Monday, August 16, 2010

Trying Too Hard with a Little Side of the Reality of Injury


This is another check-in post to let you know a bit about where I am in this process of learning about and working with Complex PTSD.  I think I may get back to regular blogging next week, and I appreciate all your patience and your helpful words of wisdom.

Recently, I've had a bit of an epiphany about how I go about Pushing Through Life.

When you are a small person living in precarious circumstances, you learn a few things about Trying.

You learn to try really hard to keep the peace.

You learn to try really hard to help other people feel good.

You learn to try really hard to be the person other people need you to be, according to whatever is happening in that moment.

You learn to try really hard to never reveal your fear.

You learn to try really hard to justify your very existence.

Living in an environment as I did (and as many of you did, I'm sure), you learn, one way or another, that you are not valued simply for being you.

You definitely get the message that you may very well be a waste of space, a waste of breath.  So you learn that if you try hard enough, maybe, just maybe some day...some day, someone will say, "Okay, you earned it. You're allowed to be here. You can relax."

Of course, this never happens, and so we grow into adults who think we have to prove ourselves.

We grow into adults who assume, for instance, that people don't simply like us but that we must earn their tolerance, and one wrong move...

It's a little like being perpetually on audition, but, of course, it's much worse than that.

This habit of trying too hard is very tiring, indeed.

I am always, pretty much, exhausted.  And I am always, always, always whining about this and wondering why.  Wondering what food I could eat or what exercise I could do or what magic pill I could take to feel energized.

But it's not about what I put into my body; it's about the injuries that I have in my Being.  I don't mean that I am intentionally holding onto those injuries (and please don't insult me by leaving a comment along the lines of "let it go...").

When your physical body is injured, there remains forever a shadow of that injury, whether it be a scar or that place on a bone where it has re-knit after a break which can be seen on thousand year mummies.  You know...evidence.

But we, as a culture, don't allow for the fact that the same happens to our emotional bodies.  We are not weak for having scars on our psyches that will forever be shadowy reminders, occasionally aching like a phantom piece of ourselves.

We would never say to someone, for example, who has lost a limb, "Why don't you just grow that back?  I mean, if you would just get over it, I bet that would grow back all on its own..."

Stupid.

Okay, I am getting off track.

Trying too hard...

I do it every day and it's worn me out.  So now I have to figure out how to stop.  How to get to that place in Taoism of "no effort."

Have any of you succeeded with this?  Are any of you struggling with the same?


39 comments:

Sulwyn said...

I've finally reached a place of "okay, I'm allowed to exist. To take up precious space on this planet and be tolerated." Next step? To work toward "I'm not only allowed to exist, I am allowed to thrive and be myself." Some days I still feel as if I have to ask permission to wake up, but I'm getting there. Just keep seeking the truth and the bliss. I certainly don't have any answers, but I know you'll get there. You are amazing and strong.

James said...

Sometimes I manage to relax around other people, the next minute I'll catch myself desperately trying to make sure they like me. Oh yes, I'm with you on this one.

just me said...

"We grow into adults who assume, for instance, that people don't simply like us but that we must earn their tolerance, and one wrong move..." and I am banished from the kingdom.

I feel your pain, sorrow and exhaustion from trying, trying, trying.

I don't have an answer or solution. I am still healing. I do know I am getting stronger, better, wiser and polished. It is painful but I know I have purpose, regardless of what I have been told. I have slowly been unraveling the web of lies I have been told about myself and believed. There has been fall out. Alot of fall out. But I know it had to be done.

Stay open. Open heart. Receive everything as a gift. I believe everything comes from God and His purpose is always good, always love.

Blessings to you as you travel over the valleys and through the hills.

Maggie May said...

what a wonderful post for me to read. thank you for putting this out here. i just wrote a post about my struggles with anxiety. i have PTSD and take zoloft normally ( as part of dealing but certainly not all, did years of therapy etc. ) but am off it completely now, at 25 weeks pregnant, because of possible side effects to baby. it's very hard. thank you for this.
xo

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a powerful post. It's as if you were reading into my very own soul. I stuggle with it everyday. For me, just the fact that I am aware of my issues now, has been comforting to me. I have somewhere to go with it now. It has a name now. I don't know if I will ever conquer it, but I am certain that someday I will find peace with it. Each day I am a tiny bit closer to that peace.
Love and blessings to you on the difficult journey.
Marie

Linnea said...

Sometimes, I think not playing whatever role whoever expects me to play is the greatest challenge of my life, and that one day I'll transcend the need to my greatest prayer (well, that and the panic going away, but I think they're hand-in-glove).

