping is not quitting. Reviewing and re-evaluating reminds me I'm not stuck. I am making an effort, and I am improving, even if it's at a snail's pace.

I suppose that doesn't really help someone who is dealing with a chronic illness with no hope of improving. I'll fall back on my sister's example. She could only be up, as in not lying in bed, for fifteen minutes a day. She decided feeding her family was how she would spend those fifteen minutes. Her children, not yet teens, learned to help, including making simple meals.

My sassy side says that if someone complains about the dishes not being done, invite them to do the job. I'm learning to reframe what people say to me, especially as a criticism. I've had lots of practice with reminding myself that what they think is not my responsibility. What I think is the only thing I can control. If I'm drowning in guilt and shame, I'm to busy treading water to do what I AM capable of doing. No, I'm not perfect at this, but I'm doing better.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Monday Quote

Thanks to Donna Keevers Driver for creating memes for my books.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Luke 1:30-31

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saturday Links

For the horse lovers, I'd never heard of Sergeant Reckless before the Horse Addict blog shared this post, last month:
https://horseaddict.net/2017/11/09/two-purple-hearts-a-presidential-citation-and-more-for-sergeant-reckless/

Jim Denney, over at Christians Read blog, shared a bit of his writing journey. I haven't read his timetravel book for 8-12 years of age. I'd give it a look if I had children that age.
https://christiansread.wordpress.com/2017/11/11/dinosaurs-amazon-reviews-and-this-thrill-ride-called-life/

God bless.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Self Care 15 of 25

I want to take the same care going through these as the last group of statements, focusing on solutions. I'm not good at self care, but I am learning.

Original link:

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/25-obvious-non-obvious-self-care-issues-complex-trauma-survivors-struggle-with-lilly-hope-lucario/

15. Spending money on things for myself, getting haircuts and pedicures, making time for important appointments.

My response:

This is a tough one. There's the fight between using retail therapy, which usually leads to spending too much, which leads to another thing to beat myself up over. At the other end of the spectrum was wearing clothes with holes in the material but not buying new clothes because I wanted to lose weight. Spending copious amounts of money on treats, candy, cookies, cake, ice cream, chips, etc.

The spending needs to be better defined. I struggle to spend money in a healthy way, good food, doctor appointments, clothes that fit, good shoes for my feet, the occasional vacation to rest and regroup, things that lift and inspire.

There is no easy way for learning this one. You can't go cold turkey on spending. Bills have to be paid. My most successful method was dividing my money into envelopes. Learning to budget is not something at which I excel. I am learning. With the holidays coming, the battle intensifies.

Have I made any progress? Yes!

My spending habits still aren't the wisest, but I have improved. Discovering I feel better without soy in my diet, my food choices are healthier simply because there's so many foods I can't have anymore. This does not mean I've cut treats from my diet. Far from it. However, with soy out of my diet, I don't have as much trouble feeling hungry. It's actually easier to be aware of making healthier choices. I'm making more of my own meals from scratch.

I'm learning to choose rewards other than food, namely books and clothes and music.

I've made some mistakes in the clothes, but I'm learning. I didn't want to be noticed. I wanted to hide. I bought what was practical but often not particularly flattering. Another way of punishing myself for being overweight. Unflattering clothes also increased my chances of being ignored. Nasty spiraling cycle.

Wearing pretty clothes makes me feel prettier. When I feel prettier I don't feel the need to hide behind my weight. When I don't feel the need to hide behind my weight, I don't feel the need to eat to gain weight.

Practice. It all comes down to practice. I've read numerous articles that have said that habits take 16-21 days to form. I've bobbled plenty of habits I've done for months and years. I read one article that stated that true change can take up to five years. 5 years! It's daunting and a relief, at the same time. How many good things did I give up on after a few months? Because I thought I failed! The truth was that I hadn't given myself enough time to truly brand the habit into my life. Practice.

I'm saving for my next adventure, a little at a time, also gives me a better way to use my money.

It is important to learn what I truly value. I'm not interested in having my hair done. I wear it long. I'm not a fan of manicures or pedicures. Movies are not something I like to go see. I have no trouble waiting for the DVD to come out. My taste in clothes has changed. I'm buying the pretty clothes instead of practical. However, I'm better about buying new walking shoes when the old ones are worn too much.

Trying to do everything at once is a quick way to feel overwhelmed and falling back into old bad habits. Choose one thing to start.

For me, it started with one thing. My back was causing me trouble. I was in so much pain bending over had become increasingly difficult. When I could no longer bend over to pet my dog (my 75-lb dog who wasn't short) I decided to see my doctor. Everything I did for the next year wasn't for me; it was so I could pet my dog. Whatever it takes.

My physical therapist required I buy new walking shoes. I don't know why but it was significant to me that with all the problems I had I didn't need any kind of arch support. Weird. I know. My physical therapist crouched by my feet and shuffled different orthodic insoles to see what might help. He glanced at me and back at my feet and again at me. "You don't need anything. Your feet are perfect for you." Something about me was perfect for me. How cool is that?

