It’s a never ending nightmare
A long dark tunnel
A permanent panic attack
Pain in my chest
Never feeling safe
Down the rabbit hole
I’m reaching out
Trying to slow my fall
Wondering what is real
Hoping I will wake up
Holding in my rage
I turned it in on myself
This is from a group I’m part of for recovering from Complex PTSD. It’s not my own (and actually I’m waiting on permission so I may need to come back and either delete or add an attribution), but I wanted to share it because I could easily have said the same thing myself. All the calming, positivity therapies don’t seem to have much effect, and I have been doing these things for a long time – far longer than I realised I might actually have mental health issues. Back when I thought I was just a feisty redhead who needed to calm down a bit. So what is the answer? Can things change? Is it just a long road? I wish I knew.
I have a seasalt lamp.
I have a lavender pillow.
I drink milk before bed.
I try to limit my coffee to one a day.
I try to go for a walk.
I volunteer each month.
I limit my contact with my family.
I attend my counseling.
I take my prescriptions.
I take magnesium.
I take vitamin B.
I try to eat meat free every second day.
I sit by the sea each week.
I count my blessings.
I do deep breathing.
I try to limit sugar.
I limit my screen time.
I do all these things to manage my cptsd.
And at the end of all of that I’m just the same.
My anxiety roars in my ears.
My depression wears me like an uncomfortable coat.
I suppress my emotions.
I comfort eat.
I don’t sleep.
It’s a complex recipe, being well and finding the right path to wellness.
Having cptsd is a complex maze of experiences,
inner mind talk and responses.
And some days I manage.
Other days I don’t.
I found this poem in my facebook memories for today, and had to look it up to discover where it was from. I liked it so I thought I would share it.
The book was probably the best one I had on pregnancy loss because it was offering art as therapy rather than just commiserating about the loss. As it turned out, the art form I chose was writing (and my first attempt at NaNoWriMo was an unexpectedly intensely personal piece of fiction that I haven’t been able to even go back and edit because it was so raw, but getting it out helped me I’m sure).
I like this poem because, while it is heart-rending and painful, it is more beautiful than dark. I hope you enjoy it.
After three months
of silent stitching
what finger let slip
what growing row of cells
unravelled, loosing life and
leaving the lap empty?
– Olson Binder, 1993
Quoted in Grief Unseen, Healing Pregnancy Loss through the Arts by Laura Seftel
Psalms: Psalm 122
OT: Isaiah 2:1-5
Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44
Epistles: Romans 13:11-14
The Psalm for today was 122, “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.”
I was unable to go to church this Sunday because, in addition to my own health issues, I am now looking after my mother who suffers from bipolar disorder.
My mother always becomes anxious, tearful, angry as Sunday rolls around. Having grown up in what was effectively a very abusive religious home, she is deeply conflicted about church. She wants to be there, she yearns for community, but it is tainted by the memory of forced religion.
I, meanwhile, would love to be there but my health more often than not prevents me, and I am constantly angry at the way the church neglects us, rejects us, forgets us.
I saw this poem on a facebook group and decided to share it because the words are so close to my own heart.
How baffling you are, oh Church,
and yet how I love you!
How you have made me suffer,
and yet how much I owe you!
I would like to see you destroyed,
and yet I need your presence.
You have given me so much scandal
and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is.
I have seen nothing in the world
more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false,
and yet I have touched nothing
more pure, more generous, more beautiful.
How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face,
and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.
No, I cannot free myself from you,
because I am you, though not completely.
And besides, where would I go?
Would I establish another?
I would not be able to establish it without the same faults,
for they are the same faults I carry in me.
And if I did establish another,
it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ.
And I am old enough to know
that I am no better than anyone else.
– by Carlo Carretto, from The God Who Comes
I really know very little about Irish history, it is not something we are taught in British schools (not even the British side of the story – it’s just brushed aside completely, at least it was when I was at school, and I doubt things have changed significantly in that regard) which makes me a little sad as it is part of my heritage.
So I thought I would share this famous poem from the Easter Uprising of 1916 to mark its centenary, and since hope and despair as well as freedom and escape are such common themes on this blog.
I am come of the seed of the people, the people that sorrow,
That have no treasure but hope,
No riches laid up but a memory
Of an Ancient glory.
My mother bore me in bondage, in bondage my mother was born,
I am of the blood of serfs;
The children with whom I have played, the men and women with whom I have eaten,
Have had masters over them, have been under the lash of masters,
And, though gentle, have served churls;
The hands that have touched mine, the dear hands whose touch is familiar to me,
Have worn shameful manacles, have been bitten at the wrist by manacles,
Have grown hard with the manacles and the task-work of strangers,
I am flesh of the flesh of these lowly, I am bone of their bone,
I that have never submitted;
I that have a soul greater than the souls of my people’s masters,
I that have vision and prophecy and the gift of fiery speech,
I that have spoken with God on the top of His holy hill.
And because I am of the people, I understand the people,
I am sorrowful with their sorrow, I am hungry with their desire:
My heart has been heavy with the grief of mothers,
My eyes have been wet with the tears of children,
I have yearned with old wistful men,
And laughed or cursed with young men;
Their shame is my shame, and I have reddened for it,
Reddened for that they have served, they who should be free,
Reddened for that they have gone in want, while others have been full,
Reddened for that they have walked in fear of lawyers and of their jailors
With their writs of summons and their handcuffs,
Men mean and cruel!
