Monthly Archives: July 2012

that little dog Norm….

Even though Norm lost one leg, he is adapting well to having  3…

Suffering in any form is a huge trigger for me.  Animal suffering is a trigger so big that I almost instantly spill over the edge, very little warning, just simply gone.

I take huge precautions that the average person probably doesn’t in terms of limiting my exposure to any information. Current events, politics, visual images or stories retold by friends at a gathering are heavily censored items.  I do not watch the news. Ever.  The chosen stories are tragic and sensationalized for the purpose of gaining followers (translating into more money) and rarely report anything truly noteworthy or with purpose.  After all, how many house fires, bodies in the river, assaults can one really stomach without just losing their noodle?  These images most likely will pass right through the average Joe but its totally different for a trauma survivor with PTSD and huge anxiety issues.  Mostly, its like someone took a branding iron and seared the image into my brain.  It stays there and hurts for a very long time.

Thank goodness one can limit/pick/choose what they read on Facebook. And I really struggle with the agenda of  the animal and rescue organizations which often cite cases of abuse, not exclusively for gaining readership but in an effort to inform and rally support for a cause.  Somewhat different in my book.  Such is the case of Norm, a dog found near death, barely breathing, in a weeded area in St. Louis city during a record heat wave of temperatures over 100 degrees.  This dog was found so mangled that the rescuer angel and saint, Randy Grim of  Stray Rescue of St. Louis, recognized immediately that this dog was not only a victim of a dog fighting ring that operated in the area but it had been used as a bait dog. What? Did I hear that right? My brain winces and sizzles… At the mere mention of the word “bait”, I was gone….eyes glazed, mind numbing gone.

What kind of soul-less creature would purposely and maliciously use another for the purpose of entertainment of such a vicious nature?  What kind of person is so removed from their essence to set out to harm an animal in such a way?  Then it hit me.  I knew those people.  I knew those men.  It wasn’t a reach to remember that I not only knew them but experienced their cruel and selfish acts.  Acts perpetuated for the sole purpose of their depraved pathology and base pleasures.

This story is just ripe with metaphors for me.

One of the characteristics of a psychopath is having a lack of empathy for another, showing no remorse or guilt.  The people who participate in baiting dogs against each other and leaving them for dead, are psychopaths.  And here I am again, totally having to find a way to hold onto myself as the world starts spinning around, just because I read a story about a dog rescue.

The word “rescue” has huge meaning for me.  The obvious points to my blog title but the concept of a rescuer has always been incredibly alluring to me.  When one is a child who is being molested/abused/violated/shamed, it is the only thing you can imagine.  That child’s ultimate hope isn’t for great toys for Christmas, ice cream for dinner or a vacation to Disneyworld.  That child wants to be heard and rescued. Plain and simple, they want relief.  And I’m speaking for myself and probably other surivors when I say that the concept of having a figurehead in your life so strong and emotionally together, that they come to rescue you from a horrid situation, is so far fetched that it borders on fantasy.  From my experiences, its far more likely that a superhero will swoop down and intervene than for an actual rescuer to manifest in an abused child’s life.  Cynical yes, but sadly, fairly close to the truth.

So the actual manifestation of a person who rescues is so enamoring to me, that although Norm’s story is gruesome, I can’t get enough of the giddy feeling of liberation that I feel when this dog is carried to safety and ultimately to a well equipped facility who will give it round the clock emergency care.  I’m absolutely mesmerized and am carried back in time to many childhood moments of near breakdown, pleading with the divine for help, for a rescuer.

Norm hovered for days near death.  Hundreds of people prayed for him and left messages on Facebook wanting continual updates.  I couldn’t get him off my mind.  During this time, with the image of Norm branded on my brain I ultimately emerged with the final thought of this post.  Could a soul, animal or human, stripped of dignity and depersonalized so savagely, come out of the experience anything less than a monster?  Would this animal ever be able to trust or lead any kind of life resembling normal or worthwhile?  And the obvious parallel is how do I?

I’m going to let the photo below speak for itself to answer that question.  Hope is renewed.

After days of growling and biting his caregivers, he licks the face of Randy Grim, the man who rescued him.

