Monday, December 6, 2010

The Humiliation of the Crazies

I've come to this point in my healing at which I am wincing at some random memories of the strange things I have said and done while I was, for lack of a better word, crazy.  You know the type, they're all the sort of things normal people do all the time.  It's just that they have come to my memory all at once. . . like the dam is broken and they are all rushing at me because I am now coherent enough to think about them.  So here I am obsessing and feeling the humility.  Here is an example:
In 2009, we were living in this darling little old house.  The bus would stop directly in front of the house each morning to pick up the boys for school.  One morning, my kindergartner was not all put together when the bus arrived. My oldest walked out of the house, leaving the front door open while I was stuffing the little one into his coat. It was, of course,  very frustrating. He was fussing and I was rushing and being very pushy.  I helped him roughly with his back pack and turned him toward the door which was open wide with the bus driver looking directly into my house.  I'd say even into my eyes!  My heart sank, "They are going to think I am one of those crazy moms who can barely get through the week!"  My heart sank deeper, I remembered, "I am crazy!  I'm on medication, I'm in therapy, and I can barely make it through the week!"  I couldn't even begin to keep up with my children's needs, to say the least about homework, fundraisers, seasonal events, field trips, lunches and back packs!
What is so strange about this thought is how I ever came to separate myself from the "crazies".  Just months earlier I had been certain I would always take my stand with the lowly and broken.  They had become my people.  I could not stand church, but I felt at home at the mission.  I looked around and thought, "these people have found life to be as difficult and painful as I have."  They were my brothers and sisters and I thought I would never again consider myself above them. 
Well, I guess it was one thing to be crazy, and completely another to have someone see my misbehaving in my own home.  At this point I was certain that everyone at the boys school had figured it out. . . the office staff by now knew how disorganized we were, the librarian by how many books we lost or didn't bother to read and return, the teacher by all the missed homework and back packs crammed with old paper and lunches.  Yuck! The reading specialist certainly knew I was not "on it".  But even the bus driver, come on.
Anyhow, the strange, clumsy things my family and friends have witnessed are now resurfacing and I am mortified.  I was too sick at the time to care.  If I thought about it at all it was a quick, "Oh, that didn't go over well."  I am somehow beginning to wrap up this crazy time.  I'm coming to terms with what has been said and done in regard to my relationships.  I have perspective again and I'm trying to see it all for what it was and get over it.
I guess its frightening to look back and see what a precarious thing my life has been and how strange it all would seem to those I know and love.  I really figured everyone knew I was seriously sick. I was mistaken.  My brother and my sister didn't even know.  Did I tell them? Did I expect someone else to?  I felt so strange I would have thought you could tell every time I tried to put a sentence together.  Maybe that's it?  I think I must have barely talked at all.  And this inwardizing (is that a word?) probably left everyone to come to their own conclusions.  And boy, does my family, myself included, love CONCLUSIONS.  The sad thing is I felt judged and abandoned.  How could they make those terrible assumptions about me? They were not "in-the- know". Why weren't they helping me through this nightmare? They had no idea.  By the time they confronted me about my seemingly careless behavior, I had already suffered through the first year of recovery.  That was 2008, the year my nervous system went totally wacky and I began a long journey to healing.  It was a year of grieving and convalescence.  I bought myself flowers weekly and lay in bed with my covers mounded around me, gazing at them, just trying to breathe and trying so hard to be kind and compassionate to myself even though I was being so negligent of everything else.  I could put myself off no longer.
So now, I think I'll forgive myself for all that negligence and I'll forgive my friends and family for their various reactions to it.  It couldn't be helped.  And I am glad I made it, on my own.  I was the only one with the power to heal.  I needed to learn to take care of me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Today was the day of races in my head. Ideas chasing one another, competing for a win.  I've learned on days like this, nobody wins.  So I drop out of the race. . .  and read in bed.  That is of course, only for as long as I can.  Luckily, I do not live alone.  I have three little people running in and out of my day all day long.  What a blessing these interruptions are to me!  They never fail to bring me out of my head.   Though sometimes, they do set me spinning.  "Mommy, I'm hungry."  "Mommy, Charlote layed two eggs!" and my least favorite: "Mom, can we play video games?"   Bored or hungry children. . . a great reason to get out and do what needs doing.
My counselor, Pat Edmundson, from the very beginning affirmed a new truth I'd found.  Listen to your body; what does it need?  Another counselor, Mary Some-thing or other, had me wrap myself in an embrace, pat each arm gently and say, "I know I haven't been there for you in the past.  I'm here for you now.  What do you need?"  This is in stark contrast to my earlier m/o: "What should I do?"  I spent every day of 31 years asking myself, "What should I do?"  and trying so hard to do it. 
So now, "What do I need?" is my question. Yes, sometimes I still do whatever it is I should do.  But I no longer push myself along, demanding conformity .  And I remember to ask, "What do you need?  I'm really here for you, what do you need?" 
I've yet to fail to answer.  Something always comes to mind: a good cry, some down time, some tea, yoga, a warm bath, a meal, time to write, time to create, an hour or two of reading, a hug, a little silliness with the children, time to linger in the library, a chat with a trusted friend, or just something out of the ordinary routine.  Routine is helpful, but I am wary of it's power to make me conform to impossible circumstances.  A break in routine says, "See, you are still in charge!"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hawaii and Here

