Archive for December, 2010

Award from Mental Nurse

Mental Nurse has awarded Blooming Lotus with a 2010 TWIM Award for Best Neurotic, Stress-Related and Somatorm Disorders Blog.

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I have been doing some blogging this week so I will be able to get back to publishing blog entries regularly each weekday. I hope that all of you have a wonderful weekend and that you, like me, are ready to start anew in 2011.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Hi, everyone!

I hope that you are having a good holiday season or at least surviving it!

I am having trouble finding time to blog right now. I am doing better than expected for this time of year — not perfect, but much better than last year. My sister and her kids are coming tomorrow for a week, and my son is out of school for two weeks. I simply don’t have enough “alone time” to blog right now. I will try to pop in when I can, but I will get back to blogging regularly Monday through Friday after the New Year.

~ Faith

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Last week, I blogged about several intense dreams that I had throughout the week. Because of inclement weather and my son being home, I did not get a chance to blog about the coolest set of dreams in which I experienced true lucid dreaming.

Lucid dreaming is when you are aware that you are dreaming, and you take control of the dream. Over the past several years I have become aware that I was dreaming in the moment (typically in a nightmare), and I learned to scream as loud as I could to wake myself up. I would scream and scream in the dreams, but they would be frustratingly silent screams in my dream. However, the effort of trying to scream will frequently cause me to make a noise that winds up waking me up. This has become my escape hatch.

On Thursday night, I actually experienced true lucid dreaming, and it was amazing! First, it was another variation of me trying so desperately to sleep but not being able to. I was trying to sleep in the front passenger seat of a car, but people kept watching me. An Asian woman tried to steal my purse (another reference to my “essential baggage”), but I was able to protect it. (I have no bad experiences with Asian women that I remember, so I am baffled by her ethnicity.) I awoke briefly and was surprised to discover that I was actually sleeping in my own bed because I had tried so many ways and places to sleep in the dream.

Here is where it got cool – I was in this big room surrounded by a lot of items (sort of like a toy store), and I recognized in the moment that I was dreaming. I decided that, since this was just a dream, no harm could come to me, so I would choose to be completely present and explore the dream. When I did this, some toys started singing something about me trying to heal too fast or faster than I should. I just acknowledged the message and moved on.

I wish I had written this when I first woke up because I have forgotten most of the dreams. I remember vivid colors and being amazed at how interesting it was to “be alive” and controlling my own movements in the dream. I saw a display of Christmas items, and I chose to stop and admire the beauty of it rather than push it away (which is the way I typically react in real life).

I can’t remember most of the details. I just remember the feeling of being present in the dream, the beauty of the vivid colors, and the absence of fear. I hope I have another dream like this soon!

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Inclement Weather

Hi, everyone!

We are having inclement weather in my part of the world, so my son did not go to school today and might not tomorrow as well. It might be Monday before I can get back to blogging.

I hope everyone is staying safe and warm!

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I guess this is not going to be the week for restful sleep! I am shaking after awakening from the following dream:

I had to paint a very detailed statue (think Nativity scene but not religious in any way), and I am doing it to replicate a complex statue that my mother painted when she was younger. (My mother and sister are both talented with painting, sketching, and drawing. I can barely draw a stick figure. As a child, my mother would have the three of us paint statues as childhood activities.) I can see my mother’s, and it is beautiful. Mine, not so much (which would be true if I actually tried to do this real life).

There were many facets to the statue, including several bananas. I was wearing very nice clothing and did not want to get paint on it, but I was sure I could do this messy job without getting messy myself. My mother was there, and I was painting in my church’s parking lot (the church that I attend today).

Some people from my church came to help unload our baggage. We had a lot – both my mother and me – but they were only taking my stuff into the church (which was where I was apparently staying for some reason). I needed to put the statue away before I could help, and I didn’t want anyone touching my “essential” baggage (very large navy blue suitcase on wheels) because it had everything I needed even if all of the other baggage was “lost.”

My mother’s baggage was being unloaded to go to a man’s house. In real life, she has apparently been having a chaste friendship with a man for a couple of years – he wants more but she doesn’t, and my sister thinks he is using his relationship with her as a cover (she has many theories – he is gay, a serial rapist, etc., and needs to appear to have a girlfriend as a “cover”). I haven’t met the man, so I have no idea. I can only tell you that my mother is mentally ill, poor, and claims to despise sex, so I question the motives of any man chasing her.

