PTSD and Staying Grounded While Moving

Last weekend, I moved again. Third time in two years.

After Jack died, I moved three hours away to live near my uncle (who was in assisted living). He passed away at the age of 100 in September. How I miss him!

With my uncle gone, I decided to move to a bigger town and here I am four days in. My new locale is a few minutes from the mountains—but also a few minutes from great shopping, bookstores, tennis courts, yoga classes and so on.

This morning I felt uncoordinated and a little paralyzed. I’m used to feeling like I can’t move. It’s just a feeling. All I have to do is put on music, get in the shower and I’m good to go. But not knowing what direction I’m facing and having no familiarity with the neighborhood exacerbates this kind of stiffness.

I did improv in Chicago in my early twenties. It was a lot of fun and briefly gave me an uncharacteristic sense of well-being and connection to people. Unfortunately, I didn’t know I had PTSD and was baffled and depressed when I’d unpredictably wake up dissociated, numb, encapsulated, or triggered–and couldn’t snap out of it on demand. I eventually dropped out of the show–it’s hard to perform when you can’t feel–but it was great for a while.

This morning, I remembered my improv teacher advising me to walk all over the stage every night before the audience came in. He said it would improve my confidence and give me a sense of the stage as my territory. He was right. It made a big difference.

That’s what I need to do here. Walk, hike, run and drive around my new “stage” to make it my own.

I feel pretty grounded, though, which is fantastic. Someone recently brought up ways of getting grounded. I’ve often come across the idea of sitting and visualizing your spine rooted into the earth, but that never worked for me. I’ve always had to see myself as ready to move at a moment’s notice (fight or take flight as needed!) Someday, I may change and will really dig that kind of grounding imagery, but for now it’s not for me.

I feel grounded when I’m in touch with how I feel physically and emotionally. I was numb for decades. It felt like my body was shot through with Novocain. That changed, particularly after my meds stopped working. (I write about it in my book PTSD: Frozen in Time. See links below.) Doing a mindful body scan from my toes on up calms me down. When I do that, I’m checking out the territory, walking the stage, taking ownership, taking charge–and action when necessary.

If I push away feeling where I’m at, physically or emotionally, I get very anxious–and the more anxious I feel, the more frozen I feel.

When I put on music and dance, I’m glad to inhabit my body. If I’m not sure how I’m feeling emotionally, I can tell by how I respond to different songs.

Speaking of music, driving from the old place to the new on Friday, I heard Burt Bacharach’s “Nikki”. Oh my gosh, it gave me such a sense of where I was at in 1969. It was used as a theme song for one of the big three stations back then. I soaked it up unconsciously, so that when I heard it again fifty years later, I felt a tapestry of emotions I thought were permanently buried.

Music is miraculous and magical. Even though trauma may have shoved us out of a continuous sense of self and we lost time and a sense of safety, sometimes music gives us back what we thought was gone forever–ourselves.

***

Links:

Amazon: PTSD: Frozen in Time

PTSD Frozen in Time at Barnes Noble Apple Kobo Scribd Inktera 24S

 

 

 

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Energy Healing with Diane Goldner: A Follow-Up

Last time I wrote, I talked about having scheduled a long distance healing session with Diane Goldner. I’d read her fascinating book Awakening to the Light twice and was so inspired, I thought I’d book a session.

I’ve written about my tummy pain here before. Ultrasounds, x-rays, blood tests, etc. never showed anything irregular. I was diagnosed with IBS-C, but no matter if I was constipated, cleared out or uncharacteristically regular—I woke constantly every night with mini-explosions of pain in locations all over my stomach. It never lasted beyond waking. It felt so cruel. The worst was a violent wrenching as if someone was twisting my insides. (This only happened when I slept and it didn’t have anything to do with the act of lying down because I read my Kindle every night for an hour or two before sleep in the same lying-down position and had no pain.)

Meds and diet had no effect.

I’ve exercised since I was eighteen, so I always kept things moving. I added yoga and hiking these last six months and I’m glad I did, but that didn’t change anything.

