Writing My Thoughts

Serenity

Today isn’t like any other day. The possibility of Covid-19 looms, so I’m seeking my calm place.

Notice the picture I’ve uploaded for this. That’s one of my favorite benches in the Gardens I visit. There are 4 equally appealing benches I may share. Imagine the tranquility of closing one’s eyes, then listening while sitting on a garden bench.

These gardens are in a metropolitan area, the noises one can expect are going to happen, it’s the state of tranquility that surmounts those distractions. Seeing the sounds takes place, I am intimate with these gardens.

I return at every opportunity to restore and ground myself. The breezes playing myriad branches, stems, leaves and flowers. The site up into canopies seem wild, welcoming my imagination. I drift to trails, streams, lakes and forests. Long hikes testing stamina and awareness. The memories flow while I listen and glance up into a magnificent canopy.

Time for reflection.

I hope this short piece brings your memories.

Finding Self

Where is self?

The pain, emotional and physical,
has shown demanding intolerance,
there will be no denying its existance,
pain’s presence invokes omnipresence.

Aroursed to fight… or flee,
loosed demons that betray,
voices, internal dialogue,
unvanquished torment!

Survival’s demanding sources,
doling out more pain… persistant
tolls on body and mindfulness,
dampened soul, like deadened sound.

The silence hurts beyond limits,
hurling to our body memories,
flashbacks, dissociations
intended survival, walls to self.

Where is “self” hidden now?
In what room of the fortress?
Will doors be opened upon request?
Go seeking, a journey, a quest to self.

Childhood Sexual Trauma therapies and experience. Sharing welcomed.

I am in a region where many types of therapy are in high demand and therapists abound. It’s hard to find one who is available, and well trained. There are many who need therapy for what I’m dealing with, here’s a video to expose the reason: Video about male childhood sexual assaults and rape.

Here’s a story, similar to mine, about the evil of being taken advantage of and subjected to rape as a minor, age 16, by two men I had met that evening. A story of childhood rape.

I have found, that my connection with my therapist, her willingness to get to know me, and especially my idiosyncrasies has given the best results. I’ve experiences from about a dozen therapists in my lifetime, and some 3 or more psychiatrists. I’ve seen she takes her training seriously, and knows my need to question how things work, so I know what to expect. It has been instrumental toward the progress I’ve realized thus far.

I’ve also studied Janina Fisher, Pat Ogden and Bessel Van Der Kolk among others, to understand what my mind and body are going through. Here are therapies I’m now aware, please review: A video about the importance of Sensorimotor Therapy

I’ve mentioned EMDR therapy in a previous diary: EMDRIA, and overview.

Here’s a video about Polyvagal theory.

Dissociation and childhood trauma therapy: An overview of Dissociation.

A therapy unknown to me, but on my radar is Neurofeedback via brain mapping:

An overview of Neurofeedback therapy.

 

A video explaining Internal Family Systems therapy.

Depression, self loathing, dissociation, and the effects of survival mode with body reactions are entwined in all this. Every survivor has parts to heal that move toward healing, protecting, or escaping, but somehow with the hope of thriving. I know the therapy work, studies and research, writing, advocating for myself are helping me with healing. I share to interest others in finding what helps themselves, comparing to my experiences if they wish. I share to be relatable and I’m open to listening to others, to validate their experiences, and share in community.

 

The parts I’m working on need safety to heal, to deal with all the above. I’m doing things for my youngest memories to my older youth, it’s called Internal Family System and relates to a lot of me. The connection of my parts, my inner children, a sense of my internal family system, linking the depth of my parts to their trauma, neglect, bullying, molestation and rape, is this added description and next link :
Janina Fisher helps describe therapies

I have spent a lot of time on parts, the IFS therapy. It’s been important especially because I’ve been blocked from seeing my inner self by dissociation. That’s where I block a problems source and its affect on me. The revelations were profound, especially self loathing and need for self love. It’s physically felt with sometimes visceral intensity, so my therapist also taught me self care. She worked with Sensorimotor therapies that sought to bring to my core, what small love could be built with the work.

Metaphor describes the work: It took months for me to fix a massive hole in the bucket of my core, unable to build any beginning of self worth. The internalized loathing so deep, I wished not to be, that I wasn’t worth to be. I cried and cried… I couldn’t stop and she (my therapist) let me, and guided me back, showing me a few tools that helped build some self worth. It’s then that I began to see myself and my parts, thereby realizing the depths of trauma in my mind, and felt by my body. The dissociation had hid to much from me. The work leads me to accepting my parts and their past traumas.

