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I'm not well-schooled in the protocols and options of posting blog entries. I realise that my previous ones are often listed in reverse order--a situation I have vowed to change but never managed.

Please read this and the other two for today (yes, three total but two are short!)  Please read them in the order they appear as I have blundered onto the feature where I can change the time of entry and attempted to post them in the right order! SO HIT THE 'PREVIOUS ENTRY' IN BOLD LETTERS AT THE TOP, THEN HIT IT AGAIN AFTER THAT ONE.

Why is this sequence system complicated to me? I can't get it straight in my head.

Every time I decide to post here now, I have to fight off feelings of guilt and sadness for having neglected this blog, which I know has helped people in the past.

I think if I have had the opportunity to help even a few people with my writing, I should continue. It doesn't take much time to write a few paragraphs.

"BUT I am so ill!" i argue with myself. And that is why i come back sometimes instead of dropping the blog completely, and that is why I don't write more often, too! Guilt and physical pain.

I'm going to write three posts today (Yes, surprising!), because I have this to say plus two actual topics. And because I am doing this nearly flat on my back, needing more than my 3 hours of sleep I had last night, and in pain... I have promised myself to let them be without hours and hours of rewriting and editing. I hope my readers will forgive my errors and understand.

I WANT to continue when I can. I hope people who need to read what I have to say will somehow find their way here, even after several years have passed.

If you have found this blog helpful, please tell others about it who might benefit from it or might want to pass it along.

Wishing you joy, courage, and support of the very best kind through the rest of your life. Don't give up on finding what you need.


In one of the nicest and most supportive online groups for sufferers of Fibromyalgia, this issue came up today.

A few people expressed feeling dissatisfied and even silly about their own habitual reply of 'I'm fine' even in response to a doctor posing the question. We acknowledge that we are all reluctant to 'tell it like it is' in a social situation, often with a close friend or family member who might be helpful if they heard the truth! We talked about how awkward it feels, our dilemma over it, how their response makes us feel sometimes, or how it feels when we say "I'm in pain" or something similar, and they say nothing... as we hang in that awkward silence like someone who has just offended them or dampened their mood.

It's a good thing to think about. It's a good idea to observe how others deal with it. The variety of responses. Tone of voice, facial expressions, choice of words, and body language can say so very much and be so informative about how we can get the things we need and want in our social encounters, without being insincere, dishonest, or overly revealing--without having to be hurt too often in these situations.

Here was my reply. If you want to share yours, I'd love to hear it.

Is anybody out there still reading this blog???????

I often say in a low tone, "not too well today" or "about the same" and if they don't reply then I know they don't care and asked out of politeness. It satisfies me to have told the truth instead of a lie, and to have found out whether they really wanted to know.

If you say 'Fine', they can then tell themselves that you really are fine, whereas this honest but brief answer puts them in the position of looking insincere. Not too kind on my part, I know, but for them, I think the offense is greater than mine.

They could reply, if they care, something such as "I'm sorry to hear that. I do hope you feel better again soon." or they could even ask what, if anything, they might be able to do to help.

If they say "That's good." or similar, I know they didn't even listen to my answer. Then I give them a big mental scowl, with or without a mental swear word. It makes me feel as good as if I'd bitten their leg... angry little squirrel that I picture myself to be. hahahaha

Conversely, I am quite enthusiastic in my replies if I'm having a better day. I will then say, "I'm feeling very happy, although in pain as usual." or "Quite a lot less pain today, thanks" with a big smile.

I almost always comment on the weather, and I like all kinds of weather, including the weather others find abysmal. So that in itself can send the other person into a scowl of thinking "How dare she like this weather when it is so horrible for me?"

Shoe is now on other foot for a change! and I have a big laugh to myself. I am a rascal, you see.

In one of the nicest and most supportive online groups for sufferers of Fibromyalgia, this issue came up today.

A few people expressed the dissatisfaction and even feeling silly about their own habitual reply of 'I'm fine' even in response to a doctor posing the question. We acknowledge that we are all reluctant to 'tell it like it is' in a social situation, or even with a close friend or family member! We talked about how the question makes us feel, how their response makes us feel sometimes, or how it feels when we say "I'm in pain" or something similar, and they say nothing... as we hang in that awkward silence like someone who has just offended them or dampened their mood.

It's a good thing to think about. It's a good idea to observe how others deal with it. The variety of responses. Tone of voice, facial expressions, choice of words, and body language can say so very much and be so informative about how we can get the things we need and want in our social encounters, without being insincere, dishonest, or overly revealing--without having to be hurt too often in these situations.

Here was my reply which I edited just a bit to make it work as a blog post.

If you want to share yours, I'd love to hear it.

Is anybody out there still reading this blog???????

I often say in a low tone, "not too well today" or "about the same" and if they don't reply then I know they don't care and asked out of politeness. It satisfies me to have told the truth instead of a lie, and to have found out whether they really wanted to know.

If you say 'Fine', they can then tell themselves that you really are fine, whereas this honest but brief answer puts them in the position of looking insincere. Not too kind on my part, I know, but for them, I think the offense is greater than mine.

They could reply, if they care, something such as "I'm sorry to hear that. I do hope you feel better again soon." or they could even ask what, if anything, they might be able to do to help.

If they say "That's good." or similar, I know they didn't even listen to my answer. Then I give them a big mental scowl, with or without a mental swear word. It makes me feel as good as if I'd bitten their leg... angry little squirrel that I picture myself to be. hahahaha

Conversely, I am quite enthusiastic in my replies if I'm having a better day. I will then say, "I'm feeling very happy, although in pain as usual." or "Quite a lot less pain today, thanks" with a big smile.

I almost always comment on the weather, and I like all kinds of weather, including the weather others find abysmal. So that in itself can send the other person into a scowl of thinking "How dare she like this weather when it is so horrible for me?"

Shoe is now on other foot for a change! and I have a big laugh to myself. I am a rascal, you see.

I wish you support, fun, joy, and many happy encounters online and ín person. If you are honest and kind, you deserve the same from everyone!


I fairly regularly post comments and replies on a number of online forums and support groups for people with my illness. I subscribe to the best quality blogs and websites about the two or three main difficulties I am dealing with in my life. From these, I get important medical information, practical coping help, mutual listening and support.

The positive influence of a support network of fellow sufferers is invaluable and I would highly recommend it to any person with chronic illness--either mental or physical.

