Wounded Woman

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Wounded Woman

You can tell by the look in her eyes.

A beautiful sadness, silent cries.

The lines of her face

mark passages of time.

The scars and stories, she can’t erase.

Wounded Woman

She carries immense weight

on her shoulders.

A lifetime of trauma and pain;

but, the heaviness doesn’t stop her

from dancing in the rain.

dancing in the rain

Wounded Woman

twirled and thrusted

until she broke through

to the other side.

Alas, in Great Spirit she trusted,

and set herself free,

never again to hide.

Wounded Woman

She wove her wounds

like an intricate web of Grandmother Spider;

as she journeyed deep inside her.

She found the truth and beauty

of her own old soul.

Her spirit held all the selves, the keys.

Thus, Wounded Womanbecame whole. …<3

 

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What Do We Do With Grief?

 

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Twelve years today,

your spirit whirled away,

far out of reach. 

It took all of these years

to move from the constant grief,

to face the fears

of a life with out you.

To see through the darkness 

that you held the light to.

In my heart the nostalgia sustains.

It’s the memories i keep 

that give me courage to face each day.

It’s been a treacherous journey just to get this far,

I wear proudly on my soul, the scar.

Today I feel that grief again,

like a dam trying to hold the flood

I tense up.

Afraid to feel,

my logic scrambles, how do we cope?

Throw yourself in homework,

paint, create!

Channel the grief for better.

For better my spirit screamed, now that’s just mean!

What do we do with grief?

We feel it,,we let the sorrow in, we honor the loss, we sit with that pain

because reality is, my life will never be the same.

Her smile, laughter and wisdom

are not in the flesh,

yes, she’s with me, but it’s not the same.

It’s not fair, my sadness weeps,

my daughter doesn’t have a grandmother

and its fucking sad, my grief bellows.

I let the flood take over me,

run through me, and fill me.

In the arms of my daughter

I set the tears free.

I am so blessed to have her, 

we are like you and me!

It is true, I have lost part of myself forever,

and it is also truth we are all together.

It’s okay to feel sad

my sorrow whispers.

It won’t consume

like it once had.

A cardinal appears

and I know you are near.

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This cardinal appeared a few hrs ago, right after I finished a good cry.

19429936_10212322039393646_8990911526266190717_n RIP my angel ❤

RIP Melody

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(Pictures of Melody)

I just found out that a friend of mine passed away a year ago. I knew her through Facebook; but, that doesn’t diminish for a second, the deep connection we shared. We had endless Facebook chats and spoke on the phone a few times too. We shared our pain, our stories and quite a few laughs. We called each other Warrior Goddess sisters. We chatted about family, men, life, death, grief, physical pain, mental illness, creativity, fairies, magic, God and the Universe.

 
Melody was there for me, the way good friends are. At the time I was Agoraphobic and living in a one bedroom apartment with my 12 year old daughter. My disability payments barely covered the rent. Melody always cheered me up and encouraged me. She’d tell me to summon my warrior spirit, and I would do the same for her. We were survivors. We took our turns with insomnia and depression, and we would always try to be there for each other.

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(Melody’s husband photo shopped these for us. Her the warrior, and me the fairy)

Melody was a giving person too. She was an artist, and jewelry artist. One day I received a package from her with a beautiful bracelet in it for my daughter, and a fairy necklace for me, that she had created, accompanied by a couple of handmade cards. She even once mailed me $11. cash for a bottle of wine! We called it drinking grapes! 🙂

 
The last time I spoke to her was 2012. We both had things to go through and we fell out of touch. I tried sending her a few messages through the years; but no reply. Her Facebook account wasn’t very active.

Today, in my Facebook memories, she came up. I went on her page to see if there was any new activity. The last posts were all of us wishing her happy birthday Sept, 2016. I scrolled down a little and there was a post that said RIP, and a few after that saying she passed away.

 
My eyes filled with tears. Her obituary says she died May 2016. She was only 54. No details or explanation, and per her request no memorial service. I have spent today processing this news, my emotions, and memories.

Emotions and memories of a woman that I have never met in person; yet feel so karmically intertwined with. I wished I had reached out more or there was something I could have done more for such a generous, humorous, beautiful spirit.

