VERY MIXED FEELINGS TODAY

Five years ago, on Saturday the 24th of September, my life changed in ways I could never have predicted.  And though my life now, 5 years later, is amazing, the road to where I am now has been challenging.  Understatement of the year.  All in all, for the majority of the time, I am happy, healthy, newly married (in May) and ‘completely’ healed from my attack.  I have to put completely in quotation marks because I am not sure I will ever be completely over what happened.  That has been very apparent this last week.  Physically I have been a bit of a wreck.  My body seems to understand what my mind is incapable of grasping:  my attack is still stored in my cells, in the muscle memory of my physical self.  Well, crap.

On Monday I decided I needed to know exactly when DCD was being released from prison.  According to my calculations it should’ve been right around now.  He received a 6 year sentence and has to serve 85% of it, less time served at sentencing, which was 317 days.  When I put his name in the ‘who’s in jail’ web site, I got nothing.  I remembered he had used another name, looked through my files to find it, put that name in, and got the same result…not in the system.  I thought I had signed up to be notified when that happened, but, it turned out, I had not.  Crap, again.  So I called the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to find out his status.  The officer I spoke with asked for his prisoner number, which I did not have.  He asked if I was the victim.  I told him I was.  He gave me the number I was lacking and told me where he is now housed and that he would not be getting out any time soon.  He also suggested I call the Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services to find out more information about his release date.  I did this and that’s when I found out I neglected to actually sign up to be notified when he would be released.  It’s not that I am afraid he will come after me once he is released.  I simply want to know when he is out.

Life does go on, and as much as I’d love to never have had this happen, it did.  The following quote pretty much sums up how I feel about it now:

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We all get to choose how we react to what happens to us.  I choose to see it as a blessing, and to share my ongoing, ever-changing story.  My hope is that I am making a “difference by being the difference.”

Graham Moore’s Oscar Speech Sends a Heartfelt Message to Those Kids who Feel They are Weird, Different or Don’t Fit in.

Loved this post on KINDNESS BLOG…

Kindness Blog

Graham Moore won Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Imitation Game” at Sunday’s Oscars.

The screenplay was about Alan Turing, the genius codebreaker who did so much to help the Allies overcome the Nazis during World War II, but was later demonized and eventually committed suicide.

He used the win to give a powerful speech about being ‘different’, depression and suicide awareness.

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

Graham Moore's Oscar Speech Kindness

His moving speech has been welcomed with much praise with several stars including Ellen DeGeneres and singer Ariana Grande applauding it.

DeGeneres wrote on Twitter: ‘Congratulations Graham Moore. That speech was beautiful. You should think about being a writer.’

While Grande posted: ‘Anyone else want to hug and thank Graham Moore?’

The screenwriter said he had imagined the moment on stage as a teenager when he would get to say those things during an acceptance speech, and said that it was surreal to be able to do it for…

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FIRED AND SENT ‘HOME’

From my journal:

4 October 1987

“I’m getting sick.  My throat is infected.  I don’t feel too bad but not good either.  Maybe today will be busy and go kind of fast.  I hope anyway.

7:30p  This is just great.  I’ve basically been fired.  I’m being sent back to Hamburg tomorrow morning.  Supposedly, it was mainly my not understanding the language.  And the regular model is well now.  But Katharina (the bitch) made me believe that my not understanding German had nothing to do with it.  That girl is so in love with herself, it’s ridiculous.  She’s such a snot.  Enough said about her.

Anyway, once again I wonder what the fuck I am doing over here trying to model.  And for that matter, why am I in this business at all?  I really don’t like Germany.  I think the people (as a whole) are very rude.  I simply don’t like being away from what I know.  I wonder if I subconsciously wanted to lose my book?  I also wonder what’s going to happen tomorrow when I get back to the agency?  I think I should get paid for the whole time even though I didn’t stay.  I was booked for the 4 1/2 days and any other booking (ha) that I might have had, would’ve been turned down because I was already booked.  I wonder if they (Cosmo) are going to blame me for this?  I sure hope not.  This is just one more thing to add to their list of why I shouldn’t be here.  Just what I need.

