Friday, May 15, 2009

temperature de-regulation

My sweater is on, then off, then on again. I can't type because I have to grab my fan and cool myself off. Then I get chilled and I have to put my jacket on. A few minutes later, I'm hot -- not just warm but hot, sweating, uncomfortable, and I rip off my jacket, grab my fan, and try to cool off. It takes a minute, I relax feeling comfortable again. But it doesn't last but a few minutes at most and I'm freezing...goosebumps, icy cold. I put back on my sweatshirt jacket and warm up. I reach a tolerable temperature again which disappears as quickly as it came. Sweat pours, my face flushes...oh jesus, not again, I'm hot. Off goes the jacket. I drink some water. I try to calm myself. I cool down. I put my jacket back on before chill sets in. In 30 minutes I can put on and take off my jacket a dozen times. At home, I also take off my shoes and socks, put them back on, over and over again. My feet heat up; they cool down.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I dreamed about a lion...

A lion that appeared dead and then sprang to life and sent me fleeing. I did a little internet research this morning on the symbolism of lions in dreams. Here's what I found:
Wild animals (according to Carl Jung) are symbolic of dangers (hurtful and negative things) being "swallowed" by the unconscious.
Lions and tigers link to anger and intimidation. Lions are linked to great danger. Lions tend to symbolize moments of real fear linked to someone. Lions can be linked to moments when you have faced real danger. Lions can also link to your specific fears connected with life in general and problems you would like to avoid.

Walking my little Jack Russell terrier with the LOML on a dirt road near my home, we noticed up ahead an animal lying across the road. At first glance I thought it was a dead golden retriever with its blondish coat, but as we neared I realized it was a lion with a huge mane. It was on its side sprawled across the one-lane dirt road and it didn't appear to be breathing. The LOML leaned down and stroked the soft fur on its belly, freaking me out.

Don't touch him. Please. I asked him to get away from it -- we really didn't know if the lion was dead and I just couldn't risk him (or me or the dog) getting hurt. As I soon found out, the lion wasn't dead - it sprang to its feet sending me and the unleashed dog running in one direction further down the lane while the LOML headed back out onto the main road. I was screaming for the LOML to run quickly when the lion approached and snatched my dog up in his paws. My dog morphed into an orange cat, hissing and clawing its way free, and quickly scooted up a very tall skinny tree. The lion climbed the tree right behind him - they were way up -- at least 100 feet.

I ran to a house on the lane and started banging on the door for help. A woman and toddler answered - they didn't speak English. I started yelling 'emergencia, emergencia' - dial 911 - which she did and handed me the phone. I told the police that there was a ferocious lion on the loose and they needed to capture it. The 911 operator asked me if the lion hurt anyone - no. Well then she said, we'll get there when we get there. I was fuming and I screamed at her over the phone, what? are you going to wait until someone gets hurt? gets murdered?

I looked up into the tree and saw my dog/cat cradled in the lion's front legs. It was licking the cat like a lioness does with her cubs. In the next moment my cat took this death-defying leap from the tree and landed in my arms - he was my dog again and he was covered with saliva and blood and dirt. He was trembling and trying to escape from my arms but I held him tightly. I screamed for the police to come and screamed for the LOML but neither were within earshot. I quietly but quickly made me way down to the other end of lane clutching my dog to my chest trying not to gather the attention of the lion. I was exhausted as I started to trudge my way up a very steep hill thinking that all I wanted to do was get home to safely and find the LOML.

I spoke with Dr. B about my dream. It was suggested by the LOML that the lion was my very abusive first husband. I agree. I also believe that I was my dog/cat and when I realized I couldn't escape, I morphed into an animal that was similar so we could relate; so I could survive. And that's just what I did with my first husband until I could finally escape from a prison of my own making. Oh yes, my ex terrorized me, I'm sure, but as long as I dissociated from the abuse, I wasn't able to find my way out. I didn't even acknowledge the abuse and it wasn't until I had children that I left. And it was to protect them; not me. I still didn't allow the memories of abuse to surface. Denial is dangerous.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I made a promise...

I made a promise to myself last night, the night before, and several times during the past week. My promise? To stop telling myself, the LOML, Dr. B, and anyone else who ever listens to me that I can't remember. Oh, I don't remember. It's my mantra. I don't know if that actually affects my memory but I'm positive I reinforce that belief. 

