A direction and purpose

I hate being this way.

I get flashes of hating me, of absolutely hating everything about myself. The more I come out and connect to other people, the more that feeling is prompted. I am angry. I am angry at me for being me and I am sad that I am angry at being me. I want to be me, but I am angry at having to be me.

A lot is going on for me today. It’s not very organized in my mind, but I’ll try.

I was thinking that I didn’t learn to meet my own needs, because I wasn’t allowed to have them. I wasn’t allowed to have the feelings that tell me I have needs. I wasn’t allowed to have the feelings that allow me to form perceptions of reality either, and so I did not form a coherent, cohesive views of situations which account for all the facts. My views of the world have always been in pieces, as I shift between disconnected facts and unprocessed emotions.

So there is a saw going outside, or some other kind of power tool. I am terrified. I cannot calm down because I have not until now been able to feel that emotion of terror fully in my body, mentally link the sound of the power tool to the perception of danger, acknowledge why a power tool would indicate danger to me, know that it is not an indication of danger now, and then calm the emotion.

I have not been able to complete any of the steps involved in learning when I am safe, because I was not allowed to do the first step in the process and so I never learned how to do any of the other steps in the process.

I am listening to the power tools now and thinking I have to be able to feel the terror. I know the other steps now. I have been practicing them. I am not always that good at them, but I can do it. I can keep my mind working long enough to create linkages between sensory information in the past and in the present and form perceptions that would include the perception that power tools were dangerous in the past and I am not in any danger now, and I also know how to calm my body down. If I can do the first step, I can do all of the other steps and I will eventually learn that power tools are not dangerous anymore. So I have to be able to let myself feel the terror in my body, while keeping it at a level that lets my mind go on working instead of shutting down and going into reptile brain. It’s fucking hard.

It is starting to feel possible. It is starting to feel possible and worth doing. It is going to take time. There is going to be a period of hell. I am not sure how long hell will last. Certainly the rest of the week. Maybe the rest of the year, but not the rest of my life. That’s the good news.

So I have a direction and purpose now, because I can see this is working. I had to educate myself a lot about trauma and spend a lot of time reflecting in order to know for myself that it would actually work. In the past, I have trusted others to tell me what will work, and they have repeatedly been mistaken. But I know now.

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5 thoughts on “A direction and purpose

  1. Rachel July 27, 2016 / 1:46 am

    It is really, really hard. I think the direction and purpose is intelligent, and is going to be a tremendous amount of effort and perseverance. And incredibly worthwhile, too.
    I am somewhat in a similar place of awareness of what needs to come next, a willingness to enter into what you termed “period of hell.” I don’t think there is any way around it. I think easing in, feeling it and then backing off, is how it becomes possible. Flooding ourselves just doesn’t work. But then you have to even be able to be aware of being flooded, to not do it. This is all very complex.

    • Ashana M July 27, 2016 / 8:38 am

      It’s terribly complex. I think the really key idea is to become attentive to the arousal level and notice what arousal level lets you still process the emotions without getting all crazy inside and then really work out which strategies help keep it in that range. It’s hard to do because keeping yourself regulated was not allowed. You got dysregulated and someone totally pushed you over the edge with their reaction to you.

      • Rachel July 27, 2016 / 12:15 pm

        I’m totally in agreement – keeping that level of arousal manageable is the key. And it is hard to do because the system is so conditioned to hit full speed in an instant. Which is why it takes an incredible amount of awareness and mindfulness to each moment.

      • Ashana M July 27, 2016 / 7:56 pm

        We are born to hit full speed in an instant and spend our lives learning to even it out. We missed out by a few decades on how to do that, and have to learn without mommy to rock us. It’s hard.

      • Rachel July 29, 2016 / 12:14 pm

        Very well said.

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