Room to roam,
Sky to soar,
Land without fences,
Rivers without dams,
So everything contained in me,
Has someplace else to be.

Hawaii is tiny. To make it even smaller, it's a grouping of teeny islands in the great blue ocean!  It held it's share of comforts and luxuries of course.  OK.  More than its share.  I love o'ahu and I'm hoping to make it back there someday, not as a tourist.  I'd like to be LOCAL. 
The breeze that used to blow through or little single wall home felt like life to me.  If ever it stopped, I felt like God died.  What happened? What's wrong?  Where'd He go?  The ocean was so many colors of blue.  It wasn't just endless horizon.  It was reef, beach, cliff, cave, tide pool and surf.  So?  Well, the land was so tiny.  We'd go driving on the north shore. My eye would roam over the pineapple fields and up to the mountains.  . . back down again and soon (too soon) end up looking at the great blue. 
There was a restlessness in me.  I felt my eye could never get its fill.  I could not see far enough.  I couldn't feel my way across the nation.  I had no confidence in the earth I was standing on.  What a great imagination I have!  To think that I really needed to know there were forty-something states of mountains, prairie, desert, and plains behind me!
Anyhow, somehow, it is true.  So here I am in Washington with season changes upon me.  Every time Summer leaves me, I am only able to let it go because Fall is a gentle beauty. But Winter? She is not beautiful.  And she wears out her welcome wherever she goes!  So here I have some words from mine own pen, written back on the warm ever-beautiful island of O'ahu:
I long to see a land,
as barren as my soul.
I'd like to see grand,
and on some distant shore.
Watch it stretch long in the morning,
See it curl up tight at night.
Smell it take in the wind and the rain and the sun,
Feel it turn its face to the light of the moon.
If I could see a land,
as barren as my soul,
begin to live again,
I would . . .
Stretch long in the morning,
curl up tight at night,
take the wind and the rain and the sun,
and by the light of the moon,
begin to live again.
So you see, I became sort of obsessed.  Here's another, (though written after the move.):
Our Spring wears mostly green,
our Summer is the quickest runner,
Our Fall tarries not at all,
and only on special occasion our Winter,
wears a great white gown of glitter.
There is another I had written just before the great storm.  But it's lost. . .written on loose leafs.  Something  like living like the seasons. . .tidying up for spring, hunkering down for winter, and in the fall painting myself with color.  A bunch of romanticism!
Anyhow, I'm over it, and the weather is getting bad!  The beauty of this fall will win me over as it always does. . . and Winter will make me dream of the glorious Spring when I can watch with wonder as the land begins to live again.

My FBI Agent

"All with a blur my life was changed,
and years of recovery have left me the same."
                                my personal journal march '08

This is how it hit me 14 years later.
My God what has happened to me?