With the current reality of medical professionals who are well qualified and experienced as well as kind and compassionate being so overworked and in demand, we can't really depend on them to be available for us, to tell us everything, sit and listen for more than 5 minutes or so, or check up on how we are doing.

With the internet, we have new and much better ways of connecting and learning and getting the best advice--detailed advice our general practitioner cannot likely find the time to seek out for every illness he/she must encounter in a busy practice. This is sad and tragic, but all too true.

I urge you, whatever your serious problem, to find the very best sources of scientific and dependable, reasonable information which will be there for you when you need it. You will find a few at least.

I urge you to subscribe to the best news service or services online WHICH SPECIALISE IN NEWS ABOUT YOUR PARTICULAR AREA OF NEED. Search engines or asking your support workers and support charities for these links is a good way to begin. The best support charities will link to other reputable and similar ones... in this way, they form a chain.

Once you are part of that chain, subscribing to two or three of the top and best ones, you will find your email inbox alerts from them very useful. Use their links to find good online support groups or local support groups if you wish to have actual face to face group support.

Among support group communities, there is usually a core group of individuals who are very active, and among those in the core group, there are often some irritating, ill-informed, or just plain rude/militant/ cantankerous people. If these people outweigh the others or monopolize the comments, or seem to be poisoning the forums and support groups you are in. If they, or even a newcomer or sometime user starts trouble or arguments which take a 'personal' tone of insult and blame, instead of debate, then you know it is time somebody acts, for the good of others.

Don't sit by and take it. It will make your life and difficulties worse. You must protect your health by making decisions (perhaps with a group of others so affected) to move on, kick the nasties out of the group, tighten up the rules, or block anyone who offends you so that you don't have to read their comments. The same goes for support groups you attend in person.

First of all, I'm NOT talking about people whose individual choices, sexual orientation, personal preferences, etc. you find unappealing or objectionable. If they are not HURTING someone by their WORDS ABOUT OR TO THAT PERSON, DIRECT ACTIONS, etc. then this doesn't normally apply. if you don't like swearing, for example, it's best not to go to a group where that's what people do. But when someone is swearing AT another person, calling them names, accusing them of things without any evidence, etc. THAT is where you draw a very clear and definite line. That's not okay for most of us.

My credo with deliberately difficult and habitually disagreeable, inconsiderate and uncompassionate people:

The reason people behave in this way is because they don't find the social and personal consequences to be unpleasant enough to stop them. Often the lines are blurred between what people will tolerate from them and what they will not.

Don't make that mistake. Decide what is and what is not okay for you. You don't need any other reason except that it is NOT OKAY WITH YOU.

When you see them behaving this way toward others, say something if you can and if you dare. Whether or not you speak out, point YOURSELF in the opposite direction if you possibly can.

Such people are often manipulative and relentless. They will try to play on your sympathies. They will try to shift the responsibility to YOU, the person they have treated inappropriately.

Don't look back or listen to excuses and pleas for tolerance of intolerable behaviour. Just move out of the danger zone, the toxic area, the depressing or disruptive zone that they have created around them.

If you can help it, don't let them make your mental health a territory to be invaded. If you can't help being affected and hurt by such people in your life, seek some really good and kind support, counselling, and advice about how to deal with it.

It is not so easy to act upon this credo and to protect ourselves, especially when we need the help and support of others. That's why we have to be careful to find the right support and get as much of it as we can without negative encounters.

If you are someone who feels okay with anything others post, try to think how negative and hurtful posts from others will corrode the positive aspects, put others off visiting the site or forum or group in order to get support, feel traumatised or decide that it is too painful and risky to seek help from others.

People in mental and physical pain are vulnerable and often one ugly post will create weeks, months, or years of associations and hesitancy. For those who have been mentally and emotionally abused it can trigger post traumatic stress symptoms and memories of the consequences they faced when revealing their need, hurt, innocence and naivete about issues.

Even among healthy, well-adjusted people, A large majority feel reluctant to ask questions in a group of strangers for fear of looking foolish, uneducated, or plain stupid. These are the people who will shut up after hasty, harsh or bullying replies. Seeking information from a group of others who have been where you are now is one of the best ways to avoid more pain and suffering, to get pointed in the right direction, warned of possible problems up ahead, guided toward the best and latest research findings.

i really wonder if anybody has done research on the percentages of support group visitors who are turned away by bad group dynamics, political infighting within the group, etc.

These are often neglected issues. I have seen a number of forums where someone has targeted a new or vulnerable member, even posting very bad or completely false information and advice directly tagged for another member, and no other group member spoke up about it. Nobody questioned it. Nobody told the newcomer that there are alternatives, or tried to give them the support for which they came there in the first place.

It is heartbreaking to imagine the effects of these online interactions. We have all heard about suicides provoked by bullies. Cumulative encounters of this kind can end in suicide, other self harm, or a feeling of deep pain which pervades and dampens all their other attempts to reach out and ask or share. It may keep them from reporting new symptoms, suicidal thoughts, side effects of medications, and more.

I am the sort of person who feels the need to say point blank that rudeness, bullying, and irresponsible posting of wrong information which could easily be checked for facts, is not okay. If the irresponsible, bullying, or argumentative members persist, I will tell them to stop these specific behaviours in the group, as they are hurting and possibly endangering others with their bad advice or toxic comments/insults, etc. I try to do it in a clear, direct, and non-blaming way. I try my best to do it in a way that assumes they are not out to do the worst harm possible.

Sometimes they are trolls, and sometimes they are just sick, maladjusted people who have battled their illness or mental health issues, society, stigma, etc. and come out the worse for wear, and consequently are unwilling or unable to think compassionately before posting.

I guess having been through so much myself and lost all my friends, what little family support I had, etc, has enabled me to finally change my habit of hanging on and hoping others will do better. Now I make a clear statement. I draw a line in the sand, without any hint of egging them on or daring them to cross that line. I try to be consistent if I am a regular participant in the group.

If I know the moderator, I send private messages to alert them to the unacceptable posts. If they don't reply, I keep sending messages, as they may be away or ill. They should in any event make a public acknowledgement that there are reports or complaints and that these are being considered and dealt with.

Often many members have reported and expressed concerns. But often the concerns are not publicly raised. However, never assume that the group leader is aware or that others have approached them about the problems. Others are often assuming the same thing! Heads in the sand, or letting others act while you sit by makes for a weak and deteriorating group dynamic.