Back to the dream…All of these church people are taking her baggage over to go to this guy’s house where they are going to live together without getting married. I was really bothered by this. Different people that I knew from high school walked by without acknowledging me. I went up to my Sunday School teacher and asked him why the church was being supportive and helpful of my mother choosing to “live in sin” when a church (not my church) kicked out someone my age for “living in sin” with her boyfriend. He said it’s different for my mother.

Then, these judgmental people came to move the rest of the baggage and took my “essential bag.” I told them I could take it myself, but they threw it in a cart with some other things. I followed them because I wasn’t going to let the bag out of my sight. They said that I was the one holding my mother back – that she wanted to marry the man but wouldn’t as long as I was not in her life. They were supporting her in doing “wrong” because she could not do “right” due to my choice to keep her out of my life.

I felt guilty and thought about whether I should reconcile with her. Then, I got angry because all of these people were judging me, and I was not the cause of the problem. I thought about the things that my mother did to me throughout my childhood, and I became angrier as these people kept pulling the cart with my essential baggage in it. Then, I woke up shaking.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Bizarre Dreams

I had some bizarre dreams last night. First, I was washing dishes by hand in the kitchen sink (something I hate to do). I had just finished, but then more appeared, and I got to work at washing them. I was working very hard on a bowl coated in oatmeal when two sets of hands (one set on either side of me) started washing the rest of them. I looked up and found two men – nice college-age boys who were living in our house – washing them for me. I was so surprised because it is always my job to do all of the cleaning. I felt very special that they would help, and their reaction was that they were just pitching in – no big deal.

Then, I was living in my mother’s house as a teenager again. I was asleep in my bed when I heard the door open and my mother say, “Rise and shine!” like she used to do when I was a kid. She did this at the same time that two radio alarms went off in my room – one beside my bed and one on the stereo across the room. I was angry with her for doing this because I was responsible enough to wake myself up without her help.

I got out of bed, and I was overwhelmed by the numerous large piles of clean clothes all over my room. I turned off the alarm by my bed right away, but I had a hard time finding the power button to the stereo. The button had moved from its usual place, and I could not find it.

I went to the bathroom (same location as in my current house) to brush my teeth, and I was aghast to see the college boys walking around wearing nothing but towels while I was in my pajamas. (Keep in mind that I was a teenager in this dream.) I couldn’t use another bathroom, though, because renovations were going on, and the room they were using was a guest room being added onto this bathroom. So, I had to brush my teeth with these guys walking in and out. They didn’t even seem to notice me, but I felt uncomfortable being so “exposed” with a wall torn out of my bathroom.

I woke up and then went back to sleep. Here was the second round … I was so tired, and I just wanted to be able to sleep. A male friend of mine from college was there – someone I trusted who never once tried to take advantage of me. I kept wanting to sleep with him nearby so I would know that I was safe. (Side note – This has been a recurring theme in my dreams lately – seeking out “safe” people in my dreams to watch over me or let me sleep in their beds so I can sleep.)

There was also part of the dream that took place in a restaurant. A high school friend kept asking me why I wouldn’t call her at her new phone number. I kept telling her that it wasn’t safe. She kept saying that nothing had changed, but I got her to admit that the phone would ring at a public place, so we had no privacy when we talked. I kept wanting to sleep and kept trying to be with safe people so I could sleep.

Any theories on what this means? I know that bathroom dreams are about the most private part of yourself (bedrooms are pretty private, too). The piled clothing and kitchen sink represent my emotional “baggage.” I am a teenager in the dream (all high school and early college), so this relates to my mother’s abuse during that time and/or the college rapes. That was a period in my life of feeling very unsafe no matter where I went.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Last weekend, I was in a very dark place. However, I managed to pull myself out on Monday by putting all of my tools into practice. I am no longer concerned about being “abandoned” over the Christmas holiday. Whenever the thought even crosses my mind, I know how to fight it.

I was OK on Monday and Tuesday, but then I started getting jittery on Wednesday and then feeling anxious on Thursday. My sister also had a panic attack on Thursday night. I thought this was perhaps another “disturbance in the force” outside of myself, which is frustrating because I do not yet know how to fight that. When the problem is not within me, it is much more challenging to know how to fight back within myself.

I stayed anxious all weekend. I used Xanax to sleep at night, and I found myself compulsively overeating for several days. I couldn’t tell you why – only that I felt “off” and anxious, and eating soothed that feeling.