Going along my way, I found a most helpful councilor at my most crucial point of desperation.  He was full of wisdom, compassionate, and knew infinitely more about my journey than anyone I had ever met.
We talked for weeks. So much I learned, so many life changing, life giving concepts.  I began to get free from the tangles my psyche was in.  But these are things I hope to share later.  About Doug: I new he worked for the FBI and the army, debriefing and counselling agents after grueling incidents.  "Good," I thought, "if any of what I am going through happens to be related to the accident, he can help me."
But there were so many things to talk about! I'm quite good at talking, so we just dove right in and I learned soooo much sooo fast, forgetting to tell him of the accident.
So many concepts learned in his office in Hawaii Kai brought instant freedom.  He taught me how to make choices, not decisions.  He awoken my very dormant sense of self-preservation.  I learned about shouldy thinking. He led me in the prayer: Dear God, please help me to stop shoulding all over myself!  And biggest of all, he taught me how to look on something without judgement.  I was feeling so free!
This went on for weeks until one night, as my husband and I were lying in bed, we felt IT coming.  It was as if all the pressures of my life's experiences, (the ones from which I'd managed to keep a bit of distance) were all rushing toward me at once.  Every fearful moment I 'd worked so hard to push back burst like a storm above me. It was a steadily descending pressure.
At this point I was in the bathroom holding tight to the towel bar, door shut. And there I felt the full force of fear and pain.  I was saying, "I'm going to die. I'm going to die. I'm going to die."  I was thinking, "I'm crying; no one dies of crying."  Yet the feeling of emanate death weighed heavily upon my whole being.  It was an episode unlike anything I'd ever experienced.  And it changed me, bodily. 
The next morning I called my FBI agent,  "uh. . . well, I had a crying episode last night unlike anything I've ever experienced . . even when I miscarried and. . when I had my accident."
"Oh, well, I thought I'd mentioned it."
"No, I listen for things like that.  This is what I do. This changes everything. Can you come see me right now?"
"Yes, I think so. I'll call my husband."
An hour later in his basement office he asks, "Do you know what post-traumatic stress disorder is?"
"Uh. . . "
"It's a change that takes place instantly in the brain and body chemistry of a person who has gone through a life and death situation."
And so began my education in what the hell is wrong with me!?  Doug's definition is actually a bit debatable. But it made his point.  (Some think it is slowly onset as a trauma patient begins to recover.  I remember reading something like "three days to three weeks" if therapy is not provided.)
This new info came as a shock.  It felt like waking out of a fantasy.  I never wanted to believe such an experience could damage me in a lasting way.  So I didn't. . .  until now.  So I wrote in my journal that day:
All in a blur,
my life was changed,
and years or recovery,
have left me the same.
We hit it full force.  "Therapy" was not pretty at all!  I never knew why addicts or others did not make it through "therapy." And I judged them (I had very good judgement since I had been practicing every second of every day!)  Now I knew, I am no different.  If I were without prescriptions from my doctor, I would be reaching for something, somewhere, ANY- how!
Doug set me on the path toward recovery. He knew the terrain well and awakened all my senses to set them to the task of healing.  He had to jolt me into my reality. My life was not PG any longer (though it never was), and I soon found no longer was my language! I instinctively knew I needed my whits about me. No more child's play, no more pretence of innocence.  Off with my rose colored glasses! There was no more coping, no more holding it back. I came out fighting! 
Those first few months were very dark and very fearful, but I had a guide for this part of the journey.  Our "chance" meeting was a gift to me, broken, tired, frightened and fragile me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wherever I Go, There I Am

We carry our own enviornment with us to a certain extent and are quite likely to stand or fall by the same principals wherever we live.  -Laura Ingles Wilder

I'm banking on this being true.  I want to believe that my recently gained health will be with me wherever I go!  Cause I plan on going!  When I first fell, after the break down or whatever it was, I put aside everything I knew about myself.  I let it all go and tried to just be a person . . a mom. . and a wife.  My priorities were, in this order, eat, sleep and wash.  That's all I needed to know.  That's all I needed to do. . . because that's all I could do!   Simplifying life, I began to see that the only thing I cannot put off is myself. Well, I'd obviously been doing so for quite some time.  It was sort of like I had a newborn in the house again . . only it was me! I was so helpless.  I had to spend more time taking care of myself than each of my children.  And under my careful care, I began to heal: mind, soul and body.  If I could I would take a pen and cross out the word SOUL I would.  My soul is the part of myself  which I have always known to "feed".  That just came naturally.  And I did it so well and so often that I sustained myself for quite some time, running on the energy of positive emotion.  My body symptoms got louder and louder and I soon realized that I didn't know anything about taking care of myself.  With my caregiving skills being sharpened by my babies, I turned to my attention to myself.  I began with the basics. . .clothing...breathing. . . physical affection. . . rest. . . baths. . . lounging around. . . basically just listening to my body.   I began watching for my needs in the same way I attune myself to my childrens' needs.
Since then I have gained more parts of myself back and parts of my previous life back.  But now I understand, "Take care or yourself." really means spend time taking care of  yourself.  Someone needs to!  So I'm figuring if  I am comitted to doing so I can take care of myself wherever I go.


Here I sit, completely incapable of seeing any task through to completion.  I feel like a child on days like these. I know it will pass. I may have brains again tomorrow.  I will have brains again tomorrow! though I may still be a bit beside myself. 
Yesterday was poorly planned and therefore knocked me off my feet.  I took the children with me to a funeral, for which they could not sit still.  We stayed for the meal afterward which was entirely to stimulating with them and everyone else going in different directions.  Whew! That could have done it.  But we had more to do!  We were off to the boys school to meet their teachers and drop off school supplies, then stopped at the preschool to do the same for my daughter.  Hers was smaller and more fun.  Free shaved ice!  The mom in front of us pushed the pump of flavoring down and red spewed all over her daughter.  Why did that bring me comfort?
Anyhow, by the time we reached home, i felt hyper-vigilant and pooped, dying for my bed!  I went to the bathroom where I gathered my first clue: a dozen or more flies.  Hm. . the back door must have been left open.  I get to the kitchen and look at my blackberry pie.  I think, "who's been eating my pie?" and then "what's that terrible smell?"   My eyes widened to see berry pie and chicken poo tracked all over the kithcen counters!. .. my recipe notes, and my clean hand washed dishes.  We kept finding poo, I cleaned and hour, went to bed. The boys did the dishes.
I had anxiety in the night. I was recalling some of my stupidest moments and dreaming of embarrassing body functions.  I slept late and woke to find a Rode Island Red hen laying an egg in my king size quilt laying on the dryer.  I was standing there loading clothes into the wash, taking my time, looking for stains.  Catching a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye, I jumped, picked her up and found a perfect warm brown egg.  (We also found two green eggs of Cream's.  Which meant that she had layed in the same spot on two other occasions.) Then it hit me, why the hens are always wanting in the house.  Several times daily we are shooing them away from the doorways.  They are just looking for a nice place to lay! So i set my odest about the task of spiffing up their nest box in the hen house. Don't know if it will help.  In fact, it sounds like one is in the kitchen right now!
Excepting the laundry, I've rested all day. I had a good nap.  But my mind is a very confusing place!  Days like today I try to find my sense of humor,  rest, and be kind to the children.  These are the only things that seem to help. . . and the only things I seem to be able to accomplish. 
My brain is on vacation!  I'll see it soon enough.  Then we'll be back in business . . . cleaning house, making meals, helping with the childrens' projects, planning outings and keeping the chickens out of the house!

My Husband's Greatest Gift to Me (yes, even greater than my children!)