I don't like groups in which confronting a bully is discouraged by the group leaders and they themselves are either not monitoring or unwilling to confront, censor, and ban people who do this. If a group has only one monitor/leader, and they cannot be there several times daily or appoint someone to act in their place with suitable authority to do whatever is needed, then that group is heading for trouble, as bullies and trolls WILL appear, and will take advantage.

Similarly, a group in which there is no attempt to single out the person or persons doing the damage and tell them publicly to stop or be banned/ejected from the group, sends the signal that anyone expressing different opinions is part of the problem, or that all share equal blame for the mess that is happening in the group dynamic. It also signals to the badly behaved members that they can continue without facing public disapproval--like a warning look from the teacher in school without any consequences to back it up. Zero tolerance, within reason and with allowances for someone's slip ups on the rare occasion, is the way to go.

However, even when someone slips up on occasion, if they don't acknowledge this despite having hurt another by their words, blaming, disrespecting, or hatefulness, another group member (preferably the moderator) should speak up publicly A calm and clear request that they 'make things right with the person they insulted or spoke harshly to; not blaming them. I am talking about a situation in which one person behaved appropriately and asked or replied in a normal manner, and the other did not.

If the offender at this point does not say 'sorry' without qualification and excuses for their behaviour to justify their hurtful attitude, then the moderator or leader of the group must do so on behalf of the group and must tell the offender that this is their once and only warning about disrespectful or bullying comments in the future. The leader or moderator must act the next time and not keep giving 'second chances' or accepting excuses. Most people understand the rules of social intercourse perfectly well. There is no need to educate them, beyond stating the rules of the group and how their behaviour has violated the rules.

When this is done publicly, I think it strengthens and emboldens the group to be safe, happy, healthy and cohesive. When people trust and depend on each other to behave supportively FANTASTIC THINGS CAN HAPPEN:

Reliable information made available
Support offered continually and reliably
Suffering eased
Loneliness lessened
Depression lifted
Link-ups and Referrals made to the best possible resources

For the big picture, these support groups form larger networks of support which strengthens our communities and society. As good communities are built, activity will increase in the best ways.

Search engines and online resource websites will list the best and strongest support networks so that people can get the best help and support.

Everybody feels so much rellief when these systems are working for the good of all!

I urge all support groups or services to put a clear and no-nonsense, consistent plan into action so that your group will grow and be healthy, attracting great, caring, people as well as needy, uninformed, lonely, afraid, and vulnerable people whom the caring and informed and experienced can support and help! These in turn will grow and learn to help others--little by little. That's what makes the most wonderful group dynamic.

Take a moment to imagine such a group and return to that commitment and that image often.

What I have learned by witnessing abominable online behaviour and by my reactions to it:

Now I make a decision after a few days or events of these toxic encounters, and then I break away. I try my best not to look back, not to allow it to interfere with relationships I might have with others.

There is always the option to send a private message to one or more members who were kind and good to you. You can say briefly that you felt the negative input of some group members has affected you to the point that it is no longer a good idea for you to continue. You can express sadness about your decision without apology. You can say you very much value and appreciate their kindness and comeraderie and have some great memories (if you do). You can ask if they would like to continue as a friend on social media with you and stay in touch.

Another option if the group has been overrun by negative influences, is to start your own group, with or without other like minded people. Although we share some commonalities such as same illness, a preference or passion for healthy living, natural foods, etc. or whatever, it may not be enough glue over the long term to bind people together. There will be sub groups of groups that might be better off to form new groups, rather than have arguments or silently fume at those they vehemently disagree with, or try to be civil while feeling irritated or disappointed in the way things are moving in the group.

And that is what I have to say on the subject of support groups. I don't know where I'd be without them. I am very grateful for all the good things, and I am letting go of the flaws and bad ones.

Who knew that short stories and books read aloud to gatherings of people would become a popular cultural trend in this decade?? People love to feel connected and be together doing things that mean something. I am so glad to realise that they still like such things.

I have been asked to read stories at a virtual world library in some future events. They liked my voice in the recent play we did there. I am so excited about this!

My downstairs neighbour has complained in the past when I sang opera mid afternoon. Sometimes if I dare to turn the sound up on a rock concert to somewhere near the level to appreciate it, without my headphones, she bangs down there until I turn it back down. (I don't know why she is banging in her bedroom at me in the afternoon. As far as I know she does not have a job and is not housebound or bed bound like me.) Once she complained to the housing association about my singing and I actually got a letter accusing me of 'ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR' in bold black letters as the heading.

I only hope that I won't get a lot of complaints if I do this story reading late at night, which is when most events have to happen to get a range of people from both sides of the pond in attendance.

So I am now listening to these wonderful stories read aloud by famous actors in NY, and trying to find a story to start with. I have to tell them when I will be ready to do an event at the virtual library. I'm so excited!

I loved listening to several of these because I can close my eyes and try to relax despite my pain, and it's almost like being in acting classes again at university... where I had such a wonderful time.

The recent episodes of these recordings (each about 60 minutes long) are free to listen to online! They are wonderful. They will enrich your life if you've stopped reading, or remind you to start again, and if you don't have time... well, there's nothing better than listening to something good being read by a professional actor.

Check them out!



I got a comment today on one of these blog posts, and it made me think that I should at least write a little something to update about myself, as I guess some people still come back to read my blog.

I am quite ill and although my Fibromyalgia diagnosis still stands, it is unclear just why I have now become virtually bed bound with my condition worsening. My new GP is currently doing more things to a) check into or test for possible causes, ruling out as many as we can, and b) provide more ways to get the pain under control. I now have a paid carer who does my household tasks, which takes a lot of strain off me and provides a much more pleasant atmosphere to live in. It also gives me visits and chats to look forward to. My meals are frozen ones that I select from Wiltshire Farm Foods and order each week. My groceries are delivered. Any other shopping is online. All my social activities are online through virtual worlds and forums; except for phone and skype sessions with my children and a few very good friends. I don't think I could remain in my home without this.