Continued wishes for peace and healing ....

nadinefawell said...

Oh goodness, this made me laugh. Not because of the suckiness of PTSD or the feeling of having to push through (I am way to familiar with that feeling to find it funny).

No, I laughed at the 'get over it' mentality. I am, sadly, way too familiar with that chatter in my own head. As in, Just let it go, and then usually the word 'loser' gets tacked on the end...

But I am pretty sure I have told people to let go in my time, and now I'm cringing/laughing/cringing!

Brandi Reynolds said...

no advice...but just love and support...

Scraps said...

Thank you for this post. I don't think I ever thought of my experiences in childhood as a sort of PTSD but, in a lot of ways, it makes sense. (Certainly in light of the traditional after-effects!)

It's been years, I've dealt with most of the baggage over a combination of time and some incredible people in my life who helped me see my value.

But the drive--the trying to hard--it's still there. I just thought it was a personality flaw, one that I get better at covering up over time but it's still there. Maybe now I have a better idea of how to deal with it.

adventurer101 said...

Thank you for writing this... I found your post and the comments as well are very comforting. I can relate with your experience a lot. I am tired of trying for other people as well, and nothing hurts me more than being told just get over it... do they think it's fun to be in psychic pain??

Trish Austin said...

What a wonderful analogy-we would never tell someone who is missing a limb-let it go and get over it and it'll grow back(paraphrasing). I have had issues with anxiety since I was 8. Panic attacks,GAD and recently at 44, I was diagnosed Bipolar II. I wish I had some words of wisdom. Unfortunately I don't. I just try to follow my own intuition. And, not "blame" myself for not living up to any expectation-usually my own.I'm currently researching/or trying natural remedies instead of taking a mood stabilizer. I'm on medication, but any mood stabilizer has been rejected by my mind and body.
I'm glad I found your blog.

Jei said...

Christine you are so very good with sharing, honestly and openly putting yourself out there. You also seem to be very good at looking for and finding solutions that work. Just know that the more you dig, the crap you will unearth and this too you will move through.

I find that yoga (your yoga of choice) Kundalini is a savior for me. What I need to do is find a resolution for my lack of commitment. When I am working it is great, when I begin to slack, I spiral.

I think it is wonderful that you have such a support in Marcy, helping you find your way that helps eventhough, we all know that the journey, inevitably must be done on our own.

All my best wishes for you. Namaste

Svasti said...

Reading this post, I had a flashback to myself as a fifteen/sixteen year old at a New Year's Eve party with my boyfriend. Terrifically insecure I was, too.

No surprises there, given by that age, I'd already dealt with almost daily verbal and physical abuse from my older brother for several years. And oh yeah, that guy who stole my innocence. And then there's the parental neglect. So, a little bit of 'stuff' on the cards already.

And my boyfriend was talking to another girl, and I was so sure they'd been talking about me (in a negative way) that I half jokingly suggested as much to them. To which they rolled their eyes.

I got better at hiding it over the years, but I was still trying hard to be accepted and liked because I didn't think I was. Ever.

And it's true - the wounds to our hearts, minds and (internal) bodies aren't as obvious as a missing limb or a physical scar. But the scar is there, anyway.

The tricky thing about this is that we need to be the ones to take care of our wounds. No one can see them and very few people are intuitive or empathic enough to see or care about such things.

It's not like we can say "oh, please excuse my one-handedness, as you can see, I'm missing an arm".

And to add to the fun, those of us with those internal injuries/scars don't WANT to let people know how we feel. So we just do our best, which as you said, leaves a person exhausted.

For me, part of getting past trying too hard all the time is realising the above. Others can't see what ails us. We can't see what ails others. None of us are perfect, most of us are hurting. Albeit, in different ways. But pain is something we all have in common.

I actually suspect most people feel like they don't belong to some degree or another, and live their whole lives like that. On bad days, I still question the point of my actual existence. Especially given I don't have a relationship or anyone that relies on me on a daily basis. It's rough, those days.

But then on a good day, I get that life is about interacting with the universe and finding our own inner divinity/god/the universe/whatever you call it. That if I can just get that part right, then the rest will fall as it may.

The only way I've been able to get past this is to focus on finding love and acceptance for "being here", just for myself and no one else. If I can generate enough love for me, then there's room for others, too.

That's a starting point, at least... then, there's giving yourself permission to relax. Which reminds me, that I owe you a CD. :)

Svasti said...

Reading this post, I had a flashback to myself as a fifteen/sixteen year old at a New Year's Eve party with my boyfriend. Terrifically insecure I was, too.