I could have borne stripes on my body rather than this shame of my people.
And now I speak, being full of vision;
I speak to my people, and I speak in my people’s name to the masters of my people.
I say to my people that they are holy, that they are august, despite their chains,
That they are greater than those that hold them, and stronger and purer,
That they have but need of courage, and to call on the name of their God,
God the unforgetting, the dear God that loves the peoples
For whom He died naked, suffering shame.
And I say to my people’s masters: Beware,
Beware of the thing that is coming, beware of the risen people,
Who shall take what ye would not give.
Did ye think to conquer the people,
Or that Law is stronger than life and than men’s desire to be free?
We will try it out with you, ye that have harried and held,
Ye that have bullied and bribed, tyrants, hypocrites, liars
P H Pearse
Is a thing
We’re supposed to do –
At the start of the day
Must fall by the way.
That we only get to choose
Half a life.
Is worth preserving
And which must be
Can you pace your emotions
So you only feel half sad –
At the injustice
Of being cut down in your prime?
There are worse things
(c) Sharon Tootill (Shoshana) 2015
We have been taking some time off from academics over the last few weeks, and just really enjoyed some much needed ‘down’ time as frustrations had been mounting with the very hot weather.
But since we live on the north Cornwall coast, all our usual haunts are at the moment extremely crowded with tourists so, I’m thinking of starting back with lessons while the schools are on holiday.
Avoiding the crowds has always been one of the lovely advantages of home education – when we used to come on holiday down here, we would come in September, when it was a little cooler, and everywhere was a little less jam-packed.
I’m thinking this year of reviving a pattern of study that worked for one of our best years of home education – 3 weeks of lessons followed by 1 week of holiday, all through the year. It sometimes needs tweaking a little, for example, so that the holidays co-incide with the relevant festivals, but on the whole it’s a good arrangement and it works out to 36 weeks which is a standard ‘school’ year. It’s nice because you know that it’s never too long until you can rest, so it gives you something to look forward to, and something to work for. So rather than 3 ‘terms’ or ‘semesters’, you might have 12 mini blocks of study and 12 breaks.
Something else I am planning to use more is ‘Circle Time’. It is something that we have always done to a greater or lesser extent, but I have not made much use of it recently. When the children were young, we always started the day with a prayer, a poem and some music (I had a box of percussion instruments at one time, but that seems to have sadly got lost in our many moves – if anybody would like to donate any kind of instruments to us, they would be very gladly received!) We also used to review memory work (like the days of the week etc.) and talk about the weather during Circle Time as well.
Most recently, we have been having a prayer and a poem every day still, but the music and the memory work has been abandoned. It has certainly been harder to get up any enthusiasm for singing with my strongest singer gone. (He has ‘graduated’ to Sixth Form College)
But I have been doing a lot of reading recently on the Charlotte Mason method, and I am inspired to revive some of the things that we did right at the beginning of our home education adventure, and Circle Time is one of them.
In fact, I didn’t realise that Circle Time was a Charlotte Mason thing at all – for me it was originally inspired by my experience at Infant School. But I am reminded that when I went to school in the early 1970s, British schools were still feeling the positive influence of Charlotte Mason’s reforms. I hasten to add that Circle Time in British schools has evolved into something quite different, so if you want to google Circle Time, you might want to include the word ‘homeschooling’.
But to get you going, if you’re interested, you might like to read Mystie’s post, which refers back to Cindy Rollins fantastic website and series which is dedicated to the concept of Circle Time, although she refers to it as Morning Time, and Morning Meeting. I rather like that, and I particularly like the concept of ordering our days (and that order being as it were a ‘liturgy’), and ordering our affections (hence the name of Cindy’s website, Ordo Amoris, ordering the affections) which of course is a very Charlotte Mason idea, grounded in Classical education and thinking.
I’m not as organised as I’d like to be, but I am planning to start ‘school’ again tomorrow, to gently and slowly get going. We have booked to go on the Christian Home Educators’ Holiday at Cefn Lea in Wales in September, so the 3 week on / 1 week off rule will need to be bent slightly to accommodate that, but hopefully by the time we come back we won’t find it too hard to get back into the swing of things again as we will only have had the 1 week off.
If you use Circle Time or Morning Time, or have any kind of morning order or ‘liturgy’, I would love to hear from you, and next time I will post some information about what we are including in our Circle Time.
I responded to a request on twitter this morning for an urban verse to the well-known hymn ‘How Great Thou Art’.
I have never written any poetry before, or hymns, unless I can include a Christmas Carol I once co-wrote at school.
I thought I would post it here, partly because I got no response, and so I wanted to record it as my own work -just in case it gets used without acknowledgement, you heard it first here! 🙂
It’s just a short verse but I’m quite pleased with it!
In city streets, amid the crowds of people,
I sense the still, small voice of blessed calm.
The works of man tower over church and steeple,
your loving voice is still to me a balm.
Then sings my soul!
My saviour God to Thee,
How great Thou art,
How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul!
My saviour God to Thee,
How great Thou art,
How great Thou art!
(c) Sharon Tootill, 11th May 2014.