Chipsey is just like Charlotte.  She is sleeping under her blanket.  She’s so cute.

I guess I should call Jan and let her know I’ll be back tomorrow morning.  She has that look-see at Otto.  I guess I’ll just have to hope that Siggi is there and can let me in to the apartment.  I should get back around 10a or so.

This whole deal just makes me want to go home.  I sure didn’t need this on top of losing/having my book stolen.  I am so tempted to just say fuck it and leave.

5 October 1987

I’m sitting on the steps outside the apartment door.  It is now 1p; I’ve been here since 11a.  Siggi is not home.  Neither is Jan.  I sure hope she has a break between appointments.  With my luck, she’s either testing or booked until tonight.  I’m tired and I want to sleep.  I don’t feel good.  I do have my blanket, but I don’t really want to sleep in the stairwell.  I feel like a derelict with no place to go.  I bought a book in the airport in Munich, but don’t feel much like reading.

I can’t stop thinking about L.  I sure don’t know why because I don’t even like him.  He’s really kind of a jerk.  I know he’s just out to get what he can, but that doesn’t seem to bother me.  I guess as long as the fantasies remain in my mind, there’s nothing wrong with it.  But every time I close my eyes, I imagine him kissing me.  I guess I’ll never have the pleasure.  Besides, he likes Jan and they are probably already engaged.  I couldn’t believe how envious and jealous I was of Jan the other night.  She has no strings on her.  She can do whatever  whenever with whomever she pleases.  I think I still love D and miss him (in a way) but…   I won’t do anything I shouldn’t though.  At least I don’t think I will.

8p    Finally go in the apt around 1:30.  The lady across the hall had an extra key and let me in.  Jan arrived about 10 minutes after that.  She had quite a weekend.  She tested on Saturday with L.  He ended up staying the night Saturday and Sunday.  She says she doesn’t like him, but I think she does.  She slept in my bed and he slept in hers.  I wish I could stop having lewd thoughts about him.  It would be foolish tho do anything with him though.  He seems to me to be the type who would blab to everyone.  Sure don’t need that.  Jan’s attitude about it amazes me, though.  We were talking about it and she said that it’s not like it would mean anything.  She also said L asked about my marriage.  He said I seemed to him to be in a weird situation, and wondered if I was happily married.  I wonder why I give that impression?  (Maybe because I’m not!) He’s not the first to think that.  Oh well.  I guess I’ll go on in my mind thinking about him, but I can’t see it going any further.  Besides, fantasy is always better than reality.

13 October 1987

How true that last line I wrote is.  So much has happened since I last wrote, but I’m not going to back track.  Suffice it to say that I’ve once again learned a lesson and that I’m over my ‘crush’ on L.

I have a lot of things on my mind that I should probably write down, but I am simply not up to dealing with them.  Maybe later.

I sure hope the test Jan and I did on Saturday comes out good.  The film will be ready this afternoon.  I certainly need the boost a good test will bring.  I also hope that my other photos from Chicago will be here this week.  They have to be.  I’m pissed that D didn’t make more of an effort.  And since he is going out-of-town today for business, there is no telling when they’ll be sent if it he didn’t already send the package.  Fuck.

Well, Jan, it’s 11 o’clock, so why the fuck haven’t you called me?  I guess you are just going to be locked out.  You should’ve called.  She’s probably off having sex with L.  I’m so glad that I didn’t.

15 October 1987

I’m getting dissatisfied with my life again.  That’s a dangerous thing for me.  I don’t want to go back to Chicago.  I want to wander Europe for a couple of years.  What I really need is to be a wealthy man’s kept woman.  With no strings attached, of course.  Fat chance!  I wonder if D’ll screw that bitch again.  I wouldn’t doubt it.  I guess I’ll never know, and, really, do I even care?

