Mental health

Emotional breakdown to spiritual awakening

Since my last post two weeks ago, I have been in the thick of what was first believed to be an emotional breakdown. Now I’m coming to understand that I’ve been experiencing a spiritual shift, an awakening and a rebirth of my spirit. The reiki sessions I had coupled with some introspective meditation has led me to this place of knowing that what has taken place has elevated me to a higher understanding and evolvement.

As an extra sensory person, an intuitive, emotional and physical empath I vibrate on a higher frequency which lends me to experience all these beautiful gifts our creator has bestowed upon me. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming and more like a curse or burden but lately due to the emotional flashbacks from trauma, moon phases, eclipses and shifting planets my world felt extra heavy. That’s when my shadow self appeared.

Over the years on my spiritual journey into healing and understanding of myself, I have learned that we possess both light and shadow selves. One cannot exist without the other. We tend to praise our light beings and have a more positive attitude and relationship with that part of ourselves. Meanwhile our dark or shadow self is cast aside, unaccepted and deemed wrong. It’s not ok to be depressed or sad. We deny it, resist it and try to abolish it altogether.

Lately I’ve been delving into research in holistic psychology and reading about this dark side that we may consciously or unconsciously be aware of within all of our egos. I’ve come to see the beauty and necessity of both sides. Again, one cannot exist without the other.

I have spent two weeks in a thick heavy mud feeling stuck. A roller coaster of emotions from sadness to anger and rage. All these feelings I stuffed, deemed as unacceptable or wrong even “bad” have come bursting out of me. My psyche has been attempting to block these uncomfortable feelings tied to my traumatic events for so many years.

Now I have this awesome opportunity to fully heal BOTH sides of myself. I sat in the mud, I told myself it’s ok to not be ok. I stopped resisting my depression and moved through it. Three nights ago I actually had a spiritual awakening. It was so powerful and left me with this overall feeling of peace and calm.

This is the best way I can describe it. It felt like an outer body expierience. All sounds became muffled and I felt outside of myself just observing the moment. Then there was a shifting feeling, like something propelling me forward. I was walking through the fog into a bright light. I immediately felt lighter, and I could breathe again! I haven’t been able to take deep relaxing breaths lately but now I could breathe a sigh of relief, finally! This sensation lasted for maybe thirty seconds.

Now I can get to work on the next step of my healing process. Eradicating the block I’m having while accessing those uncomfortable feelings during EMDR sessions. My traumatic event and the feelings that are tied to it must be properly reprocessed. I’ve done the soul searching and introspective work by accepting it now I can’t allow it to harm my emotions in a destructive way any longer.

It’s a balancing act really. Acknowledging both sides of myself and accepting both of them as they are. Appreciating the role both play in my personality and how I interact within my relationships with others. I’m moving forward and I’m on my way to feeling whole again.

Mental health

This is my watershed moment

I have spent the past month in the grips of an extremely disruptive and emotionally charged reckoning with severe trauma from my childhood. A flood of feelings and upsetting memories I thought stuffed down so long ago have come floating actually erupting to the surface of reality. I’m riding an emotional roller coaster from moments of sadness to rage and confusion. I also at times don’t feel anything but complete numbness. I haven’t felt like doing anything at all, this past week I have been especially depressed.

My mind is constantly vacillating from what I can control and that which I can not. In my past I would’ve made a rash, spontaneous and emotional decision to do something that was not in my best interest in the long term but that would’ve allowed me to escape my uncomfortable emotional state. This time however I can recognize and give myself some credit in choosing to ride out this emotional turmoil. Sitting in it, enduring every moment. Recognizing I only have control over my response to these uncomfortable feelings.

I was reminded recently about the concept of a watershed moment. Google’s definition is the following:
A watershed moment is a turning point, the exact moment that changes the direction of an activity or situation. A watershed moment is a dividing point, from which things will never be the same. It is considered momentous, though a watershed moment is often recognized in hindsight.

My life right now is in the midst of this exact shifting. In the first two weeks of attempting to get a handle on my intense emotions and memories I kept thinking about how content and perfect seeming my life was. Why did I need to remember and acknowledge this life changing traumatic event from my childhood now? My therapists reminded me again of the onion. Life unfolds in ways that allow us to learn even when we think we have dealt with all of our “issues”.

It’s within these times, moments of crisis and inner turmoil that we are presented with an opportunity to dive deeper, evolve more and yes learn some major life lessons. In this case, I am learning more about myself and why I have made the decisions I have throughout my life.

A few sentiments I have reflected on and which truly define my actions are as follows….

Courage is not the absence of fear-Courage is being afraid and anxious and showing up anyway.

80% of life is just showing up.

Don’t wait until you are perfectly recovered to be happy and enjoy life. It’s OK to be happily imperfect.