I know that I don't remember many things because of my history of trauma but people remember traumatic events, even after they've blocked them from their consciousness for years, decades even. In a way it's easier not to remember. I can rewrite my biography any way I please (well, almost) when I claim memory loss. Only my physical ailments betray me.

My first exercise is going to be to write down anything I think I remember - whether it's a clear memory which I believe I own, or a memory that's perhaps been instilled in my brain through stories I recall hearing. 

I come from a family of storytellers - wild exaggerations run rampant from my father's side of the family. I have been know to embellish a story or two. My brothers are particularly adept at turning a minor incident into a whale of tale. It makes it difficult to decipher what might be 'truth' and where the fantasy lives. Maybe that has been a survival mechanism in my father's family for generations. 

My mother -- well, she descends from a clan of heavily brainwashed Brits living in absolute denial of everything. It's an interesting contrast because while they denied their own emotions; they prided themselves in their fierce honesty about everything (and yes, they were always "right"). I think it's more like brutal bluntness (bordering on deliberate cruelty) and it hurts (if you choose not to deny it).

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Abandonment issues...

...and other random thoughts.

I have abandonment issues. Tonight I had a falling out with the LOML and he said to me in moments of frustration (I hope) that perhaps we should take a separation until we both finished our therapy. Inside, I flipped. An irrational fear possessed my thoughts and I couldn't talk anymore. I did gather myself up and told him that I could not talk to him and wanted to leave. We parted ways without another word said. It was miserable. But I couldn't speak, not rationally anyway, and at long last I recognized this fear and the impact it was having. It was miserable but monumental in a way. There was a part of me, albeit an itsy bitsy piece of me, that wanted to screech my tires as I pulled out of the parking lot and ram my car into a tree. But it was just an irrational, angry thought not something I would ever act upon because I have learned. Learned to bring myself back to the present and not act out as that young abandoned child. Still, his words hurt and cut to my bone. He doesn't want to separate and neither do I but we're both tired and weary and overwhelmed with the work we are trying to do in therapy. We will work this out somehow.

Some random thoughts...while talking with my sister this afternoon, she related a story to me about how unfair she thought it was that our brothers didn't have to wear shirts in the summer and us girls did. So, at 6 years of age, she went out without a shirt and walked around the block. Why didn't our mother make her wear a shirt? She chuckled and said she probably never even noticed (or cared). Yes, I thought, that is true. Was she hoping for attention from a neglectful mother? I think so. She also told me how she used to dress up in our mother's dresses and high heels and parade around in front of the house and sashay up and down the street. She was preparing for her married life. She also spend her free time (after school) pushing a baby buggy with one of those quasi-realistic looking peeing baby dolls until she was 12. She had her first serious boyfriend at 14.

I shared with her what I did at 10 years old with my girlfriend -- we played adult cocktail hour in the morning hours before any adult had awakened and shook off their hangovers. Dressed in our pajamas, we would pick out the longest cigarette buts from the ashtray, hang them from our lips, refresh the liquid remnants of the previous night's cocktails left on the coffee table with ice (those without soggy Marlboro stubs), and parade around the living room sipping our heavily diluted martinis talking about adult sex.

My sister was a bride and mother in the making. I was the dysfunctional adult in the making. We both (sort of) lived up to our make-believe fantasies.

It felt good or did it?

Dreaming again last night. I was some undetermined age, not adult yet, sitting with an older man. He was stroking my hair, flattening the frizziness with his hands, gathering my locks up into a ponytail. It felt good and I closed my eyes. But I knew it wasn't good -- there were sexual undertones and I steeled myself against those feelings, just trying focus on the innocence of the caresses - how a parent might soothe a child. But it wasn't soothing and it wasn't innocent. I was uncomfortable and the man kept telling me that it was okay...that everything was alright.

I woke up feeling sick, with that undefinable ick feeling deep in the pit of my stomach. And the feeling has stayed with all day leaving me with a stabbing pain under my right shoulder blade.

Again, I was deceived...something so seemingly innocent but probably anything but. And I was in conflict -- it felt good but I knew it was the precursor to something that didn't. Oh, yuck.

I'm going to pour myself a cup of tea and busy myself with anything other than these thoughts. Or so I like to tell myself.