Quitting smoking made no difference (but I’m glad I did that, too).

I worked very hard to clear out resentments and anger that had recycled endlessly for years. I am beyond thrilled that I succeeded in removing almost all of that, but it took a lot of work and persistence. It was hard to lose the irrational feeling that I was accomplishing something by remembering what happened when I was frozen (fight, flight, FREEZE, or collapse) and getting really angry about it. I did work off a lot of rage through exercise years ago, which was immensely helpful. Ultimately, I had to make a conscious choice throughout my days as to what I wanted to focus on in order to create a greater sense of well-being.

It is my belief that all our challenges are for the evolution of our soul, but this winter I was beyond frustrated asking God night after night how this pain was doing me or anyone else any good at all. It felt like torture.

At some point, I became much kinder to myself. When the pain woke me, I started feeling atypical compassion. I’d ask if there was anything I could do to make me feel better like have a treat and watch Casablanca or listen to music on my iPhone or download a great book or make a plan for the next day to go to a thrift shop looking for treasures.

I became my pal this winter, which, in retrospect, I find amazing. I’m 61 and never thought that would happen.

Then I discovered Diane Goldner’s memoir of becoming a healer.

I went into her website and filled out the form requesting a healing. All I said was I had stomach pain. She emailed me a few days later and we set up a time and date. I knew from reading her website that all I would need to do for the session was lie down and relax while she sent healing energy.

She called me shortly before our appointment and we talked for ten or fifteen minutes about what was going on with me. After we hung up, I laid down for forty-five minutes or so. I did feel a bit of tingling, but mostly I felt nothing. She called me afterwards and told me what she picked up. I found her delightful to talk to. There’s a really beautiful and positive energy to her person.

I knew it is not unusual to have an increase in symptoms for a couple nights after the healing, so I was absolutely thrilled when I slept that first night and didn’t wake up once with any pain.

I did have an increase in symptoms the next two nights.

And since then, no pain.

Night after night, absolutely no pain.

It’s like a miracle.

I still wake up frequently, but I’m happy when I wake up because there’s no pain and I’m with my pal. (Me!) It’s just my darn old hyper-vigilance, plus I’m wound up with a lot going on now.

Anyway, energy healing works. I just finished another riveting book by Diane that explains how (to the extent that something ineffable can be explained) called How People Heal. How is not a big issue for me because, as I wrote in my book PTSD Frozen in Time – Amazon, PTSD Frozen in Time – Other Than Amazon, when I got off meds I could see auras around people and had a lot of non-ordinary reality experiences, which blew my mind wide open as to what’s possible.

I just wasn’t sure my soul contract would allow the healing.

But it did.

Hooray!!

The Body Remembers

The body remembers.

What a revolutionary concept that was for me about seven years ago when I got off the PTSD meds and found all the post-trauma symptoms I had in my twenties hadn’t gone anywhere in thirty years. So loyal. The trauma energy I couldn’t safely release after the bad time was over went deep into my body. It’s been one hell of an adventure getting it out.

One of the books that helped me the most back then was The Body Remembers by Babette Rothschild. I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs and in my book PTSD: Frozen in Time. (Amazon: PTSD: Frozen in Time, other booksellers: https://www.books2read.com/u/m0zzRl)

But tonight when I write “the body remembers”, it’s more in reference to the one-year anniversary of my husband’s death. I hadn’t been thinking about it at all, but my body began silently screaming a few weeks ago and there’s just no denying what’s going on now.

I can’t sleep more than 22 minutes at a time. I literally sleep 4 minutes, wake, sleep 12 minutes, wake, sleep 7 minutes, wake and so on all night long. My body is in total hypervigilant mode. I finally get up at some point and just get busy with other things until dawn when I try to sleep again.

And, of course, I’m crying like nobody’s business. I hope once the anniversary is past, my body settles down quickly. I’m so exhausted and don’t need the sleep deprivation hallucinations I had when I met Jack.