No surprises there, given by that age, I'd already dealt with almost daily verbal and physical abuse from my older brother for several years. And oh yeah, that guy who stole my innocence. And then there's the parental neglect. So, a little bit of 'stuff' on the cards already.

And my boyfriend was talking to another girl, and I was so sure they'd been talking about me (in a negative way) that I half jokingly suggested as much to them. To which they rolled their eyes.

I got better at hiding it over the years, but I was still trying hard to be accepted and liked because I didn't think I was. Ever.

And it's true - the wounds to our hearts, minds and (internal) bodies aren't as obvious as a missing limb or a physical scar. But the scar is there, anyway.

The tricky thing about this is that we need to be the ones to take care of our wounds. No one can see them and very few people are intuitive or empathic enough to see or care about such things.

It's not like we can say "oh, please excuse my one-handedness, as you can see, I'm missing an arm".

And to add to the fun, those of us with those internal injuries/scars don't WANT to let people know how we feel. So we just do our best, which as you said, leaves a person exhausted.

For me, part of getting past trying too hard all the time is realising the above. Others can't see what ails us. We can't see what ails others. None of us are perfect, most of us are hurting. Albeit, in different ways. But pain is something we all have in common.

I actually suspect most people feel like they don't belong to some degree or another, and live their whole lives like that. On bad days, I still question the point of my actual existence. Especially given I don't have a relationship or anyone that relies on me on a daily basis. It's rough, those days.

But then on a good day, I get that life is about interacting with the universe and finding our own inner divinity/god/the universe/whatever you call it. That if I can just get that part right, then the rest will fall as it may.

The only way I've been able to get past this is to focus on finding love and acceptance for "being here", just for myself and no one else. If I can generate enough love for me, then there's room for others, too.

That's a starting point, at least... then, there's giving yourself permission to relax. Which reminds me, that I owe you a CD. :)

svasti said...

Reading this post, I had a flashback to myself as a fifteen/sixteen year old at a New Year's Eve party with my boyfriend. Terrifically insecure I was, too.

No surprises there, given by that age, I'd already dealt with almost daily verbal and physical abuse from my older brother for several years. And oh yeah, that guy who stole my innocence. And then there's the parental neglect. So, a little bit of 'stuff' on the cards already.

And my boyfriend was talking to another girl, and I was so sure they'd been talking about me (in a negative way) that I half jokingly suggested as much to them. To which they rolled their eyes.

I got better at hiding it over the years, but I was still trying hard to be accepted and liked because I didn't think I was. Ever.

And it's true - the wounds to our hearts, minds and (internal) bodies aren't as obvious as a missing limb or a physical scar. But the scar is there, anyway.

The tricky thing about this is that we need to be the ones to take care of our wounds. No one can see them and very few people are intuitive or empathic enough to see or care about such things.

It's not like we can say "oh, please excuse my one-handedness, as you can see, I'm missing an arm".

And to add to the fun, those of us with those internal injuries/scars don't WANT to let people know how we feel. So we just do our best, which as you said, leaves a person exhausted.

For me, part of getting past trying too hard all the time is realising the above. Others can't see what ails us. We can't see what ails others. None of us are perfect, most of us are hurting. Albeit, in different ways. But pain is something we all have in common.

I actually suspect most people feel like they don't belong to some degree or another, and live their whole lives like that. On bad days, I still question the point of my actual existence. Especially given I don't have a relationship or anyone that relies on me on a daily basis. It's rough, those days.

But then on a good day, I get that life is about interacting with the universe and finding our own inner divinity/god/the universe/whatever you call it. That if I can just get that part right, then the rest will fall as it may.

The only way I've been able to get past this is to focus on finding love and acceptance for "being here", just for myself and no one else. If I can generate enough love for me, then there's room for others, too.

That's a starting point, at least... then, there's giving yourself permission to relax. Which reminds me, that I owe you a CD. :)

Jaliya said...

You blow me away, Christine ... I've just read this now during the ol' "vampire time" --> what I call chronic insomnia ;-D

Will write more in the next day or so. Bless you HUGE.

Danny said...

Good God...very intense!

Renae said...

“God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars.” — Elbert Hubbard

Raine-Lee said...

BlissChick, I totally related to your post. Thank you so much for sharing all that you can with us. I wish you nothing but peace and happiness!

Susan said...

First - "Okay, you earned it. You're allowed to be here. You can relax.".

Me too.

And we can now relax; we exist and are magnificent with no justification or explanation:)

I am. And that is enough.

I was able to begin to move beyond the past when I began to do the grief and anger work related to that theft of soul that happened...that "self" that never developed and the me that has spent a lifetime trying to "figure out" how to be a part of a world that didn't seem to want me.

