Time and Trauma

Does trauma heal with time, or does time just make you feel cheated for longer?

The natural healing systems of the body can clearly get it wrong with anxiety, which is an over-active sense of alarm leading to the degrading of normal function. Waiting for these negative learned behaviours to change themselves is not going to work.

The mind can race ahead of the body, or think itself separate – a folly. But it can also correct its course, for the mind too is of nature, and we are possessed of some wisdom. Altering the mind’s course to reduce anxiety will help trauma heal.

But how long will  this take? I cannot know. And what will healing look like? I do not know. All I can know is whether or not I am on the path to healing and whether I wish to get better, or remain forever broken.

 

 

Refugee

Seven hundred thousand refugee

Sail across the distant sea

I want dem come for company

For my own land, me refugee

No passport many years

No job twenty years

No home a lifetime

Come and join me refugee

In my own country.

Dis your country too

What done to you, by colony

Accept dis apology

Come settle, make me glad with glee

My new friend, no more a refugee.

Procrastination

Start writing it

Ask her out

Cancel your card

Leave the house

Take the risk

Send it in

Procrastination – anxiety in action. The brain’s version of two feet fumbling at the edge of a cliff, refusing to just bungeeeeeeee…

The difference between good and great is that good procrastinates and gets there eventually, whereas great is already one step ahead, having missed the procrastination stage.

The worst that can happen is that you could trap yourself in a spiral of negative thinking and unproductive worry!

This means that you are in control of how you feel today. It means that the insurmountable mountain is actually not that steep.

It means that all of the barriers on your path only seem so high because you are hunkering down.

It means that all of the monsters on your quest are infamous only because other people are so afraid of them.

I think procrastination is a form of enchantment – only, in the negative sense of overestimating threat. I suppose dread and fear is as much a part of the imagination as anything!

But it is not a part of the imagination we want to allow to rule our lives.

To ‘not do’ is not the safe option. To ‘not do’ is how phobias and disorders develop, and once they do, it is not easy to reverse them (believe me, I am in the middle of one).

If only I had done this, if only I had done that – also not useful. Procrastination.  What has been is not necessarily what will be. And who can tell where each path would have led, or what you would be now if you had done what.

What you have before you is what you can mould the most. Your destiny is undeniably a continuous thing which cannot be altered easily, as is your character. But the small steps you can make to begin changing that destiny – they can happen anytime.

And once you start winning and changing, the results are exponential. Find something you can feasibly achieve, and feasibly achieve it.

Procrastination – the product of too much intellect and not enough feeling. Get out of your mind for a moment, and back into the whole of yourself…

There is a world to explore

There are unjust systems to deconstruct

There is your novel to write

There is love to be found

There is music to be played

There are seeds to be planted

There is climate destruction to be undone

There is a Trump to be dethroned

 

(If you like this post, share it on social media and help your friends stop procrastinating!)

Finitude

You are a limited being. The pain inside you can only accumulate so much.

You must be patient. You must be prepared to go into yourself and let the healing process happen.

Pride is the product of harmful attitudes, which lead to emotions amplifying your pain.

Learn to be humble and reach out your hand for help.

Say you need help, be vulnerable among those you trust.

You will be strong again someday, but that day is not today.

If you need medication to have the courage to go out, you cannot work.

If the slightest stress makes your knees buckle, you cannot stand alone.

You must be humble, you must live with acceptance.

You must know no shame, you must live with acceptance.

Until you accept, you will but delay the inevitable.

No love will you find, for none are your saviour.

No peace will you find, for you will be haunted.

No sanctuary exists, for these feelings are carried with you.

So let it wash over you, let it pass through.

Even the darkest pain, do not resist it.

Be with it, let it work its dark work.

Trust that your natural being can eventually heal you.

Trust that you are made of light.

 

Know your limits as a finite entity

Of a finite race, upon a finite world

 

Never again let yourself come to this.

Love yourself, forgive yourself

Swallow pride, seek help – it is there.

Humanity has a large heart.

And so do you.

Be patient, live step by step and day by day

When you are ready to stand again

You will just know it.

 

Don’t worry

Everything by nature wishes to live

It is encoded into you

Trust the very essence of your being.