I also quit smoking a few weeks ago so I guess I’ve got a double whammy going. For sure I used cigarettes to tamp down anxiety, anger and so on through the years. I’ve never been more aware of the tension I sustain in my stomach throughout the day. Sometimes it feels like there’s an alien in there trying to launch.

I’m moving again, but haven’t found a place yet, which contributes to an unsettled feeling.

Some part of me definitely does not feel safe.

Speaking of parts, I fell asleep on my back for twenty minutes last night with my hands over my tummy and my right hand holding my left. I surfaced back into consciousness and for a couple seconds, my left hand felt the size of a little girl’s. It’s been years since I had that kind of felt-sense experience.

I asked that part of me, that little soul part, What can I do to make you feel safe? What will make you happy? I went to a shaman once for soul retrieval, which I wrote about in my book. I don’t know if I haven’t been taking care of one of the parts of me that returned or what, but I’ll do what I can to address this.

I’ve been waking with uncomfortable surges of energy in my forearms and hands in addition to the usual stomach pain. The Bentyl hasn’t been effective for me at all. I know stomach pain is often a part of the IBS experience, but it’s torture lately.

Thank goodness for great books which I always have on hand and keep me from despair in the night. Here’s a great memoir of an energy healer: Awakening to the Light: My Journey from Investigative Journalist to Energy Healer by Diane Goldner. She went to Barnard and wrote for newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She was a skeptic when she was given an assignment to profile a healer in upstate New York. Eventually, she saw that energy healing works and slowly went from non-believer to incredible healer. I found the memoir fascinating and inspiring, so much so, I read it twice and scheduled a healing with her next week!

I don’t expect to have my tummy pain removed forever after one session or necessarily removed at all. I know pain is always an opportunity to evolve and I may have a lot more evolving to go. A lot of great things have come about as the result of pain. Without it, I would never have gone with Jack twelve years ago and had the incredible life I had with him. I would never have researched alternative healing methods and gotten into meditation, yoga, shamans and so on. I would never have written a bunch of books, some under my name, some under an alias. I never would have moved to Arizona. I could go on and on.

That said, I’ve pretty much had it with this stomach pain. The other side can come up with something different for me to work with. In fact, I’d like to renegotiate the soul contract I entered into upon this incarnation. Jack promised he would get a union going when he got to the other side so we’d have greater representation, but I haven’t gotten any word yet as to that status. I told him whatever he did, not to drink the champagne, etc. they might give him the minute he crosses over or he’ll feel too groovy to take any action.

Anyhoo, I’ll report back on my healing session with Diane Goldner next week.

I hope you listen to some great music today. It always raises my frequency and makes me feel better.

XO

PTSD, Eczema, IBS-C and Hypnotic Regression

At last, good news on the eczema front!!

A brief history.

I got a bad breakout of eczema on the bottom of my feet about this time last year. It was the dry, cracked, bleeding kind and so painful to walk on by September that I barely moved from the couch some days.

I tried Cortisone cream and drugstore creams with oatmeal, all to no avail. (I think they’re created not to heal. If they worked, the manufacturers would go out of business.)

I tried applying diluted apple cider vinegar per earthclinic.com. It burned horribly, probably because the skin was cracked and bleeding. I think the ACV remedy works better with wet eczema vs. dry.

Given eczema is inflammation, I asked, What am I inflamed about? What emotional energy is trying to manifest?

I expected to tap into buried anger, but instead found a disconcerting mix of emotions—anger, sadness, frustration, regret, fear, nostalgia, hope—all wound together tight as a drum.

I’ve practiced Trauma Releasing Exercises for years now. It’s been fantastic relieving me of some of my PTSD symptoms, but it’s had no effect on my feeties.

I meditated frequently and before going deep, I’d ask to be shown how to heal the eczema. Occasionally in the past, I’ve gotten “screen shot” answers on different questions, but in response to this one, the Universe remained silent.

I went to an acupuncturist three times. Relaxing, but it didn’t seem to change anything.