I continue my work, accepting, because I’ve discovered all these things. This journey has ups and downs, memory triggers and trials of pain. To me, there’s the lessening of that impact, finding my brains way of rewiring the circuits to build ways I can cope. There are those, who will find this work extreme, and too difficult. There needs to be hope, and study, and small steps that their next therapy can help get them there. Small steps are key.

My therapist has some intuitive connection to what makes me tick. She’s begun using buzzing paddles, toward small experiences of fear and rage, etc…. I’m to take a single memory and visualize, see connections to me, but to visualize it up on an imaginary screen. She wants it like a movie is playing to disconnect it from the part of me that owns the memory, it’s to make a safe space. While I do that, she’s asking: “what do I see?” and my imagination is excellent, it’s a gift and helps my discovery of the unknown, to unlock old fear. This fear has been lurking with my hyper vigilance, and triggers fight, flight, freeze, fawn, submit or attach Survival Mode responses.

One session for a fear memory, seeing a particular fear, and what it looked like to me, became intense. I started by creating a mist on the imaginary screen; it roiled, it moved, as if alive, tendrils, swirls, masses of something moving. It was white/gray/yellow/orange, and I didn’t know what it meant. That mist/fog was all I saw at first. Then I saw the nightmare, a scene in the mist. I had that nightmare when I was about 6 and it may trigger you? In the nightmare, I am barely holding myself up at the surface, having fallen into a hole, and hands grasping my ankles, pulling me down. This time though, with some vengeance, with anger as the adult seeing me at 6, I imagined my adult self intervened, and got in there trying to attack what was attacking me.

My therapist uses regular intervals to stop and ask what I see and suggest things. That nightmare was intense during my youth, and recurring irregular times over my lifetime. The nightmare memory was putting me into a strong physical reaction, so we went back to that mist. I was having blocks, other emotions invading the space. We ended it when she directed me to put it all away in my safe storage, which we had set up in our earliest sessions.

I will say, I think I’m still a fearful man, but, maybe seeing that mist nightmare, and my adult intervention, it’s allowed me to feel less fearful and understand why I feel fear. I had no connection to a caregiver that relieved my fears. I managed by not thinking about them, and that led to dissociating.

Rewiring is the purpose of this and many therapies; to engage my thinking brain. To take a part of wiring from the survival mode part of my brain and rewire to my Frontal Cortex region. That’s the thing about these types of therapies, it’s for interrupting the circuit I had about fear, and seeking to find new circuits for processing fear.

If you’ve questions or reactions, ask/comment below if your moved to? I ask you consider this topic, and why I share; it’s intent is to help others while sharing what’s helped me.

Thank you community, for your consideration and care.

Sad Poem

The hot height
swirls smoky mists
near, never return ridge
seeing severed rock
crags created, fissures
thrust, broken, tangled
the light reflects on tiny micca
quartz or shiney surface
on walls defended by sheer
strength of impassable sharpness
falling away from the edge,
the ridge. never. return. ridge.
Stand to face, the sun
in the misty swirls
of hot heights
and there, there is no comfort
never comfort, only the constant!
The brain that never settles,
the brain that fights,
and fights for what?
To have some time alone,
to wish, not to be alone!
And know, even if out; There!
Then what… then who… what to do?
What to say, on. that. day, evening, night?
Will I say hi with a faint smile,
embarrassed of my style, the sad eyes,
the wistful pain, trying so hard to hide?
Who will listen, who will want to, why?
Why care, if I dare. to. try?
I might burst into tears, I might cry.
Like I do every time I think about this.
Every single time…
The sad, tired thoughts stop me
stop it all, and…
nothing.

Doing the hard work of looking at me.

3/14/2018
I’m teary eyed, and there’s so much work to do. I feel daunted, but hope the Welbutin kicks in this week? Then the new therapy I have been working on, maybe I can keep doing it at home. My T said I can try that, she believes what I do with one type is Ok for home. I cried so hard though, the tears just go and go…

I had looked at me, I found the very sad me, I looked at him, he at me. I sat in the orange chair, he across the living room on the couch. He related gratitude I know him, have not forgotten him. We could barely manage this. Then… my 3 year old self, he had hugged me and I him a few weeks ago… We did it again, in front of me, me on the couch. That’s when I couldn’t stop crying… I cried so hard… I am now too… So, will I be Ok at home to do this? I’m told the old me who didn’t cry, didn’t feel, that boy me on the couch and decades of that, we/he/me now feel like the feelings demand me to feel.

When I got sober, it was me looking at the feelings and saying to myself, OK, that’s got to be good, I can feel now. But, now? It’s now, feeling these feelings that my body knows the score and it’s not happy. Not happy at all.