16 October 1987

It’s getting harder every day not to just give up and go back.  But it’s like Jan said, I don’t want to back or I would have 2 weeks ago when my book was stolen.  Another week of doing nothing.  My stuff from Chicago still hasn’t arrived.  That really pisses me off.

2:30a   I’ve decided/realized I am on a course of self-destruction, and I’ve got to get off.  I know that’s why I’ve been eating the way I have.  Trying to stuff my sadness…”

 

It has been years since I’ve read this particular journal and I am amazed at just how unhappy I truly was.  And what a potty mouth I used to have!  The saga continues in next Wednesday’s installment of ‘My West German Adventure.’

 

DYING TO BE ME

From the back cover of the book:  “In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body began shutting down—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was released from the hospital within weeks—without a trace of cancer in her body! Within these pages, Anita recounts stories of her childhood in Hong Kong, her challenge to establish her career and find true love, as well as how she eventually ended up in that hospital bed where she defied all medical knowledge. As part of a traditional Hindu family residing in a largely Chinese and British society, Anita had been pushed and pulled by cultural and religious customs since she was a little girl. After years of struggling to forge her own path while trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, she had the realization, as a result of her epiphany on the other side, that she had the power to heal herself . . . and that there are miracles in the Universe that she’d never even imagined. In DYING TO BE ME, Anita freely shares all she has learned about illness, healing, fear, “being love,” and the true magnificence of each and every human being! This is a book that definitely makes the case that we are spiritual beings having a human experience . . . and that we are all One!”

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I listened to this book while in the middle of my healing process (not that is it actually over at this point) from my sexual assault, and I realized that I, too, had had a NDE, a near death experience, though not in the way that they normally occur.  Because my assault was interrupted, which prevented my attacker from following through with his intention to rape me, I was also saved from the punches that were coming my way.  The last thing I remember before hearing my guardian angel’s voice was DCD’s fists getting ready to beat the shit out of me because I wouldn’t stop screaming and fighting him.  The only way he was going to be able to get control of me was to knock me out.  As I’ve said in the past, I was literally fighting for my life.  And in doing that, I dissociated from myself from the situation I was in.  It wasn’t so much that I left my body and was watching what was happening to me as it was the feeling that I simply was not there.   Dictionary.com defines a near death experience as “an unusual experience taking place on the brink of death and recounted by a person after recovery…”  Given that definition, that’s exactly what happened to me.  I am sure I’ll have plenty more to say on this, but for now this post is about Anita Moorjani’s book and her experience.

I loved the book.  Her story is simply amazing.  She was, literally, hours away from certain death when her near death experience occurred.  What she ‘saw’ and ‘heard’ changed her life forever.

 

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YES!!!

It’s that time again. Time to figure out what my word for the coming (tomorrow, for goodness sake) New Year should be.  I’ve had some difficulty deciding.  And really, it’s more of a phrase than just a word, though it can be either, I suppose.  The point is it’s an action more than simply a feeling; a reminder to: Just Do It, to Go For The Gusto, to Grab Life By The Horns, to stop waiting for whatever it is I’ve been waiting for, to say YES to everything. I said back in September on the 3rd anniversary of my attack that I had survived and was ready to thrive. It’s time to take it a bit further and stop being so guarded.  Do I have a good reason for continuing to hold myself back?  For my heart and mind still being the slightest bit closed?  Perhaps, but where does that get me?  Alone…not necessarily lonely…but definitely by myself a lot of the time.

So my word for 2015 is YES!  And my phrase is Say Yes To Everything!  Well, most everything.  I am all for dancing like no one is watching, loving like I’ve never been hurt (or, for that matter, sexually assaulted) but I draw the line at singing like no one is listening, because the truth is I simply cannot hold a tune.  Okay, not only cannot I not hold a tune, I can’t even get into tune.  So, no singing; any and everything else, though, I intend to say YES to.

