invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

beauty in tragedy June 27, 2009

i must admit. i really miss writing. but life has been hectic lately, to say the least.

i am in the middle of therapy at a local sexual assault center. it’s a wonderful place and i’m finally getting the ‘right’ treatment. trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy. so, 21 years this summer since I was brutally raped. the mask is off. the walls are coming down. and i am healing. finally. no more doctors pushing the dangerous medications…just a loving environment focusing on the trauma in my life. and there is a lot of it.

my therapist asked me last week if there was anything in her office that made me feel unsafe. the simple fact that there are no pharma reps pimping their latest drugs is good enough for me. i didn’t say that but she knows how i feel about them.

i have found beauty in tragedy there. i see children playing (they are big on play therapy) outside the window of my therapist’s office in the yard or in the sand box. i see paintings and drawings from children ages 2-14 covering the walls in the hallways and my therapist’s office. and i cry. i cry tears of joy and pain. but mostly joy. i know why these young girls are there. i stared at a girl around age 7 in the waiting room one day and my heart was heavy knowing why she was there. (this center only sees victims of sexual abuse) and yet i also felt joy knowing this girl (and others there) are getting the proper help now versus 21 years later like me. something tells me their life will be less painful and a little easier. and i cry…thankful for places like this.

i sometimes sit there and stare at the children and think….if only i had found the right treatment earlier. and then i remind myself i blocked out my rape for nearly 4 years and then spent years of escaping…listening to the wrong doctors and therapists, allowing them to label me with every ‘mental illness’ in the book. allowing them to medicate me, believing it was the only solution. and yet, i do not live with regret. it took 21 years to come to this place for a reason. i don’t know why but there is a reason and someday i will know. i think i probably already do and just can’t express it right now because there is so much going on. i have not been reading blogs or the news…still. i miss my friends and readers here. but….my husband’s father is dying. quickly. cancer in his liver. stomach. colon (which they removed) and lymph nodes. we have been out of town. my husband is making peace with the man (his father) whom he had not seen in 14 years for a very good reason. and now, we wait. well, he waits for the phone call. it may come today. it may come in 4 months. but it will come and it saddens me. i wish i were in a better place to comfort him during this time. it’s something i am working on.

i don’t want to get too much into the details…it is not my story to tell. but sometimes when one is on their deathbed there is often much regret for the horrible things they have done to loved ones. i do not want to have that regret someday. and so i will continue on my path of love, compassion and honesty.

in regards to my family, they are waiting for me to call them and ‘mend’ things….and although it hurts….i will do it, eventually. sooner rather than later. because, again, i do not want to be on my deathbed someday with regret.

i will continue to seek the beauty in tragedy. it is all i know to do.
peace to you all.

 

the road to recovery April 18, 2009

This past week (via email) I was accused of being “ALWAYS UNHAPPY” with my life. Yes, the always unhappy was in caps and it came from a someone that has said things like this before who no longer wants to be mentioned in my blog. She feels I’m living in a “cyber world” and not the “real world”. I beg to differ on all accounts and I told her so. She also seemed to fear for her life by saying, “It’s scary to me, how do you know someone won’t come after us?” I did not respond to that-she said this after reading an article in Readers Digest on Myspace. This is a) not Myspace and b) the people who read my blog are not the types to “go after” this person or anyone for that matter. It’s completely beyond belief and yet I will say she did admit to being “computer illiterate” and so I must believe that she is simply misinformed and that is fine.

The simply truth is, yes, I get the majority of my support from the cyber world. And here’s the simple reason: the real world has failed me for more than twenty years. Psychiatrists, therapists, people who stigmatize, etc. When you spend tens of thousands of dollars on medical bills in the real world-the outcome for me was, well, I am pretty much back to square one except for severe memory loss, other problems from the many medications I have taken over the past 15 plus years and lastly, massive debt thanks to the lack of mental health parity. I’m trying to recall a specific doctor that has really helped me-there have been two or three out of more than thirty. The ones that did help-well, at the time, when I still chose the path of medication (the quick fix), I told them what I wanted to be on. I told them I was there for med management only. I cannot think of one therapist that helped me or gave me tools that actually worked in the real world. Scratch that-I had a sexual abuse therapist many years ago tell me, “my mind may never fully remember my entire rape-my mind will only allow me to remember what it can handle” or something to that effect. And she was right. I do believe that. I have not had one doctor suggest dealing with trauma from my past (my rape, etc) instead they’ve always labeled me, threw pills at me which made me sicker and certainly did not deal with the true issue at hand.

So, a few years ago I started this blog because I was feeling very alone and misunderstood in the “real” world and over the past three years I have met so many wonderful, amazing human beings in the cyber world-you all know who you are. But, hey, lets make you REAL just for fun: Gianna, Stephany,Duane, Van, Ana, Stan, Susan, Alex, Susan, Jon, Denise and so many others. Kidding aside-you are all real. You are all amazing, compassionate, strong and wise people that have helped me along my journey and I will never be able to properly thank you-because there are no words as to how much your support and your personal stories have meant to me. Now that I have opted to travel a different road to recovery, one without meds, I will need support more than ever. There are reasons some of us have at one point traveled the different road: the medication quick fix road. I won’t get into those reasons here because they are varied and some are very sad (ie. forced treatment, forced drugging, etc.) Some of us, well, me…I chose that road simply because it was the ONLY road I knew until I began my venture into the cyber alternative healing world. It reminds me of something recently posted at the great website/resource: Beyond Meds-Alternatives to psychiatry.