I feel the rape again too, too many days I relive it now… I must be close that boy in me needing his voice… the others have been getting their chance and now… I don’t know? I’ve written my story… I’ve written so much, but have I given him a voice or just told his story???

Me (56) Now just (A): Can we talk?
Me (15) Now just (B): About what?
A: What did you think and feel living through 14 to the beginning of 16? But, if that’s not the timeframe… please pick yours, I’m not here to influence, please express you as you?
B: That’s a tough question for me, I don’t think anyone ever asked me how I feel? Maybe in that therapy, that one session where the guy made a threatening comment “why are you smiling?!”, demanding that it evoked me thinking the situation is funny, when I was scared and used my smile to ameliorate my feelings and in a way to de-escalate what I feared. That’s also part of my story, so getting to how I feel is really difficult. The story wants the attention and the inner me… Is what?
A) I get you, that resonates with me to this day, though, I now do have access to expressing my feelings. My hope is you can see some of what’s been your future, and draw from me to express yourself?
B) My gut wrenches to consider feelings.
A) Yes, I’m sorry.
B) Well, I think the loneliness made me very sad, maybe untreated depression? Sad will have to describe it. Then the anxiety about my body and not being like the other boys, the fear that was so intense, I really needed not to feel.
A) I understand.
B) Ok, so there’s sadness and fear with anxiety. I sort of think some happiness was in there? Music made me happy just like it does you.
A) Yes, that’s true.
B) I felt awkward, and unable to talk about it or having no one to talk about it to made me feel worse. What’s a worse feeling than sad?
A) Dejected and despondent?
B) I supposed dejected fits. I had a lot of anxiety, it was fear of my difference, my awkwardness, and not knowing what I was supposed to know. I found out I didn’t know so much? I’ll explain some other time. It’s that dejected, and it’s depression really, that the core of me was off, I didn’t fit in anywhere, and it felt overwhelming. I was always sad, and lonely, left out and afraid.
A) Yes, those fit for me too, I understand you. Does relating this to me help at all?
B) Sort of, you, being me, is safe for me to talk to, you’ll not judge me, and I can tell you know everything I’m saying, so it’s Ok. What do we get out of this?
A) I think this moment is a bond for us. I am seeing the emotions we felt then and that I know them today. I’m still awkward about them, but sense that I’m working to deal with managing them. Do you see that?
B) Yes I do, and that’s why I’m not crying… maybe that and it’s not cool.

 

End.

I’m not sure how to end this, so, that’s all for now.

 

A movie break, helps the sadness.

Last Thursday was the last day I could see this film locally. I wouldn’t have time to go to another venue further away. A Trans Woman’s blog I read almost every day had written about it the end of February and I had been watching for any local listings. I finally found one on Monday of last week and planned seeing it Thursday, Feb., 8th.

I went a bit early for the show-time of 2:20pm. That was the only time I could see it. I knew I would likely find parking if I went a bit early, and I succeeded. I walked a few blocks during the low 30f, sunny afternoon, and then went into a small mall on the block. I warmed up until it was a bit after 2pm and began walking to the theater. It had opened at 1:50, and I had hoped to smell fresh popcorn? Unfortunately, it was stale, but, I endured it with my water. The seats are very comfortable, and spacious for my very long legs, I’m 6’4″ and too much of that is legs. I drive a wonderful Mazda 3 hatchback, that someone considered large people when engineering space. I love them for that. I love my Mazda.

 

Well, I sat and nibbled my popcorn and waited for the greeting by management prior to the film. When he was finished, I noted to myself, that as usual, I had already turned my volume off and pocketed my phone. While I had waited, I enjoyed looking at the old and new which remodeling does to an ageless theater venue like the Uptown in Minneapolis, MN.

 

The beginning of “A Fantastic Woman” drew me in, and I was kept in the film throughout. Drama peaks and intensity, ameliorated by the stoic strength of our fantastic woman character Marina, played by Daniela Vega. She is a wonder and powerhouse on the screen. Her portrayal, and in some way, from seeing interviews of her, it could be imagined she drew from personal experience, flowed seamlessly throughout the film.

 

Marina faced the death of her beloved with emotions many of us can relate to from those close to us passing. She’s devastated, and must endure an oppressive, dismissing attitude from Orlando’s former wife, son, police and some doctors. She’s abused again by those against her attending her beloved’s wake and funeral! She must also deal with unexpectedly intrusive police. The Police from the start evoke denying her, and implying she must prove she’s innocent of being complicit in Orlando’s death. We get to see Orlando a few more times, his visits are timed with Marina’s need. I love how it was done.