I also intend to continue my twice a week posting.  Last week I was in Atlanta for Christmas and decided to skip it since it’s more challenging to do it on the phone.  Overall, though, I did pretty well throughout the year with my intention for 2014 and consistently posting.  I find I really do need a set schedule to make it happen.  Some weeks I didn’t post on Wednesday, but I discovered that Thursday is just as good in case I can’t get my act together for Wednesday.  As for my Sunday posts about books that I read that have made a difference in my life and in my healing process, I’ll continue with those for the foreseeable future.  I love books and love to read, so I don’t think I’ll run out of recommendations for a while.

Thank you to all who continue to read my story.  There is so much yet to be told.

And as the sun sets on 2014…HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone.

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May 2015 be full of love, happiness, prosperity, peace and joy for us all!

WARRIOR POSE

I just finished reading, (yes, I actually had to read it as it is not available on audio), this book, and it is amazing.  AMAZING!  It is Brad Willis AKA Brava Ram’s autobiography, the story of his life as a war correspondent, how a devastating injury changed his life and the unbelievable power of the mind to heal.

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Warrior Pose is Indiana Jones merged with Gautama Buddha…a miraculous affirmation of the power of self-healing, a war story, a love story and a spiritual journey of epic proportion.  It is your story, my story, the human story.”  ~Dr. Emmett Miller, Pioneer of Mind-Body Medicine

Also from the book jacket:

“From covering the front lines of the Gulf War to investigating Colombian drug lords to living with freedom fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan, war correspondent Brad Willis was accustomed to risk.  But when mortal danger came, it was from an unexpected. direction.

At the pinnacle of his career, a broken back and failed surgery left Willis permanently disabled and condemned to a life in a body brace.  Then came a diagnosis of terminal, stage IV throat cancer.

At his 50th birthday party, friends gathered around Willis, who was crippled, almost mute, depressed, strung out on narcotic medications, and dying.  Halfway through the celebration Willis realized the party’s true purpose–his friends were there to say goodbye.

Everyone knew Willis was on his way out…everyone except his 2-year-old son, who urged, “Get up, Daddy!”

His son’s words ringing in his ears, Willis chose to abandon Western medicine and embrace the most esoteric practices of Yoga to heal his body, mind and soul–ridding himself of cancer and fully restoring his back.  As a symbol of his journey, he took the spiritual name Bhava Ram, which stands for “Living From The Heart.”

Warrior Pose is an adventure chronicling some of the most momentous events of our time through a journalist’s eyes, an unforgettable story about the power of love between a father and son, and a transformational journey of self-healing, inner peace and wholeness.”

Candace Pert, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, RAPID Laboratories, Inc; author of Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d and Molecules of Emotion: The Scientific Basis Behind Mind-Body Medicine had this to say about the book:

“Remarkable recoveries and miraculous healing of incurable cancers and other terminal disease have been the topic of many recent books.  Bhava, born Brad Willis, has written the most exciting, original and vividly relevant book yet on this topic.  Its concise, hard-hitting prose makes a page turner about the shockingly grim world behind the nightly news as revealed to a top television reporter.  Ram ignores his progressive physical collapse, stuffing his feelings and internal life to focus entirely on his macho career.  Using his fierce will to survive and strong intellect to question medical authority, Bhava draws inspiration from the miracle of his son Morgan, halts his self-sabotaging habits, chooses ‘right living,’ and heals himself via a selfless emotional life dedicated to teaching and healing others.”

I have said before that yoga was instrumental in my healing process, that it definitely contributed to saving my life during my healing process from my sexual assault, and it was and it did.  I am in awe of just how dedicated and determined Brad Willis was to save his own life and transform himself into Bhava Ram.  I highly recommend this book.

 

HERE, TAKE A PILL

Why is it, generally speaking, that Western medicine tends to throw pills at the symptom and not get to the underlying condition that may be causing the problem to begin with?  Is it because we are lazy and want a quick fix?  Is it decades of training doctors in a certain way?  Is it an inability to change with the times?  Is it fear of some kind?