Self Worth

It always surprises me how capable I am.

It really should be obvious by now, because I work so well in community-minded teams. Time and time again, I have thrived and inspired others. Effortlessly I can fit in to new groups and gain as much respect as I show. But I still have these barriers of worthlessness to deal with most days.

A lifetime of abuse, neglect and alienation can do that to you. When you have to constantly hear other people’s problems (in the constant whining tone of a frustrated idiot), your self-identity is worn down. You have no space to become your own person. It is hard to shape yourself when it is besieged by other people’s emotions, other people’s expectations, or literally disrupted by unwanted sounds. For vulnerable children, these intrusive elements are especially damaging.

Eventually, your self-esteem hits a nadir, and it is in these moments you become most vulnerable. Wounds that are struck in this time, with no psychic defences, leave the deepest mark. Feeling powerless is the way to depression, feeling weak to anxiety. Over the years it grinds into you, becoming a kind of ‘default setting’.

I have these feelings deep inside. Childhood abuse and humiliation, unacknowledged or underplayed, has left its scars on my self-esteem. The lack of a single proper relationship has meant I had to cope as a lone wolf for so many years. The brutality of school, caught between savagely stupid bullies and horrible teachers has made it hard for me to trust the world. The grinding alienation of the capitalist world, with its ghettos and shopping malls, inspired inaction and depression. It is a lot to bear.

And sometimes the load gets too much. It is not as if the abuse is stuck in the past. Those who commit abuse and do not make real steps to change are prone to repeat their actions. Sometimes the sight of them alone triggers discomfort and anxiety, disgust and anger.

Lack of self-worth is thus passed down like a family legacy. It always made me wonder how a family could destroy its own chances, undermining its own and leaving itself in a worse position. Why would an abuser create mentally crippled children and risk destitution? Why would people who always compete with the Joneses damage their own chances of being more successful? Perhaps it is a form of self-hatred. Perhaps it is overwhelming ignorance.

My wings have certainly been clipped. This article is not an exercise in ‘woe-is-me’. It is an exercise in what I have to push through to be what I truly want to be.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to remind myself: I am worth something! Having a web of friends who always show love and appreciation help me feel special. Self-worth comes from my creations, which were generated precisely because of my lack of any good emotions. And with self-reflection comes self-worth, for if I truly know myself, I can but love what is there. That very act of trying to know myself is to show that I am something separate from what others try to shape me into; an attempt at dignity.

Self-worth is hard. My lack of esteem is the cause of always seeing this year’s dream woman as being my emotional saviour, or the other town as a utopia, or a small job opening as the path to fame and wealth. These flights of fancy are not a healthy way to live, and further entrench lack of self-worth. What I need is acceptance of the past without a feeling of rage, but paradoxically, ambition enough to transcend the present condition and its myriad risks.

Do I have self-worth? Yes, I must do. If I didn’t I would not be angry at having been underestimated and ground down; I wouldn’t have an image of what I could be; I wouldn’t be crawling painfully toward something better; I wouldn’t be seeing a psychotherapist and treating my body well. Yes, I have self-worth.

But next door ugly voices are grating, chattering endlessly, intruding on my psychic space, and it is a challenge to stay afloat.

Gylfanon and the Black Drake

On the eve of Lammas, Gylfanon crossed the Gnarred Plains and first reached Mawrend’s cavern, gazing down at the entrance. Smelling the sick scent of sulphur and burning bones, he turned his steed and sheathed Nightcleaver, bringing his cavalry bodyguards with him.

On the eve of Imbolc, Gylfanon again reach Mawrend’s cavern. This time he dismounted, handing the reins to his page, drew his broad black sword and ventured down the first corridor. Something inside his skull urged him to turn, to turn back with haste. He followed that impulse.

Half a year passed and again on the eve of Lammas, Gylfanon reached Mawrend’s cavern. With little fear he dismounted and made his way along the first, natural cavern corridor. Skulls and bones and scorched armours lay all about, at the portal to the deeps of the reptile’s lair. Gylfanon pondered sending in scouts, but decided not to risk it. Mounting his steed, sheathing Nightcleaver, he returned to Castle Gylfax.

