Reassessing Things

It came to my mind that maybe, perhaps – OK 100% true – I’ve been looking only at the negatives and stressors in my life.  Hmm – signs of depression much?  Why yes, yes it is.  I don’t know what shifted yesterday.  Maybe it was scoring a 92% on a test I just kind of flew by the seat of my pants on.  Yes, it’s information I learned 25 years ago, but for the most part, not a bad outcome.  I can do better.  Looking at my overall grades, even with the option of failing Chemistry and it’s lab – I’m going to be OK.


Here’s the thing about being the product of emotional neglect and abuse; there is always that inner critical voice saying the ugliest things.  It doesn’t matter how good things are going, that subroutine is running, waiting to leap out and hit you in an unguarded spot.  It’s not paranoia, but it it something that is trained into a person, that literally changes the shape and function of a brain, to make life more of an issue than one would like.

Brain activity scan

Admittedly, this image is of an extreme case, but when you think about the difference is a child’s brain being this damaged, and how that can impact their learning and understanding of life…  Well, it’s a bit of a heartbreak.


I’m not in any way saying that what I’ve been through is as severe as the above image.  Although, I’d be curious to see what kind of stuff a PET scan would show in my brain.  It might help sort some things out.  What it does mean is that I need to push and retrain my brain to be joyous in some small and significant things.  To remember that not every compliment is backhanded, or that my husband really does value me as I am.  Progress, while slow, (because hey, you can’t undo a lifetime of damage in one fell swoop) does happen.  Yesterday, and I swear this is the silliest thing ever, we were doing the grocery shopping and my husband pointed out that the incredibly cheap ($1) “comfy” floofy socks I love, were out.  I told him that I wasn’t sure they were in the budget – and he said he’d find a way.  I know, a dollar doesn’t sound like much, but it’s getting carried away with the little things that can really break our budget.  So, I picked out a pair, and he said, “Look, there are floofy socks”.  I asked him if he thought I should get another pair, and he said yes.  We went through this whole routine again, so that I had three pairs of socks.  Silly!  I teased him, saying “I’m worth a whole $3?  Whoohoo!” and he said, with the greatest honesty “You’re worth more than millions to me.”  Yeah, I teared up.  Heck I’m tearing up now just thinking about it.


Other things are moving in a positive direction – today the people from the Trap, Neuter, and Release program are coming to help us trap our feral colony.  The traps have been out for days, the cats are accustomed to them, and there will be wonderfully stinky food for them to be lured in.  Yes, I don’t like the thought of distressing them, or having their ears “tipped” – but it looks like there’s a fourth litter on the way, and I honestly can’t bear the thought of any more deceased felines in the yard.  We need to stop the growth of the population, and that’s going to help us to be better “parents” and maybe find some permanent homes for the clowder.  Hope – it’s an amazing thing.


It’s finally cooling down enough that I’m not kicking off all the bedding.  Yes, I’ll likely be wearing shorts on Tuesday, as we’re supposed to hit the mid 80’s (29.5 for the rest of the world) and while that’s not a big deal in the Southern Hemisphere, or even in the tropics, it’s still more “summery” than I’d like in November.  All in all, it could be worse.


My sister, who is still blowing my mind with her kindness left me a “thank you” card for watching her dog and a cluster of small luxuries – like really good hand cream.  There was some ugly crying there as well.  We got a post card from our former housemate thanking us for supporting her when she didn’t know how to move forward.  She’s finally allowed herself to have mental health support and medication, which is a HUGE step for her.  It drops my concern about her well being by about 50%.  I’m slowly decluttering, and dusting and all that good stuff, because clutter = chaos and stress in my mind.  It may not be the dream I’ve had of being able to wiggle my nose like Samantha on ‘Bewitched’ and have the house be perfectly clean, and all things where I think they belong, but that kind of magic comes from actually doing the work.


I’m not saying that everything is wonderful, or that everything is crap.  I’m saying that as I learn more about how emotional neglect can cause issues, and that it is possible to retrain the brain (just look at the people who have had hemispherectomies!) and I’m getting better about telling that nasty voice it doesn’t know what it’s talking about.  That it is something born out of loss, not the facts.  I can’t go back and change my childhood, my parents, my grandparents or even my ex husband.  Even if I could somehow leap back in time and know then what I know now, there would be a grinding down of who I am because they were, and are, the broken ones.  They don’t know how to be anything else.  I don’t think this means I’m forgiving them, but I think maybe I’m getting closer to just saying “Well, that’s what happened, and that isn’t now.”


My landscape is changing.  I’m making it change, not just with the education I’m getting in school but in things I’m learning about myself and how to care for myself without going down roads that are full of emotional potholes.  I still expect bad days, being bi-polar that will never go away.  Being able to remember to take joy in the tiny things, the little acts of beauty, the amazing feeling of waking up warm and cozy with a kitten purring next to me – that’s going to keep me going.


For the open record, I’m not a fan of deserts.  I don’t like feeling dessicated and getting sand into everything.  But this picture has a beauty, that reminds me that even the things I find the most irritating or uncomfortable can be seen in a better light.  I hope, wherever you are, whatever you’re fighting with today and tomorrow and going forward, you find those magical spaces and feelings that bring you joy and peace and love.



8 thoughts on “Reassessing Things

      1. Ruth – you’ve just made my weekend and most likely 2020! it won’t be an easy journey, but I’m worth it – as are all of us.


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