 
I can’t help but to worry that she was sick or in pain. She often was. It makes me sad to think she may have never got the healthy life she wanted. It makes me want to hug myself tight and be grateful that I have found the strength to persevere, and that I am still on this amazing planet Earth. I set free the guilt because that is what she would want me to do. No more suffering now, my Warrior Goddess sister! I hope your wild heart is free and your soul traveling like a magical gypsy. I’ll see you at the Fairy dance. I hold up my glass of grapes to you my Dear Melody! RIP

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Holy Birthday!

Growing up my birthday never seemed too special. It always rained. My mom never had money due to Easter or taxes, so I never had a big birthday party with friends, and I usually got I.O.U’s for gifts. As a result most birthdays were spent fighting depression.

This year, both American and Greek Easter fell on my birthday making it feel holy to me. There were no family plans for Greek Easter, which was a first. One family member sick, one not speaking to me and two were homeless. The rest were scattered. I had decided it didn’t matter. My daughter and I would celebrate and that would be enough. No matter the circumstances I intended to celebrate my birth and the resurrection of Jesus.

I had to put aside my hurt feelings, my sadness, my anger and all my worries. The day before my birthday, I wrote this:

Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be 49 years old. I wouldn’t have been able to convince my younger self that I’d make it this far. I couldn’t imagine even being 40.  I am entering Crone phase of life. A place of deep beauty and wisdom. I’ve begun my herbal studies. I’ve learned about and exercised boundaries. I’ve faced fears, and journeyed deep within. I’ve had a hysterectomy and learned that I still have sacred womb space. I have learned to love myself more despite menopausal weight gain, wrinkles, and family members alienating me because I won’t feed into negativity. I am learning everyday and these gifts will richen my life as time passes. I will become that beautiful bohemian gypsy in my mind’s eye. I will love unconditionally, and receive love. I will heal and be healed.  I will respect and deepen my relationship with Mother Earth, Great Spirit and the Universe. I will learn to listen to their whispers. Though my family is separated I feel content with my own celebration.

Though I realized that some traditions would be missed and recipes would have to be revised due to the fact that my daughter and I have gone vegan. I had to find a way to celebrate my culture, my spirituality and my birth.

I began the day with a purification bath with dead sea salts. I researched both Greek churches and Unitarian. I ended up at a Unity Church. I was going alone and fought much anxiety. They welcomed me lovingly and without judgement. When I got home I made myself a poster that read, “49&Feelin’Fine! My daughter and I had a blast baking vegan chocolate cake. For dinner, I kept it simple. Vegan Spanakopita and Greek Salad with Marinated Tofu. Surprisingly family members showed up to celebrate with me. We all sat outside and ate. The day was blessed with sunshine, laughter and love.

It’s not everyday that Jesus and I share a holiday. I reconnected with Spirit and myself.  It truly was a holy and magical birthday!18010615_10211671942901640_6132256117513424825_n

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Pure Panic

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This past Friday, I had a major panic attack. I hadn’t had one in a long while. They happen when my anxiety spins out of control. I have managed my anxiety pretty well; but, sometimes it sneaks up on me, and before I know it I am in pure panic mode.

When it rains it pours, and I was soaking wet. Last Thursday my niece had showed me a bedbug she found in the middle of the night. It’s been two months since that hell and now they were back. Friday my best friend and nieces dad was getting out of detox for alcohol and coming back to stay at my place. They both have been staying here because they are basically homeless. My best friend was drinking heavily again and we got into two nasty and emotional arguments. So, he went to detox. I really wasn’t feeling ready to have him back; but, he had no where else. Then out of nowhere my sister attacked me verbally and I felt deeply hurt. These things coupled with the fact that I had orientation on Sunday for my new herbal apprentice class stressed me out immensely.