 

A note, this is either too much information, or the only information some of you will get about this film. I’ve tried to engage a few people who might consider the film of interest, but none respond, so I’m just doing what I want. This review gives away the plot, and I don’t really care, how many of you are actually going to see the film, and by the time you  might find it available to rent, I believe you’ll have forgotten reading this. I don’t believe more than few will read this anyway. Thanks if you do read, I don’t mean to discount your readership, I’m only making a point that I shouldn’t have to be concerned about giving away the film’s plot.

 

I’m endeared to characters like Marina’s. I have dealt with marginalization and depths of emotions like her character endures. Bullies and neglect created a stoicism in me that denied my needs for decades. It’s amazing how doing that fails at some point. I have noted, it’s like a dam breaking, and one’s life must spill out and be dealt with, or it consumes the rest of it. Marina shows how dealing with her life, in the time it’s happening, has given back to her. What that means to me, is she is working on self-hood; what’s it more commonly called, “self-determination”? I’ll look it up later, I’m almost out of time. I started this too late.

 

I am delighted I was able to see this film, and have sensed it could open conversations about self-hood, or self-determination. I am getting to know myself better at my middle 50’s, than seemed I needed to, but, the necessity is clear to me now. These many blog posts are that discovery and sorting. My interests are working to avail me a deeper sense of what I like and will always be, and maybe I encourage myself to further endeavors in the course of discovery.

 

I hope you’ve read this today, I do want to share about this film, and hope some find it interesting.

 

Best wishes and hopes to you.

Being sad to the core.

Why am I writing this? What’s to be gained, what is any of this worth to me? To anyone? I suffer so intensely and no one knows, so no one can care, but the fear of suffering is in itself the distraction that internally intonates self recriminations and inherently derives dismissing myself. I don’t matter is the gist.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is too much for me to handle. It’s weight of pain is beyond my bodies capabilities to discuss and I’m shaking and crying…

 

Ok, some day.

Thinking out loud 2…

There are many people who inspire me. @thefawz for standing up for a kid being bullied in a restaurant (staged), @contrapoints for her honest channel, wit, intellect and live stream, rserven because she mentored me toward my narrative voice (not knowing it), and others. It’s obvious my life is now being on the edge of a community of Trans People, and perhaps LGB issues, I have been following Trans issues. Does reading, advocating, and watching their considerations encourage me to be myself? I also have a very strong connection to an online community of survivors (now grown to 2), where the first community validated me.

 

What started my narrative online is validation. I have a nagging doubt that men who are unexposed to nuanced humanity will evolve their rigid biases over time. To me, that’s why we have Trump (arggghhh, enough of him!) That group of online men has kept me stable in validation, and that vital role in being connected like that, is everything!

 

Jumping back to Trans Women, I saw the movie “A Fantastic Woman” yesterday, it came to a nearby venue. The movie is an emotional rollercoaster, a drama where Marina and Orlando open the film with their love, and Marina carries on to the end. Her resilience reminds me of how each of us move through our own drama, and seek help or solace in our way. The character Marina played by Daniela Vega draws us into her most intimate experiences:

 

I went to the movie alone, I do too many things alone. My interests are humanity, and evolving self determination, and I ponder a great many things. I’ve stated I have a bad memory, and having such a busy mind, I write this note of that being contradictory. I may reconcile what that means in time, perhaps dissociations have devolved my memory? How, odd, I can write for days about my life, and experiences, I can give more detail, I recall so much, but, to recall someone’s name, or any name of something when I need to, often fails me. I could never remember equations either, nor code, nor some rules of grammar and spelling. Sigh…. Ok, boring you!!

 

When I started reading rserven is when I could see more about being myself. I have suffered body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), it’s untreated, and undiagnosed, even to this day. I don’t want to talk about. Then why am I writing about it? It’s what I do, I write. There’s no specific connection to being Transgender and BDD, because Gender Dysphoria (GD) isn’t a mental illness, BDD is. There are mental health issues that can manifest for someone with GD, and they’re no different than many other people. Depression, anxiety, ADD, OCD, and other. Anyone can find something to be concerned about their mental health at some point in their life. Whether they’re in tune with themselves to know it, that’s always in question.

 

I’ve been fortunate to have online access since around 1997, and I’ve learned a great deal. I’ve also remained sober since March 20, 2000. When I consider the humanity I embrace it’s evolved with learning and sobriety,  but I see some conflict moving forward. I have very few friends I talk to, and no acquaintances whom I visit unless they’re at some friends dinner party. I’ve not been to one of those for many years now. I’m not seeking connections (though think about it all the time), so to remain isolated doesn’t seem conducive to moving forward toward whatever that means.

