I can’t imagine that any severe early abuse survivor would say that they LIKE this feeling, the one that exists at the edge of where being OK meets ‘dissociation’. But while I will never LIKE this feeling it is a reality of my life and my concern today is that somehow I learn how to peacefully co-exist with it knowing the feeling itself was built into my body-brain through trauma and abuse from the moment I was born.
I have written recently about my efforts to discriminate between the feeling of what I used to call continual foreboding and the one I more recently named prescience. Today I would call it a chronic wariness state, one that is tied to chronic anxiety but that also seems to lie at an edge-line where I still retain the power of careful and conscious choice contrasted to the state that lies across this line in which full-blown stress-anxiety takes over the show.
When my personal ‘show’ becomes ruled by my body’s physiological reactions to stress dissociation is most likely to place me in a state of lessened powers of conscious choice. I would rather have the power to choose how I am going to handle ‘things’ as my day progresses. And, yes, all of this feels like work to me – often intangible work but work nonetheless.
Backing up a day to yesterday….. I went into town with my monthly income and spent nearly all of it on necessities which included material to finish my chicken pen and coop roof. The back of my 1978 (gas hog) El Camino is filled with bags of potting soil, stucco lathe, stucco wire (which is far cheaper than chicken wire) to enclose the pen, 2’ x 4’ boards for the roof.
My kitchen floor is covered with food staples to pack away that will hopefully last me until my disability check comes in again the first of next month. There are also bags from our new ACE hardware store containing various boxes and paper bags full of nails and screws. There is plant food, various useful findings from the local thrift store, and many cans of ‘no sugar added’ canned fruit that was on sale at the only grocery store we have in town.
I am good to go!
Or am I?
What is actually contributing to my current ‘on the edge of anxiety’ state is that there are TOO MANY THINGS here which places me in a state of TOO MANY CHOICES of where to go from here.
I think about this in relation to my recent posts about the work of Dr. Martin Teicher regarding the kinds of very real physiological changes that happened to my earliest developing body-brain.
Making conscious choices is an activity handled best by a balanced flow of information between my left brain (changed in its development) and my right brain (also changed in its development) ALONG WITH the assistance of the super highway corpus callosum region of my brain in the middle that is meant to send information back and forth between my two brain hemispheres (also changed in its development).
What all these changes contribute to my FEELING and to my AWARENESS states is a quality of being overwhelmed by possibilities!
“Aren’t possibilities supposed to be a good thing?” I ask of myself.
“Yes,” I respond, “but all these possibilities sit very closely in my reality to the state I knew ALL OF THE TIME as a little person – CHAOS!”
Some say that chaos is the realm where all possibilities exist co-currently, simultaneously and that it is only by a CHOICE being made and a DECISION being implemented that a tiny piece of chaos is changed into a more useful and constructive reality.
“OK, then,” my inner dialog continues. “I think I understand these feelings that I am caught in like a gigantic spider web a little bit better. Because I was so overwhelmed by abuse for the first 18 years of my life, and because I was left with so little opportunity to actually make conscious self-initiated choices and decisions regarding my own self-reality-life, my decision-making left brain did not develop itself to process any of these interactions!”
From the inside of me (not from the Ivory Tower outside of me) I know what all this feels like to me right at this moment. My body-brain has to fight its way up for air – which is to say it has to fight itself up to the conscious level where I can PEACEFULLY order and organize my own thoughts, desires, efforts, feelings and actions MY OWN SELF. I have to FORCE my body-brain to calm itself down, to be OK, to feel safe and secure enough at this moment in time to know that I not only have the RIGHT to order and organize myself and my life the way I want to – but that also have the ability to do this!
Choice and decision making – creating organized order out of overwhelming chaos – is an activity that was SUPPOSED to grow into my body-brain from the time I was born. This is how the SELF of a new human being becomes integrated into all aspects of its life in the world.
As this happens during ‘Critical Windows of Development ’ the substructure that allows everything to flow cooperatively together to accomplish a lifetime of tasks (large and small) is wired into the developing body-brain on the physiological level.
Severe early abuse, neglect, trauma and malevolent treatment of little people sabotages the ‘normal/ordinary’ development of these abilities.
Enough said about all of this for this moment. This blog is packed full of information about all of those changes in development. What I need at the moment is to accept this reality as it exists in my body-brain (still, at my age of 59 ½) – so that if I can’t find a way to become friends right this moment with my body-brain as it was created, at least I can find ways to NOT be its enemy.
Being angry at my reality, being full of misery and suffering because of it, remaining in a feeling-awareness state of blocked mobility in my actions for the day will not help me one little bit! How can I ACTUALLY organize and orient myself today so that I can move forward? How do I settle this being-overwhelmed-in-the-sea-of-chaos (too many possibilities) DOWN?
This disorganized-disoriented insecure attachment-built body-brain that I live in/with doesn’t get to pick and choose when, where, how or why it operates because it is directly built into my entire physiology. I will always believe that it is ONLY through conscious application of new information about me that can free me from my physiological natural state so that I can experience some peaceful calm that does NOT automatically exist in my body-brain.
I relate everything I am experiencing this morning back to Teicher’s writings (recently posted) including what it IS like and FEELS like to have an apt-to-kindle right limbic brain (which is intimately tied to what it knows of our body). I have to (in essence) take my finger out of the pot of boiling water!! Boiling water might be what my body-brain essentially knows, but I AM here, and I CAN make different choices today rather than let this perpetual peritraumatic acute trauma-reality state rule my day.
I can tell myself that all stimulation that happens in life is NOT BAD – nor is it automatically overwhelming! While this is the reactive state that is most familiar to me, it is not the ONLY state that exists.
Can I take my own hand and in partnership if not in friendship discover how to move forward in time as I change inner CONFLICT awareness into calm peacefulness? Let me see………