The grieving of the things that were, that which will never be and forgoing the hope that I'll find what I"m looking for in anyone or anything else outside of myself.

Catching those thoughts that take me down that road of "not good enough" and staking claim on the "me" that I choose to be today.

This is part of the journey that I've travelled anyway. No clue of course if it is anything that would be helpful to you or anyone else - but this is part of the healing path I've followed in conjunction with other important changes to life and mind:)

It is exhausting and self care is key. :)

Namaste

Anonymous said...

Do you ever just sit with yourself?
Just sitting? Not trying to think happy thoughts, not trying to do anything... just sitting?
Noticing the moment, drawing your
attention back to the moment, or to your breath. I think just the moment and the silence works best for me.

I honestly do not understand how people can heal without this practice.
I don't understand how people can live with their constantly babbling minds--- this practice has been a LIFE saver for me.

I started out at ten minutes a day,
I sometimes do it twice a day,
but allowing yourself to CONSCIOUSLY sit and relax, is extremely powerful, whereas when you are sleeping, you are not conscious.

Anyway, like I said, I really do not know how anyone truly heals without this practice of simple sitting, noticing, being.

Allowing yourself to not TRY, DO, etc.
Just sitting and being,
watching the judgements come and go.

This is a tip I give to all people I see struggling, and it is a pity most people do not do it.

I read somewhere that one cannot TRULY understand, if one doesn't give the understanding space- and time to settle.

It's like you can constantly tell yourself when your running around "I am okay, I am fine, the day is beautiful, I love you self"etc etc,
and it will never fully SINK in
because you do not sit, and relax, and allow anything to sink it.

In this culture we have an obsession
with ACTION- our mind is constantly trying to "do"

What about reception? What about pure receptivity? What about sitting and listening? If there is nothing to listen to , enjoy the silence.
Silence is such a blessing, but you cannot know is beauty unless you have AWARENESS of the silence.

Silence wraps around you comforts you in a non-mental way.

We do not need to constantly tell ourselves new things and ideas, and theories.

What we need is to be in our Being,
to feel, instead of think.
To be receptive, and yet get done all the things needed for the day.

You are so loved,
and all I can say, is that everything
will be a theory
until you sit
and accept
yourself
in the
moment
that

is.




Love to you.

Anonymous said...

Also be careful with labeling.
When we say "I have an injury"
that may be fine, but it is an extremely powerful message to the mind/body/spirit, and maybe that was the beginning of a realization for you.
But be careful, because labels can make us feel MORE injured, and like victims.
Where as when you are in the moment... who are you? what are you?
You just ARE.

What if instead of saying "I have this complex" you said "I am loved"

words are extremely powerful, and self talk can damage is we are not careful.

Christine Claire Reed said...

First Anon (After Susan), I have a yoga practice AND a prayer and meditation practice.

Though I am obligated to point out that there is some very good evidence that sitting meditation can actually AGGRAVATE some people's severe depression.

Which brings me to Anon 2, "injury" because I WAS INJURED. There were responsible people. Period. And for me, this is much more helpful than thinking of myself as "ILL" as the majority of the medical community would prefer.

If you've not read here long, I am not talking about "wanting to be liked," I am talking about wanting to feel like I have the right to even live. Complex PTSD/PTSD/Severe Depression are not just problems of perspective. THINGS HAPPEN TO PEOPLE THAT ARE VERY VERY BAD and they need a lot of time and care to heal.

BuddhaPublicist said...

Hi BlissChick,

Thank you for your honest and heartfelt post. It really resonated with me. I don't have PTSD, but I do suffer from some of the perfectionism you talk about, the feeling that you have to PROVE your worth to others or they will reject you. I have the same problem with constantly "auditioning" (what a great way to put it!) for others. I assume people will not like me if I don't impress them somehow--whether it be my personal style, my ability to make them laugh, my eagerness to please. It's exhausting, as you say. I only feel truly peaceful with handful of people. But there are times when I don't even feel at peace with myself, times I feel I have to prove myself to myself (along the lines of what you said about justifying your existence.) I don't have any answers but thanks for making feel less alone in this.

Jennifer

Michelle Myhre, ERYT500 said...

Hey love,

I've recently been having some of the same thoughts you expressed.

Please drop by Devil Wears Prana. I have something waiting there for you.

xoMichelle
http://yogawithmichelle.blogspot.com/

Michelle Myhre, ERYT500 said...

Hey love,

I've recently been having some of the same thoughts you expressed.

