Outrunning Memories and the Color of New Beginnings

  I wake up Christmas morning with new snow on the ground.  Disgusted, I immediately gather my running things to head off the PTSD.  When I walk out the door there's more snow fluttering down, so I start my Garmin and get to work.  It is the first day of my plan for Boston and … Continue reading Outrunning Memories and the Color of New Beginnings

The Power of Fire and Somatic Experiencing

content warning: domestic violence, assault I write for a while, but then I begin to read and become absorbed in it.  Hours pass, the light changes, I shift positions at the hearth--but I remain captivated and focused on Peter Levine's words.  I haven't been able to focus like this since the end of October, when … Continue reading The Power of Fire and Somatic Experiencing

First Snowfall Flashbacks and the Warmth of Belonging

I wake in the early morning and see it right away; a heavy dusting of snow outside through the small window where I didn't draw the shade.  I shrink as though seeing a ghost, my heart pounds.  My breath catches and I am afraid.  I cover my head with a pillow and pull my weighted … Continue reading First Snowfall Flashbacks and the Warmth of Belonging

Compassion, Trust and My Work In The World

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

A Healing Relationship: Bodywork as Resuscitation

content warning: suicidal ideation I am getting a massage.  My bank account balance is so low I've transferred money out of savings for this because my body feels horribly dysregulated and I can't fix it myself.  All the post-concussive symptoms are back in full force--the nausea and dizziness, the light sensitivity, the eye strain and … Continue reading A Healing Relationship: Bodywork as Resuscitation

Repetition Compulsion and the Heart’s Quest for Home

Last year around this time I was at the tail end of a brief relationship with my old favorite training partner.  I wasn't even a year out from leaving my abuser, I hadn't been dating; I was terrified of male attention.  Scott and I had known each other for years.  We ran together all the … Continue reading Repetition Compulsion and the Heart’s Quest for Home

The Barometric Pressure of Unresolved Trauma (2/2)

(...continued) content warning: suicidal ideation I love Kevin*.  I think he is a miracle, but he is treating me like I don't matter and our relationship isn't worth the effort--and I am letting him.  I kneel on the floor and re-read our text exchange from yesterday for maybe the thousandth time.  I begin to type … Continue reading The Barometric Pressure of Unresolved Trauma (2/2)

The Barometric Pressure of Unresolved Trauma (1/2)

content warning: drug abuse, suicidal ideation I miss him and haven't heard from him so I send tender, vulnerable text messages.  His responses are terse and defeated.  In the language of marriage research, we've played out the demand/withdraw dynamic--except that I've set aside my defenses in hopes of helping my partner feel safe, and when … Continue reading The Barometric Pressure of Unresolved Trauma (1/2)

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)

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

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

Sexual Abuse/Assault/Violence; Does The Label Matter?

content warning: domestic violence, sexual assault I wake in my friend Erin's beautiful Lakewood house before morning's first light.  Her dog doesn't even stir from his spot next to me in bed.  I brush my hair and teeth, put some clothes on and meditate, and we walk around the neighborhood with the first flickering of … Continue reading Sexual Abuse/Assault/Violence; Does The Label Matter?

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

My Abuser’s Birthday: Camping and Existential Dread

It’s my abuser’s birthday and I am pissed. I’m pissed that I married a manipulative, lying shitbag who ruined my life. I’m pissed that I’m still struggling with the many, varied and terrible repercussions of living with and loving a person who figured my worth lay in propping up his fragile self-esteem. I’m pissed at … Continue reading My Abuser’s Birthday: Camping and Existential Dread

Do you want an order of protection?

content warning: domestic violence "Do you want an order of protection?" asks my advocate at the Compass Center after I spend some time ranting about how a year should be enough time for my abuser to calm down and leave me alone.  Of course I want an order of protection.  Of course, after everything I've … Continue reading Do you want an order of protection?

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