My anxiety couldn’t be calmed even with xanax. My heart was pounding loud and fast. My hands shook and sweat poured out of me. I felt nauseous. I thought how am I going to do this course, with all of this going on? I can’t do it! I cried. I tried to do a meditation for anxiety and still couldn’t manage my panic. Fortunately, I had therapy that day. The first thing she had me do was ground. Put my feet on the floor feel the connection to Mother Earth. She said it’s okay to be scared, then the tears flowed. I was terrified. I was scared that this bedbug problem will never get under control. I was nervous about my best friend and I getting into an argument. I was stressed having less space in my apartment with everyone staying there. I felt depressed over my sister’s comments, and I was scared to take this class. My social anxiety was booming.  After grounding and crying it out, my therapist gave me some DBT interpersonal skills to work on to prepare for Sunday.

Pure panic had me in it’s grip for a bit; but, after facing the fear and letting emotions flow I felt better. I went to my Orientation and it went very well. Yesterday they treated again for bedbugs. My niece and best friend are looking for a place. I am not taking my sister’s comments personally, she has her own stress going on.  

All is good for the moment. Just breathe….

 

 

pic credit from holistichealthliving.com 

Parenting and Mental Illness

 

 

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Parenting is like the ocean. Somedays are rough and turbulent, other days more calm and serene. Learning to go with the flow of the waves is the challenge.

Being a single parent it often feels like you are alone and swimming against the current.

When you are a single parent with mental illness, raising a child with mental illness;  it feels at times like we are both drowning.

My daughter was 6 years old when my mother died and my mental breakdown followed. Despite struggling with deep depression, I swallowed my tears and used every bit of strength to provide for my daughter; but, there were times when I couldn’t move weighted down with sorrow. I think my sadness scared her because I was all she had, and my condition threatened our stability.

She was often emotional and had major separation anxiety since childhood. She often threw fits when I had to leave, and she hated night time. She cried to sleep with me most of the time. Family and friends would comment and suggest that I should get her on medication, or I shouldn’t let her sleep with me, or she needed help. I didn’t believe any of it. I just wanted to pacify her fear.

I started her in counseling when she was 10 years old as a preventive measure. She had been through some trauma and I thought it would be helpful if she had someone else in her life she could talk to.

When she was 12 years old she started cutting herself. I can not express the horror in my heart as my babygirl felt compelled to hurt herself. I have a memory of tucking her into bed one night and noticing some cuts at the bottom of her pajama leg, as I lifted the material up I discovered a whole paragraph carved into her skin. Nooo! Not again!

I have another memory of coming home from the grocery store, and as I opened the door, she was on the kitchen floor in tears, “Mommy, I didn’t want to do it.” “I can’t stop myself.” There was a large steak knife stabbed into the cupboard door. Cuts on her arms. She had taken handfuls of ibuprofen. To the hospital we went.

I was completely traumatized and couldn’t leave her alone at all. The school called several times a week for me to come pick her up, because she had hurt herself or had thoughts of doing so. That year she was placed in the state hospital five times and endless trips to the ER.

She continued in therapy, DBT groups and we had family therapy. She did really well using her skills to refrain from cutting for four years, until she turned 17 years old. The pressure of her approaching adulthood got the best of her. We have spent the last year in and out of hospitals and programs. She refuses medication, so there is only so much treatment that is available to her. She is now doing better but the depression and mood swings are mainstay.

Her anxiety about becoming an adult is partially my fault. She lacks confidence in her ability to take care of herself, because I have always protected her. I lacked in structure because of my own depression. I failed to discipline effectively because of her eruptions. I try not to beat myself up and I truly know I have done the best to my ability; but, still feel guilt.

Today I woke up to her crying and bellowing. I held her and let her release it. There is nothing I can do or say to make it better. I feel completely helpless. A few hours later she is crying again. It is draining and I wonder how much more I can take. Will she ever be able to be on her own?  I start feeling hopeless. Then I catch my own depression. The tricks my mind is trying to play on me. Trying to convince me that it is worse than what it is. Taking me to a dark place that is all too familiar.

Truth is, I can’t take away the pain, the fear or the mental illness. I can support and love her while she learns to love herself. I watch patiently while she figures out how to cope with her own mood. She went for a walk as I write. We both need space to calm our own minds. We are very close, too close maybe. Our feelings effect each other on deep levels.

Some days are filled with laughter and happiness. Days that are sunny and the surf is good.

Then there are others gloomy and gray, and we are pedaling water furiously just to stay afloat.

 

photo by LanWu on Deviantart