The Flowers in my Mind

I got trapped in the shadow-side
the clouds enveloping me
the deep ice and snow
burying the flowers in my mind

For months I couldn’t find
the brand new day ~ I drifted
feeling so alone and lonely
grasping white-knuckled
to the real-
to the flowers in my mind

I wept tears of fear, pain & despair
and through the stony darkness, I felt the love
and the pull of light and hope

In the dark, before the dawn, I hear
this will pass~
the voice of a brand new day reassuring me
that the flowers will rise again

Today the shade went up and the sun pointed the way
bursting through the tangle of weeds
I entered the reflective garden
which grew out of friendship
trust, and tender care

The delicate petals that hold my secrets
gently swaying, urging me to remember
it’s safe, let go, it’s over
I breathed in
the colors of peace
and got lost in the flowers in my mind

©Alexis Rose, image source: Alexis Rose & friends

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

How Confusing!

It’s common for survivors to feel confused when traumatic events take place. Also, we can experience extreme confusion during the healing process as we learn to make sense of our past and live in the present. 

I typically don’t use the word confusion when I think about my symptoms.  What I manage is fear, triggers, anxiety, trouble with concentration, and hypervigilance. 

Recently, one of my perpetrators shared some information with me that caught me off guard. Unconsciously, I pressed “play” on an old tape and started to feel protective over this person. That’s when the confusion began.

Thankfully, It didn’t take long for me to catch the antiquated messages I was telling myself. I stopped believing that this person needed my protection.  I assumed that because I stopped listening to the old programming of, “protect your perpetrators” that I was fine.

But, I wasn’t fine. My footing was off. I became dysregulated in my thoughts and feelings. I was becoming fearful that I was losing control of my mental health. How confusing!

For six days, I was becoming increasingly agitated. Because I hadn’t told anybody, I wasn’t able to name what was bothering me. I started to notice the cold, dark, skeleton hands of the past begin to crawl up my spine, and a sense of hopelessness was starting to take hold. It was very confusing!

After disclosing what had happened to my therapist, she (as always) helped give me perspective; the root of why I was feeling so off. As we were talking, I experienced an initial A-ha moment, then confusion set in.

I was confused that I could be caught so off-guard by this person. I was also shocked (as I always am) at how my brain and body can often go spiraling in a myriad of ways when the past sneaks in. 

I’ve regained most of my footing, and the icy cold hands of the past that were crawling up my spine have retreated once again. I know there may be times when I feel those metaphorical hands again. That is the nature of what I manage and I’m learning to take it all in stride with an open heart and self-compassion. 

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

image source, Pexels

Precieved vs Real

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with extremely challenging PTSD symptoms. I have learned how to manage the everyday symptoms that just come with living with this mental health condition by employing a whole lot of tools from my self-care tool-box.

But since the attempted break-in of my home (read about it here: Don’t Open That Door )I have experienced an increase in some very distressing symptoms including; fear, panic, extreme hypervigilance, and sleep disturbances. All of these leave me exhausted, a bit confused, and rather lost at the moment.

So what is happening? Right after the perpetrator was arrested, I felt like I did what I needed to do for my body. I stayed present, I let myself shake, move, sit, shudder. Whatever my body needed to do right after the event, I honored that. I walked outside in the neighborhood so I knew I was safe and that this was My space, not some random thief’s space. I didn’t alter my routine as far as daily living. 

I spoke about the incident with family, friends, neighbors, my acupuncturist, and my therapist. I sought support, and even though this happened in the bright sunshine of the morning, we installed four new security lights. Importantly, I understood how random this was and that I was safe in my house.

About a week after the attempted break-in something felt amiss. I began to have hellacious, screaming nightmares every night. The same nightmare every night; sometimes multiple nightmares in one night. My anxiety is increasing and I notice I’ve become even more hyper-vigilant coupled with full-blown panic attacks or crippling fear.

I began to keep myself tuned in to the part of the house where he tried to break-in and my eating has become a bit disordered. Also, the comforting settling noises of my house have now become a constant ask of, “what was that noise?” These are huge, uncomfortable, and exhausting symptoms. I was totally caught off-guard by them and I could not figure out why after being so purposeful in getting good, solid support after the event that this was happening.

My therapist has been working with me to catch myself with my increasing avoidance behaviors. She is trying to encourage me to take back the parts of my house I’m now avoiding. We’re working on new sleep tools and she is working hard on having me acknowledge the fear, accepting it, hearing it, thanking it, and letting it know we are safe. Good, good things that are helping me find some control, self-compassion, and grounding.

Yesterday I was speaking with another survivor who had similar pervasive trauma like I did. She suggested that I have lived with the perceived threat of my perpetrators coming to hurt me (or insert threat here) for decades and that this attempted break-in with the drama and the intensity around it was indeed a real threat to my safety.

