Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Trigger Happy

Whenever I feel pressure to keep a place clean, I get nervous.  I don't mind cleaning.  I like a tidy kitchen and clean creative spaces.  I have no problems wiping down sinks, toilets and tubs.  But when I feel pressure to do it from someone else: I get nervous.  Really nervous, the act of cleaning takes on this dark ominous feeling and I panic at the idea of not getting it done to their liking, in time or even that they will accuse me of never having done it at all.  I get snappy with my kids for making normal kid messes, because I am scared that I won't be able to tidy it in time.  My roommate really enjoys a clean home.  I can't always guarantee that it will be mess free, doing laundry for 3 people, 2 homeschooled kids etc, makes for the occassional game or laundry basket left out.  But now I'm working.  I can't always be home making sure my kids are cleaning up after themselves with the sitter.  We have a get together at our home, but we are both working and she wants the house to be clean, it is very important to her, and I'm not sure I can do it, in the bit of time I have between getting home from work, decorating the tree and people coming.  She told my kids in a very loving voice to please make sure they cleaned up after themselves that day, so that the house would stay clean for that night.  My hips and legs started to hurt within minutes of her saying that.  They started to hurt really bad.  My shoulders tightened.  I had so much stress at the thought of not being able to guarantee the house would be as clean as she liked it, I felt like crying.

She saw how much pain I was in and suggested I take a bath.  So I did.  I poured in my lavender and Rosemary oils and sat down.  I took a deep breath and asked myself:"What's going on? Why are you feeling this much stress?  You will try to keep the house tidy, that's all you can do. What are you actually afraid of?"
I'm afraid she'll yell at me.
"She's not going to yell at you.  No one is going to yell at you."
I felt my shoulders soften a bit at this thought.  So I repeated it aloud.
"No one is going to yell at you here.  No one is going to yell at you here. No one is going to yell at you here."
Then I began to sob and I hugged myself.

I got out of the bath and my daughter came into the room.  She could tell I had been crying and I told her I was healing, that it had been a good cry.  We had a heart to heart, my son joined us.  For the sake of respecting their privacy I will not get into details of their feelings, but we cuddled and prayed.  Grateful that we have this wonderful safe home to live in.

My daughter really wants to send a Christmas card to a relative of my ex.  Then she turned to me and asked:  "Are we going to put our return address on the envelope?"
Me: "yep."
My daughter: "like with our post box number?" She looked worried and I didn't understand why.
Me: "Is there something wrong?  Is there a reason you can think of why we shouldn't?  Not trying to convince you either way, I just want to understand where you are coming from." Turns out she was concerned my ex would get ahold of the postal code and would write or send unwanted letters.  I explained that if he was going to do that he would have by now because he knows where we live, but that there was nothing to worry about because the police talked to him about not bothering us anymore.

My son pointed out his own trigger today.  He wanted to get rid of an item that reminded him of my ex. He said it gave him bad feelings. I hadn't realized that they were being triggered by objects.  I'm glad he felt like he could tell me, and I threw it out right away.

It's heartbreaking to see that they too are realizing their own residual fear from the relationship. It is also good to know that they feel they can talk to me about their triggers and fears. So now I'm looking into counselling for them and me.  I think we've gone as far as we can go in our healing journey on our own for now.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Total Mind F$(:

Hey, I just wrote this whole long post based on my fear that I might be mentally ill, ie; my possible PTSD... Then as I wrote it I realized, yeah, I may have PTSD.  No, that does not make my ex or certain family members of his "right" in their theories as to why I left.  It does not make my need for no contact any less necessary.  In fact it proves that I need space to heal, which is exactly what I gave myself.  Sometimes a word processor is the best counsellor a person can have.

Monday, November 16, 2015


I woke up and decided to start a ritual where I list in writing or typing things that I am grateful for.  One of which was that my snot was no longer dark green, which means I'm getting over this cold.  Other list items included my kiddos, getting a new job and friends who help me clear out my storage compartment.

