A Short, Random Message for a Friday Night

[CN: emotional abuse, mental illness]

I am pleased to bid a firm farewell to what has been an abysmally stressful week.

Everything is very crowded and loud inside my head, at present.

I feel in disarray. I feel at war within myself again, every part of my mind deciding for itself which other parts belong and which should be jettisoned. Violently, if needs be.

I am so very tired, and grown again afraid of the night.

2014-03-16 13.56.58There are names and theories for my particular mental health condition. There is even a DSM diagnosis with criteria that feel spot-on, though I prefer not to say what. [It’s rare and little-known, with a name that resembles something far more common, so even people in the know frequently misunderstand.] Figuring out what was wrong took over 23 years of misdiagnoses, unproductive (at best) therapies, and unnecessary medications — the only measurable result of which was to make me more vulnerable to my spouse’s mental and sexual abuse.

Most days, I am simply grateful that I finally got answers that makes sense. In the just-over-a-year since I named this condition, I have come so very very far. And then…then there are the other days.

The days when I am so very, very, VERY pissed off.

Because it didn’t need to be like this. Because none of this has an organic or genetic causation. Because this was something done to me.

I realize I am hardly alone in this. I am in plentiful — and plentifully good — company, even just among those of you likely to be reading this now. 

I am not even alone within my family: I have no doubt my father’s personality disorder, root cause of the shattering of both his children, can be traced back to those who raised him. And my mother, who enabled and enforced my father’s abuse, has suffered plentifully herself; even without knowing what her challenges may or may not have been when first she met my father, it’s clear how far she has bent her own orbit around his narcissistic distortions, starting a full decade before I was even born.

I don’t want this post to end in such a dark corner. Not for you, and not for me. So let me make instead a brief request:

Please — if you at all can — spend time this weekend truly listening to someone you love. Ask a child to tell you a story. Ask your partner to share a dream. Revisit an inside joke with your oldest friend. (Don’t feel you have someone to ask? Tell me a story instead, right here. I promise I will listen, with everything I have.)

I promise you this, too: the gifts we make of ourselves return blessings to us threefold, and threefold-three again.

You are, all of you, so very beautiful.

Even in your darkness.

Even in your darkest dark, know that love will see you shine.

In my eyes, you are all shining even now.

in darkness love

20 thoughts on “A Short, Random Message for a Friday Night

  1. It does always seem to be beneficial to be able to name it. To point to it, and say: “This. This is what it is.”

    It’s also critical to get the right diagnosis. I’ve seen so many kids in foster care (who have suffered unbelievable trauma) be diagnosed with all kinds of nonsense from bipolar to schizophrenia. But really, PTSD would usually be a much better explanation. And it would normalize what they are experiencing. Instead of them thinking that something is intrinsically wrong with them, they could be taught that they are experiencing totally normal reactions considering the hell they have been through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am regularly astounded (in all the worst ways) at how little trauma-informed care we provide to children. Not in schools, not in medical/psychiatric treatment, and OHDEARGODSFORGIVEUS not even in foster care. I would think going into foster care itself could act as a trauma, even if one leaves aside the critical point that almost any circumstance that would bring a kid into the system must have already been traumatizing. Unbelievably traumatizing, as you say.

      Thank you, as always, for commenting. You always bring important perspectives to the conversation, and I am appreciative!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a beautiful and smart daughter. K has made some really poor decisions in her life, but still, being young, has the chance to change. She was not abused, in any way, until she “hooked up with” an abusive guy she met at school.
    I have a beautiful 7 year old granddaughter. Anna is smart and sassy, wise beyond her years, and wants to be a princess ballerina when she grows up. Or maybe a doctor.
    One of the poor decisions that K made landed Anna in an abusive household. As a result, Anna started to become withdrawn and shy, where before she was outgoing and an extrovert. She is seeing a counselor already, and it’s already making a difference. Her stepmom is amazing, and I am very, very grateful that Anna’s Dad married her.
    I have Anna overnight tonight. She is talking in her sleep, something about her forehead and a car. I don’t know, she’s a funny little critter, and I am very glad she is living in my town.

    I always enjoy reading your posts. They make me think, and sometimes giggle a little, and we can all use a little laughter and thinking in our lives.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sylvia,

      I have read this comment several times throughout today. It was the first thing I read this morning — and here I am again, making this the last thing I will read tonight. Each time, I end up with tears in my eyes.

      Your family, as seen through your love, are all so beautiful and full of possibility. So alive. What a gift you have, to convey this much in this few words! Above all, what your words convey to me is your own kindness and compassion. Beautiful, in your own right. Thank you for sharing this snapshot of your dear ones with me.

      And I quite agree — thinking and laughter are a powerful combination! I’m glad you find some of both here.

      best, alice


    2. Also: let me wish sweet dreams and happy days to her highness, Princess Dr. Ballerina! I’m glad to hear she’s getting the support she needs, and has caring adults in her life.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I met a woman once, a blogger, quite by accident…but perhaps not. She was invited into my world and something immediately clicked. Our world felt intimate, and safe-personal. I came to know her through her words alone, this thoughtful aching searching woman. One day, our lives meshed on a different level, a lighter level. Words remain at the core but I felt like the real woman I had come to admire and respect and call my friend, was missing. She was/is familiar, but her words in this new place are so often able to hide the darkness. It’s easy to forget her stories sometimes, in this new place of quick thoughts, small words, and yes even the silliness that fills line after line. I miss her words there, her real words. The balance seems off. While I don’t want to suggest she be mired in the past I do want to shout that those words of the past that frame the present are so important. I feel the disconnect. I feel the voices she mentions struggling inside her head as I jump between the old words and this new place. I want to tell her that I have not forgotten the first words. I want to tell her that I struggle sometimes, knowing how and when to move past those first moments and engage in her daily living. I want her to know that her stories are the ones that must be heard and thank her for listening to mine.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, the balance is most assuredly off. Has been (increasingly so) for months. The near-daily insanity that has been getting thrown at me since late March has at times almost drowned me. For reasons, I am not yet in a position where I can tell certain individuals “f#ck the hell off” and just walk away. But I am getting closer.

      When I am through this experience and out the other side — when I am able to catch my breath, look back, and process all that has gone on — I think I will find I have learned and grown prodigiously. I look forward to that day like I can’t express. That day is just not THIS day. In the meantime, I will continue to do the very best that I can.

      Thank you for noticing the difference — and still listening regardless.
      Thank you for bearing with my humor, even when it may seem slick and deflecting.
      Thank you for reminding me I am seen. Just as I am.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I have long believed that many of our deepest injuries come from feeling unheard, or at least that feeling heard can help to heal those injuries. Can help us feel less alone.

      And how much more vital for children! Who can only learn that their voice matters — that they even *have* a voice all their own — from adults who treat them as worth listening to.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “I have long believed that many of our deepest injuries come from feeling unheard, or at least that feeling heard can help to heal those injuries.”

        so much YES.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Your words never fail to blow me away. I find comfort in mindfully listening to my loved ones as well. Right now I am having trouble concentrating so…. it upset me so much when I found out my chronic pain was caused by the abuse I went through. I was angry again after all these years. Mad just mad! I thought I had put that behind me. I hate it when that stuff backs up on me. I am still working through that resentment.
    The thing is in some ways that stuff is always beside me, but it’s made me a stronger and smarter person.
    You’re a strong woman. This is not an opinion it’s a fact I know. You’ve overcome so much. Neither of us can stop now.

    Liked by 2 people

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