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Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

I’ve been writing a lot recently about how things have been changing for me in a very positive direction.

One of those positive directions is my physical health. When I was in the middle of dealing with my PTSD issues, I would go in for my annual checkup. I really trust my doctor, but I also have “white coat syndrome” from childhood issues with a very scary and unsafe doctor. Those were the issues I was currently dealing with. So my blood pressure would be higher than usual in the doctor’s office.

Over several years my blood pressure had been getting a little higher, so the doc had put me on a minimal dose of BP medication.

When I went in for my physical 3 years ago, the nurse took my BP, got a really shocked look on her face. She waited a few minutes, took it again. Got a second nurse to take it. Then the doc came in and took my BP. The alarm – my blood pressure was scary high! It was super scary, but my intuition said it was because I was in the middle of PTSD issues.

The doctor increased my dosage of BP medication, and added a small dose of a second medication.

The result:

I did a lot of work on my PTSD issues, and things began to resolve. I kept track of my BP, and it began to fall into the normal range again. I kept a log for a month, and tracked the results, sent those to my doctor.

I had my annual physical in May, and the doctor agreed I could discontinue the BP medications, weaning myself gradually. He was a bit baffled but said “you’ve done this on your own” meaning the PTSD work I did.

I have been off all BP medications since the end of May, and my BP is steady at 120/80.

My health insurance company has kept calling me because apparently there is no easy check box for “Discontinued BP medication.” You can just hear the puzzlement in their voices.

:)

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A Flying Dream!

Something happened a while back that hasn’t happened for many years. I didn’t say anything about it to anyone for a couple of days, because I just wanted to absorb it for me.

2-5-17

Last night I had a flying dream.

It was unlike any flying dream I’ve ever had before.

I haven’t had one since the ‘80s.

Back then, I only had a flying dream a few times.

Most of the time, I was flying low to the ground, and having to dodge telephone lines.

Once, I had a dream where I was flying high and smooth. It only lasted for a moment.

Once, I had a dream where I shot off the ground like a rocket, straight up.

Then the flying dreams stopped.

The dream last night was totally different.

I was able to fly freely.

High, low, it didn’t matter.

I soared around just savoring the experience.

Gravity didn’t affect me.

There was a lightness I had never experienced in my flying dreams before.

I flew incredibly high into the sky, into a sort of city in the clouds, like the one Lando Calrissian managed in The Empire Strikes Back.

It was so high you couldn’t see it from the ground.

It was on the edge of space darkness, like when Chuck Yeager took the X-1 up where he could see the stars, in the movie The Right Stuff.

There were luxurious rooms, and apartments and hallways.

I was able to float through them freely.

At that point I was more levitating than flying.

I had no fear of falling.

I knew I could fly as long as I wanted.

The dream went on for a long, long time.

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In 1988, I gave up alcohol. That was a struggle, but I haven’t had a drink since. Alcohol was a feeling stuffer in many different ways.

In 1994, I gave up tobacco. My parents had both smoked since I was a baby, and I know I had an associated smoke addiction from the time I was a small child. I haven’t had tobacco since. Tobacco was my feeling stuffer for anger – as I dealt with my anger, I was able to let go of tobacco.

In 1996, I gave up caffeine. it just revved me up too much, and fueled my sleep deprivation. Caffeine was a big feeling stuffer for fear.

The common thread in all letting go of those addictions – when it was time, I was ready, and I could really stick with not doing it again.

The one that has always stumped me is sugar.

I’ve been trying since about 2000 to let go of sugar. I’ve tried a lot of things, and even gotten support, but evidently it wasn’t time. I just wasn’t ready.

Well –

I didn’t want to say anything, but I have been off sugar now for almost three months, and this time it feels real. (Note: this was originally posted on another site a while back. It has now been over a year that I have been off of sugar!)

I didn’t realize how big a deal it was until I started looking back at the PTSD issues I’ve dealt with, especially the ones with my grandmother. She was always feeding me ice cream and lots of sugar.

I remember as a teenager coming home and having half a bag of Oreos and a glass of milk, and calling it dinner.

So sugar has been a constant in my world, not to mention it’s a primary ingredient in alcohol and tobacco.

Then one time I sent an email to my good friend Carl, and said “I’m letting go of the feeling stuffer for my core issue.” He picked up on the power of that statement.

My core issue – the abuse by my grandmother that defined my world since I was 8 years old.

I typed that in very big letters “I’m letting go of the feeling stuffer for my core issue,” printed it, and taped on the wall next to my computer.

It became real why I had struggled all those years. It was back in 2000 that I was starting to become aware of the PTSD and abuse issues by my grandmother. It took a long time to deal with those issues – it just took as long as it took!

I have started to accept over the past several months that I have dealt with the abuse by my grandmother, and it doesn’t limit my world like it used to. (Not perfection, just a lot of progress)

I have finally begun to believe that this is real, and this time – it’s going to take.

I have let go of sugar.

Wow!

