The road less traveled.

So, it turns out, I’m still struggling with getting my thoughts and actions balanced again after falling apart a few weeks ago.  “Falling apart” actually describes what happens to me quite accurately.  As I said before, it is as though my self, mind, and emotions become fragile glass that gets shattered by too much pressure.  That pressure is usually fueled by fear, hopelessness, and isolation.  Now, I can recognize it, be kind to myself and allow myself the time to recover, weeks, maybe a month or so, versus the years I spent in these shattered states. So forgive my tardy posting.  I have always chosen the road less traveled, I really don’t like crowds! To others, it may seem a more difficult path, but it is the only way I have become the Prevailer I am today. I prevail because no matter what, I’m still standing!

During my breakdown in 1979/80, I went to an Alanon family retreat in North Bay where Sister Peg O’ Connor helped people learn how to live with an alcoholics in their lives. She was tough and didn’t pull any punches when she challenged us to take a good honest look at ourselves and our lives; she let us know it was OK to go ahead and have a life in spite of the alcoholic.  Since alcohol and drugs had played a big factor in my mental illness I couldn’t deny it when Sister Peg told me I was an alcoholic/addict, needed more help, and recommended Vita-Way Farm in Powassan (Outside North Bay) where you would live for 9 months to rehabilitate.

Yes, it is THAT place founded by Father John Fisher, who I knew to be the angriest, most foul-mouthed, chain-smoking priest I ever met. I didn’t know about the sexual abuse he perpetrated on some of the young men until after the allegations came out in 2008 and I am not surprised. I am so sorry for all of his victims but will tell my story as it happened for me.

Actually, I was relieved that someone knew what was wrong with me and how to fix it because I was completely lost. I went home and struggled for a few months waiting to get in. Once there, I started to get one eye-opening experience after another.

We started our days with actual farm chores and that huge shock to the olfactory really made me question my life choices. There were group meetings where we learned and practiced 7 steps that had been adapted from the 12 steps to be more teen-friendly.  They dealt with taking an honest look at yourself, admitting your shortcomings, become willing to change, making changes and keeping all this going on a daily basis.  The girls did all the cooking and cleaning and the guys did the bigger farm jobs after we all fed them in the mornings.  I didn’t feel like a troubled teen and never really felt like I fit in there, but then again I hardly ever do feel like I fit in.

After a couple of months, I started to feel like I HAD to go home and impulsively decided I was leaving. When I told Father Fisher he lite a smoke with the butt of his old one and spit out, “Going to go and suck off your mother’s tit some more, eh?” I was appalled and defiantly packed my bag and started the long, long walk into North Bay, 30 km away, in -20 weather.  One of the farm workers came by and gave me a ride to the bus station after about 30 minutes of walking that long highway.  My Mother was instantly concerned that I would retreat into old habits and when I got home off the bus she had her Alanon friend Pauline and her husband Norm visiting for coffee. Norm just happened to be in AA and invited me to a meeting that night. I went to appease my Mother but I started going to a meeting a day and soon you couldn’t keep me in the house so I sure felt like something was working.

Next time I will let you know how I’m doing and tell a bit more about my journey on the road less traveled.

 

Thanks for reading, caring and supporting me.

Well, that happened.

So, I missed last week’s post because I had a PTSD attack that left me feeling shattered mentally and emotionally; my thinking was disordered and I just couldn’t get my act together. At one time, I spent months and years in that state. During most of my childhood, adolescence, and off and on into my early 30s. How I have succeeded at anything is kind-of amazing because I have fought mental fog most of the time. Here is what happened, what I learned and how I am coping today.

I have had to have a human roommate to cover my expenses the last few years that I have lived on a disability pension and the situation has become a huge problem! I handled everything OK for the first couple of days, but as my home became more stressful, I began to feel less and less safe, no violence, but the stress made the air thicker and my home became disordered while the situation is being dealt with.

Sometime last Monday, October 2, I ‘broke’; like a fragile piece of blown glass. I felt hopeless, weak and I couldn’t stop crying. I knew that the situation wasn’t that intense, but my PTSD was triggered and I was feeling the intensity of my past victimhood because of it.  Unlike the past though, I wasn’t embarrassed by my state,  I recognized it for PTSD and talked about it with a few people in my awesome support network. The other person I talked it through with was myself, I repeatedly reminded myself that I was ACTUALLY in this moment and have the skills to handle anything.  I practiced a lot of breathing exercises, mindful meditations, and positive self-talk to get myself out of it.

Within 5 – 6 days I was through the emotional and mental anguish of a PTSD attack, but then had crippling pain in all my arthritic joints: my fingers, hands, wrists, knees, ankles, and feet. I also had the digestive issues that accompany mental anguish for me and it took another week to recover from that, but look at me! Back at it in hardly no time at all!

I have already learned more about myself and my needs. My home has to be my haven, my port from the storm of life, the place I feel safe on every level.  I am not the fragile piece of blown glass I once was, I’m more like a Corel dish today, I can take being dropped a few times and I will bounce back LOL.

I have acquired, practiced and now own coping skills! I CAN reason with myself, I CAN reach out to someone, I CAN voice my pain and expectations and I am heard. I CAN be fragile and I WILL survive it. Fragility just means I am human.

Next week I will get back to my past story and another piece to the Lyn puzzle that is ME!

Thank you to all those friends and family that support me!