Because of my experience releasing buried trauma energy (see PTSD: Frozen in Time or https://www.books2read.com/u/m0zzRl), I kept thinking the answer lies in my body. Whatever I dissociated through the years, I came to understand “the body remembers”. (Also the title of a great PTSD book by Babette Rothschild.) So I took up yoga, going two or three times a week, to access muscles I rarely use hoping to release whatever energy I might have absorbed, but not processed.

I also began hiking regularly in the mountains. How I love the silence there. The beautiful, healing and vibrant silence. The shamans say nature heals, so at the beginning of the hikes, I’d ask the spirit of the mountains and the spirit of the desert and the spirit of the Hohokum Native Americans for their healing energy. (I brought them each a small gift.)

My wellbeing definitely improved and I  sometimes found myself feeling uncharacteristically calm.

Then I came across a YouTube video that recommended topically applying castor oil to the eczema. I gave it a try and it’s working! I’ve been doing it a month now and today, there’s only about 10% of the eczema left.

HOORAY!!!

***

As for the IBS-C…BOO!!!

I decided to try a few Reiki sessions, as well as hypnotic regression therapy, to see if they could alleviate the tummy pain that almost nightly prevents me from sleeping or wakes me all night long.

I went to a GI doctor first to see if anything had changed since I had tests done in Chicago. The ultra sound showed no sign of abnormality. My blood tests were normal, too, which was reassuring since sometimes, when I’m going on the fifth night of broken sleep and severe pain, I’m absolutely certain I’m dying.

Anyhoo, the doctor gave me a two-week’s sample supply of Trulance. It didn’t work for me, although I read in online forums that a lot of people have success with it. (Just as well it wasn’t effective for me, since the copay was over $400. There are coupons available for 90-day supplies, but I don’t know how much they’d knock off the price.)

Then the doctor called in a scrip for Linzess, but the copay on that was over $300 for a month’s supply, so not an option.

I tried Amitiza a couple years ago. Didn’t work for me, although it helps my cousin.

The doctor also gave me the anti-spasmodic Bentyl (generic: Dicyclomine) with the instructions that I could take up to four 10 mg. pills a day.

In the beginning, I waited for the pain before taking a pill and found it didn’t help much or if it did, it took several hours.

Then I took it regularly (4X a day). It seemed like I felt better after a week or ten days. I was shocked to find myself sleeping like a baby through the entire night a few times. (A side effect of Bentyl is drowsiness.)

Oh, the sleep was heaven.

I also seemed more regular.

I kept expecting weight loss between the yoga, mountain climbing and my normal 1-½ hour workouts 5X a week. Instead, I gained several pounds in ten days!! I couldn’t believe it. I researched online and discovered another potential side effect of this drug is weight gain.

Total bummer.

I stopped taking it and started feeling crummy again. I decided three days ago to eat less and take the Bentyl regularly again. I’ve had two really bad nights, but it can take up to two weeks to kick, so the jury’s still out on this one.

***

I’m going to a seminar with Dr. Brian Weiss this weekend. He’s written several books about hypnotic regression and reincarnation, including his most popular: Many Lives, Many Masters. You can check him out on YouTube.

Evidently, some people lose their phobias, anxiety and all kinds of disabling physical conditions by doing hypnotic regression and recalling the previous life that explains their current issue. It would be so great if I regressed to a previous life where I was run through the tummy by a sword or something and, in remembering, became forever free of my tummy pain.

I don’t expect this will happen. The tummy issue might be tied into my soul’s evolution for this life, but you never know. Here’s hoping.

I’ll report back.

PTSD and the Dimming of the Thinking Brain

A couple weeks ago, I went to dinner at someone’s house. Another couple in their late sixties was invited. The wife seemed a little subdued with eyes cast down a lot. She turned out to be a real doll–friendly and kind. Her husband was a charismatic, tough guy from New Jersey. Very successful in construction.

I talked to him a few minutes and thought, He’s a walking time-bomb. I hope he doesn’t drink too much.

At the beginning, everyone was talking together. I was in good form and had no trouble articulating my thoughts and interacting with others.

