This time I will copy/paste the journal entry I started to write about last night. So here it is, and then I will write about it –
. Counseling w/ Larry – don’t try to be creative. Just let yourself feel it and write what you feel (not word for word but that idea)
Not feeling depressed. Depression is the absence of feeling anything. What I am experiencing is legitimate grief/sorrow/loss. Instead of increasing the antidepressants I’m taking, I need to increase the anti-ADHD medicine to help me focus on my sorrow at times when I can express it and set it aside when I need to. Giving expression (words and/or pictures)to the things I am grieving will make it possible for me to experience it and then let it go so that it doesn’t need to be pressing in on me all the time.
Let yourself experience the grief and sorrow instead of trying to write about it. Just write whatever comes to mind in the midst of it – a word, phrase, or image; and you will discover that what flows out of you brings relief.
Those words hit me like a blow to the gut –that’s what we used to do before Houston. If experiences could be portrayed as weather, Houston would be a cyclone, hurricane, and tornado all mixed together. Many times we have attempted to describe the overwhelming torment that we experienced there but over time we have come to sum up the totality of it in one word – Houston….
– We have been trying to heal from a deep depression for a few years now. Our healing journey began many years earlier than that, but this depression was so intense that it merits focused effort on its own.. We have made tremendous progress – much healing has occurred. Now I feel the desire, even a need, to write it down; but I find what I write to fall far short of a true representation of what we have experienced. This struggle was the focus of our most recent counseling session.
– Even what I’m writing now is insufficient. It’s all much more complex than that. To be more accurate, others of me have made tremendous progress while I have remained almost entirely in the background, overridden with guilt and shame. Houston was really my fault. My people have shared the burden of healing. Each one has faithfully taken turns expressing the torment that the memories of Houston bring. (emphasis added to refer back to)
– – Complex trauma experiences didn’t begin with Houston. For me and my people, attempting to make sense out of life began at about 11 years of age. The reasons we came about, and the reasons we started out from the beginning as a plural, are deep and complex. In fact, in the earlier years of our healing journey we acquired the nick name of “Plex” because life for me/us and with me/us was best summed up as complex.
– -(back to the focus of the counseling session) It’s been nearly a year since my healing journey came to a bend in the road. Over the years we have struggled with sleep patterns, but for the past year or so we have required excessive amounts of sleep. Some days we just spent hours laying immobile but conscious, but most days we actually slept soundly both day and night. My psychiatrist and therapists have theorized about why this has been the case, and we have attempted to use both psychotherapy and medications to alter my experience with some success but still I sleep excessively for days on end and attempts to force myself to do otherwise were either unproductive or decidedly undesirable. For the most part I am being encouraged to take each day as it comes and not be overly concerned about the reasons for extra need for sleep. Over recent months it has varied between being awake but immobile interspersed with sound sleeping throughout the day or alternatively being awake long enough for a quick meal and taking medications and the rest of the time sleeping soundly.
[Getting way off track – back to bullet points]
– Counseling advice/suggestion to express thoughts and feelings (grief/sorrow) through poetry or art. “Just let it flow out of my hands” write down descriptions/illustrations that come to mind.
– Others have done healing work and I feel the benefit of it but still I struggle – like logs being jammed up as they attempt to float down the river.
– Been trying to write about my origins and my memories of life from the times I was much more active and “out” – before Houston. That’s what have been jammed up. Trying to write for the book. So much to write and feel inadequate for the task.
– Today –so discouraging to get to church and then have to come back home without worship. Cliff brought back bulletin and the focus was on the blessing of being one body and worshiping together.
– Tonight Cliff was off for his weekly movie night with a friend and I was left alone and feeling lonely and sad. Picked up Guide Post and read, “True Stories of Hope & Inspiration”. First article that caught my attention was about a woman saying goodbye to her beloved cat. It had a picture of a woman’s legs crossed at the ankle. The shadow was a silhouette of a cat. I was reminded again of the experiences we had prior to Houston of writing or drawing and having it just flow out of my hands as if someone else was in control of them. Only after completing the thoughts or images were on the paper did I notice the hidden impressions – the protective ribs that kept the small bird safe in the midst of the storm or the cupped hands hidden in the rocks just below the place where the Shepherd was carrying the feeble lamb up a sharp and dangerous precipice. I felt the pang of sharp longing as I reflected back on those days of years ago. As I dwelled on these memories for a while. I let myself scan through more pages of the Guide Post, and another story caught my eye. This one was entitled, “More Than a Hunch” by a man who found a missing 3-year-old boy after he prayed and asked God to guide him. The article ended this way, “I’ve learned how to listen to God wherever I can, in the forest, at work, in my car. And I’ve seen how he always hears. His answer can be a whisper in your ear, an urge to change direction, a nudge of guidance. And it can help you see what you should have seen, what plenty of others missed, what was right there in broad daylight.”
As I read these words I was reminded of times many years before Houston when I was driving home after taking care of young children in the nursery of a church. I was singing faith songs to myself – something I used to do frequently, when I felt a nudge to take a turn down a road away from home. I asked God if He was prompting me to make that turn and felt more than heard the answer. I kept praying as I drove down one road, then turned down another one. I had no idea where I was going but I kept following the promptings until I pulled up in front of a small store. I got out of the car and went into the store, still clueless as to what I was looking for or why I was there. I browsed until my eyes landed on them –real butterfly wings with paper bodies. They were more perfect than anything I could have thought of. I was engaged to a man I thought would be my forever love, and butterflies held a special meaning for us in our blossoming relationship, so we wanted to use them as a theme for our wedding. I needed to make the invitations and these butterflies were the absolute perfect thing to put on them. At the time it was a powerful reassurance from my Heavenly Father that He was guiding me and watching care over me, even attending to the tiny details of our wedding plans. Reflecting back on those days I realized God had been leading and guiding us in those dark and grief-filled days, too. I contemplated how God was using the Guide Post articles to speak to me even in these moments. The lesson for me in this story was to see through the mist and rugged terrain that had hid the boy from the view of the people searching for him- in my life it was my sorrow and grief that obstructed my view, preventing me from feeling God’s guiding nudges and hearing His prompting whispers. God had not been silenced by Houston, and He would not be far from me even now in my recovery. This new realization blanketed me with cozy comforting reassurances.
[end of copy/paste]
Tomorrow I will start dissecting the emphasized parts. Enough for tonight.