Don’t get me wrong, I myself took an antidepressant because I needed it to get my chemical imbalance, well, balanced.  I suffered for years from depression and/or clinical depression, and it had gotten to the point that even though I so did not want to take it, I knew I had to.  I fought it for a long time, but when I was in Key West in the bright February sunshine, out of the frigid Chicago winter, and I was still feeling awful, I knew the time had come.  At the time, I was seeing a therapist and he recommended a psychiatrist to me.  I reluctantly went.  The deal was I would continue with my therapist and I would see the psychiatrist once a month.  I made sure my doctor knew from the very beginning that I had no intention of staying on the medication indefinitely.  I asked how long I would have to take it.  My doctor told me, and keep in mind this was in 1997, usually people took it for about a year, maybe a little longer.  I said, okay, but I’m not taking it any longer than that.

At the time I was trying to get pregnant and, again keep in mind it was 1997, at the time the only antidepressant that was approved for and that had been tested on pregnant women was prozac.  So that’s what I was given.  Pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it nearly killed me.  Every bad side-effect it was possible to get, I got.   I know now I should never have been given it at all, since I am in the bi-polar spectrum, and prozac is a huge no-no.  Not sure if this wasn’t known back then or that my doctor just dropped the ball, in a way.  It doesn’t really matter.  What matters is I was closely monitored and switched to wellbutrin as soon as it became clear that I was on the wrong medication.

What I find astounding is the number of people, mostly women, who have been on antidepressants for years.  YEARS!  And they have no intention of ever getting off of them.  I understand that there are legitimate reasons for being on a drug long-term, maybe even forever; but, mostly, I don’t believe this to be the case.  (Bi-polar disorder is a different story and those with it should take medication, though many don’t/won’t.)  I could not wait to stop taking it, even after finding the correct one for me.  It was a hateful drug, and though it accomplished what I needed, the re-balancing my chemicals, I was not sorry when I no longer had to take it.

And these days the hottest new ‘disorders’ to be diagnosed with are ADD and ADHD.  In the November issue of Oprah, an article written by Anna Maltby addresses this phenomenon, and it is alarming.  “A groundbreaking report released earlier this year by the prescription management company Express Scripts stated that the number of adults in the United States taking ADHD medications (which include Ritalin and Concerta, in addition to Adderall) rose 53 percent from 2008 to 2012.  It also found that women are using ADHD medication at notably higher rates than girls, with those in the 26 to 34 age range posting a staggering 85 percent jump in the use of such drugs in just five years.” According to ADHD researcher Keith Connors, PhD, professor emeritus at Duke University and the creator of a highly regarded rating scale commonly used to help diagnose the disorder, “It’s clear that one reason for the recent rise is over diagnosis.”   He goes on to say that, “There is a swarm of primary care doctors and psychiatrists who really don’t know that much about ADHD but are willing to give out a prescription.”

According to webmd.com:

“Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most well-recognized childhood developmental problems. This condition is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. It is now known that these symptoms continue into adulthood for about 60% of children with ADHD. That translates into 4% of the U.S. adult population, or 8 million adults. However, few adults are identified or treated for adult ADHD.

ADHD in Adults
Adults with ADHD may have difficulty following directions, remembering information, concentrating, organizing tasks, or completing work within time limits. If these difficulties are not managed appropriately, they can cause associated behavioral, emotional, social, vocational, and academic problems.

Common Behaviors and Problems of Adult ADHD
The following behaviors and problems may stem directly from ADHD or may be the result of related adjustment difficulties:

Anxiety
Chronic boredom
Chronic lateness and forgetfulness
Depression
Difficulty concentrating when reading
Difficulty controlling anger
Employment problems
Impulsiveness
Low frustration tolerance
Low self-esteem
Mood swings
Poor organization skills
Procrastination
Relationship problems
Substance abuse or addiction”

(After reading the list above, I doubt there is anyone on the planet that doesn’t suffer from several, if not most, of them.  Doesn’t mean you need to be medicated, though.)

