emotional trauma

Trauma Response

Like the sea cucumber
I protected myself
Spewing my guts
At anyone who drew near

Go away before I get too attached.

Like the abandoned stray
Quivering with hope and fear
Once given scraps
I clung, unrelentingly

No, stay, I need you to survive.

Like the porcupine
Trapped and under attack
Spraying sharp quills
Piercing the inquisitive

I’m dangerous, keep your distance.

Like the sinuous feline
Not to be ignored
Winding around legs and feet
My insistent presence tripping you

Pay attention to me, on my terms only.


Shaped by trauma.
Forged in neglect.
Informed by abandonment.
Afflicted with mental illness.

Is this at all familiar?

Trauma Is Not Your Fault, But Healing Is Your Responsibility


Taking the good from the bad

I’ve had a couple of occasions over the past few days where others have made me reevaluate some things and make me think about what’s good in the midst of the things that feel so bad.  My friend Dan from dan4kent commented on a recent post that reading my blog has become a mental vacation for him.


How in the world is it possible that this angst-ridden public display of me slogging through my difficulties with relationships, depression, and fibromyalgia could give anyone a mental vacation? I’m not sure that I understand how or why it is, but maybe I don’t have to.  Maybe it is just enough that I accept that there is someone out there who is able to appreciate and benefit from what I write about.

The focus of the writing is about my life, thoughts, feelings, and relationships with others.  A lot of what I write, when I’m writing is my mental and emotional trauma and drama pouring itself out through my fingers on the keyboard and appearing onscreen in what I try to make comprehensible, if only to myself.  I do very little editing and revising, however, I do try to read through it and determine if I could understand what was being said if I was reading someone else’s writing.  Essentially though, it is stream of consciousness writing.

Maybe what I’m writing isn’t as narcissistic as the mental voices tell me it is.  Reading through many of the comments I get, shows me that other people can relate and understand what I’m going through and they offer encouragement and hope.  Sometimes I get a comment from someone who has benefited in some way from reading what I’ve written.

Dan tells me my writing here is a display of quiet and powerful courage.  Others have said they don’t know how I open myself up and put myself “out there” like this and seem admiring of the fact I have done so.  To be absolutely clear, this blog is my lifeline.  It is the only place in my life where I can open up to myself about all the things that are affecting my ability to function in the real world.  Unless there is some kind of external obligation or crisis happening, I’m almost a non-functional vegetable.

Being able to have this space helps me to process, store, set aside, and let go of overwhelming emotions and churning thoughts.  It’s helping me to start to deal with the accumulated mental and emotional clutter and to keep my head above the waves of suffocating thoughts, feelings, and events that my life seems to continuously consist of.

Sometimes, I’m able to reach the shore and even explore what other people have written and how they live and deal with their lives.  Which winds up helping me too, if only to get out of my own head for a while.  I guess that may be what Dan meant by a mental vacation.  So, even though much of what I write about feels “bad” to me there’s a lot of good that is coming from it and it isn’t just for me, which makes the good even better.

The other thing that happened to make me reconsider the things I have seen as bad, was in a home visit today from two of the service providers now involved in our lives.

We spent a lot of time discussing the current circumstances and factors that contribute to or exacerbate Luna’s issues:

  • Jerry’s job for the past 6 months as an OTR truck driver
  • Jerry’s unexpected unemployment
  • The past legal issues that are impacting his employability, which we just recently found out about
  • My untreated health issues
  • The disconnects in our relationship with each other that make co-parenting problematic
  • The possibility of undiagnosed issues with Jerry
  • The past relationship issues

During the discussion we also went over all the things that have been and are being done to deal with things:

  • Engaging and coordinating multiple service agencies in providing support for Luna: Educational, Therapeutic, & Social
  • Applying for necessary economic supports with regards to housing, unemployment, food, and medical benefits, and
  • Obtaining the details from the other state with the warrant and sending a solution based letter to their judge

It turns out there is an active bench warrant for Jerry for passing a bad check in 1999.  He sincerely thought the issue had been resolved.  When he was on active duty and had the money to resolve the issue, he had sent it to an extended family member to pay it off.  He had been reassured it was resolved and didn’t follow up with the court.

It took a couple of phone calls: transfers, disconnects, and call backs, before we finally got someone who could give us information.  She was barely civil. I finally had to stop her and tell her that I needed to speak and felt that she wasn’t listening to me because she had the information she had.  Initially, she tried to tell Jerry to turn himself into their sheriff’s office, not going to happen.  We got the case number and the fax number and she said we could write a letter and fax it to the judge.  She refused to give even her first name.

As soon as we got off the phone with her, I found their mailing address and composed the letter.  I knew that part of the letter needed to contain a solution to get the obligation cleared, but with Jerry being unemployed, we don’t have the money to pay it.  So, I did the research and contacted the Department of Community Justice for our county and called the manager of the Community Service office to see if Jerry would be able to do community service here to satisfy the judgment there.  It can be done, but the request has to come from the other state. I included his name and contact information, suggesting that community service here as an option to resolve the matter.

Our visitors were amazed and complimentary about my ability to know how to navigate all of these things and come up with the solutions, especially the ones regarding the legal issue.

That knowledge and ability to navigate systems and understand how to get through the red tape to get things done has been acquired through the past 26 years of living my life and dealing with so many other episodes of lost income, acting out behavior of my older children and their scrapes with the legal system, and just trying to survive life with ongoing depression and fibromyalgia.

I’m tired and drained and often only see my personal history as a series of failed relationships and futile efforts.

Hearing what these women had to say made me realize that I have grown and learned and that I am applying what I’ve learned in ways that are building a better present and future for myself, for Luna, and for my relationship with Jerry.