Finally this statement really rings true for me and something I have unfortunately let drive my decision making throughout my entire life….. When we make decisions out of fear-they are usually not in our own best interest.

I have attachment issues stemming from my upbringing. Attachment to anything positive or negative creates suffering. I am also someone who wants to run away from my emotional problems. Whether I self medicate, cover up or actually run away from my problems all of these choices have resulted in some very undesirable consequences for me and the ones I love.

Wallowing in my perfectionism, I have two modes. Trying to keep the outside looking pretty and good while on the inside I am shaking with fear and grappling with the rage aimed towards myself for the missteps I have made. Both are counterproductive and aren’t beneficial to my life in the long run.

I had another energy clearing session too. I was advised to manifest grounding by visualizing myself as a tree. Immediately my favorite tree and the one we had on the corner of my childhood home sprung to mind. I adore weeping willow trees. After my session I painted a picture of one I call, “Enchanted Willow” and I wrote this poem.

For now, I will do my best to stay grounded by actively working on recreating some inner peace so that I can let go and move on. Baby steps 👣

Mental health

Feelin shook up

Life is full of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys. Living with Complex PTSD and experiencing dissociative episodes these last eight years as a result of the severe trauma I have endured has presented many difficult challenges to my stability and daily functioning. Lately I have expierienced a shift that feels like the rug has been pulled out from under me. I’m stumbling and struggling while riding these waves of intense emotions. A place I haven’t been to in quite some time.

When I was with my family this past February, my son got to witness up close and personal how my empathetic abilities draw strangers to me for healing. These are the walking wounded, people who are looking to release their life’s burdens. He quietly observed as this woman approached me on the street to share with me her life story of heartache and pain. She needed to vent to someone who would listen with compassion and understanding. I’m humbled and blessed to be that outlet for others!

This past weekend I had my own unique experience with a fellow stranger who I later came to find out is an empath. She and I knew each other a very short time before she held my hand and confirmed to me some events in my life I haven’t admitted to myself or even uttered out loud. I have been walking around with this deep dark secret since a young child. This is the repressed memory and acknowledgement of being molested when I was five and six years old.

Four years ago I started the journey into healing my inner child. The main healing tool that has worked wonders for me is EMDR, the reprocessing of emotions pulling that “charge” of the trauma away lessening its severity from my mind, body and soul. Trauma is held in the body and can be reactivated and triggered long after the actual physical damage has occurred. Even though these events took place some thirty-five years ago, my cells have been “refired” and thoughts, feelings and flashbacks have come flooding back with a vengeance.

To add to this complex situation, I work in a fast paced, highly stressful work environment. Two days ago I had an emotional breakdown before work. In an instant I was struggling to breathe, heart racing, uncontrollable crying…..the whole thing. My current emotional mindset is NOT conducive to helping and serving others. I need to repack my trauma baggage, rediscover who I am while continuing to peel the layers back of my life’s onion.

I have been riding an intense wave of high emotions, enduring intrusive thoughts and nagging feelings of shame. Anybody who has gone through sexual abuse knows the debilitating feelings of shame. For me they have crippled my life for years at a time. My fear and panic gets triggered as I worry that I’m backsliding into the depths of overly intense emotions all over again. Something I thought I had neatly packed away and compartmentalized in my psyche.

The two questions that first stopped me in my tracks were, why me and why now? Everything was going great and I was feeling so confident. Now I feel angry, ashamed and sad. A kind of mourning is going on. I’m in the process of patiently accepting and observing these emotions without judging myself or wanting to harm myself. Que the intrusive thoughts and suicidal ideation. Here comes that heaviness in my heart and overall exhaustion telling me to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head. I’m grieving my childhood and loss of innocence all over again.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far. This is all part of the healing process. We must continually throughout our lives revisit the pain and trauma from our past in order to learn, grow and accept it ultimately freeing ourselves. I refuse to become “stuck” again. I know I must carry on and this too shall pass. I’m taking a break to be kind and gentle to myself. I’m not ok right now and that’s ok.

Mental health, Spirituality

A small tear in the microcosm

Today was definitely one of those days. I woke up knowing I was going to shed tears at some point. I woke up before my alarm which has been happening lately and is annoying because I feel cheated out of my much needed sleep. A strange feeling had taken over my body all morning while I was getting ready for work. I couldn’t quite grasp what was wrong, but something sure was.

I ended up getting very angry over something at work. So much so that I was shaking and my blood pressure was on the rise. My heart was beating so fast and I felt uncomfortable, my mind started flipping through thoughts faster than usual. I felt a bit dizzy and in a fog for more than a few minutes. I immediately started an inner dialogue in my head commanding myself to take mental breaths to calm down. All of these feelings trigger my C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for fight or flight. Only my family gets me feeling to this intensity. I do a very thorough job of blocking out others with boundaries that I set up in my daily meditations. This whole situation threw me for a loop. I have never been comfortable with anger and I’m uneasy with expressing it. I went in the back room and cried it out.

