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.