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.

Spirituality

For love of water

I was born on the East coast and have lived all my life near water. When I was younger it took an hour or so to drive down the New Jersey shore, depending on traffic. Then in my early 20s I met and got married to a man from Rhode Island. I lived in a few different cities there but my favorite house was a cottage I rented right on a private beach. In all of my adult life I have only felt at home in that cottage, it was my safe and happy space. One entire side of that cottage was windows looking out over Narragansett Bay. The smell of salt water and the sound of seagulls greeted me at my door every day. It was peaceful, serene and beautiful. I’m reminded of how much I cried the day I moved out. Thankfully I took pictures that I look at from time to time and reminisce.

I moved into that house with my family but moved out a divorced single mother. It was there that I found my independence and a renewed sense of self. In the 2 years I lived there, I discovered the confidence I needed to change my unhappy life. Everything about my life from move in to move out was drastically different. If those walls of that beach cottage could talk. Ultimately it’s those circumstances that helped propel me into more healing once I moved to Florida.

It’s been a little over six years since I moved away from the only real home I felt I had. Now I live in the land locked state of Texas. This area has a beauty all it’s own with some wonderful lakes and parks. Lately I have this longing for back home. The people, the food and most of all the ocean!!

I have caught myself feeling nostalgic and even melancholy about the place I call home. There is just something about sitting out on that sand, tasting the sea on your tongue and gazing at the waves. There are two places that give me the ultimate feeling of zen. One place is in the shower, the scent of clean body wash as the water cascades off my shoulders bringing me a sense of calm. The other is the beach.

I read an article recently that discussed one’s attraction and claim to a body of water calling it, my water. It’s that place where you feel most connected and alive gladly naming it as your own. I’m not sure if I have just one of “my water” spots yet more realistically I can claim a few. Nevertheless I feel them calling to me. I need a visit back home. I need to be refreshed and renewed by the ocean’s powerful force.

As an empath who is constantly being twirled around by other’s emotions and energies, the ocean is a place where my own energy can be restored. The ocean provides such a force, an immense energy that is so freeing for me.

I feel stuck in a rut lately. Not creative, bored and unamused. Two days ago I wrote this poem about my favorite thing to do in the ocean. Floating takes me outside and away from myself. It allows me to really clear my mind, release and let go. I feel amazing afterwards.

I set a goal for myself that this summer I must go for a visit back home, up North. To take in the ocean mind, body and spirit. I will leave all that weighs me down on its shore. I will be reborn.

Mental health, Spirituality

Some musings on my musings

I’ve been doing a lot of introspective reflecting as of late. What makes me tick and how far in these last six months I have come. A year ago I was utterly depressed, unemployed, out of shape and directionless. Something started to change around mid to late August and looking back I’m unsure of what that precipitating moment actually was. All I know now is that in September I connected with an amazing woman in Australia who gave me the selfless gift of simply believing in me. Her suggestion that I should start sharing my writing has absolutely changed my life!

Being able to let down my defenses, walls and whatever other terms can be applied here has proven so freeing! I gained so much self confidence that I finally applied to work for a company I have admired for many years. As fate would have it this coffee chain was building a new store in my neighborhood less the a mile from my house. I carried myself quite fearlessly into my interview and landed the job. After only a short time I was promoted to management. I began walking to and from my new job daily while starting to care again about what I was eating. I’m a petite woman and have always been naturally small yet when I gain even ten pounds I feel uncomfortable. This new me gave me back a spring in my step! My sassy self was finally shining on my outside again😁

Just yesterday I made one of my childhood dreams come true. I self published a book of poetry on Amazon entitled, “Emotional Musings” using my maiden name Maria Pratico. Afterwards, I felt like I floated on a cloud to work!! I’m so damn proud of myself my dear readers. I have always used writing as a way to cope with uncomfortable emotions, and being an empath sometimes they were feelings that weren’t my own. When I was younger I was really mixed up about this part of myself so my writing helped me make sense of it, process it and let it go.

I’ve always felt different from my peers and even anybody in my family. A blacksheep, a sore thumb, someone who walked to the beat of her own drum. I’m a true middle child who’s able to get along well with others but I still felt like I was outside looking in. I was a decent student, made friends easily yet I have always known that I perceive things quite differently than most. Now I have reckoned with that part of myself that felt strange.

I love the weirdness that my creative side allows me. I appreciate the way I hear music and the feelings I get from it. I understand that I feel stuff on another level, a more complex way that most wouldn’t be able to articulate into words. God has brought me down dark paths because He trusts that I will find my way back and learn from it.

I’m a late bloomer. An analytical thinker when it comes to these intense emotions, musings I call them. I have a highly tuned emotional intelligence that has delayed my progress in understanding certain important aspects of life. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. As a middle aged woman that sounds ridiculous but to me it’s exciting.

I’m just getting started. I’m coming into my own. Watch out world because I’m ready to roar and I’m finally ready for it all!!!!!!

Anxiety, Domestic violence, Grief and loss, Mental health, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Women's self care

Purple

Purple is my hand down favorite color. It has been since I was a small girl. My room was painted a pretty lavender and I incorporated unicorns as a main decorating theme when I was in third grade. It was my oasis and my safe place. Since I can remember just looking at any shade of purple calms me down and soothes me. I have always been a scared and fearful person, like my whole body buzzes internally constantly. My spirit animal is a rabbit. Perhaps it’s the trauma I have endured since childhood or reading and picking up on energy. Most likely a combination of the two. When I got really scared I used to hide under my bed or in my closet. I can admit to doing this even as an adult. That last admission has made me feel ashamed of myself. I understand for me it became a way for me to self soothe.

Three years ago I bought myself the best Christmas present ever! It’s a weighted blanket in a customized purple material. I found it on a sensory/tactile products for healing website and it’s become literally my adult security blanket. Children and adults with autism love it as well as those who suffer from anxiety and depression. It’s likes getting a huge hug and gits all my pressure points at once. My nurse in the psych hospital introduced it to me. We patients had to share it because there wasn’t enough to go around. There was a sign out sheet for it. I always told myself once I could I would get my own.

My weighted blanket is part of my self care routine. My fiance throws it over me when I’m about to or having a panic attack. Similar to smothering a fire, it brings my engines down to neutral. It’s also extremely beneficial during my time of the month. I can’t say enough good things about the benefits of using one, I highly recommend it!

This poem grew from that love and became elevated into my commentary on humanity. I wish we could wrap a purple blanket around the Earth so we can all feel its vibe!

Uncategorized

The Journey Begins

Welcome to my innermost thoughts. I have been writing my entire life to help me process what goes on around me. I use my emotions as a paint brush of sorts in my poems. I have lived a lot of life in my years on this planet this far and I feel I have a unique female voice. I hope to encourage, inspire but most importantly spread love to all I encounter. Enjoy!

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Anxiety, Depression, Mental health, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Panic

Walking slowly pictures blurring
Emotions flowing, my insides are glowing
My heart grasps hold now my words are slurring
Easy girl just close your eyes
Breathe in deep you’re about to weep
All is good, this is your prize
A new one is coming and it’s not cheap
Rich with colors bright and bold
You can let go, don’t have to hold
It lets go of it’s grasp
Settle down my friend, you made it at last
Stop fighting your mind there are no more
Tasks
Walk free from it now you are on the right path
Next time you will know better
And not be so scared
You got this and that’s good
Until the next lapse.

This poem is inspired by what it feels like at the height of a panic attack. The total sensory overload and short circuitry going on in my brain. My writing is helping me process these attacks. It feels like my mind is ultimately at war with itself. My mind and body become disconnected and total fear takes hold.

The line about there being a prize is meant to explain the relief afterwards. Once my mind and body can reconnect and calm down I feel rewarded. I understand that because of my conditions, this is how my psyche processes it all. I’ve been on a journey of introspection and self discovery. This is a path I intend to stay on so that I may continue to evolve and grow mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.