The reason I don't write more is that through the month long process of working on writing a novel, I learned for certain that I HATE writing fiction, making up stories and characters and trying not to be boring. I even hate writing non-fiction and lately I have stopped writing in my personal journals which I had been keeping almost continuously since age 10. What happened is that I lost my love affair with writing completely. I don't like the way it feels. It makes me all self-conscious and I start to worry about whether I'm writing too much or being too self-absorbed. (It's pretty hard not to be self-absorbed when writing a personal journal.) I now write anything that is significant IF and when I feel like it. I doubt that I will ever write another long series of blog posts like I wrote here. There are soooo many wonderful blogs out there. I don't feel the need to add to them.

I really love that people are still reading this blog and that what I have written is useful and healing in some ways.

I find creating digital paintings much more enjoyable than writing. I have lived my life in a way which translates every event and experience to words. I got very weary of this. It felt cumbersome and as though there was little direct connection. I was like someone in a foreign country having to speak through an interpreter. Everything was delayed by imperceptible amounts but nonetheless, it was not pure existence. Pure existence, mindful living as much as I can remember to do it, and simpler pleasures are what I want now. Why is it that I have always complicated everything? I guess I had to learn how to let go of my linguistic orientation, and finally I found a way. through my art.

There will be no finished novel, although I did make a month long effort as part of the international NaNoWriMo events a few years back. That is an excellent organization and I would recommend becoming part of it to anyone who feels they might have a novel in them, or want to try writing. I'm grateful for the experience. It settled the question in my mind and my response to other people telling me, 'You really should be a writer. You are so good at it,'  I did it because I didn't know what else to do with myself at the time. Considering whether to write as a pastime or even as a profession was the reason I needed to give it a real try and I felt good that I achieved my goal of writing every single day 1200 words or more for a total of over 50,000 words--which is the better part of a normal length novel.

I learned that i can easily write and write well in terms of presenting what I want to present. Is it worth publishing and will it add something special to the vast library of literature in this world? Decidedly NOT. It was surprising how easily I found myself able to come up with those 1200 words. I am loquacious by nature. BUT, I didn't find what I wrote to be the least bit fascinating or engaging. The characters bored me and I didn't find myself wanting to continue bringing them to life. It seemed tedious to think it through and plan it.  What a revelation that I can now put the whole issue to rest and just reply to people. "Thank you! I'm so glad you like the way I write. But, I don't enjoy writing very much. I am really passionate about art."

Please do continue to leave comments here when you read something that helps or touches you. It warms my heart and spirit to know this.

Wishing you much peace and happiness inside yourself. I have found mine at last, despite pain and isolation and limits. It's what's inside that makes life worth it or not. That and small mercies, small beauties and kindnesses. Be sure to notice them as well as creating them. Then we will have a measurably better world.

Goodness, Truth, and Beauty are enduring. Treasure them and share them.
One thing I haven't written about much here in my blog is the constant pull of Past/Present/Future in our consciousness and mental attitudes. For someone who has experienced trauma, the past is full of shadows and pain. It is not easy to forget and not easy to deal with. We try to deal with it so that it will no longer haunt us, and sometimes we just try to shut it away because we can't deal with it. But unresolved issues keep coming up like buoys in the sea. They could also be compared to demons that jump out in front of us, disturbing our daily life and making themselves a nuisance. I have decided that many things will not and cannot be fully understood, or forgiven, or processed and put away. Many are, but some remain, no matter what I do. I have decided that I will no longer be so intense about seeking healing and 'wholeness' for my emotional pain and the black parts of my history. I will accept that I have a blotchy life. It's okay. For a person like me who intended always to be thorough and always to do her very best, that acceptance is remarkable! I congratulate myself for deciding something that is useful. and works for me. It helps me relax. When the demons jump out, I try to say "Oh there that is again. hmmm. Well, it's a past demon, or a buoy bobbing up as I go past."  I mark its presence and try to look ahead, knowing that it will pass or I will pass it on my way and what will follow is something different. I don't have to let it grab me.

The future, for someone who is healthy and young, can be a positive thing to focus on, as we make decisions to heal our hurts and move forward. For an older person or a sick person, it's not an easy thing to think about the future. It may look very bleak. It's especially painful to think that you have had a difficult past which of course cannot be changed, your present is shaky, and your future maybe looks like it will only be worse than the present. Perhaps it won't be as bad as the past, you reason, but it is sure to be more difficult as you age and have fewer options open to you. You may, like me, worry about being alone and unable to care for yourself.

I have been trying to make all of this work for me. It's no use pretending that we have what someone half our age will have in terms of options and opportunities. We have to be fair to ourselves and truthful. So often younger people will tell us not to think negatively--that we have to believe we can do a lot of great things. I've been told that I might meet someone wonderful and have a good life-- a partnership or even a marriage. 'You never know!" people say, smiling. The reality for me is likely to be continued struggling with illness and having inadequate help available to me for my daily needs. My illness has progressed to the point that I am pretty much bed bound. However, I have a lot of things I like to do from my bed. I am writing here, and I also still enjoy the virtual world, Second Life, where I now have an art gallery, host exhibits by guest artists, and can show my own art. I participate in Fine Art America discussions with other artists and show my art there. I am able to immerse myself in the process of digital painting, and that makes me feel happy and fulfilled.

I don't think too much anymore about how I look, because I am just attending to the basic business of getting through my days, with eating, sleeping, washing a few dishes and making sure I have clean clothes to wear, ordering my grocery and meal deliveries, and trying to deal with the extremes of pain and difficulty as I struggle to manage an illness that is unpredictable and immobilising sometimes. As unpleasant as what I just wrote sounds, It's somewhat freeing not to worry about my hair or makeup, or shaving my legs, for example, as I used to do. No one will see me or expect that to be a concern. 

The future may be unpleasant, but it is still unknown. I do have some hope that developments in medical knowledge will provide me with pain relief as well as understanding about my condition. I think that is probable and for that I can even be optimistic. I sometimes think of all I'd like to do in the next 20 years or so--all I COULD do if I were not so ill. But, I also feel that it is best to face up to the fact that almost everyone alive will get sick before they die. Many will endure long and debilitating illnesses in old age. Many will suffer from dementia and lose their grip on reality. None of us like that possibility. Like me, many do not fear dying, but fear and dread the pain and suffering and probable loss of faculties that will precede death.

I try to keep myself centred on the present moment by enjoying simple things like the feeling of the bed sheets when they are clean, or a clean nightgown. The aroma and warmth of my morning or evening hot drink in a mug, the pleasant chirping of my pet bird, a comedian on television who always makes me laugh because of her quirky ways of looking at things--those are really nice things and I'm paying attention to them, really making the most of the moment when they occur.

