Her Voice.

I am L’s voice.

When she talks about pain, it is a level of pain that leaves most people in tears. Having dealt with constant physical pain every day of her life, she has a high pain threshold. So when she talks about being bothered by pain, listen carefully and do not dismiss a single word.

When she says the pain is preventing her from sleeping, realise that “being tired” is her way of saying she is experiencing severe sleep deprivation from nightly lack of sleep. Realise that fragmented hours of sleep are nowhere near as beneficial as a solid block of deep sleep. Realise that this has been her experience for months. Realise how difficult it is to still function under these conditions, and that running on autopilot is not a healthy situation.

The pain takes so many forms. It is frequently the sharp stabbing pain of knives. It is hot and cold throbbing, sweats and swelling. It is spasms of nerve pain that make her whole body jump, that occur all times of the day, and are particularly disruptive when asleep. There is currently no relief from the pain, only variations of extremity. Even the most pleasurable of intimate times offers no alleviation to the distressing discomfort.

When the pain brings her to tears, realise that there is nothing left, that she has reached the limit of her endurance, being pounded daily by the various attacks on her physical senses. Realise that the pain has been so severe as to frequently leave her feeling nauseous. Realise that vomiting from the pain is her body’s last resort to expel what currently cannot be removed.

When she says that she has trouble thinking, realise that the pain is so strong that her working memory is functioning at a fraction of normal, and the constant assault on her senses is an underestimated stress. Realise that what she manages to communicate is critical information. Do try to find out more with further questions, for her ability to volunteer information is somewhat limited.

Realise that her emotional struggle is as real as the physical. Realise that many of her normal coping strategies have been taken away, and that her normal physical-mental interplay has been disrupted.

When she speaks honestly about how she feels, it is a big effort, requiring much strength and focus, which is a very tiring process for her. Realise that she has experienced over 20 years of being emotionally smothered. Realise for that time she was conditioned into compliance, criticised, belittled and abused for expressing herself or having a different opinion. Realise that speaking up about herself and for herself is a huge task. Realise how tiring is it to every day push herself beyond the protective shelter of silence that she had created in order to survive most of her adult life.

When she talks about understanding the psychological effects of pain, of reduced function, of limited activity and changed behaviour, realise this is a master instructor  with nearly 30 years experience. Realise this is a teacher at the top of her game, with a professional interest in the psychology of behaviours. Realise this is an educator of the most difficult children in this city, who daily has a positive influence on the future of some of the most disadvantaged children here. When you talk about the psychosomatic influences during this time of dramatic changes in her own life, realise this person intimately understands the territory and must respond daily to assist children and adults experiencing such effects.

Realise that this woman is incredibly strong, having saved herself from an abusive relationship. Realise that this woman had the strength to prevent herself from becoming another statistic of domestic violence. Realise that right now she is coming to you for help, because she needs help. She is relying on you for the best care possible.

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Now There is Nothing.

I stopped and looked at myself
On the inside
The space that no one else sees
A check-in
From a clear head
After blurry weeks of just surviving
And I saw a desert
Nothing but dry sand
All the way to the horizon
I blinked and looked again
Nothing but ocean
Treacherous depths
No wonder I feel lost
No joy, no love, no life

(28 August 2015)

Silver Linings – Day 7.

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“Thankfulness”

The weekend was a struggle and exhausting for me. But during conversations with a friend online, I came to understanding that depression was gripping me at the moment. Just that realisation, and knowing that a couple friends were looking out for me, gave me far more energy this morning than I would have otherwise.

I started the day with small goals. Just three tasks to focus on, for the benefit of myself. And that was all I had to achieve today. It’s a great little technique to create focus and accountability for your actions through the day.

So my focus was as in the picture above.

Today I will:
1. Get up, dress up, show up to work
2. Take care of myself
3. Be thankful at the end of the day

Number one is a good technique for any difficult to action tasks. Whether it is morning exercise, or some other new habit you want to form. Just get up, dress up, show up…

Number two is about not being critical of any setbacks. Accepting myself for who I am. Someone making an effort today despite everything that conspires against such actions. No judgement for who I am. It’s also about eating healthy and drinking healthy during the day.

Number three is partly my current project. Looking for silver linings in each day. It’s also Thankful for friends that help me get through a day. Thankful for friends that check up on me and ask how I’m going. Thankful for the ability to help out friends with my own wisdom. Thankful for feeling good tonight after making reasonable achievements in the office today. Thankful for a warm house and comfy bed to sleep in.

Little guides like this or a focus for the day really help me get through when I’m overwhelmed by feelings or just can’t see the light. How do you get through the day?

Tuesday Morning’s Thoughts.

Feeling strong emotions is exhausting for me. Or is it that I am exhausted when I start feeling strong emotions? I was going to use the adjective negative for my emotions, but really they are not necessarily so. Just my interpretation of the situation around feeling them is negative. So much is coming up, coming out, as I do this therapy homework. Today I suspect sometime (>20) years ago I started suppressing my strong feelings because I couldn’t deal with them or they were too painful.

Being critical of myself for feeling sad, letting that take me over, for being emotional exhausted and feeling unable to cope with it all. Rebut: I am coping with help from close people in my life. I am learning (something) through all this. I am surviving and becoming stronger, bolder, more caring in a less selfish way, because this is the way I am being treated by other(s). Even managing this rebut is an achievement to feel good about.

In some ways I cling to feeling miserable because despite the anguish, it affords me opportunity to connect with others in dealing with it. Therein lies the attraction that I hesitate to lose.

How do you feel about strong emotions?

How do you think I am going with this?

What coping advise can you provide?

The Rock. (reblog)

[This poem was received overnight, sent by my cousin, after I shared my guilt and shame post with her. She is studying psychology and has personal experience with PTSD and depression and has pointed out the high number of significant stress factors in my life both currently and over the last year that would leave a typical person exhausted and not coping. It helps to have another point of view, but mostly I feel a special warmth that this poem was written for me.]

===

When others are not helping
[He] is there

When others are obsessing
about how they can benefit
what they want
how this will affect them
[He] considers the other

When others are tired
lost confused tangled
stuck in a myriad of ways
Even though it costs him
[He] reaches out a hand

When family is uncertain
needing help
needing expertise
needing a shoulder
needing physical help
needing his mind
[He] is the rock

It costs:
being a rock
reaching out a hand
listening
acting
fixing
helping
being an anchor that others hold on to.

It drains … but he doesn’t walk away,
just buries it inside
It exhausts … but he doesn’t pull the plug
just keeps holding it together til others are OK

What a rock
What an anchor
What a [Man]!

Trying To Make Sense Of It All.

Friends around me
Can only momentarily distract
the loneliness
I feel
within your limited affections.
When you hold back
uneasy in your own mind
Uncomfortable
For reasons I can’t fathom
and you forget
the importance of expressing.

Your touch
is just that
Conveys no emotion
no depth
no excitement
Nothing that matters
To me

Reaching out
into the nothingness I feel
Grasping desperately
for solidity
Will my grounding disappear
And I fall away
from all that I know
Even though
there are times
I want it to be so

to

Escape from pain
Relationship drain
Growing disdain
Won’t refrain
From trying again

Retrain brain
Happiness reclaim
Again and again

Or else,
go insane
World reframe
Into my domain
Everything contain
Control, detain.
My
Walled-in
Fortress
of solitude