On the eve of Imbolc, Gylfanon returned to Mawrend’s cavern. Fearless he strode into its maw and along the first corridor. Tentatively he made his way through the portal, and there slumbered the great drake Mawrend. The beast slept, but the Black Prince thought better than to try his luck, trusting in his twisting gut. Ordering his impetuous knights to stand down, they left grumbling.

On the eve of Beltain, Gylfanon returned to Mawrend’s cavern. Never had his men seen him so confident as he dared the cavernous entrance, bestrode the dark corridors, ducked through the portal entrance and drew Nightcleaver, brandishing the terrible blade and roaring in defiance. Mawrend, woken from a deep dream, instantly bowed his neck in service.

All of the bones lying about the Reptile’s lair, they belonged to the ones who did not listen to their fear. They were the ones who understood not how to battle the unknown. Gylfanon was wiser, the alpha and the omega. He won a powerful reptilian ally and a lifelong friend from his understanding.

This many

This many killed, this many injured

Here at this time

Framed on a page

Of cheap pulp

This many saw it, this many wept

In our nation

Framed on a page

Of cheap pulp

 

And how many died today

Around the world?

How many starved

How many strangled

How many in their own homes

How many exploited

How many ignored

How many dehumanized

To stitch your new shirt

 

This many of my brain cells died today

From the fear you tried to evoke

Insulting my intelligence

Trying my patience

This much of my hope was extinguished

From the pain you tried to peddle

Trivializing the truth

On cheap pulp

 

But I will not despair

For

I learnt how to slay you long ago;

The beast dies when you behold it not.

 


 

I know it is stating blindingly obvious, but the mass media is full of fear. It creates a narrative of fear, exaggerating the dangers of the world, framing it as a place of violent chaos. Like gazing into a train wreck, the smouldering ruins it presents have an instinctual draw.

But turn away! Turn away from the distortion of truth! Life is not some land of rainbows and butterflies, but it is safer than the Hades the papers make it out to be.

Craft your own narrative, inspired by a balanced appraisal of events. Think not that your life is insignificant just because, on a grand scale, you are a drop in the ocean. Just as the distances between ehre and the stars are vast, so the distances between the atoms in your body are vast.

You are all things, as much as they are you. The importance of the mass-media machine diminishes when you start to value those around you, and seek a more balanced diet of news and events.

What is truly signficant? Anything that is not in an irreverent tabloid.

Enchantment

Without enchantment, we are lost in the world. Without myth, guideless. Without spirit, we are dead inside. Without art, we are silent.

The world-as-it-is: not suitable for our primed imaginations. Stillness is just a reprieve, sleep a chance to dream. The vigour of endless Western minds; ceaseless, like the snout of an anteater. The world is layered with our mark.

Then let us do the best that we can do with our candor and sheer energy. Let us enchant nature and live there, among the wood sprites and the sacred trees. Let us catch that mana, let us fly these concrete prisons.

Profit is a road leading nowhere. But the deep wood and the bramble grove is an infinite, winding adventure…

Cracks in the pavement

'The city is expanding
 

All-pervading
 
Devouring everything into itself.
 
The system is absolute
 
Dominating
 
Chaining everything inside itself...'

Is it?

Look at the cracks in the pavement
Where moss and lichen grows
Green through the grey

Look at the cops joking around
On duty
Look at the council worker staring

At their reflection in a monitor

Realizing their futility.

 


Authority is in our minds
Projected outwards
The feelings of defeat
Are conjured in our heads;
The swell of over-thinking.

Left for ten years
This city would become a forest;
Plants feed off concrete
Trees tear it apart.
We are always only
A few years away from victory.

London Syndrome

London you have torn me in two

An abusive lover, indifferent to my pain

But I still want you.

I hate the pace you set on life

The rushing, anonymous crowds

But I want their recognition.

You lock me out of your plazas

And price me out of the culture I helped create

But I still come knockin’.

 

What are you promising, exactly?

Anything at all? Or nothing.

For I never found my way

Along your busy streets

You never sheltered me or held me

In your deep bosom.

 

Our traumatic bond, London

It is all I have known, London

I am afraid to go, London

But I am more afraid to stay.

 

So fuck you, London. We’re finished!

 

(But you’ll take me back if I wanna come home right?)