Thursday, December 5, 2013


Pause.  I feel like my life has been paused.  Perhaps it is fitting since it is the advent/solstice season, a time of quiet reflection and anticipation of the coming light.  So much in my life has changed in the past year that I feel like the rest of me has not yet caught up.

I volunteer for an organization that provides rides, and other help, to people in need.  I used to do this on a regular basis. By that  I mean that I had clients whom I drove to weekly appointments, or did their weekly grocery shopping and banking, etc..  When I was so ill last year, recuperating from cancer surgeries and taking intolerable drugs, I had to give up all my regulars. Since then I have been occasionally substituted for other drivers, rather randomly.  Not nearly enough.  I have been feeling well enough for quite awhile to call and get back on a regular schedule, but something has kept me from doing it.  I’m not sure what.  Volunteering has been on Pause.

I have not gone backpacking since . . . I actually can’t remember when.  It’s been awhile.   Not at all in the Fall which is my favorite time to go packing - less people, cool hiking temperatures, no bugs, beautiful foliage.  I have not gone mostly due to my favorite hiking buddy having a critical illness in her family.  And the fact that all my joints ache from this estrogen inhibitor I am taking.  But the truth is that I have other friends who would love to go into the mountains with me.  And I am achy, but far from disabled.  Something has kept me from doing it.  I’m not sure what.  Backpacking has been on Pause.

I have managed to occasionally get to the gym  But not my usual daily commitment.   I find more excuses not to go than to go.  Exercise is definitely on Pause.

I used to arrange a lunch date with someone once every two weeks to balance my introverted side and also to keep up professionally with community people.  I would rotate through a file I keep of church leaders, the school superintendent, fire department captains, Chamber of Commerce people, community rabble rousers, etc.  When was the last time I invited anyone to lunch?  I can’t remember.  And I have turned down almost every invitation I have received.   Pause.

I feel in many ways I have spent my entire adult life trying to get back to the person I know I lost.  And now that I have finally stepped through the door of trauma healing, I realize that I can never, ever be the person I once was. Nobody can. Too much time has passed.  Too many new experiences.  We all change and grow.  I have a new life.  But I don’t have a new ‘me’ yet because I actually don’t know who I am without all the trauma baggage I have carried around for so long.   I am feeling a little lost. And I think I am mourning the loss of all that baggage.  Not that I want it - no, I worked very hard to rid myself of it.  But it was my familiar, if that makes sense.  I seem to have let go of all those things I desperately needed to keep myself out of the trauma hole - the volunteering and the forced socialization, the obsessive exercise to control anxiety, even the the need to completely remove myself from civilization.   All those things became what defined my life because without them I felt I could not emotionally survive.  But now what will define my life?    I wish I knew, but I don’t.

And so I am in this state of Pause.  I am also in a state of extreme doubt and perhaps a little depression.  I have gained a lot, but I feel like I have lost myself. Again.  I feel very unsure of everything and every decision.  I am afraid to make the wrong move. Yet, very similar to the advent/solstice season, I am also wondering and anticipating what the new light will bring.  




  1. It makes perfect sense that you are in a transitional resting period. You have finished a hard journey and deserve to rest and rejuvenate. I imagine that the next steps will be revealed to you when you are ready. And I hope that they will lead to much joy and happiness.

  2. I think I understand your feelings and this explains something for me. I think I am not successful at therapy because I cannot let go of my trauma baggage even though I know how unhealthy it is. It is still MY baggage and I know what to expect from it. I not sure who I'd be without it and that IS scary. Like Sue - I hope that your next steps are all happy ones.

  3. I'm struck...this hits so close to home. I haven't been through what you have but still I'm feeling . . . well, another place, another time.

    You are recovering and various pieces will drop into place as they need to, if they need to.

  4. The light will come after you walk through the darkness. And you are walking and have so much companionship and company on this journey - even if just in spirit.

    And you know what? In this crazy whirlwind of life, it's really ok to just stop and take a breath for a minute. I remind myself of this all the time, when I feel that my family needs a serious break and yet there are a billion things calling our names and vying for our attention. It's not just ok, but absolutely necessary to rest and regenerate and regroup. I hope there is a way to find some gratitude for this before you go screaming off into the wild blue yonder of your beautiful future!

  5. A solid recovery requires going slowly - taking the time to make choices, reflect, understand and appreciate what you need, have done and are doing.

    Taking your time also gives you the opportunity to see and feel your own power exerting itself, coming forward more and more as you take actions that ensure your own safety, wholeness and happiness, Pausing for this reflection will give you the kind of healing that lasts.

  6. It's a good thing to pause. To reevaluate and reconsider, to redefine. You get to decide who you are or will be.

    This reminds me, tangentially, of my friend who tried to kill herself a year and a half ago. She is fundamentally different now, profoundly changed by her experience and truly grateful for a second chance. The person she was before did, in fact, die the day she jumped off the bridge. And, the person she has chosen to become is so much healthier, so much happier, so much more fulfilled by the good things in her life. Does she still struggle? Yes, of course. Does she still have self doubt? Certainly. But she doesn't let these things rule her the way they did before. She has been through intense therapy and AA and other than keeping a small handful of close friends, has made a completely new life for herself. Her life paused and she did a complete reset.

    We have the luxury of reinventing ourselves. I am in the process of doing so as well, as I come to terms with things in my life. Your assessment really rings true for me too, 8, and I am curious and hopeful about what your 'new you' will be like -- and mine too.

    Love to you, my dear...

  7. I understand some of this. I think it is very difficult to have to continually reinvent one's self. I remember who I was when I was younger and I miss that person terribly. But she is completely gone.

    I wonder if it's simply a time to assess. And there are things taken the place of those things: more time with family, I would bet. Some time alone to simply be. So many of the things you're talking about involve contact with other people. I know from my own recent experiences, I am exhausted by other people right now. I am only okay when I am alone. And online, really.

    It can take some time to simply sit and be. You've had an extremely intense time. Maybe it's simply a time for quiet and to let what the new life is float to the surface and define what it is you truly want.

    It isn't that volunteering or meeting people for lunch or any of these other things aren't of value. I think it's more like e is talking about, the opportunity for a reset.

  8. I have learned to savor pause. But, there is a difference between pausing and avoiding. It's taking me a long time to discern which is which and then to admit it to myself....

  9. And I thought you were just being a slug. . .

  10. I am with you on the pause button... it is just my life right now - too much too soon - or stop and let the world go around - who knows!

    glad your decorating is done and you had all the help! our kids have exams this week and then will be home - so we will see if we get any help. just having them around makes the day brighter!

    take your time and stay paused as long as you need to... it will all be there when you are ready to play again...

  11. Thank you for these very thoughtful comments. I have been reflecting on all of them. I have a number of decisions I need to make and have been procrastinating. Too long, I think. I do see the value of pausing, but if I were being honest, I have been on pause for quite awhile. I am now probably closer to avoidance and being a slug. But that's what New Year's resolutions are for, right?