On Saturday, my sister mentioned in passing that her university’s graduation was that day, and she was reminiscing with her children that it was exactly one year ago that she was the one graduating with her Bachelor’s degree. I did not think much of the comment at the time – no dots were connected.

Then, on Saturday night, I had a flashback dream that told me exactly what my problem is – It has been one year since I forced myself to see my mother/abuser again after a six-year hiatus. I only did this because my love for my sister outweighed my aversion to seeing my mother, and my sister invited us both to the graduation.

In the dream, I relived the moment of my mother hugging me. It wasn’t a complete repeat of the place, but it was a repeat of the emotions. I was having to spend time with my mother, even though I did not want to. I was making a real effort to be polite even though I wanted to run screaming from being anywhere near her. Then, she wanted a hug. I did not want to give her one, but I believed I had no choice, and my friend (who came with me last year to the graduation to be my “buffer”) stood next to me watching and letting me make the call. She had no way of knowing that there was no choice – only compliance because I never feel like I have a choice in my mother/abuser’s presence.

She hugged me thoroughly as I tried not to touch any part of her. A part of me wrestled with whether it would be easier just to let go and embrace her hug, but the larger part of myself had flashes of all of the ways I had been hurt in childhood by her body touching mine. The hug seemed to go on forever. As soon as it ended, I forced myself awake. My heart was racing, and I was very shaky.

It took me a couple of hours after being awake to tie it all together – Seeing her again was traumatizing, and her hugging me added to the trauma. I know all of you are thinking, “Duh!,” but I guess I never really made that connection. I saw it as facing past trauma, not as adding more trauma that needed to be processed.

I had so much drama trying to get home (our flight was canceled due to weather), and then I faced a breast cancer scare as soon as I returned, so I never took any time to work through my feelings and reactions to the trauma of seeing her again. I just wanted to put it all behind me…and now it is back on the anniversary of that newer trauma. Oh, joy!

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I am going to take off the long weekend and start blogging again on Monday. I am so behind in every area of my life right now. I just can’t seem to catch up.

– Faith

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I have shared over the past couple of days about my struggles with seasonal depression and feeling very triggered. This went on for a solid 2-1/2 weeks. It kicked off with numerous emotional triggers on top of physical illness (two back-to-back colds). I had lots of little things happening that kept the triggers going. Over the weekend, I was in a pretty dark place, which was when I wrote my blog entries for Monday and Tuesday.

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. on Monday morning and could not fall back to sleep. I finally gave up and watched a TV show. It had been a long time since I just sat and did something nice like that for myself. (My son was sick with a 102+ fever for a week last week, so there was no time to nurture myself.)

Then, I did yoga, meditation, and mudras for contentment and to relieve anxiety. All weekend, I just felt the need to cry uncontrollably but never had the privacy to do it. I was able to release some of this emotion as part of the yoga and meditation process.

Through meditation, I zeroed in on the lie that was kicking my tail – the lie that I would be abandoned over the holidays. As a child, the holidays meant that all contact was cut off from those who were positive influences (teachers, friends, etc.), and I was left 24/7 with my dysfunctional father (when he was around), abusive mother, and my mother’s abusive friends.

Being sick followed by Thanksgiving followed by being in isolation with my sick child set that lie off full force. No matter how many emails I received inquiring about my son’s condition and no matter how many phone calls I received from friends, I felt abandoned and alone.

I turned to my faith to help fight the lie. I wrote Joshua 1:5 on an index card and recited it multiple times throughout the day. Whenever my mind when anywhere unpleasant, I stopped “The Voice” and replaced it with this Bible verse.

I also went to see a movie with a friend on Monday – something that had been postponed first for her sick kid and then for mine. There was a scene that triggered the abandonment “voice,” but I immediately shut it off with the verse I had memorized.

For whatever reason, everywhere I went on Monday and Tuesday found me running into someone I knew – someone who was sincerely happy to see me and wanted to chat. I think this was grace – helping me to see firsthand that I am not abandoned or alone even though we are in the holiday season.

I know I am making this sound simple, but believe me – it was not easy. By Sunday night, the darkness was enveloping me. This is a huge battle going on inside of me, and I feel like the weary warrior who keeps getting knocked off her feet and has to keep finding the courage to stand back up and face down her demons.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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