Ok, maybe next time I’ll ponder what “moving forward” means?

Thinking out loud…

Should I describe myself, on this International Women’s Day, 2018? A cis, white male, with so much to say, and writing the outlet? I write that and it feels right, the words are truth, but I ponder the necessity of “cis” and “white male”? They’re part of a lexicon I’ve found in posts, and blogs, other’s writing, where pronouns and description are nuanced in our spectrum of humanity. That’s a humanity I desire deeply, having inclusion, where being we is normal, any way we are. I am someone more than the perceptions or norms of society, but to be and be known for these words, and not first sight, or even an awkward moment first meeting.

 

Meeting? I must work hard to manage my state of being, in order to be more outgoing, to meet friends, family, someone new. I don’t really do very much with others, and when out alone, I notice being alone. I wonder if others ponder their alone time like that? I wonder how many feel alone most of the time? Then that seems an irony to me, in that I do go out a bit, and I do see people and know a lot of people. What I mean, is that it seems none really know me, and I really don’t know them. I have learned about impermanence, and that’s such a long story, I’ll bore you with it another day.

 

I know I’m writing without purpose, I’ve declared nothing and am supporting nothing, in essence, I’m just talking a bit, it’s boring, and I’ll end with a poem.

Did you mean it?:

When we meet,

and greet

with casual

‘how are you?’

be ready to walk

and talk.

 

Honesty, writing, and therapy

I’m still working out why I want to write this in public? I think I’m nobody, in that no one really knows me, note that what may be perceived as ‘something to lose’ does register. I might find that this is read in future by a potential employer, and be denied employment. That will be their loss, my honesty and integrity are impeccable, with a depth I haven’t delved to reveal here. I do tell you a lot about me, but, I’m not being outspoken, this writing is all about my trauma and healing narrative.

 
My personal views have barely been hinted at. I want to continue my narrative, without the baggage of my politics, or other. This is meant to be part of my process. Furthermore, processing requires recharge, and my rape post has shaken my emotional wellbeing
Today I’m off, and it’s a sunny day, I love music, there’s a lot to read, some place I might go, and a few things around the house I must do. I also am taking this time to write, it’s motivation for my parts, which is the sense of an understanding that what is considered me, delves into how I know the many ages of my internalized boy, their age of me is work and what they need is now my concern.

 
Therapy is very interesting. It will incorporate a new field of study, it is being a student again. Many of us refer to all this as our journey, and employs processing upheaval and doing work on brain circuitry occurs. I’ve studied this phenomenon and have found it fascinating. There are a few ways to describe it, and this will be my take. I’ll look at the body, mindfulness, the brain featuring EMDR and Sensorimotor, survival mode, and lastly dissociation .

 
This book “The Body Keeps the Score” in my humble opinion is quintessential reading to understand trauma as it relates to one’s body. I look at it as taking the long view of a recovery journey: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/06/20/the-body-keeps-the-score-van-der-kolk/ . The book is one way to get to the point, and then, I have done enough work for myself, that to me, I want to get to the gist and to get right into the work. I will work on the nuance, and Bessel works on presenting breadth, I can stay his course, or find the chapters and passages that work for my self direction. The book is good, he’s being inclusive, but each distinct part of that breadth is repetitive to me, and I seek work on cptsd from rape. That’s my two cents.

 
The eminent value of Bessel’s book has been a keen introduction and in time real perception of attuning to my body. He wakens that consideration, and two therapies in my experience partake of being aware of the body, and that awareness of one’s body becomes evident. The first is EMDR, and the second is Sensorimotor. Mindfulness or self care are also needed when doing any of this work: http://www.meditation-ptsd.com/, I’m putting this here, instead of the end, because this study enables the work of EMDR and Sensorimotor. It’s that imperative to realize the work must have self care.

The rest of this post are links. It will take a lot of time to read and research. I encourage it as I’ve done. These are how one recovers. They’re not exclussive, there are others, and a good trauma informed therapist will get to know their patient and direct therapies to their needs. Therapy is a process and evovles as one peels away layers of themself. Then, the person gets to know themselves better and will be more involved in helping with their care, being a partner with their therapy. Please read these links when you’ve a chance.
EMDR:
http://emdria.site-ym.com/?page=emdr_therapy
Sensorimotor:
https://www.sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org/articles.html
Dissociation:
http://www.isst-d.org/default.asp?contentID=76#diss