My life is difficult and uncontrollable. Nothing right now is really as I would have it if I could arrange things. Disarray is all around me. But I am still happy. I find myself half smiling as I type this. Like nearly everyone else, I have a past and a future constantly looming in my mind. Like everyone else, I have a present which is full of mixed up sensations and happenings. Little things change, little things stay the same. Yesterday, my bedroom ceiling started to drip from the upstairs neighbour's bath. Whether it was their carelessness or a plumbing fault is really not an issue for me. I was just sitting in my bed worrying that I'd have to move from here and worrying that I couldn't clean up the mess if it got worse. It didn't. I take note: I worried and the eventuality didn't come anywhere close to what I expected. I just had a drippy ceiling that will have to be fixed. I had visits from the plumber and the electrician sent by the housing association. Both were young men with a kind and happy attitude who took time to chat with me and assess the problem, explaining exactly what would be done. The plumber even made me a pot of tea! Being ill and isolated means that a day like yesterday becomes a highlight--especially when what was dreaded doesn't happen! I will remember the kindness of the workmen, and I will smile.

It has been several years since any abuse or related injustice happened to me. I now understand far better how it affected me and how I can deal with it in my memories and ongoing confrontations. I still struggle with memories of what happened and also of how it affected my life and continues to do so. But, I am able to feel far more detached from it than I did. I feel a sense of equanimity about it all. It is a fact, a part of my life. It made things bad for me, and in some ways it always will. But I have met people and helped them because of it. I have been able to share my understanding and support them if they talk to me. I can treat them with respect in a way that I was not treated sometimes when I told my story to people. The thing I'm most grateful for about having been abused and had my life nearly destroyed, is the way it made me a kinder and more humble, empathetic person. 

I want to help people understand what abuse and trauma does to the person from the inside. I want them to get a glimpse of how it looks in the midst of the abuse and how it looks afterwards--how the world is never the same safe, lovely place for us again. How it can't be because our illusions of safety and of the limits for our experience have been shattered--violated. Once they are, we are fully aware of our vulnerability and that although we may prepare ourselves and be more careful in the future, NO ONE is fully protected from other people's bullying or from disasters. The world is broken. We are broken. There is no way it can all be put back together. We are living like Humpty Dumpty and trying to put ourselves back together but we can't climb back on the wall! It's too far to climb and it's all in the past. We are now grounded. Being grounded may not be as euphoric as sitting pretty on the wall and looking at a pretty view, but being grounded is REAL and that is the good thing about it. I think I'm going to just keep reminding myself of that. Babies don't know about the big bad stuff that is out there. They have to be taken care of. When we grow up, we either become carers for others who require it because they can't see danger lurking, or we ourselves need still need care. Sometimes we can't get it, no matter how much we need it. Sometimes we have to accept that we can only focus on the part that is possible for us to do. It's all going to end in death anyway. Sooner or later. No one knows how or when. 

This Humpty Dumpty called Edge of Raisin for the purposes of the blog, is managing to glue a lot of pieces of herself back together -- emotionally. The physical pieces are more broken than the mental ones at this stage of my life. But this Humpty Dumpty is happy to still be sitting on the ground and seeing some nice things. All it takes is noticing something small like the chirping of a bird or a warm cup of tea. Then the moment is made beautiful, and living in it is a pleasure. That's all we really have for sure.

I hope you will do that for yourself. Notice nice things!

I saw a quote the other day from a Leonard Cohen song, and it made me want to know the rest. I was surprised I'd never heard it, because it is so good! Maybe it will help you feel what I have written about, if you are reading this and wanting inspiration. It's called, Anthem. Here is a YouTube link for it.


I wish you Goodness, Truth and Beauty. They are the gifts of life that are most precious and real.

Giving Thanks

I recently shared the link for this blog with a few more people. If you are one of them, Welcome! I am so happy you decided to read it. Please share it with anyone who might be interested or helped by reading it.

The most important articles I have written here concern Domestic Abuse and Violence. They were mostly posted during the early part of 2008. You will find the main article posted on February 25, 2008. It has an Introduction and 6 parts after that. Please pass it on, copy it, link to it.... do whatever will bring it into the hands of somebody who might benefit from it. I don't link to it directly from other pages, because of ongoing safety issues, but you may certainly do so without naming me as the writer. I am 'edgeofraisin' for the purposes of protecting my identity.

Some other posts that are related and significant can be found on the following dates:

August 18, 2008
September 11, 2008
and October 8, 2008

Here is today's post. It's been a long time, and as I look over this blog, I find that I have something new to say.


I have a very good friend who is not likely to read this, with whom I talk a lot long-distance. This friend has suffered two major tragedies and has ongoing difficulties with a deteriorating, debilitating illness. Life is never easy. However, my friend has financial resources that are adequate to cover almost any problem, owns a home, has healthy children, a number of unbelievably kind, generous, concerned friends willing and able to lend a hand, the finest health care money can buy, and mobility which, although not normal, enables my friend to drive a car and to walk, slowly and carefully, most places as needed or desired.

Sometimes, when discussing various aspects of our respective lives, I comment on my friend's wonderful network of friends, the medical miracles that have enabled a reasonable quality of life for my friend long after others with the same illness would have died, or the security of knowing that there is adequate money in the bank, trust funds for the children, and no worry about paying bills. I say, "You're lucky to have this.....".  My friend usually replies, "I don't feel lucky".   I understand these feelings. If I had been through the same horrible illness and tragedy, I might feel the same. In fact, I did feel like that, and still do sometimes.

There was a time when my distress and grief and trauma were so intensely overwhelming that the only thing I held on to from one day to the next was the moments just after I awoke each day, looked out my window and noticed the sky. I would write in my journal, describing it each morning, before I did any other thing. As I did this, I began to appreciate the beauty of even the subtlest changes of light, colour, wind, cloud patterns, etc. I found joy in these details when everything else was shut down from my appreciation due to associations with trauma that I couldn't fully comprehend; when my life was so full of uncertainty and despair that I felt like a piece of paper tossed aside by life and by society, unable to even find any remnant of the person inside me that once was healthy, whole, and functional.