Don't allow the flaws, imperfections, and shortcomings to smother what you have to offer. Take care of you so you are ready and able to give what only you can give, whatever that is. Sometimes, it's a smile to the cashier or someone on the street you never see again. You are meant to be here, right now. There is no one else like you, never before and never again. Stop hiding. You don't have to shine for everyone. You only need to hold your candle in the place you are. You are worthy of care.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Self Care 14 of 25

I want to take the same care going through these as the last group of statements, focusing on solutions. I'm not good at self care, but I am learning.

Original link:

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/25-obvious-non-obvious-self-care-issues-complex-trauma-survivors-struggle-with-lilly-hope-lucario/

14. Taking a day off from childcare without worrying constantly or feeling guilty.

My response:

I have no children. I did have furry children, a dog and a horse. The only time I took time off was when I went on weekend trips to California, usually three or four days, once or twice a year.

Okay, when I first adopted my dog I hated going to work and leaving her home. It was years before I could leave her for a weekend. If I could have taken her with me, I would have.

When I went on a week-long vacation with my dog, but had to leave my horse behind, I hired someone to take care of him. I paid her well. I trusted family to take care of my dog and wish I'd paid someone to care for her. I did the best I knew how.

If I had children, what would I do, now? Now that I know more than I did.

I'd prayerful consider the opportunities. I'd do my homework in finding someone to care for my children while I'm away. I'd keep in touch, every day. I'd like to follow the example of one of my traveling companions. She called every day and did homework with the child who needed help. She recognized her need to do something for herself and endeavored to balance it with the needs of her family. Her husband and children were supportive, which I think makes a difference.

Like most things, I think this is another case of needing practice. Start small.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Self Care 13 of 25

I want to take the same care going through these as the last group of statements, focusing on solutions. I'm not good at self care, but I am learning.

Original link:

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/25-obvious-non-obvious-self-care-issues-complex-trauma-survivors-struggle-with-lilly-hope-lucario/

13. Convincing myself to do the work of self care especially in those moments that it is indeed work.

My response:

I don't know about other survivors, but I learned to put in as little effort as possible in regards to pretty much everything. Not because I'm lazy. I'm not. I used to think I was until I was given a good look at my life. I jumped through hoops, sidestepped, dodged, like nobody's business in an effort to avoid being caught in the meat grinder. Abusers excel at running their victims through the meat grinder, crushing, twisting, mutilating their spirit, all for the sake of control.

Abusers teach their victims they are worthless, except as defined by the abuser. It's an ugly definition. They may use pretty words, but victims quickly learn that words are as worthless as they are. Pretty words cloak painful barbs. Compliments serve one of two purposes: To reel the victim closer in order for the abuser to lash out or to soften up the victim because the abuser wants something they think the victim can give and sugarcoating is determined to be the easiest path to gain what they want.

Rule #1: Stop lying, especially to yourself comes in handy. In fact, it's required.

I could not stick with any plan for taking care of myself until I finally accepted I was worth taking care of. Believing this is a daily and sometimes constant battle.

A day doesn't go by that is personal abuse free all day. I stay up too late. I overeat. I push too hard. I procrastinate finishing one thing or another. I verbally beat myself up over one thing or another.

How do you change this?

Practice. Really. It's the only way. Healthy habits require practice. When you stumble and fall you pick yourself up and start over, day after day after day... moment by moment.

Sometimes, I practiced several things at once, but I found it easier to focus on one thing at a time. However, eating healthier, sleeping healthier, exercising healthier are all things that need to be done every day. Eating is my least successful change, but I am making progress. Sleeping is improving. Funnily enough, exercise has been the most consistent in improvement. I'm really not lazy.

As my sense of my personal worth improves, my efforts to take care of myself have also improved. Habits help me through the times when it's hard work. For example, walking every morning has become a Monday through Saturday routine.

This is not something I've done on my own. I've chosen a number of mentors, through the years. Most of them don't know it. The internet has made it easier to find people who know a whole lot more than I do and have been through horrific experiences and chosen to rise above. If they can do it, so can I.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Monday Quote

Thank you Donna Keevers Driver for all the lovely memes for my books.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 20:7

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Saturday Links

Team Never Quit interviewed Captain Charlie Plumb, a Vietnam POW, who survived 2,103 days in the "Hanoi Hotel." As a survivor of abuse, I found wisdom and an unexpected sense of peace with myself. I wish I'd learned some of the things he did sooner. Better late than never.
http://teamneverquit.com/podcast/captain-charlie-plum-vietnam-pow-2103-days-hanoi-hilton-american-hero/

Who knew moss played such a vital role? How often do I ignore the moss that holds my life together?
https://christiansread.wordpress.com/2017/10/30/unnoticed-moss-by-nancy-j-farrier/

Something extra for Thanksgiving:
https://jeanfischer.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/lydia-maria-child-who-was-she-and-what-made-her-famous/

God bless.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Favorite Book Friday

The Tenderness of His Love (Fostered by Love - book 3) by Kimberly Rae Jordan clean contemporary Christian romance. I wish I knew the order in which to read her books. I should have read The Callaghans and McFaddens Book 1 and 2 first. The books are stand alone, but characters from other books show up. I love her books.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

May it be a blessed day.

 Enjoy the food, the fun, the people... Need to escape? 

Read a book celebrating the holiday. :-)