As an empath staying safe, balanced and grounded is so crucial to my mental health. I have worked so hard at establishing healthy boundaries and protecting myself from toxic and negative energy from people over the last few years. I know I need to check in with myself often to assess my own feelings and to be mindful and present. The energies I can pick up from others can be so strong and overwhelming leaving me exhausted, sick to my stomach and even disoriented. It wasn’t until I was 35 that I learned of my gifts and how to preserve myself to ward off from outside forces. I always thought I was just plain crazy up until receiving this vital and life changing information. I have written about that time in my life in previous posts.

After it was all said and over and I had arrived back home, I sat down to do some soul searching. It was then that I realized I had neglected to get two light therapy sessions in. Last night and this morning’s were skipped leaving me more open to the energy vampires attacks because my level of anxiety is higher. In addition to missing those, I remembered I had not had enough alone quiet time yesterday. It was my day off from work and I had a lot of errands to run. Usually I like to have at least 45 minutes of quiet me time. This special time consists of no technology, no talking, eyes closed and laying under my weighted blanket. Afterwards I always feel rebalanced and peaceful. I visualize the weights in the blanket to be anchors that pull all the unnecessary thoughts, feelings and energies off of me. Laying under it allows me to feel safe and grounded again. Sometimes it feels like having C-PTSD is like being an exposed nerve that is constantly being bumped.

I wasn’t as vigilant with my own self care like I need to be and when I arrived at this conclusion it hit me. I have been getting too caught up and my mind was overflowing not allowing me any down time. The hours and days spill out so quickly and I just got carried away. It’s a good lesson finally (maybe) learned for me. I used to feel selfish about taking me time but then I realized that if I don’t recharge my own life force and energy I will burn out. Becoming no good for anybody but especially for myself.

I have since put in an hour long light therapy session, listened to an empath clearing meditation, rebalanced my chakras and wrote this post. Once again, writing helps me put everything into perspective so I can properly process my intense emotions. I’m so grateful for the reprieve and to be able to distance myself emotionally while putting every paragraph together. Returning to a more wise mind state of being. What happened today was empath overload. All my circuits got fried and I broke down. The important thing is that I’m ok. All my energy is right back at neutral now and I’m more aware of needing to step up my routines.

It’s all still a work in progress. The ebbs and flows,the ying and yang my dear readers. In end I must let it go…..

Divorce, Mental health

Some words from the broken hearted

It’s really difficult for me to think about my two boys these days. As a result of my divorce from their father, my ex-husband, we have become estranged. For the last 18 months I have had no communication with either of my teenage sons. My oldest told me I was no longer welcome in his life. Those words felt like bullets going through my heart. My youngest remained connected to me through social media but never responded to my many attempts to message with him and has now blocked  me like his brother did. I don’t even know what they look like now. I have not visited with them since August of 2016. Every holiday and major event during the year, I  eat my heart out scrolling through social media at my friend’s pictures of their children. This post is my attempt at processing the  roller coaster of emotions I go through daily concerning my boys.

I got married at 22 years old and all I wanted to do was become a mother and create my own family, do it my way. My oldest son was my honeymoon baby and was born 10 months after my wedding. I had left my position working at a high end retail department store months before I gave birth. I happily chose to become a stay at home mother. I relished it, thrived at it and thoroughly enjoyed every second of being the one whom was in charge of caring for my children full time. I took parenting classes, attended workshops, read countless books and joined Mommy groups. I ran my household like a well oiled machine. I took different kinds of classes with both of my boys including swimming, music, arts, sports, dancing and gymnastics. I cooked all three meals a day for my family. In addition, I cared for our two dogs and two cats. At one point we added a turtle to that mix.

Looking back on those ten years of my life, one constant thought always plagues my memories. I didn’t appreciate my life at that time. I took for granted all that I had and was not 100% grateful. That is hard to admit to myself let alone write here but it’s the truth. I owned two beautiful homes during those years, went on great vacations and was there for my boys at all times. In 2010 all of that, my life as I knew it was altered dramatically. My mind began to break apart and everyday I would “lose it” a bit more than the day before.

My ex-husband and I were one of the 1.2 million households to lose our home in the housing market crash of 2008. We weathered that loss by moving back to my childhood home and in with my parents. As awesome as it was for me to live in my hometown and have my boys take advantage of all the privledges that I was afforded growing up, it became more and more difficult to be reminded of my own childhood’ s ugly memories. The summer of 2010 my little family moved back to the state we had resided most of my adult life. It was really bittersweet and in hindsight I should of spoken up about what was happening with me mentally.