Now filling my storage compartment, I was full of anxiety, fear, guilt and I rushed through it as quickly as possible.  I since have noticed that moving boxes or going through them had give me anxiety, flashing back to trying to pack the house while keeping it spotless, taking care of two kids, trying to figure out how to move boxes around with one arm that kept going limp and vertigo that sent me crashing into walls.  Eventually I gave up, emotionally it became too painful to keep packing my stuff,  there were often arguments with my ex after each packing session, so I figured I'd leave whatever was in the house in the house, if he wanted to pack it and get rid of it he would, if he wanted to pack it and give it to me he would.  Either way, being in that house packing up the last bits of my stuff was too hard to bear.  My mental health was more important than "things".

Flash forward to my roommate moving in, I had so many flashbacks to the anxiety of moving out of my house with Scott, that I hid in my room the majority of the time (I'm sure the fact I was 3 days from my period had something to do with that as well).

So this morning I centered myself.  I breathed deep, did a full body scan, and gave myself permission to feel anything I was going to feel without judgement.  It seemed to work.  Though I was a bit absent minded at first, I did very well.

Now, that said, my meditation is just a small part of this.  Mostly it was the support of the women around me that kept my spirit light.  Two awesome people, nonjudgmental, caring and strong were by my side.  We even took a side trip to see one friend's home.  Which was peaceful and inspiring.  Just what I needed.

I carried over 15 containers and boxes up a flight of twisted stairs.  The least weighing 10 pounds, some weighing 35-40 (I do love my books). I did it joyfully and told my body "I love you" repeatedly and laughed sat the ease of it.  We'll see who's laughing in the morning though.

I went through a few of these containers and one had quite the surprise.  Every year after Christmas Scott and I would go into Christmas Thyme and I would buy some of next year's gifts. I had forgotten this.  So, inside was a Christmas Thyme bag with 3 gifts for each of my kids in it.  I started to cry so hard, I actually fell on my knees and bawled right there on the kitchen floor.  Though we are so much happier living where we are without my ex, there's no denying that we have had to tighten our belts financially.  I was worried that this Solstice they would feel the loss of him more, like the visible decrease in gifts would make them feel sadness about leaving, that I alone could not provide the same joy as I could with him.   Now, with my spending budget, There will be close to the same amount of gifts as they have always had.  I didn't ruin Solstice by leaving.

So to add to my list of what I am grateful for, I am grateful for finding those gifts today.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thanks A lot

One of our family rituals was to sing "thanks a lot" before the kids went to sleep.  As I became increasingly ill, the kids came and sat on my bed to sing it and sometimes I would fall asleep before their bedtime and they would sing it with Scott.

Thanks a lot, is based on Raffi's song, but we'd make up our own lyrics about what we were thankful for that day.  On our journey to finding a home, that ritual all but disappeared.  But tonight, we started again and it was beautiful.  There was no hesitation anymore, the kids gratitude slipped easily from their lips with huge smiles on their faces.  Hugs were had while we sang it.

We have daily love rituals; snuggles in my bed in the morning, making dinner together, reading a chapter of a book at night, playing a game and now reintroducing "thanks a lot".  Part of recieveing love is learning how to give it again.  Though I loved my children during this entire process, it felt like we were just getting by for a while. I often felt like all my energy was used up teaching, feeding and cleaning up after them.  The extras, they were just a bonus if I could fit them in.  Now I see how necessary they are, these bonding moments that help to give you that boost, the boost that makes lice laundry not seem so daunting.  The bonding that allows you to respond with more compassion rather than reacting with frustration when they are not listening.

Here's to love rituals and the sense of warmth they provide.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Holy Shit

Getting back on track as we settle into our daily math classes.  Independent learning projects take on lives of their own.  Originally the kids were suppose to study their favourite natural disasters, show me on the globe where they are most likely to happen, explain to me what causes them, then write a fiction short story about someone in that natural disaster and include safety steps.  Jack asked if he could show me in a play instead.  I said "Okay, as long as you write out your play."  They spent an hour this afternoon creating props(Joon has agreed to be in the play as well).