I'm thinking, as I reflect on this, that it is important to look at both sides. We need to feel our pain and respect our feelings of grief, loss, pain, and despair as legitimate, and to acknowledge them with dignity. It is also really critical to our quality of life that we can find moments of joy, wonder, and beauty; feelings of thankfulness for food, clothing, shelter, kindness, laughter, and other good things we have. As Thanksgiving approaches in the United States and Canada, I am giving thanks for these things in my life that make me feel good and happy, that give me a sense of well-being, even if the feeling is temporary or fleeting. I am thankful for peace of mind that comes with quietness and shelter, after having known what it is like to live in fear and to lose the most fundamental things in life that I had taken for granted--'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" that Americans believe are fundamental human rights, due to domestic abuse, threats and violence.

For this ability of the human spirit to seek, appreciate and be thankful for even the tiniest, subtlest beauty and to find joy and sustenance in that small thing.... I give thanks. That is a miracle that science cannot explain. Having lost my religion and my sense of faith in a personal, loving God, I am amazed that there is still this unmistakably mysterious and magnificent element in our existence!

If you are reading this and feeling like my friend feels, take a moment and just breathe as you look at something in nature. You don't have to feel 'lucky' to have it, or anything else. But let it nourish you and give you some sense of wonder. You are still alive. You have this moment. That is for sure! None of us can be completely certain what is in store for us. Some of us have good reason to expect extreme difficulties and pain... to believe that they are likely to continue without relief or even become worse. However, we are all alike in one respect: We have this moment and this moment is all we can be absolutely certain of. We cannot know the future. We can CHOOSE how we are spending this moment--and then it is gone and all we have is the memory of how we chose to spend it plus the next moment, and the anticipation of moments that might come or might not, after that.

It is not a denial of the pain I endure, the losses, the tragedy of having been robbed and deprived of huge chunks of myself or of former resources and qualities of life I had, when I say, "I am thankful. I am lucky. I appreciate......"  It keeps me going. It will keep you going, if anything can.

Let's look at how we can make this moment matter and be a good one--not only for us, but for others who share this life with us in our home, our neighbourhood, our work, our community, our country and our world. Give the gift of a sweet moment to someone else. Almost every living being has the power to give that gift to someone or something else. IT IS REALLY THE MAIN THING THAT MATTERS IN LIFE!   I see that now.

For this reality and this awareness, I give thanks.

It means a lot to me that you chose to spend several minutes or hours reading what I have to say in my blog. I give thanks for that.

I wish you every good thing!

I remind myself of this:

Goodness, Truth and Beauty continue. Find them and share them. They are what we have to be thankful for in the midst of unspeakable difficulty. Give thanks! Appreciate! And share them, because the more you share, the more you will have of these unlimited and amazing gifts! You will look into the face of the person with whom you shared Goodness, Truth, and Beauty, or into the face of Nature herself, and you will have a transforming moment. Pay attention! Don't miss it and don't underestimate it! 

I give thanks for Goodness, Truth and Beauty.

I give thanks for MYSELF, and I give thanks
for YOU.

Almost a year!

It's almost a year since I last wrote anything on this blog. I don't know if anyone ever reads it anymore. I wonder if there is any point in writing in the future.

My life is not a lot better, due to ongoing pain and tiredness from fibromyalgia, which also causes me to feel frustrated and depressed about my future prospects of having a better quality of life. Financially, I'm just barely managing, and that's if I don't really do anything that I might like to do outside my home. Going places costs money, and it also becomes more frustrating when I plan on something and then can't do it because of pain and exhaustion. Life is unstable, unpredictable. I have a few good friends in Second Life. I have a couple of good friends who phone and talk to me regularly. Aside from that, my life has shut down.

Emotionally, much of the traumatic reactive patterning has improved. It is far less painful than it used to be to remember the events that created my current situation. I have a peaceful, pretty stable environment in a council flat. I am lucky to have it. No one in my life is causing me emotional turmoil and pain. No one is threatening to destroy my peace of mind, well-being, or physical safety. This is the most important thing that I has come out of my escape from an abusive relationship. I keep it in mind, and I am grateful for the feeling of serenity which cannot be truly understood except by someone who has lost it.

If anyone is reading this, and has happened onto this blog through the links that refer to domestic violence and abuse, I encourage you to read the articles I have writtten. I still believe every word I wrote is valid and useful to people in distress and also to people who should be dealing with victims of abuse in a helpful and supportive way.

I think it is important, if you are reading this to say something to those of you who struggle to contemplate what may happen if you leave your abusive relationship-- the losses of financial stability or the loss of companionship you feel with your abuser, or anything of that nature which may be of value to you.

No financial loss, no amount of loneliness, no depressive cycle that results from leaving an abuser is in vain, if you gain peace of mind, safety, and serenity in your life. HOWEVER, don't let anyone tell you that you will be safer if you leave. Be careful! Don't count on any kind of support from anyone as a sure thing. Think and plan carefully. Keep looking for people who will give you the kind of advice and help you need, and don't let unhelpful others turn you around or push you to do anything your instinct says is dangerous or hurtful to you or your children.

I wish for all of my fellow sufferers of past or present abuse, these things:  True friends; space and time to heal; supportive, trustworthy and intelligent helpers; compassion toward yourself as a human being who is worth as much as any other, no matter what their status or situation; and finally--a future that is safe and peaceful!

Goodness, Truth, and Beauty to all who seek them and all who live in such a way to create a world free of abuse and fear.

It’s Only Words

"It’s Only Words" -- Sometimes they make a profound difference.

I was grateful for a positive comment left here yesterday.
Thoughtful words, the knowledge that they came from someone who has spent considerable time reading about the subjects I address in my blog, and the fact that he was responding to a post I wrote almost a year ago, deeply impacted my feelings and intentions about continuing to write here. For those reasons, I would like to copy a large part of the comment and my reply to the person who took the time and care to write it.


Difficulties (Entry Link)

Oct.8, 2008 blog entry titled, "Difficulties"


I write to thank you for your blogging efforts. I found your post on Oct.8th, 2008 titled, "Difficulties", contains insight I feel complements the following excerpt very well. Insights concerning social dynamics surrounding reactions towards persons seeking witness to, or explaining the basis of, their trauma. I have read a lot on trauma and related subject material. I highly value your input.


Aaron Gilmore

(Mr. Gilmore followed his personal comments with an excerpt from the introduction to a book, entitled Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman, M.D.)