As the night went on and the tough guy got loaded, he began to dominate the conversation and express a lot of anger about what’s threatening the running of this country.

Then I heard him use the “n” word and my stomach cascaded. I thought, OMG, get me outta here.

His wife turned to me and started asking me about what mascara I used and other “girl talk” stuff and suddenly I found I could not access my vocabulary. I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I could see it, but I couldn’t find the words.

My thinking brain was going dim.

***

Brain scans show that when the survival brain is activated, the thinking brain or neocortex, all but shuts down.

It makes sense. We don’t need to be wasting time in reflection and contemplation when danger is at hand.

As with so many of us with a history of childhood trauma, I usually go into instant calm mode when people act nuts or there’s an emergency.

But not always.

For me, if I’m in a situation which mimics some aspect of my original trauma, I get triggered.

Luckily, I’m not a child anymore. I have choices. I can walk away from situations I don’t like and, in this case, that’s what I did.

***

I continue having a rough time with IBS pain, sleeplessness, and burnout since Jack’s death. I went to an acupuncturist three times. I liked her very much and found the sessions quite relaxing.

Alas, it did not help me.

Yesterday, I went to a hypnotherapist. I’d read Brian Weiss’ fascinating books on hypnotic regression and the miracle cures they often bring and thought maybe this could help.

Unfortunately, this guy turned out to be a self-important showman type and was not helpful. I could see doing hypnotherapy another time with someone who has been recommended to me.

I found a Reiki person. I’ll meet with her Wednesday for a free consultation.

You know, I love life so much. I love going out on my tiny patio in the mornings and looking at the beautiful trees and gorgeous blue sky. I love the smell of the air. It’s always fresh and a little different every day. It rained yesterday and the air smelled like cedar. I love the sunlight that comes through my windows in the morning. I love the mountains in the distance. I love connecting with people, but this pain and fatigue has undermined my energy so much, I only go out (dinner with the fascist aside) when I have to for necessary errands. I keep thinking, When will I be well enough to meet people?

When I was young, I wondered why my uncle talked so much when he came to dinner after my grandmother died. (He always lived with her.) I think it’s because he had no one to talk to. I understand now. I’m like the lonely old lady who doesn’t talk to anyone all day so she bends the ear of the guy behind the fish counter for twenty minutes and tries to engage the checkout ladies and post office people and so on.

I had the biggest laugh on the phone with a stranger the other day. I was making a first time appointment with a potential primary care physician and the office lady who took my info just cracked me up.

Who is to say when and where we’re going to connect with people or what the perfect scenario is for making new friends? I kept thinking, I’m not getting out. I’m not meeting people.

But I do get out. I do meet and talk to people at the post office, at the grocery store, at the pharmacy, at Walmart–everywhere I go.

It’s just not the way I imagined.

PTSD, Eczema, IBS-C, and Thoughts of a Thursday in December

First off, a follow-up on the application of apple cider vinegar to the eczema on the bottom of my feet.

It didn’t help in any way.

Please don’t take my experience as universal. A lot of people on earthclinic.com said it worked for them. Maybe the nature of my eczema, which looks like a big red burn on the middle of each of my feet, isn’t conducive to that kind of remedy. The skin is extremely dry, peels and burns. There are no – sorry to gross you out – pustules. Maybe it would work better for that kind of condition.

I had this kind of dream of life planned after Jack and my uncle died. I’d get up early and hike in the mountains or do my walk/sprints nearby on pretty landscaped streets. I’d meet someone to hit balls with on a tennis court. I’d do yoga regularly at a place a few blocks away. I’d attend my support meetings and meet new friends. Maybe I’d volunteer at a stable and curry horses or volunteer at a hospital.

But the Universe has given me a big fat NO to these ideas.