“Recovery is a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitude, values, feelings, goals, skills, and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of psychiatric disability.” ~ Dr. William Anthony, Director, Center for Psych Rehab

and:

Dr. Lori Ashcroft suggests that we can experience “moments of recovery” by choosing new ways to respond and breaking old patterns.

– Developing a series of wellness tools
– Recognizing our triggers and learning how to best deal with trauma
– Learning our personal bill of rights
– Setting short and long-term goals and determining actions for change
– Finding our sense of purpose and ridding ourselves of negative self-talk

The above is exactly what I plan to do-it will be part of my new road to recovery. It is part of the reason behind this post. Another being the email I received and I felt I needed to write about it here. And lastly, I just read my sister-in-law’s blog and it reminded me of so many things. She has three children (my nieces) two of whom are in their teens and have cystic fibrosis. It would take forever to properly describe my sister-in-law: strong, loving, intelligent, spiritual, patient and giving. Those are just a few adjectives but there are many more. I will strive to be more like her-I want to attempt yoga, meditation and well, just live in the moment. That is not at all easy for someone like me and I commend those that are able to do so. But anything is possible and I hope to someday live in the moment and find true peace and a calmness in my heart. It will be a long, difficult road as so many of you know-but it will be worth it in the end.

Oh, I just realized the time-I have to end this. I must venture out into the real world, which is not easy for so many of us and only WE seem to know the reasons why, unfortunately due to stigma. I am going to pick up a 40s vintage jacket that a friend of mine altered for me yesterday after trying it on. (It was a twisted scene from Pretty Woman-imagine me trying on numerous outfits-many of which didn’t fit thanks to weight gain from psych meds and I didn’t have the unlimited credit card!) This jacket is part of what I’m wearing to tonight’s screening of a film I worked on and I will be, yes, amongst thousands of people in the real world. Not here on my laptop. I spent 6 weeks in the real world working on this film, giving my all for a story/film that I truly loved. The creative outlet is an important one for me. I personally believe it has saved my life. peace to you all.

 

David Helfgott-a beautiful man April 16, 2009

Filed under: ECT,film,hope,inspiration,life,love — clementine @ 2:03 am
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Years ago I watched the film Shine several times. Tonight my swain and I watched it together and I felt like posting a couple of clips-one of the real David Helfgott and the other is the trailer from 1996.

from wikipedia:

When he was nineteen, he won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in London, England for three years, where he studied under Cyril Smith. During his time in London he began showing more definite manifestations of mental illness. His doctor in Australia, Chris Reynolds, whom he met some twenty years later, said that he suffers from an acute anxiety neurosis. He returned to Perth in 1970, and married his first wife, Clara, in 1971. He also took part in several Australian Broadcasting Corporation concerts. After his marriage broke down he was institutionalised in Graylands, a Perth mental hospital. Over the next ten years, he underwent psychiatric treatment which included psychotropic medication and electroconvulsive therapy.

Today, David Helfgott now lives in “The Promised Land”, a valley near Bellingen in New South Wales with his second wife, Gillian. He continues to perform concerts at his home. His other interests include cats, chess, philosophy, tennis, swimming and keeping fit in general.

 

Quotes April 15, 2009

Filed under: hope,life,love,pain,peace — clementine @ 3:59 pm
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My posting will be sporadic for awhile. Most of you know where to find me. Peace to you all….

“People who cease to grow can’t inspire others. Leadership begins with challenging oneself.” ~Daisaku Ikeda

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

“Friendship is the only cure for hatred, the only guarantee of peace.” ~Buddha

“When you love the unlovable and forgive the unforgivable, you’re free.” ~Bernie Siegel

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“Physical gifts will break or fade, but your gift of love will last forever.”

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” ~Buddha

“How sad it is that we give up on people who are just like us.” ~Mr. Rogers

“Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none.” ~William Shakespeare

and something from one of my favorite films, Ordinary People:

“A little advice about feelings kiddo; don’t expect it always to tickle.” ~Dr. Berger to Conrad

 

happy post April 12, 2009

Filed under: life,love — clementine @ 12:01 am
Tags: , ,

a clip from one of my all time favorite films, Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain:



KINDNESS AND LOVE.

 

quotes of the week April 8, 2009

Filed under: hope,life — clementine @ 7:04 pm
Tags: ,

Someone inspired this, you know who you are. I think I might try to post a few quotes a week.

My sincere, heartfelt thanks to you.

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. – Buddha

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.-Albert Schweitzer

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.-Robert Frost

While there’s life, there’s hope.-Marcus Tullius Cicero

You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.- Albert Camus

Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.-Mark Twain

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.-Walt Whitman

“Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.”- Allen Ginsberg

 

away for awhile March 23, 2009

I’ll be away for a short time. I finally have a job. I’m helping a director friend of mine cast his next feature film which is set in Portland but shooting mostly here, a city that is the polar opposite of Portland. (in film lingo, difficult to cast) The problem is, I haven’t been in the casting world since 2004, so, I’m a little rusty. No, wrong, more than a little. But I am very thankful for the short-term work. I haven’t had a decent job since last August, basically living off unemployment. I thought I worked in a recession-proof industry but nobody is safe anymore. Well, a few are but I won’t go there. Anyway, I can’t remember the last time I went shopping and bought something for myself or my swain. A friend of mine bought cupcakes for my swain’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, that’s how bad things have been. I can’t even afford to drive 3 hours away to see my sister, parents and meet my niece who was born in October! Or visit my swain’s parents and sister and our newborn niece on that side of the family. Sad. However, I know that it could be so much worse. My dad’s company just cut his salary, my mom is in fear of losing her job-there have been many layoffs at her company. And I’m alive, fairly healthy and not living on the streets. Sooo….before I leave for a bit, a few rambling thoughts. (more…)