Perpetual Change

* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”

* Remember that two anthologies are seeking submissions:

1. .Jade Miller is working on an anthology about the difficulty of finding a therapist who can work with DID or other forms of dissociation. Write her at thetraumasurvivorstale@gmail.com

2. I am seeking submissions for an anthology of accounts of forced abortion, sacrifice, or forced adoption of babies in a cult setting. Contact me through the comments section, rahome@ra-info.org or RA Projects, PO Box 14276, 4304 18th St., San Francisco CA 94114.

* DID Awareness Day was a great success. The powertotheplurals Facebook page alone got 100,000 hits! https://www.facebook.com/groups/250575105622931/permalink/ 297502367596871/

* Powertotheplurals presents “Plural Positivity World Conference” on the Internet Saturday, March 30 throug Monday, April 1. Information, including the conference schedule (scroll all the way down) is at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c2KYOgyKaysMo6NTQYLlv2GKYLeaXzFMBVqSYtdyUEU/edit#heading=h.v0yqprrnr0sphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/250575105622931/permalink/ 297502367596871/

~~~~~

I’ll be honest. I hate change. I hate it and fear it. When I was a kid, whatever I was doing, I always knew just how safe or unsafe I was. If I was sitting there doing my homework, I knew I was not being beaten or raped or anything, but I never knew what was going to happen the next minute. And therefore for me, even as an adult, change always comes with the possibility of leading to disaster.

When I am really stressed out and lots of old feelings have been stirred up, I can be so afraid that I have a really hard time not just leaving the house, but going from one room to another. I can see what’s in my bedroom, for instance, but I can’t see into the bathroom and therefore I have no idea who or what might be lurking there, waiting to trap me. The fear is so great that I can sit in a trance for an hour or more. I finally get the courage to start talking my way through my fears. That can take another half hour.

There are other situations when I get paralyzed with fear. When driving, I am sure I will get lost and nobody will ever see me again. I have to tell myself that I have a full tank of gas, a charge card, maps, and a mouth I can use to ask directions. I will be okay and I will get home again, even if I do get lost. I have soothed myself with those words zillions of times. Sometimes the ghost of another old threat comes back and I am afraid that if I go out I will be gunned down in the street. That won’t happen if I stay home, of course. My agoraphobia is never simple.

Change never stops, even when I trick myself into thinking everything is stable. I don’t notice the little things, like how my hair grows, and I often close my eyes to medium-sized things, like how my waist grows. I find that the really big things are impossible to ignore, though.

Some people adore change and seek it out. They take risks and get high on the adrenaline rush. They are always on the go, doing things, seeking out new experiences. If for some reason they have to stay still, say in a traffic jam, they get antsy and bored and uncomfortable. Not me, my friend, no, not me.

If these folk have trauma in their past, perhaps they were so flooded with cortisol and adrenaline that they have can’t live without them. When things are calm, they go into withdrawal. They need the jolt of risky behaviors to feel alive. They live fast and hard, always seeking the next thrill.

And then there are those lucky people who are balanced. Either they had pretty darn good childhoods or they have worked through things long enough that they have learned to neither freeze at change nor rush to experience it, creating it if necessary. If they encounter real present-day danger, they can quickly mobilize to fight or escape. If things are calm, they can enjoy the peace and quiet. In between, they can modulate their state of arousal in response to the amount of external stimulus.

That’s the direction I am going in and I feel frozen in panic much, much less often. I’ve learned to welcome and embrace some changes, even to rejoice in them. (Like how much better life is knowing what was the matter all those long years and learning new ways of living with my past.) Acceptance brings a certain peace. I know I cannot prevent changes from happening, they are part of all life, and of the existence of all inanimate things, too. Why fight it? Why be afraid of all changes? Better to save my energy for those battles I can fight and fight them with courage and perseverance and patience and grace.

~~~~~

Upcoming Holidays

March
3/17 St Patrick’s Day
3/20 Full moon
3/20 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
April
4/1 April Fools’ Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/14 Palm Sunday
4/19 Full moon
4/19 Good Friday
4/20 Holy Saturday
4/21 Easter Sunday
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve
May
5/1 Beltane
5/12 Mothers’ Day
5/18 Full moon
5/18 Armed Forces Day
5/27 Memorial Day

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
3/20 – 3/21 Purim (Deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in Persia)
4/19 – 4/27 Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)
4/20 Hitler´s actual birthday
4/21 Hitler’s alternative birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday and half-birthday on 4/20 and 10/20 and his actual birthday and half-birthday on Easter of the current year and six months later.)
4/30 Anniversary of Hitler’s death
5/1 – 5/2 Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day)
5/8 V-E Day (Victory in Europe, WW2)
5/7 – 5/8 Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day, Day of Remembrance)
5/8 – 5/9 Yom HaAtzma´ut (Israeli Independence Day)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)

Drowning in Beauty

May we all have a happier new year.

Don’t know whether you remember I was running away for Christmas to visit my friend in Arizona and take a trip to Moab in Utah. Well, I did, and there was very little evidence of Christmas in either place. I hardly even thought about ritual abuse. Mission accomplished!

Moab was incredible. The first day there we went for a drive, and it was so beautiful I burst into tears. There were all these red rocks on either side of the road towering hundreds of feet above us. Hundreds. I am not exaggerating. The town is in a little valley and every place you look, 360 degrees, there were red rocks.

This is high desert country, with elevations between 4000 and 7000 feet. Outside of town you look across barren ground broken only by sparse grasses and small shrubs. The ground is reddish because the soil is made of tiny particles eroded from those gigantic rocks. The vegetation was brown because the rainy season hadn’t started; however there was enough water and nourishment for rabbits and deer and other critters. It reminded me of driving through the Australian desert and seeing Ularu soaring up in the middle of nowhere. Except here, Ularu was all around us.

Christmas Day, we stayed in out little cabin, loafed, read magazines, and watched the snow fall gently around us. That was the only day it snowed and the rest of the time we drove through the La Sal mountains, Arches National Park and, on the last day, Monument Valley. We shared the road with deer, who were fearless, and cattle, who were just as fearless when we leaned on the horn. We saw ravens and buzzards and some tumbleweed, even though it was the wrong time of year. I was in heaven.

I did none of the driving, so I felt very well taken care of. We had been good friends for several years but we had never spend that much uninterrupted time together. We both are in chronic pain and when we are tired we get sort of grumpy. So much time together could have been a recipe for disaster, but we both were understanding and forgiving. The last couple of days were a real treat – we went over our ways of communicating and figured out patterns that cause misunderstandings. I’ve only done that in therapy, and that is pretty one-sided. I learned so much about her and about myself; when I am not clear, when I jump to conclusions about the other person, when she thought I was saying one thing but it was another.

I don’t want to give the impression that all was well 24/7. The day we were supposed to check into the cabin we arrived after the sun set. Of course we got hopelessly lost in back-country roads, up in the mountains, no houses within sight, no useful map, snow on the road, and no snow tires. After about two hours I suggested we call AAA and ask what to do. She heard AARP and thought that was the stupidest thing she had heard in a long time.

Finally we found a place with cell phone reception and called the company that managed the cabins. A sweet young guy talked us down to the road we were supposed to be on. Except we were twenty miles away from the turn off and he thought we were just a few yards from it. Eventually that got straightened out. Boy did we sleep well that night!

I was happy that I walked more than twice as much as I do on a good day at home, even with the altitude and getting out of breath. I hadn’t walked in snow for twenty or thirty years, and I could do it without losing my balance. Except one time, when I misjudged the steepness of a little slope, my weight was too far back, and I fell over backwards. I rolled to the right, so I didn’t hit my head, but my ankle is badly bruised. That’s the risk you take when you go bravely into an unfamiliar situation saying, “Of course I can do it” rather than, “I’m too scared. You go and have fun and I will stay here in the car and be bored.”

In case you hadn’t guessed, I want to go back next year.

PS I wanted to include pictures, but I am working on Windows and have no idea how to do anything. I’ll show you some fantastic pictures when I get home.

Lost in Space

A couple of things I wrote about in “Lost in Time” belong here, too. Forgetting where I put my favorite suitcase resulted in it’s being heaven knows where, just plain gone. I guess time and space go hand in hand.

I want to organize this post around not being in my body. I used to think that meant that I feel my consciousness living just behind my right shoulder and that all my dreams and memories are from that point of view. I quizzed some non-abused people and they remember things from the point of view of right behind their eyes, so the scene look the way it did when they saw it. Weird!

My therapist explained no, that’s interesting, but not being in your body means you aren’t aware of where your body is in space, in relation to other things. That explained why I fell so often and why I bumped into walls and furniture. Walking into a wall was embarrassing, but tables left nice big bruises.

It also explained why I could recognize landmarks, but not be able to put them in sequence or judge the distance between them. Driving to the supermarket for the millionth time, I never knew whether the pink house came before or after the white church. I knew I had to turn right, but where? Everybody was amazed at how easily I got lost and how often that seven minute drive turned into a good half hour.

About ten years ago I learned how to stop walking into things. I spoke out loud to myself and said things like, “We are getting close to the table.” “Watch where you put your feet — there is a cat around here someplace.” It helped a lot. Now that I use a walker, I’m even safer in the apartment because it’s the walker that hits things, not my body.

Only now am I learning to orient myself in larger spaces. When I go to make that right turn, I look at the houses across the street, describe them to myself, and tell myself it’s time to make the right turn. For some reason, I have to say it out loud. The sound of my voice breaks the trance I am in and focuses my attention on the outside world.

I think I have figured out how this came to be. When I was a kid, I often knew that I was safe, for the moment, where I was, but I never knew what awaited me in the next room or at the end of a car ride. In order to protect myself from anticipated harm, I put myself in a trance before I needed to. I learned to turn my attention inward rather than to my surroundings. I did it so often that it’s my normal state. (By the way, this fear of what might be around the corner explains my agoraphobia, too.)

This is normal every-day stuff. I know that others get lost in much larger spaces, even other dimensions. But I don’t time-travel or go to the astral plane, or if I do, I don’t recognize or remember it. I imagine that offers a whole new realm to get lost in. And flashbacks are a special way of returning to prior time and past surroundings. If you have one foot in the present and know that you are having a flashback, you are really in two places at once. That’s amazing when you think about it!