Painting a dream

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08-10-008

It’s such a luxury to be able to lie on my stomach. I have not been able to do this for a long time. For quite sometime, I have been sleeping with three or more pillows propping me waist up in an almost sitting position lest her highness the stomach tips over and spills its stuff. Eww!!!

The reflux that I have been suffering from is not something I will wish upon anyone else. Gulping down medication every single day for over a year to fight that reflux and yet it never completely helping had made me feel so helpless. It was pretty bad mid to late 2014. I got better late 2015. The nausea, the vomiting, and the need to carry a vessel to bed every night diminished during those few months. Overall, I was doing more or less fine until early 2016, I think. From around April to August, I again was going through a pretty bad patch of gastroenterological problems. I remember having day after day of vomiting around July to August. Migraine visited me about once a month from March to August. I used to get severe headaches earlier too. But it was far between. This year has been the worst. I finally was diagnosed for migraine and started taking something strong to deal with those days of mind numbing pain behind the eyes, dizziness that didn’t let me lift my head, and such acute sensitivity to light & sound – even the wall clock ticking sounded like a loud gong that vibrated through my body.

Thankfully, alhamdhulillah, I haven’t had a serious headache since September. I haven’t had a gastric attack either except for one minor one last week. I now know what triggered it. I will talk about that some other time. These past months my digestion has been super cool, I feel healthier and calmer. I am now able to enjoy food that I have deprived myself of because of my phobia that this or that food makes my gastric symptoms worse. Woe unto all the websites that talk about food that need to be avoided for IBS and GERD. They should be talking about mind-body connection instead. Quite a lot of health issues can be associated with the brain, the memories, I am now learning.

I have ruled out any physiological disorder to explain my nausea, retching, vomiting, acid reflux and moving pains & aches under my skin. My body has been medicine free for a few months now. It’s hilarious that I almost went under the blade a couple of years back to fix my stomach. Thank God that I didn’t have the money at that point in time. It has all been stress.

It has been trapped memories, as my therapist explains. Unprocessed memories, suppressed memories and emotions. Through therapy it seems I am acknowledging these nameless, shapeless, formless, disappointments of life. What the symptoms were doing it appears was to warn me of unpleasantness. There were no words to it, but appears my gut talks louder than my words do.

I have always known increased stress makes my gastric problem worse. But I have been really baffled with the severity of it mid this year. It was difficult for me to understand that because how can I be stressed this year more than I was last year? Finally, now I am stable. Much, much more stable than last year. I’m out of debt. I’m out of that ugly pathetic bond. I’m going strong. Emotionally I feel less vulnerable this year. So what was I stressing about! I really was baffled.

Yes, January to April was stressful with all that paperwork and court drama and whatnot. Dealing with an infuriating person and a pathetic system can topple any sane person. Yet, during that period my gut wasn’t over-reacting. Yes, I felt anger and exasperation. April got me what I wanted out of that drama. That’s why I can’t understand what was happening to me after that. But then again, around June there was that verdict on my childhood monster, and it did make me feel anxious because things were now out in the public. It was known now, but the factual side of my story in it was not out there, and thus the space for disturbing speculations were rampant. The fear of being judged unfairly I guess gets to me.

I am guessing they were the major triggers that were upsetting my balance, the trapped memories as my therapist puts it.

Something else that was happening from around March was something very beautiful, I thought. It brought a lot of laughter and happiness. But of course that beauty also had a lot of triggers I suppose. Trusting someone when trust is not in my vocabulary; trusting things to be alright when that dependence on anyone else but myself is something I haven’t experienced or put into practice, and the constant need to be alert and to accept that I will get hurt eventually I guess was eating me from inside. Again, the guts playing up!

As I am figuring out, I have been subconsciously living a battle of fight or flight. Most of the time flight it seems is my response to trauma. The possibility of burning yourself is there if you play with fire isn’t it? If you don’t play with fire, don’t get close to fire or anything that can cause a fire, the likelihood of burning yourself is minimal. Therein is the resistance. The flight response.

This, it appears has been ingrained in me from a long time ago. My therapist even jokingly says I was married at four. That notion as well as indicating that I am always in freeze/brace mode is ridiculous. I refute that, vehemently. I couldn’t have reached where I am today if I hadn’t had the trait to fight. I guess I still need to unpack that a bit more.

That half, of this year, when I was suffering the most, I was slowly trying to let go of my inhibitions, self-doubts, and my inferiority syndrome. I was opening up and letting myself be vulnerable to someone else. I let myself slip. At the same time, I was also expecting things to go wrong, always trying to be alert, always trying to stay on guard, and always trying to protect myself from getting hurt. My gut instinct from the beginning was that it will not work out. No matter how beautiful I think it can be, my gut kept telling me about the practical barriers to it and that it is more than likely to not work out. And yet, I ended up continuously dismissing my gut. No wonder the trapped memories were stirred badly and needed an exit or a reconciliation. I hope I can remember that going ahead – to trust my gut always.

Seriously! This is such bliss. To be able to lie on my stomach, on a pillow, and writing this in that posture. It’s now difficult for me to recall how I have functioned in the past couple of years with the need to be holding myself straight and still, all the time. Like holding a glass of hot chocolate and walking on a carpet dotted with some jugged rocks now and then. Tip the glass even a little and face the drama of cleaning up that beautiful carpet in the midst of the ruggedness.

I’m writing this as a reminder to be thankful for the blessings and just letting my pen speak of how at ease I feel to have this luxury. Reminder to myself if there is something that is upsetting, always seek help instead of trying to make do with it on my own.

Oh! That reminds me. My Facebook memory reminded me about something. (Note: I should remember to talk about FB and its memory some other time). Here’s how the reminder goes:

Exactly 4 years ago on this day you said “In Dino Dil Mera Mujhse Hai Keh Raha Tu Khaab Saja, Tu Ji Le Jara”

With that I had shared this song, it reminded me.

I travelled down the memory lane and realized that, that December I took the first real step to help myself. That December after another unpleasant episode, in the long line of unpleasantness, I stood my ground and said “no more tolerating this”. The memory reminded me that on 17 November 2012 I let my heart tell me that I need to paint some dreams just for myself. And so I have 🙂

Painting a dream doesn’t happen overnight. It has taken a lot of stamina, agony, ugliness, beauty, anxiety, generosity, trust, faith, infatuation, love, mistakes, tears, laughter, courage, silence, and lots of helping hands and hearts to paint this dream. Let’s hope I can sleep for a change.

 

Related reads

http://www.stressstop.com/stress-tips/articles/fight-flight-or-freeze-response-to-stress.php

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