Ever since my uncle’s memorial mid-November, my stomach has been killing me. It’s IBS-C and wakes me all night. Sometimes I can’t sleep at all. I might go four nights with little or no sleep, which is a total drag. I do not want to ever be so sleep deprived again that I hallucinate as I did years ago. (See my book PTSD: Frozen in Time or the short-read Startle: A True Story of PTSD and the Paranormal on Amazon or https://www.books2read.com/u/m0zzRl for other online stores.)

Interestingly, the inflamed area on my feet correlates to the stomach/GI area in the reflexology chart.

As far as the body-mind connection goes, if it’s anger trying to erupt, if it’s that simmering beneath my skin, I wish I could feel it, so I could release it.

Sadness, I release every day.

I wonder if it could be feelings of horror at what Jack and my uncle went through since I had a nightmare last night of a family having been horribly murdered in a camper outside my bedroom window. There was often no time to absorb, process and release trauma energy in the hospitals last year. Ditto with my uncle this summer.

Anyhoo, as a result of the pain and increasing exhaustion, I haven’t left the house much, but I do go to the post office almost every day of the week because I have a little business selling products on the internet.

Last week, I stood in line at USPS and started talking to the guy in front of me. He emanated such an incredible healing energy, he practically glowed.

When he told me he was 78 and a Viet Nam veteran, I said, “Forgive me for asking, but did you develop PTSD?”

His face clouded a moment. “Yes.”

I said, “You have such a healing energy around you, it’s tangible. Do you still have PTSD?”

He said, “No.”

I said, “How did you heal it?”

He smiled big and pointed towards the sky.

Our conversation soon ended as it was his turn next at the USPS counter.

I have no doubt he experienced a miracle.

Unfortunately, we don’t all get them. Although, when you think about it, if all of us did get miracles on demand for disabling conditions or difficult scenarios, what an absurd world it would be.

It’s my belief we choose to incarnate to evolve our souls (or contribute to the progress of mankind) through various challenges. We don’t necessarily see the details of how we might suffer or be challenged, but we know the issues we will work through as a result.

In Ram Dass’ Polishing the Mirror, he talks about being aware of our storyline in this incarnation, of being a witness to the soap opera or melodrama in order to get distance and perspective on it. I like that.

As for pain, he says, “Once you start to awaken spiritually, you reperceive your own suffering and start to work with it as a vehicle for further awakening.”

He admits when he had a stroke, he was overwhelmed for a while–I think for a few years–but eventually he saw it as a vehicle that pushed him into his soul.

He said “I am inside, and I live with the pain—not as the pain, but with the pain.”

Whatever we believe about this mystery of life we’re in the midst of, when we experience pain and suffering, we have a choice: to find a way to benefit from it or give up somehow, push it away, numb ourselves, get lost in blame and the details of the soap opera.

I certainly numbed myself for years, inadvertently with PTSD meds and, later, purposely with painkillers.

I’m not numb anymore, that’s for sure.

I wish I was as evolved as Ram Dass and felt my pain as grace, but I’m not that refined a soul at this point.

I do try to find a way to make periods like I’m going through work for me. I have plans ready for when the pain wakes me at night like working on my novel or writing to someone. Sometimes I’ll plug in my earbuds and listen to Binaural Beats while doing mindful mediation. I pray for others when I hurt, too.

When I do get quality sleep, oh happy day!! I’m appreciative of everything–the clear blue sky, the fresh air, the delightful palm trees, the comforting mountains surrounding the valley. Yesterday, I felt almost unreasonable joy dancing around my kitchen to The Isley Brothers’ “Harvest for the World”.

I went to the post office and started talking to the woman behind me. She was a 71-year old black lady named Fannie Mae. I was so grateful for her warmth, openness and kindness. The pain has isolated me. She told me a little about her life as we stood outside later and I told her a little about mine. She told me she sang. I asked her what kind of songs she sang. She said, “I’ll sing two.” And right there and then, outside the post office, she sang me two gospel songs. She had a beautiful voice. The first song made me cry–in a good way–and the second made me smile inside.

The Universe said YES.

How People Accidentally Overdose on Painkillers and Other Thoughts of a Tuesday Night in November

I was addicted to painkillers almost twenty years ago. They gave me a sense of wellbeing.  I’d felt so lousy—so numb or filled with despair or obsessed and angry—for so long, I was absolutely thrilled to feel good. I didn’t care that its source was synthetic.

I don’t remember when I began taking more to get the same effect, but it was inevitable. Nature of the beast. After a couple years, I was taking fourteen a day during the work week and up to thirty on weekend days.

I remember going to bed one night and not being able to sleep. Although usually my mix of painkillers, Tofranil and Zyprexa knocked me out, every so often it didn’t.

So there I was, staring at the ceiling, debating whether or not to get up. All of a sudden, I became aware I wasn’t breathing. I thought it strange I didn’t have the normal sense that preceded the need to inhale. As a minute ticked by and I still didn’t feel any physical discomfort or bodily alarm at not breathing, I decided maybe I should stop contemplating the phenomenon and make myself inhale.

After I exhaled, again my body didn’t inhale on its own. I forced another inhale. This happened a few times before I got nervous. Something was clearly wrong. I figured if I exercised a little, everything would go back to normal. I walked around my apartment a while and finally sat on the couch, confident I was breathing normally again, but I felt too nervous to go back to bed before dawn.

Years later I learned that too much painkiller in your system can stop the mechanism that governs breathing. Your body can become unpredictably toxic from narcotics it hasn’t been able to metabolize. When this happens, your brain just doesn’t get the message to inhale anymore.

Unfortunately, the body doesn’t give you any advance notice that it’s becoming this toxic, so one day you take the same amount of pills you took the day before, but this time when you fall asleep, you don’t wake up again.

I think doctors should tell patients about this possibility and pharmaceutical companies (ha!) should label their painkillers with warnings that the drug may unpredictably stop you from breathing.

***

I’ve noticed that since Jack died, I’ve had this embarrassing compulsion to talk too much. I mean, it’s really excessive and it feels like I can’t stop it. I’ll become aware I’m doing it and say to the person I’m talking to, “Oh my gosh, I hear myself, and I’m talking too much and feel like I can’t stop.”

You can imagine their expression hearing this.

I’ve felt almost powerless over it and it’s demoralizing. I never did this before. I used to be so socially adept. Wha’ happen?

I was reading Victor Frank’s Man’s Search for Meaning a few weeks ago. At one point, he writes about the days after liberation from Auschwitz. He says of another inmate,

“…he began to talk, often for hours. The pressure which had been on his mind for years was released at last. Hearing him talk, one had the impression that he had to talk, that his desire to speak was irresistible. I have known people who have been under heavy pressure only for a short time…to have similar reactions.”

I felt a little better after reading that. I was under a lot of pressure taking care of Jack on my own 24/7 after we moved to Arizona. I was taking care of him in Chicago, too, but psychologically I was always aware his daughter lived nearby if we needed her. My brother’s family was close as well. In our home near Tucson, we had no one. My uncle and cousin were three hours away.

It’s a lot of pressure being a caretaker, especially when the one you love more than anyone in the world appears to be dying.

I’ve released a lot of buried trauma and emotional energy over the years. This unconscious, compulsive release through talking has a different feel to it. I’d like to find another way of releasing that energy than talking incessantly to strangers.

***

The eczema on the bottom of my feet that appeared a month before Jack died has not gone away. I’ve used the usual Cortisone creams and stopped scratching. Still, it remains.

It is not uncommon for those with PTSD to have eczema. When you’re going through trauma or intense stress and you are flooded with stress hormones (cortisol!), the body becomes ripe for inflammatory conditions like eczema.

I looked up remedies on earthclinic.com and a lot of people said applying diluted apple cider vinegar was a miracle cure. I mixed a solution of half water-half ACV and applied it to the bottom of my feet with a paper towel. I rinsed after twenty minutes. I was shocked to find it stopped the itching. I’ve been applying the solution every day. It has not cleared up the inflamed areas, but the eczema isn’t increasing and it continues not to itch. It’s only been a week. I’ll update.