I’ve only just begun reading Alexis Rose’s book Untangled and it has already resonated with me on a deep level and given me some huge revelations about my own experience.
I never felt safe. Growing up, I never felt safe. I believe that is the root of my current anxiety and PTSD smell triggers, the need to feel safe and the many things that take away the safety of my being.
This muscle disease has weakened my body. That in and of itself is a huge trigger because my body feels weak, therefore I feel vulnerable, and in that vulnerability I feel fear. In that fear lives memories. In those memories I am not safe.
My mind views strong smells as attacks and intrusions and sends me into a tailspin only because I live in a hypervigilant state, always on alert, because at the root of it all, I have not found safety.
I need to relearn, redefine, and teach my body that it is safe right here and right now. Until I am able to do that, I cannot move forward. My muscles stay in spasm and contracted due to this disease. I try to relax them and they recoil right back up. They don’t know how to let go. Is it the muscle disease or the memories or both that keep my body tense. Even when I sleep I will wake to seizures. It is as if my body simply does not know how to be calm.
I woke up this morning thinking that loss was a defining factor of my current state of struggle. The loss of my companion, my dog, was devastating. Then I thought of my mother. It has been 2 years today that my mother decided, made a choice, to rid herself of her daughter. That loss has brought clarity. But it is a loss none the less. It still completely blows my mind that a mother, upon hearing details of the abuse her daughter endured, would choose to cut her daughter off. And that she had mindless followers who chose her and not me. Just a few days before they all decided not to speak to me again, they were plotting. My mother’s husband had driven me home from her birthday party and planned an intervention for HER. He was trying to get my brother and me on board to sit my mother down and tell her how hurtful she could be with her words. I told him no. I was not going to do that to my mother. If he had an issue with her he needed to handle that on his own and not pull in her children to do his dirty work because he was a coward. How quickly things changed when I chose to tell my story of abuse and my stepfather wrote to me telling me what an awful person I was for hurting my mother with the truth. She chose against me and they all followed. All that had talked behind her back, ended up having her back. How bizarre. But I am a broken record. I wil never understand her or them and I don’t waste anymore time trying. It would be a lie to say that I don’t think of her though and that the pain and ache of what she did does not affecte me, because it very much does. I thought that the culmination of loss was what was at the root of my current despair. It isn’t. It just plays a small part. It is feeling safe and acknowledging my deep sense of fear that I am not safe at all.
I need to feel safe not based on circumstance or situations, I need to feel safe in this space right here, alone. I sit here contemplating this, the ringing in my ears is deafening. It is distracting. It makes me feel dissociative or depersonalized. Where I want to grab my hair with my hands and scream. But I snap back to the obligations and role as a mother and wife, a friend, and I pull it together as I toss a blanket over the hole that I know is there. The void, the fear. I can’t keep covering it up. I need to fill it with safety. I just don’t know how to get there yet. A new step for my therapist and I to work through. Adding to the list of hundreds of incidents in my past that I need to process. It is all a bit overwhelming. But if I live like my family does, I will never fully recover. If I live a life of secrets and pride and cover ups I will never survive. Most of what I am doing is UN doing what they did. So I speak about my emotions, the things that people keep bottled up and don’t share for fear of judgment. In speaking about it I hope to walk through it and come through to the other side with a better understanding of myself and closer to healing all the voids that were created by chronic abuse.