 

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Since I was 8 years old, I have existed with a sense of bad things on the horizon.

I know exactly where that came from – abuse by my grandmother, which led me to believe that my lot in life was to suffer, and if I tried to succeed, she would guarantee a horrid ending to my existence.

I could not change this reality – the expectation of doom was deeply embedded in the fibers of my soul. I reflect back on my actions over the years, and they now make a lot of sense – why try to be happy when disaster would be the outcome?

I have spent a lot of time in the last several years working on the abuse by my grandmother, which was the most core source of my PTSD. I have been committed to root out that dysfunction, and do all I could to recover from that trauma.

Last week, my writer friend Randi said something like “be open to embrace the blessings of what is about to happen in your world.” I was ready to act on that new truth – that blessing could be mine! For me, it’s best to just leave it at that – if I try to define the blessings, I limit how wonderful they could be.

The other morning, I woke up and thought “I’ve made it.” It signaled a deep feeling.

I’m not going to claim that I’m free of symptoms, or that I have fully recovered. The nature of the C-PTSD I have struggled with is too deep, and I still expect to feel its effects at times. But my world has shifted in a remarkable way.

I woke this morning and had to chat with my friend Carl, because I was just aware of a new reality in my world – the expectation of blessing!

Good things are coming my way, and I am ready to embrace them.

That is mostly a head statement right now, and I think it will take a while for it to sink in. So for now, I’m smiling a lot and basking in the glow of this new reality.

I’m just letting it sink in.

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For the last few weeks, I have been developing an outline for the next book I plan to write. At this point, it will tentatively be titled “Healing My Anger – Defusing A Time Bomb.” It is about my journey to unearth and resolve a terrible well of anger and rage I discovered. One of the pivotal points of that book will be about a bizarre event that happened to me – a group of people came over to my apartment late at night, and performed a bogus group encounter with me.

I used to call it an intervention, but I realized that gave the misimpression that what happened was somehow legitimate. It was not – it was an exercise in the power of a group in dysfunction, incited by a strong and charismatic leader. I’ve written about that evening before, in a post called “The Betrayal.” That event led to a whole series of events which propelled my growth in astonishing ways, because it forced me to deal with anger that I hadn’t been able to access previously.

This will be a powerful book – I can tell that already. But for the past several weeks, I’ve had the feeling that I was missing something. I just couldn’t think of what it might be. Then yesterday I realized – I had left out one major event. Then I realized that this would have to be the end of the book. I needed to get it on paper, so I wrote it all down.

It’s the first time I’ve ever written the ending of a book before I wrote the beginning. But it was absolutely the way the book had to end. For a number of years, I had not been around the individual who stirred up the event that night, who I renamed Rob for purposes of the book. We happened to end up at a party together.

******

So here is what I wrote:

In 1996, I decided to move to Austin. I went by a party that was being held by one of the people in the recovery program. It had been a fun party for a number of years, and a source of fond memories for me. Rob and Nancy were there. It was the first time I had been around either of them for quite a while, and naturally there was some awkwardness.

After a few minutes Rob came up to me and said “Dan, can we go outside and talk for a minute?”

“Sure, Rob.”

We stepped outside, and I wasn’t sure what he wanted to talk about. I had gut checked my anger before agreeing to go, and there just wasn’t much steam in those old issues. At most, I felt a little edgy – because of the unknown.

We sat down on a bench outside the party, and Rob lit a cigarette. He sat for a moment, and it looked like he was gathering his thoughts, so I didn’t say anything.

“Dan, I want to apologize for my part in what happened the night we came over to your apartment. That was totally wrong, and nobody deserved to go through what happened to you that night. I am sorry. Genuinely sorry.” He looked me directly in the eyes as he spoke, and I could hear the genuineness and sincerity in the way he said the words. His words were simple, elegant and direct. I was so deeply touched I didn’t know what to say. I was quiet for a moment.

“Thank you for saying that, Rob. I do appreciate it – probably more than I can express right now.”

“Can I give you a hug?”

“Sure, Rob.”

We hugged, and then walked back inside the party.

I lost touch with Rob when I moved, but after that night, for the two of us – we were at peace.

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About two months ago I was ready to begin the third rough draft of my next memoir, Healing The Writer. I had finished the second draft in the spring of 2013, and thought this would be a polishing draft. I also thought I had gotten most of the healing experience out of the memoir. I was wrong.

The third draft started at about 58,000 words. It’s now up to 64,000 words, and continues to expand. Just working on this draft has been enormously cathartic – it continues to flush old negative energy out of my system.

The memoir deals with abuse by my Grandmother (Mamaw) when I was 8 years old, which locked up my writing for many years. I already knew that going in. I had remembered the abuse, and thought I had moved through the feelings that had been stuck in my body. But like peeling the layers of an onion, there has been more to release. As that old energy has released, I have felt more and more free. But as well, I have also continued to learn from the memoir, as I put together pieces that seemed separate, but which are now invested with new awareness and connections.