Okay, the truth is I probably had/have ADHD, but even if this is the case, I have learned how to manage in spite of it.  I have a friend who kind of makes fun of me because I have, in her words, a very rigid routine.  What I now understand is, in order for me to function at the level I need to, to be able to be self-employed, it is imperative that I have a fixed routine.  I don’t consider it to be rigid, but I do my best to stick with it on a daily basis, otherwise nothing gets done.  Or at least not a lot gets accomplished.  Would a drug like Adderall help me?  Maybe, but I prefer to have my ‘rigid’ routine.  And let me say again, I do believe there are people who legitimately need to be on one of these drugs.  At the same time, I believe that many are misdiagnosed/overdiagnosed by physicians who simply do not know enough about it.

I feel like there are so many other available choices, such as diet, exercise, therapy, that may help, if not alleviate the problem all together.  Ultimately, though, we each need to do what we decide is best.

 

IT’S NOT A STRAIGHT LINE

As much as I’d like it to be, as much as I’ve tried to make it be, it simply is not a straight line.    In my mind it goes something like this — you get attacked, you do whatever it takes to make sure your attacker is prosecuted and sent to prison, you go to therapy, and you are healed.  But what happens when you get attacked, you do everything you can to make sure your attacker is prosecuted and sent to prison, you go to therapy, and you aren’t quite healed?  If you are me, apparently, you beat yourself up for not being where you feel like you should (there I go, shoulding myself) be at this point.  I have been accused in the past of being too hard on myself, for holding myself to some impossible standard or ideal that pretty much no one could ever attain, and when I, of course, fail to achieve it, I then beat myself up.  This is a vicious cycle and it needs to stop.  The question is how to do I do this, how do I get off this merry-go-round?

I am not sure why I have such a hard time acknowledging and being proud of myself for how incredibly far I have already come.  I can easily say that I understand this to be true on some level, but I’m not sure I truly understand that to be the case.  I think I want it to be true, because otherwise all the work I’ve done, and it is considerable, would seem to be for nothing, and that might just put me over the edge.  Some days I do see the progress I’ve made and I feel good about it.  Other days, though, the most innocuous comment sends me off the deep end.  And, worst of all, sometimes it is me who makes that comment.  Like today.

I was accused (and rightly so) of being mean to myself.  At first I did not see it this way.  I was being sarcastic about what I was saying about myself.  I used to be a very sarcastic person (pre-Hoffman), but these days I rarely use sarcasm because I now understand that sarcasm is just thinly veiled anger.  And I make an effort to be kind, not condemning to others.  I somehow forget to include myself in that effort.  (How’s that for irony?)  Then it was pointed out to me that perhaps it is myself that I am angry at, for not being what I call ‘done with my healing.’  This, of course, starts me on the hamster wheel yet again.

All of this happened today in my energy healing session with Marsha Bliss.  I am still in physical pain, and though not a lot, it is still enough to make me want to do something to get rid of it.  While Marsha was working on me and we were talking about my post a week ago about my ‘new normal’, as in, is the way my life is now my new normal?  Marsha made up an example of someone who has lost a limb, and after a period of time, is now skiing.  This person has not let the lack of a leg stop them from moving forward.  This has become the new normal for them.  Something about that conversation triggered an incredible sadness in me and the tears to go with it.  Here’s the thing – when we see someone, (from the outside, because, really, unless you’ve been there, you can NEVER know what goes on behind the scenes, what goes on inside of them,) who has triumphed after a tragedy and we think, wow, this person is happy and has moved on and bla, bla, bla.  That’s just it, we simply do not know what happens when they go home at night, if they are crying themselves to sleep or are one step away from suicide or really are doing okay, in spite of it all.  We just don’t know.

 

I wrote the above paragraphs last night, and while I have no idea if they somehow influenced my dreams, I did have really weird dreams and woke up this morning feeling rather blue.  Then when I was going through my emails, I came upon the following quote, which gives me enormous hope:

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”   ~Benjamin Franklin

I’ve been nothing if not persistent in my desire and actions to move through this traumatic event.  And something else Marsha said yesterday has been running around in my head, and that is that we are never done with whatever it is we are doing in our lives.  If we’re done, we’re dead.  I get this, I really do.  I understand that once we get through, put behind us or in some other way move on from a situation, traumatic or otherwise, something else is bound to come up.  We’ve all heard the adage that God, Life, the Universe (whatever word you want to use) never gives us more than we can handle.   I believe this.  I even have it posted above my desk (don’t always remember to look up to read it, but it’s there.)  And as much as I subscribe to this belief, I always just as often forget about it.  I think what all this means to me is I just have a lot more stuff to deal with, and not all of it, maybe even none of it, has anything directly to do with my attack.  I definitely attribute, if not all, most of what I am dealing with these days to that one event, and that would be because so much of it seems to stem from it.  Physically, I have not been the same since, so it makes sense that it would be the reason.  And, really, it probably is.  At the same time, what this also means is there is still unresolved issues from my past that are arising now because I am finally at a place in my evolution that I am able to deal with them.  That is both comforting and annoying.   So, to paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald from “The Great Gatsby,” I beat on, boat against the current, born back ceaselessly in the past.

 

 

THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL

Back in 2000, when I realized I had to get a divorce, again, my husband asked if we could go to couple’s counseling.  I said yes.  My acupuncturist at the time gave me the name of a wonderful therapist, and we went to her.   Trouble was, it was very clear right from the start that therapy was not the answer, at least not as a couple.  I continued seeing Cate by myself, though.  Cate was also the person who eventually recommended Hoffman to me, which as you know if you read my posts about my experiences doing the Process, was life altering and life saving for me.  Anyway, I was just reading through my journal from the fall of 2000, looking for specifics about when exactly Cate recommended the “Conversations With God” series of books.  I found two references to it in my journal, but nothing more than that.  I do know that, although she told me about the books in November, after I returned from doing the Process in Wisconsin, I did not actually read the first one until later in December.

I came out to California to look for a place to live, and had no luck.  I needed a very specific house, with hardwood floors, a fenced yard, a garage, etc.  Rental properties in Los Angeles were so different from those in Chicago, so much more expensive, and Chicago in not an inexpensive city.  So after a week of searching, I went back to Chicago empty-handed, so to speak.  Then I read “Conversations With God,” and my whole outlook and way of speaking to myself changed.  Let me back up a minute here before I explain just how impactful the book was.  If you had asked me at any point in my life if I believed in God, my answer would have been a resounding NO!  I had had unpleasant experiences with religion as a teenager and had never seen anything good about it.  When I finally read CWG, Book 1, I suddenly understood why I had such a negative view of God and religion.  I realized that I did believe in God, just not in a vindictive, mean God, which was my understanding of what/who God was up to that point.  It was truly a life-changing book for me, and when I came back out to Los Angeles in January of 2001 to look again for a house, I found what I was looking for.  When I made the trip in December, I kept saying, ‘I hope I find a house.’  After reading CWG, I understood I had been ‘asking’ in the wrong way.  For the second trip, I said, ‘thank you for my new home.’  I knew I would be shown exactly what I needed, at a price that I could afford, in an area I wanted to be.  I KNEW!  And that’s what made the difference.  What I learned from CWG, and many subsequent books since, was it is all in the way we ask for or intend things in our lives.  In my daily prayers, I never ask for anything.  I simply thank God for whatever it is, as if it is already here.  So instead, as an example, of saying, ‘Please send me more work,’ I say, ‘thank You for all the great jobs I have.’  Because even if I don’t have any work at that moment, I know more is on the way.  And why was this such a life-changer for me?  Because right from the start it worked!  And continues to each and every day.

I went on to read CWG, Book 2 and Book 3, and have since read and listened to all 3 numerous times since.  I highly recommend them, especially if you have a ‘problem’ with organized religion or the concept of God.  They just made sense to me in a way that nothing else, to that point, ever had.  In the last few months, I have also listened to and/or read “The New Revelations,” “Communion With God,” “What God Said,” and “Friendship With God.”  I loved each one, though I think my favorite with always remain the first one I ever read, “Conversations With God, Book 1.”