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the shadows behind my eyes….

these types of posts are the most demanding of any type of healing writing that i do.

these posts take me often to a place i don’t wish to go but am compelled by my body and unconscious to please visit, please get to know me, don’t be so afraid.  i’m trying to understand and dissect a part of myself that i barely know exists.  its existence revealed in the last 5-8 years in a hellish, tsunami wave that engulfed me, holding me under, no matter how hard i fought until i could barely breathe.  i was let up for a frantic gulp of air then plunged back under, over and over and over.

as much as i fight it, as much as i wish it wasn’t true, it is.  there is a part of me that lurks in shadows behind my eyes.  i feel it now although i didn’t feel it earlier in life.  it was there but i was: busy, in denial, ignorant, driven to keep going in order to outrun the demon.  back there somewhere it lives in the dark, giving a sensation occasionally so i don’t forget it.

to understand it, i must first sit with it.

we take the absolute and almost exhaustive measures for safety before i will begin to take a look at the shadows.  the doors of the house are locked, drapes drawn.  i’m sequestered to my bedroom atop several comforters, propped by pillows in strategic places to give the feeling of support and presence.  all facets must be respected.  earplugs in place and all people and dogs are on another floor of the house.  finally i feel able to look.  finally i feel safe enough to look.

there are facts by the millions stored in my unconscious.  there in those shadows are factual accounts of all the incidents that were put upon me as a child.  every man who molested me.  every man who lied to me and said we were playing a game.  every screaming instinct i had that something was very, very wrong. every adult who looked the other way.  its all there; stored, sealed, double wrapped, sunk to the bottom of the sea.  turned into shadows with a protective coating as thick as the July humidity.

but with any old wound, aged with gummy tape cracked and barely holding it together, one must remove the layers so very gently.  if one rips too fast, you will lose the integrity of the item, a scab getting ripped off too soon.

my eyes send me messages constantly.  there are tears that live behind them, ready to flow at the slightest provocation.  tender eyes that feel everything.  every injustice and societal hurt causes screaming pain.  the images of life too strong to be uncensored, they must be limited to those that nourish, ones that will heal the wounds.  my eyes spoke to me this week by dilating one pupil more than the other.  i feel it coming on, vision goes blurry on one side, the heaviness creeps in cause it to droop, tears flow in that eye only.

the AMA calls it Horner’s Syndrome because they like to study and describe situations.  they feel relief once its labeled but i don’t.  a name doesn’t provide relief.  it is neurological in nature and there are no actions to take to manage it.  i don’t go for their opinion after the first time it happened, now i just sit with it, because they can only help with the physical attributes of what these shadows manifest.  but its the emotional component is the key.  and that i figured out myself.

other messages come in a flip of a switch.  the light could stream across my field of vision in just the right way to access a memory.  a harsh tone or aggressive move by a person can send me sailing.  the oppressiveness of the summer heat can wrap itself around me so tight i fight for a breath….

i can best access the feelings from the shadows when the other senses are dulled.  sitting in silence with my ears plugged and my skin covered and unavailable,  my typing fingers will speak for me if i keep my eyes closed.  all outside stimuli must be stopped, the layers of protection increased to the maximum.  i remind myself to breathe and stop tensing my shoulders, its okay, its okay, breathe.  my eyes fly open at even the slightest muffled sound and i jerk to attention.  hyper vigilance doesn’t even touch the acuteness of this feeling.  its ingrained to every cell of my being, it has its own pull, a mind of its own.  it does what it wants and it wants to be crazy, OCD, and alert all the time.

but here’s the interesting thing….once i obtain the quiet and tune into the vibration of what is back in those shadows, it usually is fine.  in fact, i can’t think of a time when it wasn’t.  so i don’t know why i don’t go there more often because the actual act of ignoring this vital, motherboard of traumatic information causes so much distress.  my hope is that the more i sit with this, the more the shadows and i will integrate.

my husband says i have such a Stephen King morose streak to me, that i love the dark side and should just embrace it.  i argue that folks don’t want to hear about the dark, that most want to hear perky shit.  i do know that i continue with one mission and that is to shed as much light on PTSD, sexual assault and child abuse, mental illness, BPD.  the victims of these conditions have to cope daily with the ugliness of the situation put upon them and probably don’t even know what is happening and why they feel so miserable and unhappy.  my hope is that someone, somewhere will see themselves in the descriptions and know that they aren’t alone, that there is hope and that life can still have meaning even with these conditions present.

this alone continues to drive me to look as lovingly as i can at the shadows and am determined to make friends with it.  its really just part of me, just speaking a different language from a different time.


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