I’m spending as much time on the last third of the book as I did on the first two thirds, because that was the time when the healing was happening. I begin to add things like this to the book:

In Chapter 36, as I began to feel the magnitude of the healing, I originally wrote:

“Words came to me, reminding me about how bold my destiny would be…”

In the revision, I suddenly realized where that bold sense of destiny had first come to me:

“Words came to me, reminding me about how bold my destiny would be – the certainty I had felt when I was 6 years old and knew I was to be a successful writer.”

I then remembered that I had talked about owning that sense of destiny – in Chapter 2:

“When I was six years old I felt very connected with God. I had a sense of peace about my world, and knew – I just knew – that one day I would become a famous writer. It was a sense of destiny as tangible as anything I’ve ever experienced.”

It had been so long since I wrote the early part, I had forgotten about including this, but it was the origin of “destiny” for me. It was powerful to have that destiny affirmed after the healing, and own that it began when I was very young.

Then in Chapter 39, I perform a visualization where I have a man bulldoze the house where the pain happened, much like Forrest Gump did with the house that had caused Jenny so much pain. I’ve published it in my blog, some of you have probably read it. I thought I had a handle on the full meaning of it. At the end of that exercise, I wrote:

“… the driver pushed the rubble backward, into the back yard. It took several passes for each section of rubble, but eventually he exposed raw dirt under the foundation, which hadn’t see the light of day in many, many years.”

In Chapter 40, I had originally written about a few weeks later feeling something holding me back, that still needed to be healed. I wrote in the early draft:

“I could feel a big, black ball of tar way down in my gut…”

In the latest edit, I revised that sentence to say:

“I could feel a big, black ball of tar way down in my gut – like the dark, raw dirt underneath Mamaw’s  house, exposed when the bulldozer cleared away what lay on top of it.”

The visualization and what it uncovered happened just that way, but I hadn’t seen the cause and effect. The visualization had an impact on releasing deeper abuse damage. Astounding!

I continue to learn from this memoir in most astonishing ways.

A friend of mine once said “Dan, your books write themselves at their own speed and in their own time. You just have to go along with that.”

I had predicted in 2011 that I would have Healing The Writer published by early 2012. Nope – it is writing in its own way and time. Back then I was writing about healing events that were still too close to me, and I hadn’t fully felt and released the abuse. Based on the expansion that has happened in the third draft, I’m now just leaning back and letting it happen without trying to predict when this book will be finished. I continue to get too much healing out of it to rush it.

I do know this – I’m starting to appreciate how powerful a book this is turning into, as I heal and let the story continue to blossom into what it is meant to be.

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I haven’t posted in my blog for a long time. I had someone ask me about it the other day, and it nudged me to spend some time writing a post (thanks, Patricia!). What have I been doing? I have been accepting this statement as a reality in my world:

I Am A Successful Writer

For several years I have been working to overcome the effects of abuse by my grandmother when I was 8 years old. The damage was deep enough that it was a source of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The incidents with my grandmother all centered around – becoming a writer.

Healing The Writer

My next memoir will be about the healing process from that abuse. I fought with a writer’s block for many years, and didn’t know why – until I did some inner child work and uncovered the damage. I have finished the first draft, and am astounded by how powerful a book it is. A friend said a long time ago that my healing process has a life of its own – it unfolds at its own pace. He noted that my writing – much of it about my healing process – paralleled that pace, and my books wrote themselves at their own speed,  when I was emotionally ready to own and share that content.

I am settling in with becoming ready to publish Healing The Writer – it will happen soon. I think it has taken a while because the healing is so breathtaking and powerful that I’ve had to get used to it.

Writing Update

When I started coming out the other side of the abuse issues with my grandmother, I was able to go back to work, and looked for a source of income. I set up a business editing service – it went nowhere. I investigated going back to work in the real estate title industry- nothing unfolded.

In the meantime, I was working as a freelance writer – generating travel articles and getting paid for it. I did it for about a year and have said it felt like a “boot camp” for my writing.  I felt I had gotten all I could from it, and didn’t foresee it as a direction I could count on as full time work, hence my efforts to find work in other arenas. I see now I was resisting – trying not to see how powerfully I had been healed.

But I kept having more and more freelance opportunities – clients were seeking me out for my writing talents and skills. Over the first part of 2103, I had to admit how freely I could now write. It was tremendously empowering!

Then in July, I was contacted by the person who I had written the travel articles for. She was with another company, was looking for writers, and said “Dan, you were the first person I thought of.”

That contact has quickly blossomed into more challenging writing assignments – which I very freely and JOYFULLY handle with ease. I’m having a blast! It looks like freelance writing will continue to unfold and progress.

The balance is that I still have plenty of time and emotional energy to publish and publicize Healing The Writer, and begin work on my next book.

I promise to post more on my blog, and flesh out the details of how my healing has led to greater and greater freedom as a writer.

Life is good! 🙂

 

 

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