It is Saturday night and I'm attending to my new-old treasure; my wooden dresser stands at the foot of the bed. I kneel in the hallway with a stack of dresser drawers. The friend I am living with now took me to retrieve it and I am unreasonably excited to have a piece of my … Continue reading Sunshine and Self-Worth; Am I Welcome Any Time?
On Wednesday, my friends Jess and Mia meet me at the courthouse where each swears an affidavit they've known me over a year and I am a good person. They each answer in a clear, solemn voice. What seemed like a mere procedural pain in the ass turns into something more with my friends present … Continue reading Attachment Anxiety, Distress Tolerance and Resurrection
It's been weeks in therapy where we mostly just talk like normal people who like each other except that we focus fairly exclusively on me. "What do you still need from this?" Lisa asks me, "What would you like to focus on?" We've processed with very little complication my reaction to the Durham explosion, the … Continue reading Easy EMDR; The Edge Of Attachment Anxiety
content warning: suicidal ideation First I don't want to get out of bed at all--again, and I lay there for a long while, willing my breath to slow. Eventually I get my running clothes on, make it to the track and struggle through my workout; 8 1 km repeats at threshold pace. Long speedwork takes … Continue reading 1 Km Repeats and What Made Me Choose Life
I'm near the end of a six mile easy run. The sun has set and I'm trusting the ground I can't see as I run through Durham. I wondered days ago with a friend if my abuser had left town. It would be a big relief to know I was unlikely to encounter that person … Continue reading A Changing Mien, Conflicting Emotions and Flashbacks
During another shit day I'm barely surviving I remember how if I'm running Boston I'd better figure out how to get myself there. It's been months of slow, disappointing training runs after I seemed to be doing so well. I remember squealing jubilantly in the morning as I got my confirmation from BAA that my … Continue reading Boston Buddies: Getting By With A Lot Of Help From New Friends
content warning: emotional abuse It is October 2016 and I am sitting in the sanctuary at Sixth & I in Washington DC with a few hundred other people listening to Tara Brach speak. My spouse sits next to me. I wonder why he came at all; as I do the work of the offered meditative … Continue reading Attachment Trauma Redux Versus Rupture and Repair
We were supposed to have a holiday party together. Though it’s been off my calendar for weeks, I haven’t forgotten. There’s a snowstorm coming in. We'd talked about how much fun we'd have sequestered at his place during the first snowstorm, so I am sick with grief and dread and missing him. All day long … Continue reading Grief and Longing, Loneliness and Depression
I'm tired and unhappy when I arrive but one of my students is waiting for me; I feel better when I see her. While I'm checking in my class, another student I haven't seen in months appears at the doorway. Delighted, I come out from behind the desk to hug her. While I check her … Continue reading Compassion, Trust and My Work In The World
I sit huddled into the corner of the couch at home, surrounded by pillows, wearing my oldest ugliest yoga pants and a mismatched flannel. My eyes are twitching so hard I can hear it, my head throbs and every so often I break into great, gasping sobs. I try working; I have to fix my … Continue reading A Bad Day, Kindness and Grace
I go to morning service at ERUUF. Arriving late, I don't see my friends so I sit alone and it is brutal. Afterward my friends hold me while I cry and they try to reassure me. One of them tells me she knows I love him and that she's sorry, but that shutting me out … Continue reading Morning Struggle, Afternoon Loneliness and Night Terror
(...continued) content warning: suicidal ideation, self harm My burst of motive power is short-lived; it disintegrates when I go back outside to falling rain, just like during my car accident. Kevin* helped me with some of that fear. He won't be helping me any more. Devastated, I sit in my car and let my eyes … Continue reading Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (3/3)
It's Friday afternoon. I have one more class to teach and Kevin* said he'd call me. My head hurts, both eyes are twitching. I'm exhausted, anxious and nauseous, unable to think about anything else. I tried to look at some emails; I didn't care and my eyes twitched harder. I barely kept it together to … Continue reading Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (1/3)
It's Tuesday. I'm finally going to talk with Kevin* an entire week after this started. I can think of nothing else all day. Though I do work at the computer, I stop and cry several times. I keep getting confused mid-task, and I'm terrified I'm going to make a mistake. Finally I finish the time-sensitive … Continue reading Getting To Yes/Hold Me Tight
It's pitch dark again when I wake in the middle of the night. After a good day full of support and love from friends, I'm disappointed to find my thoughts racing and breathing shallow--again. But I'm not surprised. I place my hand over my heart and try to breathe more deeply, which takes a great … Continue reading Birthday Gifts and the Simple Power of Human Connection
It is Sunday morning, the day I was supposed to attend an event with Kevin*. We've been talking about it for over a month. We haven’t spoken in almost a week--a week of panic and grief, confusion and anger. A week of troubled sleep and half-eaten food that tastes like dirt. Christian is meeting me … Continue reading Sanctuary; Where Is My Safe Place to Fall?
I wake up in the middle of the night, anxious again. Remnants of nightmares swirl through my head--something about my abuser and something about my boyfriend. Sleeping on a park bench. I don’t remember. My brain starts in on pointless one-sided conversations. I turn onto my side and try to calm down--I'm not breathing right … Continue reading Deflated Determination and the Edge of a Panic Attack
I'm ready to fall asleep and he is not, so I lie down with an eye mask and close my eyes. I drift off for a while and then I hear the running shower. I drift off again, and this time he's coming to check on me. I'm tired and I groan. He teases me … Continue reading Attachment Trauma, Misattunement, and a Sleepless Night
I remember how I felt as a child after I was lucky enough to have a friend over to play. I would say goodbye at the door. Invariably, the moment I was alone would feel like all the air had left the room. Though I was a bright, articulate little girl I'm quite sure I … Continue reading The Truth About Anxiety: I’m Afraid of Everything
I've been invited to audit a workshop on boundary setting for entrepreneurs that involves equine assisted therapy. It sounds fascinating. Working with animals often helps trauma survivors like me--those of us with massive attachment trauma often feel safer with animals. Also I haven't seen a horse up close in a long time, so I drive … Continue reading Safari: A Quest for Love and Connection
I only get twenty minutes and I have to go slow. My closest friend goes with me. I'm occupied chattering with him and then there are these girls running the trail ahead of us. They're slow. I'm supposed to be running slow--I should stay behind them. I try to...
What is it, then, that makes me hyper-vigilant with a hug from Scott or a smile from the guy in the grocery store? What makes me shudder when I get a stray...
I feel valued now. How much compassionate human touch have I given, and how much have I received in turn? I remember being soothed by the touch of Ariel, my own yoga teacher who I haven't practiced with in years. I remember how...
Oh my god. That's really bad. I've just broken up with him. I can't engage with him over his choices. I stand in the kitchen, my chest tight, swimming in grief and agony. It's Valentines' Day. There is nobody I can call, nobody I can talk to, nothing...
I struggle with deep shame over my mental illness. Though I'm very clear it is not my fault, though I know that this is a response common to trauma survivors--the shame is very real, very persistent, and very convincing. It tells me that I am too powerless, too broken, that I will never recover or experience healthy love. I am so afraid that these things are true, I'm tempted to stay silent in...