This was a real light-bulb moment for me. Real vs Perceived! It made absolute sense in my mind.

Most people would be upset and a bit traumatized by confronting a person actively trying to break into their house. For me, it had activated all the times in my past that I had felt scared, unsafe, violated, and feared for my life. Days after the event, I spoke with a woman who lived in the senior-living apartment building where he broke-in and vandalized before he came to our house. When  I heard how violent he was, and that he was indeed trying to find a place to hide, in my mind he became even more dangerous to me. A real threat in real life.

I know logically that this person will not be coming back to my house. I know that this was random and not personal, and I know that this triggered an avalanche of PTSD symptoms that had laid dormant for a long time.

All these things are true, and I will find my way back to the middle. But for right now-after all these years of learning and repeating that I’m safe and that my fear was because of a perceived threat, I have now (again) in my life felt the fear of a real threat. This may be a small part of the healing process of the intrusion, but to me it’s an explanation and a jumping-off point for understanding how my mind is working and why I am, again,  working through the oh-so-tangled web of PTSD.

Photo by Mathilda Khoo on Unsplash

The Dirt Underneath My Nails

The bright flowing energy of life
that courses through
those oft talked about chakras
aligning my body, mind, and soul
sometimes feel clogged.

They say it’s normal
to have places that are stuck.
Let’s start there!
Let’s open it up so you can breathe, unfold, flow, feel whole.

But it’s clogged…with dirt.

Those life-force channels
sometimes get mired in the sludge of messages and beliefs
from a long ago past.
Enmeshed in the lies that were told to my soul.

The truth of their lies evidenced in the
dirt underneath my nails.

Wait; This is a triggering time of year
I’m being pulled into a vortex of memory and shame.
Name it
Feel it
Change the narrative
Get help!

My life-force begins to circulate again
with bright colors and free-flowing qi
I feel the power of being in the now ~
the wind, sun, heat and throat clearing water.

Looking down, scanning, grounding
I see the dirt of the earth underneath my nails
and go and wash my hands.
©Alexis Rose, image source, Pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

 

Gently you, with Nature

From the dustiest of deserts
to the lush trees hanging heavy with Spanish moss
there is a feeling of reverence

The roar of the waves as they hit the cliffs and break
or the gentle lapping of the lake against the shore
the sun reflecting diamonds and colors against the water
bring tears of reverence

From red rock formations with the vortex of healing energy
to the tallest peak of the snow topped range.
Solid, ancient, awe-struck, reverence

Be gentle with yourself

Listen to the silence, the wind, the water
Stop talking, stop judging, just listen

Accept the beauty that surrounds you; envelops you
Become one, breathe deep, connect

The beauty is not asking anything from you
it doesn’t care how much you weigh, what your income is
or how many earthly possessions you own
It is simply nature

Be gentle with yourself in the silent reverence of nature

image by Pexels

Across The Winds

Many souls and a dog
create a circle of healing

Encompassed with compassion
and empathy
the misted space is safe and authentic

Words, hopes, and dreams
for a gentle life become
more than an inaudible whisper
to the stars in the shadow of the night

Possibilities are endless
in these circles of healing
pain, fear, and anxiety
become breath, gratitude, and hope

Misted crosswinds
fuel safety and trust
a mantra of peace and calm that transcends a cozy space

All take turns as teachers
creating the connections

Many souls and a dog
create the circle of healing
as wide as our universe allows

©Alexis Rose, image source: Pexels

She Listens With More Than Her Ears

She listens with more than her ears.
The light from her soul
and the joy
in her heart
illuminate the world around her.

Silently saying a prayer
she feels the comfortable beat of her heart
as she flows to the music within.

 

©Alexis Rose, image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

 

 

 

 

 

Until the Promise of Spring

The words dried up
and stuck deep in my throat
before they blew away

I watched them swirl
like the dry autumn leaves
before they were swept up
and dispersed by the winds

Maybe its the season
or a fluke
a phase, the moon
or a moment in time

I’m sure there’s more to say

But for now
the words lay quiet
silenced by blankets of snow
still, resting, waiting
until the sun shines warm with the promise of spring
©Alexis Rose, Image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

Behind the Glass

A quick glance to the right
triggered the shiver from the deepest
part of my soul

Like a whisper in the night
bringing memory into focus
I’m stopped in my tracks
and enshrouded
in a dark and heavy fog

A series of photographs
posed, and etched deep inside my mind
play quickly, vividly
like a silent filmstrip
then fades
leaving muted color
and vague felt-sense memory

Lodged behind a scrim
and never completely melting away
I walk along, wondering
what happened on that day
what happened behind the glass when I glanced to the right

Will, it ever be okay
Will, it ever go away


©Alexis Rose; photographer: Janet Rosauer

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph