I wanted to take a minute and reflect on myself. What is going on inside the younger me?
Moving was hard. I gave up most of my belongings, which I held dear. I lost the only home I had known. I lost the comfort of our biggest and strongest dog. I lost my cat. I lost the privacy of my own room. We lost the privacy of our family having our own space. The move was another step away from our surrounding family. I felt I had lost most of them. After the incident with Lance and the spanking, I did not feel safe in my own bed. It was the beginning of many times that I would be pulled out of bed to go to a “meeting”. I would lay awake at night, listening. “Were they talking about me in the living room?” I never knew. I would listen for cars to come up the driveway, the phone to ring, or a door to open and shut. I was beginning to feel like I was being watched all the time. I was a kid. At this point in time, I was not aware of how these things were affecting me. I would be scared at night, and fine during the day. Most times. I always found a way to move forward and be happy. It was not until the early teen years that events started affecting me. I can see how they prepared us in childhood for future abuse. This was our new normal.
As an adult looking back, I can see how some of my “symptoms” were caused by this conditioning. Waking up in a panic. Always feeling like something bad was about to happen. When I did sleep: nightmares. I would cause problems where none existed because I needed that feeling of adrenaline. To be mad meant I had control and power. This was not a conscious decision. My adrenal glands were shutting down, but they were used to being overworked. I would have huge reactions to small situations because that was familiar. My anxiety manifests itself in my throat. I am told it is because I did not have a voice for so long. I start to feel like my throat is closing up and I can’t breathe. There were a few times we had to call the ambulance because the anxiety would consume me and I would hyperventilate. Some methods that have changed my life: positive affirmations, meditation, lucid dreaming, and counseling. I am so thankful of the support I have from family and friends. I would like to share a reoccurring dream with you, and how lucid dreaming changed this nightmare:
“I am walking down the street where I live. Away from my house. I am approaching the W pastor’s house. In the yard are two wolves chained to the ground. The wolves are lunging and barking. Drool is flying from their mouths from the force of their voice. I think to myself “”I am ok, they are tied up, I can walk past”” Just then , the chains break and the wolves are free. They are chasing me. I run into the woods and look back while running. They are not slowing down. I look forward, into the darkness, there is no where to go.” Then I wake up. I had this dream almost every night for years. I would wake up in a panic, not able to go to sleep.
Then I started practicing lucid dreaming. Here is how I was able to form my dream: “I am walking down the street where I live. Away from my house. I am approaching the W pastor’s house. In the yard are two wolves chained to the ground. The wolves are lunging and barking. Drool is flying from their mouths from the force of their voice. I think to myself “”I am ok, they are tied up, I can walk past”” Just then, the chains break and the wolves are free. They are running toward me. I stop in the middle of the road and stand firm. I think to myself “”let them come, it is a dream.”” The wolves charge, and jump on me. They start licking my face. I laugh and bury my face into their thick, stinky (yes, I could smell it) fur. We are having a gigantic moment of love and joy. They are happy and singing. I am joyful and laughing.”
I firmly believe that if you want to change your life, you can. Decide it and do it. If you need help, seek it. You are the one who has the power to decide. Daily practice, tools, and support are key. Embrace those who support and love. Release the ones who cause grief and disturbance.
“I deeply and completely accept myself unconditionally. I am lovable and deserve to be loved. I have a perfect right to all of my feelings.”
2 thoughts on “The Wolves”
WOW! I mean, like Wow! This is such a great post. Your sharing of what works for you to handle your PTSD is so useful, so wise. I hope it helps many many other people suffering from similar trauma.
Erica I am so proud of you. This is so hard for me to read. I so wanted to help you and your family get out of that cult. When I read what you went thru it breaks my heart for the little girl I knew. Keep telling your story you are a gifted writer. As hard as this is for me I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you. Stay strong and let the truth out! Love you. Xoxo