Two years two months ago, my husband walked away from a blossoming career on the beautiful island of Oahu.  I am now almost certain the choice to do so has cost him immeasurably more than we were able to foresee.
I remember standing in my breezy kitchen, his arms around me, snap-shots of our life in Hawaii passing through my mind.  I knew with out a doubt: whatever was rumbling inside me was going to cause it all to fall apart.   So lovely and tropical on the outside, torrential storm brewing on the inside.
Just three months later, I confessed my desire to move back to the NW. . . and despite what he had told me for the previous year, he confessed his desire to do nothing of the sort.  Honestly, I was not angry.  I had spent all my anger on myself, for days feeling shameful for the incongruency in my heart.  I fought between the desire to take care of myself (a new thing) and the desire to do what I had previously determined as best.  Could I really take the easier, most likely road to recovery?  There was a great rush of freedom in just the thought.   The new understanding, that if my best chance at recovery includes leaving the Islands, this was the road I could shamelessly confess as my preference.   Weather or not I would take the way out was of little import at this time. It was a big moment for me.  I  had known my mind and made a step toward becoming an adult person!   The conclusion came with so much brooding anger and shame and self-loathing. There was an immediate calm after its admission, even only to myself!  Really this seemed to be what mattered. I didn't feel an urgency to convince my husband.  I simply said, "I believe my best chance of recovery is where I was born and raised." I was no longer ashamed of wanting the best!
I left HI with the children for summer break.  My husband joined us a week or so later.  While we were apart he had decided we would not return to the Islands at the end of summer.  I was scared at first, "Can I really do as I like with my own life?" 
Quickly, I began to recover my health, soothed as I was, by the regularity of life where I grew up. I believe my return to the town of my accident has had a major impact upon my recovery.  I felt as if mere weeks had past since the accident.  In truth? Fifteen years!But I began to mourn and grieve, learning along the way how to comfort myself.
These past two years have been packed full of weeping, confusion, family conflict, anger, resentment and darkness.  But these last two months have been full of light, understanding, hope and serenity.  And all the while my patient husband has put his dreams on hold.  What can I say to him?  Neither of us seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, in regards to our future.  The economy and my unhealth have us a bit stuck. Direction? Career? Residence? Stability?  These are the questions with which we are left.
I know less about my future, more about my past, and finally, most about myself.
Thank you, sweet husband, for letting me go back in time, filling up the gaps at home while I was busy re-doing 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20, putting yourself aside . . . for me, a girl who had not yet found herself amongst all the tears and tragedy, college and friends, ministry and babies.
You have my trust, my respect, and my HEART. I don't know where we're going, when or if we're going to go. But I know you'll  be standing by me and I just want you to know: I am ready to go.

Monday, August 16, 2010

craziness, doctors, medication and humility

    Just before the cork fell out of the bottom, I remember thinking, "How am I supposed to keep 80 nails trimmed?!"  Am I the only mother adding up the fingers and toes of her children? Oh, how it overwhelmed me! I should have known something was wrong.  Like the time I realized I had a problem of forgetting my daughter.  I'd walk into the room and there she'd be, a  little tiny bunddle, and I would think, "Oh yeah, there you are!"  I  had the sense to be sure to always put her somewhere she could be safe for any length of time.  It wasn't so much, "Where's Maile!Where, oh where, did I put her?"   More like, "Ohhh. . . yeah, there you are!" . . .  like my brain just forgot to think of her!!
Isn't that crazy? I don't see how my psychiatrist let me leave her office with out a prescription!
    She was the strangest psychiatrist (slight exaggeration), though I didn't know it.  She prescribed a book (a very good book, Feeling Good) and then we did some "talk therapy".   But she was a doctor, a psychiatrist, not a psychologist, not a very good one I'm sure. She failed to diagnose me.
I told her I felt scared but I wasn't.  I told her if I had to stand on a busy street corner all day, it would kill me.  I told her I'm not afraid of the elevator; I just don't like being in it!  So we did some cognitive-behavioral-therapy.  I could rid myself of negative feelings using the method described in Feeling Good.  But no matter what I did, I could not convince my body of the fact that I was not scared and alone. 
    I told her lots and lots of other stuff too. I think I even used the word "shell-shock".  And I know I mentioned my accident twice!  Somehow she failed to sift through all the thoughts in my crazy head and see PTSD.  I really needed a doctor, but she was acting more like a friend or counselor.  What was going on in my body?  Why couldn't I be in my own skin?  It was nearly impossible for me to stay present. I was developing all sorts of ways to withdrawl. I was so skiddish, you could have hurt me with your breath!  About this time my mother conferred with my doctor, who called my psych and said "We want her on something."  So began my the search for the right medication.
    I'm a granola eating health-nut.  I love vitamins and cooking with the freshest foods.  But at this point, I was bound to find something somewhere if I did not get the legal stuff from my doctor.   I was completely humbled.  All of a sudden I was not "too good" for all the things this world turns to for solace. All of the sudden I understood addiction.  I understood running away to a life on the streets.  "Oh, this is what happened to all those desperate souls, living crazy dangerous lives far from the ones who love them, on the streets of  EVERY major city in America."
    Why did empathy and compassion have to come at such a high price?
Eventually we left Hawaii.  I found a new psych.  The first time I met him I knew, "He understands!"  He knows what I know . . . about how impossible life can really be.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


There are some things I can never recover.  Foremost, the life of a schoolmate of mine, the friend of many,  a beloved daughter.  Also my innocence, my tender adolescent years, my free feeling college years.   Guilt took me pinch by pinch until I was left with no right to BE.  It wasn't until there was nothing left, 'cept life itself, that I even perceived this theft.

Guilt had done a number on me!  I welcomed him under many guises.  But when I had nothing left . . . and he still wanted more. . . that is when I knew.  I shut the door in his face, rested safely behind it and tried to catch my breath.  How could I have been so blind? (I do have a few ideas!) but you're not going to like them!  devotion, discipline, sacrificial love, the cause of Christ, a mother's  love, moral perfection, the desire to please.  Doesn't that make you mad?  Guilt wore many masks.  In fact, I think guilt and shame were hiding behind many thing in my life.  So when he asked for it all, the very last of me, I saw him for what he was:  an evil force of darkness and despair. I was left in a room of darkness. Then the LIGHT came on and I saw Guilt.   Just guilt . . . so I told him where to go!

There came a time,
    Guilt was at my door,
Demanding more,
    than I ever paid before,
My hands were empty,
   my soul bereft,
Store rooms barren,
   no crumb was left,
I stood my ground,
   made bold and said,
You'll take nothing more,
   until I 'm dead,
And when I die,
    I'll be at Christ's side,
You'll not be there,
   nor Grief, nor Shame,
So today I dare,
   to send you back from where you came.

I made this poem on a long walk.  A long walk that made so many things so clear that day.  It just came out, rhymes and all, as I tramped up the Hawaiian mmountainside behind my home.  And when I finished it, I realized for the first time: I'd been had!  I stamped my foot and said out loud "Damn you. . .  damn you to hell! I have a right to BE!!!"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Neural Integration

I wanted to introduce to you some "brainy" ideas from Dr. Daniel Segal.  Most informative! : )

Neuro scientists now suspect that trauma impairs the orbitofrontal region of the brain.  This is the part responsible for the integration of the information received from the other three parts of the brain.  The orbitofrontal cortex integrates all the material and comes up with various options for responding.
  • "If  this region is impaired in some way or temporarily shut down, the individual my experience a sense of disconnection from others, and a break-down in the reflected sense of self, while exhibiting knee-jerk responses rather than flexibility of response."
Key word: Response
Do you find that your responses are not so very fitting?  My responses are often delayed. I'm stumped!  I just can't come up with an appropriate response, so I just go "huh?" inside my head while trying to figure out what my face is supposed to be saying.

Key word: Flexibility
Have you ever noticed you are a stick in the mud? Unable to change plans, shift from one emotion to another? Trauma interferes with the integration of information, which means we are often unable to get a sense of the overall situation or sense the need to change plans.

Key word: Integration
Do you sense a disconnection from others and even from yourself?  The orbitofrontal cortex plays a major role in human emotion and emotionally attuned interpersonal communication.
Does your "biography" make any sense to you at all? Integration is what holds it all together! and I mean ALL. Thoughts, feelings, experiences, sense of self, view of the world, pieces of history, perceptions, emotions, motivation, the sense of family and community. It holds us together inside our own beings.  In our brains it is the process of seeing the big picture.

When I speak of neural integration, I am speaking of brain functions having to do with the processing of certain stimuli, experiences and information.  Essentially, the sending of info from one place in the brain to the other where it can be worked on and assimilated into your REALITY, your biography.  Trauma seems to get stuck in the lower portion of our brains. This is what causes knee-jerk responses.  Integration is the work of moving that info from there to the orbitofrontal cortex.  As this info/experience is integrated, the pieces of my biography have began to make more sense.   My responses to recent stimuli have become less "knee-jerk".

 Most importantly, my physical symptoms are beginning to subside. Physical symptoms? Generally my symptoms can be explained as an "emotional flash-back."  This categorization has proved immensely helpful to me.  Before I knew what to call it, I thought it was just plain craziness.  A general feeling of fear, shakiness, the feeling of having been through war.  I knew I was safe now, but I couldn't make my body believe it.   Anxiety would come over anything really, but especially over something too exciting and fun!   If I'd had too much fun(even good clean fun), may brain would just kind of freeze up. Some days, lots of days, it was all I could do to pour a bowl of cereal for my child.  Wow! those days were dark! I have learned to have much compassion on myself. . . the frightened guilt ridden teenager.  But now when I look back on the zombie mommy I was just two years ago, I want to weep for her even more. .  there was just nothing but mush upstairs!    And there were so many needs to be met. Life became very simple.  Eat -sleep -wash. And we made it through, missing so many details!  But here we are!  And we all still love each other!  And that is truly what matters.

Back to neural integration. . .it is both the problem and the answer!  Integration has been found fundamental to emotional recovery from traumatic events.  But trauma has been found to impare the orbitofrontal cortex's ability to integrate. Does this appear to you a bleak state of affairs? The thing I most need for recovery from trauma, has been impaired by trauma.  The article from which I am getting my info. .  "The Brain in the Palm of your Hand," by Dr. Daniel Siegle, published in Psychotherapy Networker, Sept.2002,  . . .the article stops short.  That's it.  Point made!  Well, it was written for psychotherapists, not your run -of- the-mill trauma patient!

I have read more of Dr. Siegle's writings and the thing I find most amazing, and encouraging, is the discovery that, in fact, we can use our minds to change our brains!  Finding help to do such a thing is crucial.    And really,  it is all about integration. It is both obstacle and goal.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I've been thinking about this blog, and about the kind of privacy I 'd like to have in my life. Many circumstances oppose my need for solitude, my husband's career, the # of children I have, the nature of my family.  And most of all, my fatal mistake. I hate how everyone in my world has peaked interest in me. I know people don't have hours to spend thinking about me. Thank goodness!
Still i feel angry and irritated to think of the privacy which I recently realized was so needed during the years I was 16, 17,18,19. I was not maturing in a safe cocoon (who does?) preparing to emerge as a butterfly.  Feels like I was poked and prodded, studied and fussed over.  So clueless, so clueless of what was really taking place and what it meant to the rest of my life. Clueless of how abnormal my development had become.
Oh, I have so much pity and compassion on myself when I look back to see the terribly frightened tender sixteen year old. . . and then I see what all the fussing was about, even the peaked interest.  In fact, my own interest is peaked!
So. Can this blog be for my own interest and exploration of myself and my experiences? Are there any precautions I can take to keep judgment and nosy people and critics out?  Do I have to give up privacy in order to get in touch with others who have been affected the way I  have.  Affected by trauma, fatality, guilt, bad press, ineffective doctors, well-meaning busy bodies, highly concerned loved ones, and confused friends . . . too much attention all together!!!
We'll just have to see. Blog by blog, day by day.  I can always shut up tight again later, right?
It took just a few moments for me to realize: No! I can't just shut up tight again, hide in my shell of shock. I'm finding my way forward and that's the way I want to go. I want to grow up. . . move past 17, 18, 19, and 20, past 25 and 30!
I may have to fight my way out, but I am going to emerge a mature, extraordinary, beautiful butterfly and then . . .  I'm going to test my wings!

Friday, August 6, 2010


I killed someone, accidentally. That is how I say it. . . how it comes out.  I killed someone! I can't believe those three little words sit together in a cozy little sentence about my life!  I'd like to squeeze "accidentally" somewhere in the middle there. Though it's true, it doesn't fit.  There it is: subject/verb/object. . . and I add the qualifier.  With or without it, how can this be? I can barely believe it. And after all these years, why does it hurt so badly?
You know what is really hard? No one is only someone.  Everyone is John . . . is Nicole . . . is Leah.
I killed Nicoletta . . . strong, beautifully blossoming Nicoletta, and I did it accidentally.