Here is my reply:


Dear Mr. Gilmore,

Thank you very much for your comment, and for the excerpt you included from Judith Herman‘s book. I considered it so helpful and encouraging, that I decided to reply with a new blog post today. After months of frustration and discouragement about so few comments,  I stopped writing. It seemed like I'd been 'preaching to the choir' I suspected that even the choir was falling asleep while I carried on from my platform.  I felt my efforts were doing very little good for people.

Maybe I paid too little attention to the other several positive comments people wrote during the past two years or so.

It is traumatic for me--continuing to write about my
pain, about the whole sea of pain and the millions of people trying to survive in it. Writing about it is as traumatic as it is necessary and conducive to healing. That dichotomy is uncomfortable… unwieldy. Besides, when I re-read my posts, I often cringe at my authorial tone and style. I dislike the feeling of writing in a vacuum, of hearing its ugly, metallic echo so often. I have a healthy belief in my writing ability; I don’t need validation of my skill. What I want is a sense that it makes a difference whether I write this blog or quit writing. I guess I lack awareness of my readers. Since I can’t see or hear signs of people sitting at computers reading my words, reacting, thinking about them, benefiting from them, I shrug my shoulders and avoid writing in general. Reading your comment, Mr Gilmore, made me reconsider.  It seems important to ‘keep on keeping on‘.

Thanks. Your comments made the difference and prompted me to decide. I will continue this blog.

Edge of Raisin



A poem that speaks truth to me…

In A Dark Time

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood--
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What's madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks--is it a cave,
Or a winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is--
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

Theodore Roethke


I still have physiological symptoms that arise, not from
negative or conscious thoughts, but from links and triggers. For example, immediately when I saw notification of Mr. Gilmore’s comment in my email, I began to feel apprehensive that perhaps someone had left a message challenging or minimising my accounts or the legitimacy of my statements.

This anxiety arose, despite the fact that I have had nothing but positive comments to my blog articles. It arose despite the fact that I have received overwhelmingly positive and affirming messages in my life from many people I have encountered in my 57 years. It arose despite the fact that I have been a highly functional, successful, well-rounded, socially competent individual for most of my life. It arose despite my and testable lack of any paranoid tendencies, despite the fact that I was not feeling depressed or vulnerable when I read my email, despite the fact that I am currently happy about relationships and interactions with significant people over the past few months. It arose despite the fact that those who know me well would describe me as a balanced, even-tempered person, socially and emotionally mature, self-aware and clear-thinking. It arose despite several years of counselling therapy and despite my careful reading and application of at least a dozen books and methods of dealing with traumatic response which have been recommended to me by professionals.

A painfully familiar, loud buzzing began as I read the blog comments page. I guess this must have happened just because I was thinking about this disturbing subject of domestic abuse and trauma. My tinnitus reaction arose because of persistent programming of my fight or flight responses. reactions through continual disturbing interactions and daily trauma at the hands of my abusive husband during a period from 2002-2006; and because of the callous and ignorant manner in which I was received and treated by dozens of people when I attempted to extricate myself from that situation and recover my life and my peace of mind.

Here we are, some 3-4 years later, and I still, frustratingly, struggle with these reactive patterns and links. They occur at least a few times every day. Some days they are so disruptive that I cannot do much more than sleep and eat. I notice, I breathe, I rest, and I try to just accept them while moving on in my thoughts from the natural sense of anger and annoyance that my reactive symptoms bring up.

I find that my G.P., social workers who talk with me, and mental health professionals to whom I have been referred, have no viable method to deal with these symptoms or underlying problems that cause them. Responsible ones among them validate me--those who are educated to understand trauma. They acknowledge the seriousness of my experiences and my struggle. But they admit that there is little more than they can give me. Health care systems don’t provided much in these situations. The social care system has no solutions and no accurate category into which to place me.

The government benefits system, which assesses incapacity and suitability for receipt of financial assistance, does not recognise my particular problems as ‘disabilities‘. Scepticism, incomprehension, and frustration are typical responses of bureaucratic systems and agencies when they encounter people who suffer ongoing traumatic effects of domestic violence. Even those workers who have been educated about the issues and properly trained to interview people, have few options, powerless to offer any long-term help and relief.

So, various individuals and organisations pass the buck and the blame for persistent traumatic response problems. They fail to accept any moral obligation to find workable solutions and assistance programs. Victims of 9/11, the London bombings, or PTSD following combat experiences, for example, are considered suitable candidates for de-programming and therapy to deal with their bodies' and psyches' scrambled functions. But sufferers like me are told to 'get over it,' instructed to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and offered other useless ‘therapeutic’ bandages.

Validation and acknowledgement are critical elements that allow healing to begin and to continue. Moreover, as important as the need for validation of the person’s accounts and experiences of trauma, is the need for validation and acknowledgement of special, persistent difficulties and disruptions to his or her life and future.

As I began to read Mr.  Gilmore’s comments, my anxiety was quietened. I am, after all, a rational, self-respecting, confident individual. However, within minutes, I experienced a familiar loud buzzing and ringing in my ears that I trace to the beginning of abusive cycles in my marriage. Tinnitus plagued me for the next several hours and still continues as I write this reply and blog post.

Is the sudden onset of tinnitus caused by 'negative thoughts' or an insistence on focusing on my past? Is it a result of a stubborn insistence on viewing myself as a 'victim'? Is it happening because I hold grudges and ill will toward my former abuser--a refusal to forgive and forget? Is it because I have failed to 'move on' and be optimistic about present and future opportunities or possibilities?

Absolutely not!

I can get no validation or assistance to deal with my tinnitus, or with spontaneously triggered severe acid reflux, sudden exhaustion or mental blanking, and a variety of other annoying, debilitating remnants of my historic traumatic experience. Often, I have absolutely no clue what triggered the response; sometimes, with a careful, focused back-tracking and detective work, I can identify a specific trigger event, reminder of an incident, a smell, a visual link, a tone of voice or other sound, a slight nuance in someone’s body language. However, I am unable to disconnect those triggers from the physiological responses. They are still operating because of the conditioning that happens when a person becomes hyper attentive to any small indicator that abuse is about to happen again. Wouldn’t anyone dealing with that, learn to habitually look for signs that they are in danger again, and again, and again?

Because I was abused over and over in
countless subtle and overt ways, by mental, emotional, spiritual, financial, sexual and physical means, there are hundreds or thousands of triggers!

