Monday, April 25, 2011


You with the dark parts and the dark art

Whose dark heart once ripped apart

Gets smart and finally starts to grow

And the new flow where you roll shows soul

no control, and I know

Beyond your skin deep down below

There are shadowed places you don’t even go

Open wounds that won’t close

Upon the page within your prose

I want to know where it goes at night

When you’re lying in bed under moonlight

Highlights trace the dark side of your face

As you wait to sleep and waste away in the keep

Of the demons that dance and shriek

You writhe and squirm like a freak you twist and turn

In the burn of a fire that swallows you whole

You fight for the light and dream of letting go

In a ballroom ballet you cling to your madness

Completed by the love you feel for your sadness

The way it hurts you now gives you pleasure

And the ugliest memories you have come to treasure

Weight and measure, unbalanced and broken

Haunted head you remain unspoken instead to wed

The pale lover you find

In the comfort and familiarity of your own kind

Blind, unrefined,

Subtlety murdered by a killer who leaves no clues behind

Though I think we both are very aware

Hesitant to give it life, so less we speak and more we stare

Now the years have been butterfly wings

In a fast forward life that continues to sting

Like a dragon sized bee impaled through the chest

At best without guess I can see you’re a mess but you’re blessed

with a gift yet you fear a resolve

You fear a closure

You long for the attention yet you dread the exposure

Get composure and get on your feet

Do battle with Hell and die before you retreat

For the death you will endure save the victory you celebrate

You skate, take shape, then escape from the hate you’ve grown to love

You stand on the edge awaiting a shove

In your breathless fall as you plunge to the ground

Angels will catch you and softly … set you down.

~*~Shawn Catherine Fisher ~*~

A dark poem, I know. It is where I’m at these days. My therapist tells me that it will get worse before it gets better. I find that very scary. I do not want to get so low that I can’t get back up.

"Doing battle with Hell."   Win or lose, I need this to get better soon.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Sermon for Passion Week

As directed by Telling Secrets - please go read the sermon posted here.

Seriously, even if you have no religion - go read this.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Discovering New Lands

One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. ~Andre Gide

This past weekend I went back to the university campus where my partner and I were attacked. It was something I did not want to did. It was something my therapist thought was critical to do.

Exposure therapy - losing sight of the shore for a very long time.

Things had changed on campus. The once very secluded area was not as secluded any more. Still, I walked the route and knew the spot immediately. The memories flooding back faster than I could process them. Flashbacks coming back hard. Debilitating, bitter, suffocating. The place where I lost half my heart and my foundations crumbled. This is the place I relive everyday yet I had never felt so lost.

Afterward we went to the church I used to attend there. The church I stumbled into when I had no where else to go. The church that gave me a safe harbor when nothing in my world was safe. Sanctuary. I sat for a long time, once again soaking up that sacred space. And thinking about how much I have to be thankful for now.

I know that I will be on this voyage for a while longer before I discover those new lands. I know that there will still be days when I am feeling hopelessly lost and flailing, when I want to give up. But I also know that there is a whole crew of people who will not let me drown.

- the readers of this blog who have prayed for me, encouraged and supported me either in comments or emails or in their private thoughts or with virtual tea (love it!). Your continued support has held me up in more ways than you will ever know.

- my friends who have been so very patient through my moods, and depressions, and lapses in upholding my end of friendship. They have kept my head above water and never, ever let go, no matter how many times I began to sink.

- Martha who every day lives with the ghost of my past with generosity and understanding. She has allowed me to take this journey even though it puts a tremendous strain on our family, holds me through the nightmares and crying jags. She is who always gives me a safe place to come home to and still manages to make me laugh.

- And my therapist who convinced me that PTSD is not a final destination. Who has pushed me beyond my limits but always held onto me while my body was racked with weeping or I thought I was losing my mind. She has asked me to take leaps of faith, and taken the leap with me every single time.

I know I still have miles to go. But for those of you who have often been my lifeboat or my guiding light while I am still finding my way to this new shore, I am eternally grateful. Thank you for sharing my journey.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Returning to the Scene

This weekend, as part of my exposure therapy, I will be returning to the place where my partner and I were attacked. I have not stepped on that university campus since that day. Not to defend my thesis or receive my degree. Not to visit my favorite niece when, a few years later, she attended school there or her graduation. Not when my own daughters played in tournaments there.

I once tried going on my own but didn’t get to the front entrance without starting to heave. This time my therapist will be with me and one of my closest friends will be nearby, available for support. I am not sure why this is such a huge hurdle for me. Perhaps the biggest. We have been working on this for weeks in therapy. It is just a place. But even the thought of it has my heart pounding in my chest.

Any good thoughts, positive energy and/or prayers would be appreciated.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Speak Easy

I have learned much during this past year about PTSD. I have written here numerous times about my recovery attempts, this year trying exposure therapy. The problem with this therapy however, is that the crux of the treatment is to be able to talk about the details of the trauma.

I have never been able to talk about the details of that day. Not with my closet friends. Not even with Martha. And I didn’t do any better with my therapist. Mostly she asked me questions. I tried to answer. Mostly nodded. I stammered. I stumbled. I could talk about some peripheral things. I could get close to some things. But still could never really verbalize the details, the terror, or the emotions.

My therapist has explained to me that since the trauma does not seem to exist in verbal memory, and I am unable to talk about it, I cannot release the emotions associated with the event in a verbally controlled way. This results in the trauma remaining in another form of memory and instead comes out in disruptive, frightening, image-loaded flashbacks.

So after a year of trying every imaginable angle, my therapist talked to me about hypnotherapy. It took months to convince me to try it, mostly because I was terrified to actually hear what it was I couldn’t say under normal conditions. Surely there is a very good reason my mind has totally blocked out some of the memories. But I have set an end date to therapy of June and I am feeling the pressure to do something, anything to get past the brick wall.

This past week I was hypnotized. My therapist spent a long time explaining to me every thing she would be doing. Everything she would be asking. And getting my permission for things she wanted to suggest to my subconscious mind. And she assured me that the first time would be very gentle, more of a learning experience for her and where she could go.

The experience was much more comfortable than I had imagined. Being in a super relaxed state is so very foreign to me, so opposite from my normal uber vigilant, always fighting to maintain control, mode. I was able to speak of a few things I had never been able to before. And I got a glimpse of how being able to speak it allows the emotions to escape from the cage I keep those feelings in.

It is just a beginning. We are going to work slowly toward the core problem. I am both terrified and hopeful at the same time. But the absolute best thing was that after the hypnosis, I slept. Like most PTSD sufferers, I experience constant sleep disturbances and wake up fitfully at the crack of dawn, full of anxiety. But I slept long and deep and uninterrupted. In fact, I slept so long I was woken by my secretary calling to ask why I wasn’t at work yet. Wow. If the hypnotherapy does nothing else, I will be extremely grateful for a good night’s sleep.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Layers

The Layers by Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives,

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind

the manic dust of my friends,

those who fell along the way,

bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,

exulting somewhat,

with my will intact to go

wherever I need to go,

and every stone on the road

precious to me.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

"Live in the layers,

not on the litter."

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written,

I am not done with my changes.