The last shred of sanity I had was gone completely by late December 2010. I remember that Christmas sitting in my in-laws house and feeling so numb and disconnected from reality, like I was sitting behind glass watching my boys open their presents. In early January I told my ex-husband that I didn’t love him anymore, I felt “crazy” and not myself. I then proceeded to demand that he and my boys move out. My actions were cold and unfeeling, I refused to discuss anything. In reality, I wasn’t able to reason or make sense out of anything during that time. I remember staring out my window, tears streaming down my face, scared to death because I didn’t understand what was happening. It’s like another person took the wheel of my life and was in the driver’s seat; I became an unwilling passenger forced to be a spectator to my own life and not a participant. I now understand, dissociative episodes were emerging.

Over the months following my family’s departure I proceeded to try and fill the deep holes in my heart because of the damage my mind had caused by doing everything to disgusting excess.  My exercise routines, eating habits(starving myself) and drinking went into overdrive. I was working three jobs during that time and sleeping no more than 4 hours at night. It was complete hypomania behavior and I sustained it for months. I was desperately trying to do anything to distract my mind and stop my troubling feelings from bubbling up to the surface.

Then came the crash, my suicide attempt and subsequent hospitalzations. I was diagnosed with a slew of acronyms from the DSM-5 and put on an overlong list of medications to combat my ever changing symptoms. It wasn’t until four years later that my long term therapist and I were able to FINALLY get to a proper diagnosis of Complex PTSD. I believe living with my family from 2008-2010 triggered all the deep seeded traumas my mind hadn’t processed properly and became the catalyst for my complete mental breakdown. My boys being forced to witness my mother, their grandmother,  scream at me and physically fight their grandfather. I remember my oldest calling out in fear, “grandma stop yelling at my Mommy.” Having my boys become a part of my dysfunctional past was more than I could ultimately bear.

I have read many articles on how people with a history of childhood trauma left untreated, can result in bipolar like behaviors as an adult. Many of these people have also been misdiagnosed which results in delay of healing. Unfortunately, I had little support from loved ones during this time which exacerbated my condition. I did everything I could to see my boys every other weekend. I would push myself to muster the energy it took so I could function as “normally” as possible during our weekends together. In 2013, I made the drastic decision to enter a long term treatment facility many states away from where I was living and from my boys.

I completed that treatment and did everything in my power to stay in communication with my boys. I wrote many letters, we video chatted, and stayed in touch by our social media accounts. In 2016, I attempted to move back to the state they reside in with my ex-husband. It’s also unfortunately the state where so many traumatizing abuses happened to me. Those memories and flashbacks proved too great for me to overcome so I left there again for third time since 2008. It is the hardest decision I ever have had to make. I promised my boys I would try again to make their state my home. In the end, I have had to come to terms with my failure to make that happen. I feel so much guilt, shame, sadness and anger within myself for that decision. I have had to do a lot of soul searching and reckoning just to get out of bed everyday.

I know my boys must feel abandoned and they are justified in their anger. I have tried on numerous occasions to talk with them about their feelings, ask if they have questions for me etc. Unfortunately my ex-husband is not willing to participate in my healing, he is still bitter over our divorce and we haven’t spoken in almost 4 years. It’s most unfortunate for my boys who have to suffer because the adults in their lives can’t work together in their best interest. My ex has succeeded in erasing me from their lives for now. I have tried calling and texting the number I have for him, sending letters and emails…..ANYTHING to get him to talk to me. Last spring, I mustered up the courage to call my ex-mother in-law in an attempt to talk with my boys. I am glad that not only did she answer but I was able to thank her for loving and caring for my boys in my absence. She told me they are doing well and that she gives them my letters. I don’t know the actual address where my boys live so I mail my letters to my -ex in-laws house.

Coming to terms with this situation has taken an arduous effort on my part. The ones who I feel the worst for are the two boys who are growing up without their Mother. I hope someday they will forgive me and reach out to repair our broken relationship. Deep down I do have faith that will happen. I’m proud to say that throughout the separation, divorce and estrangement I have never spoken a bad word about their father to them.  I refuse to damage their image of him. I know what it’s like to have a parent’s disdain for the other parent ruin the minds of their children. My mother always spoke negatively about my father,  how he wouldn’t want me if they got divorced, how much he didn’t like me even comparing us when I did or said something she didn’t approve of. That forces a child to dislike themselves and look upon those comparisons of character in a shameful way. I refuse to engage in that kind of parent against parent warfare.

Every single day, I spend time thinking about both of my boys. I look at pictures, I cry and I forgive myself for missing out on their childhood. I use the helpful technique of compartmentalizing my thoughts to aid me in exploring those difficult emotions. I also write. This is a poem I hope to share with my boys someday.

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