I figured out my credit card issue yesterday, got a job today.  Part time so that I can still homeschool but save some money as well.  I found a friend to be creative with, I'm going to see one of my favourite artists play in December. I'm working on a new fundraiser. My friends are awesome, supportive people.

I'm doing it.  I am living how I want to live.   I think I may have pulled it off.  Holy shit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Looking Both Ways

Today I went to the grocery store with my kids and I didn't check the parking lot for my ex's vehicle.  I got all the way to the Mexican food aisle before I realized it.  This is a sign of healing, I realized and a huge smile spread across my face.

I'm not going to explain the circumstances behind why I feel/felt the need to check for my ex's presence before I go places, because #1 it fuels the fire and #2 I don't owe anyone explanations of my feelings or actions when it comes to him.

What I am going to say is that my brain is obviously re-wiring itself according to my more peaceful existence.  I have been paying attention to my posture and I noticed my chest muscles are looser and standing up straight and tall is easier for me.

Of course acknowledging that you are healing means you have something to heal from.  I am trying to be aware of my triggers, of any mood swings.  I notice when I am feeling a difference of opinion, my body floods with adrenalin, like there's going to be a huge fight.  So I guess that's my next bit of work.  I can get very defensive, very quickly.  I need to breath deep and remind myself: you are safe here.  I'll eventually stop living in adrenalin auto pilot during conversations and it will be just like how I felt safe enough to walk into the grocery store without instinctively checking for my ex's vehicle.

Monday, November 9, 2015


Cyclical thinking patterns.  I need to rewrite my brain.  I'm trying not to judge myself, or be negative about the process, but none the less I catch myself doing two things regularily.

1) What would My ex think about this choice?

For so long I catered my life around keeping him happy (or at least not angry) that every decision I made I evaluated how he would react to it.  I tried to avoid his disapproval and criticism, or give him ammunition for later fights.  I didn't even realize that I was doing this until I enforced my no contact request and began to realize, that it didn't matter anymore what Scott thought of any of my choices. So why am I running this gauntlet with every decision?  At first I was worried I was obsessed with him, but given that I don't remember his girlfriends name, nor do I have any inclination to find out anything about his new life other than what will help me avoid him, I think it's safe to say that this is not obsession. This week I realized that over the years my brain had re wired itself for survival.  That part of my daily exhaustion was all the energy going into thought processes created to avoid conflict.

2) Defending myself in certain scenarios that have already past with members of my ex's family.  How could I have put it better so that they would understand?  When she said this, why didn't I say that?  If I run into that person again what can I say to them?  Usually I feel anger and fear rise up inside me after a while about how they spoke to me, the awful things they did while Scott and I were in a relationship...yadayadayada... Very unhealthy and not helpful at all.  In the end I simply remind myself it's best not to engage. So why do I still do it?  Why do I still need their approval?  Because during my relationship they constantly withheld approval,  Warm one day, cold the next.  Jabbing critical remarks hidden in sarcasm or worse: fake compassion and not just to me, but to eachother as well.  I never felt completely comfortable in their presence.  I never felt like I knew where I stood with most of them. I never loved myself enough to simply walk away and not care what they thought.  Instead I tried to ingratiate myself with them, I was hyper aware of everything I said and did around them, and everything they said and did around me.  It was like how I was with my ex but magnified by the amount of family members in the room.  So very unhealthy.  Now when I find myself  in my head, defending my actions to protect myself and my children from this negativity, I repeat to myself...not my circus, not my monkeys.  Then bring myself into the now.

You see I figure out most things by talking and writing.  So I appreciate all of you being a part of my process.  I hope that if someone else stumbles on my blog experiencing the same things and trying to heal will find some solace in that they are not alone.