Please drop by Devil Wears Prana. I have something waiting there for you.

xoMichelle
http://yogawithmichelle.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I wasn't trying to demean anything that happened to you, just trying to point out the mind's way of keeping us stuck in thought, and negative mind patterns.

I never meant harm.. I hope you take
the time you need to heal.

Christine Claire Reed said...

Anon, one of the things that happens with children of abuse and PTSD is that we develop a very strong (and BIG) sense of "justice." We are very sensitive to the underdog, especially.

So when issues like this come up, when the idea of us being the ones "holding on" even kinda comes up, I am then not just defending myself but I feel this need to speak up for anyone else who might be in an even worse place than me.

I think that a lot of spiritual talk lately is used to kinda beat up the victims. That it easily sounds like the "get over it" of our abusers.

I'm sure that wasn't your intention. My point is that we all have to be more careful with language. Including me.

christine said...

Every day. I feel like somedays reading your posts, you're reading my mind.....I get it ...It feels good to know that someone I have never met, don't know IRL....gets it too. Its very validating to what I go through on a daily basis. Maybe someday I will be comfortable enough with myself to say "I am who I am...take me as I am....or watch me while I leave" and know its the right thing to do.

Amaze-a-zing Anna said...

I think commitment to the journey is a success in itself. Just discovered your blog today and love it already for its openness and honesty...thanks, and looking forward to more. (Do not let this put pressure on you. Just keep doing exactly what you are. :) )

Anonymous said...

I cried in recognition reading your post. Yes, you said exactly what my body feels and lives every day.
I am finding ways to help my body release some of the old xxxxx that created this state of life. It is slow arduous work.
Blessings to you for putting this into words.

Googlover/keishua said...

Oh, I am with you on this one. I feel like there are moments when I am okay with my imperfection and then there are seasons of deep restlessness and disquiet. There are moments when I realize I am desperate for approval and there are moments when that is the last thing on my mind. Humans!

The Girlie-Queue said...

I love you so much for posting this. My gratitude is beyond words. I haven't completely gotten 'there' yet, but for me, a large part of my own lesson was to learn to find that 'rock' in myself? I"m not even sure how to describe it except that there is an anchor somewhere deep inside that I can feel my kite-string tug at when I start to go too far from my center... and it happens a *lot* when I am trying to hard (espeically with new people in my life.) I've been 'trying' to analyze that one for a while now. I fall in and out of it, but I think for me, it really began in Dancemeditation. I am working on my writings now so that I can share some of these processes... but those writings are only in their infant stages. I'm really glad I didn't read this the day you posted... because today I am so much more 'in the thick' of things and your post has helped the little ragged hole in my stomach fee a little better♥ Thanks.

ps - I recently found out that for me... as a Leo Sun sign 'the need for being liked/accepted' is one of my issues to assimilate ;) Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Reading your post gave me a flashback to the darkest days of dealing with exactly what you're going through now. I can't believe it's been almost seven years, and I'm here to tell you that once you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, life on the other side is very, very sweet. I'm so much calmer, more truly peaceful. I'm actually living from my center - not just grasping at ways to capture that elusive concept.

Feel the darkness. Feel the pain. Looking back on it now, I realize that the worst of it only lasted a very short time. I am standing here on the other side as living proof that it really is worth it. It is so worth it. I'm reaching out a hand to you from the light that really is on the other side.

Blessings upon you and your journey.

Really - it's worth it.

Laura

miss miss said...

<3<3<3

roseroars said...

Wonderful, C-PTSD encapsulating, and honest post. Thanks.

I'm just trying to remember to breathe these days.

Lisa

Jaliya said...

Christine, this must be the sixth time I've read your post ... I can hardly find words ... Perhaps that is what massive empathy does -- leaves us wordless. When I first read this post I was suddenly stuffed full of words -- They dissipated. I'm sending you my full heart and gratitude for articulating what is true.

The comments, too ... There's so much heart here that my cup, as they say, overflows ...

I hope you're feeling less injured today ... I just posted something about a man whose presence and gifts to the world I've just encountered. He's a beacon of hope, just like you are xoxo

Jaliya said...

P.S. Great thoughts here, too, about the merits -- and possible glitches -- in certain meditative practices. I've long felt terrified of moving, feeling ... even breathing ... This must be one of the "hangovers" of life-threatening injury ... I've often wondered if anyone in the world is offering some kind of movement practice for people who are utterly terrified to be in a body ... Anyone out there relate to this?

Agreed re: a sitting practice. I've been trying to do it since about 1984, and I usually last about two seconds. I find that I have to move (as in yoga, dance, or mindful walking) in order to soften my mind ...

Anonymous said...

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Is this possible?