IS THIS MY NEW NORMAL?

Just when I think I’m all done…Since it has been a little over three years, for some reason, I think my healing should be complete. Is this too much to ask for? I’ve worked really hard. I did I intense therapy (EMDR) for 14 months; I’ve read and reread (okay, actually I’ve listened and listened again, since I still have some trouble reading a book) books designed to help me through the trauma, and really, life in general; I workout again on a regular basis; I write about my experiences each week; I feel really good, for the most part. Oh, I have my moments, but they are few and far between. So why, oh why, is my body still hanging onto the muscle memory of my attack?

I am unable to walk, as in my working out walk, near the Hotel Del without a physical reaction. Usually this means that when I get too close, my back starts hurting. The really weird thing is I do yoga on Thursdays and Sundays practically in front of the Del, and that isn’t a problem. I can even go inside the hotel without a response, but if I walk anywhere near it, my body seems to think I’m still in some kind of danger. It is beyond frustrating. Do I have to walk by the Del?  No, but this is not a huge island and not being able to walk on that side of it definitely limits where I can walk. More importantly, how can I get my body to understand that I am safe? That proximity to where my attack happened does not mean it is going to happen again. Or is this something that I will just have to live with for the rest of my life?  Is this really my new normal?

And as if the physical aspect of this isn’t enough…last Saturday at my Hoffman gathering, during one of the visualizations, up came my attack.  This was quite a surprise as with this particular tool, it is usually a scene from childhood that comes up.  No such luck.  And whereas I normally cannot see the patterns I am still hanging onto, I clearly saw and understood what they are this time.  Rats!  Even more distressing was the second time we did the visualization, I got the same dang scene.  That really threw me.  After we complete the elevators, we pair off to discuss them.  I simply did not wish to go into it with my partner.  It was nothing personally against him, but he is a guy, and a guy is the reason for my attack, so I chose to let him tell his scenes and I kept quiet about mine.  Because I am usually more forthcoming at these gatherings, the facilitator was a little curious as to why I did not want to share with my partner.  In the end, I ended up sharing it, to a degree, with the entire group.  Again, it wasn’t anything personal, but it was such a shock that it came up this way and I wanted time to think about it on my own.

So what have I thought about since Saturday?  Honestly, not much.  It seems that the memories come and go and I, apparently, have no real control over them.  I know that I want, more than anything, to be completely over my attack.  And maybe this is just unrealistic.  Do we ever totally get over the traumatic events of our lives?  Or is it more of a fading of the memories over time?  In the scheme of things, three years really isn’t that long.  It feels like it is, but, really, it just isn’t.  It feels like I’ve been dealing with this forever.  I just want to feel good again.  Like, really good, in mind, body and spirit.  I don’t think this is too much to ask.

If this is my new normal, (and just what is normal?), then, perhaps an attitude adjustment of sorts is in order.  What I’ve done, and continue to do, is what has gotten me to this point, and I think I am on the right track, so I just need to keep on keeping on, trusting that I’ll be finished with my healing when I’m finished with my healing.  There is no rushing it, as much as I’d like to, and as much as I keep trying to.  Clearly, that is not working.  And the truth is, I am much better able to deal with the mental aspects of this far better than the physical ones.  (After I finished my therapy and then five days later my back went out, I realized that I’d rather have to do another 14 months of intense mental work than have physical pain.  That, I am really not good at handling.)  As far as my body goes, I know I just need to keep moving it.  I need to feed it good, clean food.  I need to do my best to stay away from the things that make me feel worse, like my old friend sugar.  I do so well for a time, and then I fall off that sugar wagon.  Again.  Right now, I am half on, half off, which I guess is better than completely on, but not nearly as good as completely off.  Working on it, though.  Every day.  And getting used to the idea that this is my normal now, and that’s okay.  It is what it is.