Full Circle, Nothing Left For Me Here Now

When I drove east on Holloway Street from Durham, the once familiar path had a detour.  The very route that used to lead home seemed to remind me that isn’t the way anymore.  Still, I followed the detour through modest neighborhoods on the outskirts of Durham, my car full of camping gear and groceries. As … Continue reading Full Circle, Nothing Left For Me Here Now

With Dreams And Elation I’m On My Way

I take a day completely off; no work, no engagements, my only plan to leave the house at all is my short morning run.  I turn off my alarms and wake when I feel like it.  The rain pours down as I run through Durham one last time. I spend hours in the afternoon checking … Continue reading With Dreams And Elation I’m On My Way

The Decidedly-Not-A-Miracle Power Of Therapy

content warning: suicidal ideation I sit with my therapist and tell her how I came to end what felt like the healthiest relationship of my life in a way that was so out of character.  I tell her about the paralyzing grief and anxiety, the confusion, my inability to focus on anything else.  She digs … Continue reading The Decidedly-Not-A-Miracle Power Of Therapy

Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (2/3)

(...continued) content warning: suicidal ideation, graphic imagery I don't want this life; a life that's difficult and lonely.  I don't want to keep on with my impotent love, struggling for something I can't have.  I was so stupid and naive with my hope for this relationship and my own healing.  I want to die.  I … Continue reading Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (2/3)

Attachment Avoidance, Love, Death and Dignity (1/3)

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)

Getting To Yes/Hold Me Tight

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

Birthday Gifts and the Simple Power of Human Connection

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

Deflated Determination and the Edge of a Panic Attack

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

DUSA Progression Run as Emotional Support

Exhausted, frightened and overwhelmed, I walk up to Christian's door lugging a bag of groceries, a plant, and the suitcase I'm still living out of.  I open the door with my key and he looks surprised to see me; after not sleeping last night I guess I forgot to tell him.  I explain that we … Continue reading DUSA Progression Run as Emotional Support

Attachment Trauma, Misattunement, and a Sleepless Night

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

Anxious Attachment and Failure to Communicate

I keep feeling this sense of unease, and I've been judging myself for it.  Anxious attachment, I notice when Kevin* pulls away slightly in bed and I grow distraught.  Or when he isn't holding my hand quite as much as I think he did last week.  Or when I think he's giving me just a … Continue reading Anxious Attachment and Failure to Communicate

Accidental Exposure Therapy and Breakthrough Moments

A few days after I rediscover my handstand, Kevin* sits working with his morning coffee at the kitchen table while I meet the morning sunshine with Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations).  I feel safe and confident. Later I drive to a meeting with other healers.  These women are kindred spirits.  Nobody in this room talks credentials … Continue reading Accidental Exposure Therapy and Breakthrough Moments

Startling Power and Perspective From Upside-Down

My ability to invert fully has not been a high priority in my recovery; it's been months since I even bothered trying.  One effect of my post-concussive syndrome is that while I retain my ability to handstand, an attempt results in nausea, dizziness, disorientation--or a crazy-feeling bout of crying just because I feel weird. I … Continue reading Startling Power and Perspective From Upside-Down

Bad Memories and The Power Of Secure Attachment

The week of the Kavanaugh hearings I have flashbacks.  I'm lying on my yoga mat in my boyfriend's bedroom while he works downstairs. I'm driving as I catch sight of my abuser strolling toward me near the courthouse.  Bile rises in my throat, my knuckles turn white, and my heart is pounding so loudly it … Continue reading Bad Memories and The Power Of Secure Attachment

Sticks, Stones and Perspective on First Date Kisses

My abuser used to joke about me being a shitty kisser.  He'd needle me about how he put up with it on our first date.  We met for coffee, which turned into hours of talking and then dinner.  He wore a leather jacket and gave me his arm when we walked.  He made sure to … Continue reading Sticks, Stones and Perspective on First Date Kisses

Remarkable New Friends, A Sleepover, And Cannabinoids

I deliberated over the prescription question with a few trusted friends.  When I sat down with Marty, who is a nurse, we brainstormed about alternatives to psych drugs over brunch.  I reminded her that I already meditate daily, that my anxiety is beyond what I can slow down with mindfulness practices an alarming amount of … Continue reading Remarkable New Friends, A Sleepover, And Cannabinoids

The Truth About Anxiety: I’m Afraid of Everything

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

Healing and Unconditional Positive Regard

On Saturday morning I wake from disturbing dreams: of my abuser coming after me--and of my cat purring in my arms while I rub my face against her silky neck and say to my friend "I know she's died, but she feels real."  Of course, Kira did die and I'm awake only a few moments … Continue reading Healing and Unconditional Positive Regard

On Suicide, Shame, and Small Acts of Courage

I am staying at a friend's house while she's away.  It is a beautiful, spacious place.  It is quiet.  I love it here.  But after I drop off another friend who can't keep me company all day, I am indescribably miserable. It hits me the moment he's out of the car and I wail all … Continue reading On Suicide, Shame, and Small Acts of Courage

PTSD, Yoga, and Why I Hate the F*cking Gong

I'm in the studio with friends, colleagues, and a photographer for a photo shoot.  When I walk to the front of the room to teach my segment, it feels odd transitioning from student to teacher.  Before long I settle into my own teaching rhythm and get everyone rolling around on the floor, preparing to rest. … Continue reading PTSD, Yoga, and Why I Hate the F*cking Gong

Why Showing Up Early Is Terrible and Wonderful

I had an odd midday meeting between classes, and now I have an hour before I need to be at Durham VA to teach.  Coffeeshops make me uneasy now, so I figure I'll get some work done in my car.  I park in the lot facing traffic--I can't tolerate the sound of it behind me, … Continue reading Why Showing Up Early Is Terrible and Wonderful

Approaching peril, do I trust my feet?

As I prepare to leave in the semi-dark, my friend continues to sleep in the other room.  I strap on my running watch and consider whether to conceal my stun gun, just in case.  He doesn't even wake up this early, I remind myself.  He doesn't know where I'm staying now or which trail I'm … Continue reading Approaching peril, do I trust my feet?

See the Light

After a few minutes, I begin to feel the pain of longing for the home studio I left when I fled my marriage.  My head throbs slightly, and tears pour down my face into my ears and hair.  Breathe, I exhort myself, and lie there with my sorrow and resentment.  I breathe and remind myself...

Five Minutes

I hit the trail as the sun is setting; with the entire wood seemingly to myself, I push my toes aggressively into the dirt as I walk.  I do not limp.  I pick up pace.  I feel the toes of my right foot a little tighter, a little weaker, but they comply.  The remaining sunlight...

Moving On: Part 1

Not long ago, I held that white box again.  Almost everything I own has been in storage these 11 months since I left.  I held that box and cried again at that relic of once great hope now lost forever.  What on earth could I do with it?  I couldn't stand the idea of...

Letting Love Carry Me

I ran my marathon in November--and my community helped me exceed my fundraising goal well ahead of schedule.  It was really moving for me.  The thing is, I wanted that to be the end of my lesson in asking for help and trusting the universe.  Asking for that money was uncomfortable, and vulnerable--but initially, I couldn't even admit...

A Wounded Healer

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...