I repeat: There are hundreds or thousands of triggers! Because the trauma of abuse was pervasive and infiltrated nearly every aspect of my life during a period of several years, no clear-cut, easy remedy is available to undo the damage.

Because society perceives that my problem arose from a 'relationship difficulty,' society does not recognise the long-term, enduring traumatic effects in the same way it legitimises other kinds of physical and psychological results of trauma. The treatment lack I am offered by medical and mental health establishments, and the absence of understanding and appropriate treatment, cloud and blur all the abuse issues with other unrelated and often socially judgemental conclusions about me and about my character, my personality, my very legitimacy as a patient/client needing treatment and remedial care. I understand the financial impracticalities they face when dealing with this problem which affects as many as one in four women and an undetermined number of men. I am aware of that the general public still gets waylaid by too much misinformation, too much outdated theorising about abuse and trauma in the context of relationships. I even understand that the vast majority of physical and mental health professionals lack adequate information, funding, and empathic skills to address the issues I face.

I am growing accustomed to getting bounced back and forth between oppositely-focused counsellors. I have combined a number of typical experiences to create the following fictional examples of how that works:


Conversation with mental health professional A:

I, the client, talk about my feelings, my distress, my pain,
my sense of futility, my losses, in a personal and detailed manner. I focus on my specific difficulties and what they mean to me, as an individual. I include the negative and the positive, the things I things I treasure that keep me going day to day. In a story-telling, background-giving manner, I talk about what happened that brought me here. I express how it felt at the time and how it devastated my life. I talk about the journey I’ve made and the process of honestly accepting what I cannot change, letting go of the years and opportunities that were lost because of it, putting things behind me. I give specific, detailed examples that I believe she will comprehend. These examples are painful to recount, and I openly show my emotions as I share them.

In response, the counsellor tells me I focus too much on myself and my personal difficulties and complaints. She is confident that what I need to do is to go out and get involved in social things, meet people, be busy, look at the bigger picture. From her extremely limited of my specific past and present situations, without much consideration of my dire financial situation or the limitations of my physical illness) she lists ways I could do this.

If she were not so careful to couch her responses and reactions to me and my story in professional, clinically acceptable phrases, she might sum it all up with this way: 

"Why on earth are you still whining about this? Get over yourself! stop being so self-absorbed. Get a life! You are sitting here appearing to be intelligent, suitably groomed and observant of social conventions. You have no real problem in my opinion. Because you insist on being negatively focused and on emotionally reacting to the facts that cannot be changed, about things that are in the past, you continue to be depressed. I will prescribe a tablet for that. Get some exercise, stop insisting that you are a victim, and move on!"

I, the client, read something of that nature between the lines of clinical phrases the counsellor speaks, the ones I recognise as a combination of her training and her own personal view of the world. Her message
is clear to me, but not at all useful. I leave deflated and disappointed. I try to shrug off my personal hurt at what has just transpired. I resolve to be more circumspect and lett demonstrative in future clinical interviews.


Conversation with mental health professional B:

The counsellor begins by explaining to me that we have only
a limited number of sessions in which to address my issues.  She says that as my history is obviously long and complex, we need to focus less on details and more on practical ways to deal with the ‘presenting problems’ that bring me here to this session. Then she asks routine background questions in a clinical style I recognise.

I, the client, cooperatively offer the facts of my history and my current situation as she asks for them. I briefly outline my medical and emotional condition, the course of events that led to it, the opinion I have formed about what happened to me and my current needs. I present these in the larger context of what I have learned about traumatic responses. I tell her that I am all too aware of the hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering from domestic violence and all its ramifications, its stigma, its  long-lasting effects. I say that although my situation is nothing compared to many who suffer, I want to find ways to work out the tricky parts of my psychology and particularly the chain of triggers and reactions that underlie my everyday functions.  I tell her that I want to do this for a number of reasons. I list the reasons.

I talk about what I believe happens when people are traumatised and faced with massive losses in their lives. I talk about what they need and what they experience as they try to recover from trauma. I talk about how significant it is for them when they encounter a rare individual who validates and acknowledges them. I talk about how wonderful it is to find love and understanding, and about how healing that is for people like me.

The counsellor stops me and instructs me to restate everything I just told her, but to say it in a 'personal way'. She wants me to 'own' my feelings and to assert my personal rights. She wants me to learn to be comfortable claiming my feelings and expressing them. She says that I am obviously distancing from the trauma and from my feelings. I am generalising and discussing the issues in a de-personalised way. This is unhealthy. This shows I lack self-esteem and self-respect. I obviously feel that I am unworthy of personal attention and recognition from others. She wants me to value myself more than that. She believes the solution to my problem is to speak my truth directly. I need to stop minimising and ignoring my pain and my personal truth. I should learn how to tell my story without apologies or social generalisations. She makes me say everything I just told her, using the words 'I' and 'me' instead of talking about 'victims of trauma' or 'survivors of domestic violence.'

I, the client, cooperatively do as she asks. It is not difficult. I tell her so. I explain that the reason I stated things as I did before, that I am concerned about change that will positively affect all victims, including myself.

The counsellor nods.

I, the client, think, “She doesn’t believe what I just said. She thinks I am dismissing her theory about my lack of self-worth. The counsellor returns to comfortable territory by outlining for me once again, the basics of cognitive behavioural therapy theories. 

The counsellor insists on discussing negative
thought patterns according to the CBT method.

I, the client, tell her I
have done this already in other counselling courses and independent work. I tell her that the problem lies not in my conscious thoughts and attitudes, but in unconscious trauma-induced patterns that are triggered by sensory events and phenomena in my everyday world.

The counsellor’s eyes glaze over. She tells me that our time is up. She schedules another appointment with me for next week.


I am now beyond the point of frustration with the medical
and mental health systems. If you, or anyone reading this can direct me to some truly compassionate and intelligent treatment for people who suffer from PTSD type conditions due to periods of daily, comprehensive abuse in their environment or relationship, rather than to specific incidents of war or disasters, please contact me. It would be nice to know that someone, somewhere, is getting suitable treatment.

However, the reality is that whatever insightful and comprehensive programs exist for specific difficulties which victims of ongoing traumatic stress disorders experience, only a small minority of people like me have access to those programs. They seems funded privately or by small segments of medical academia. They are often restricted to small test groups in a single city. Otherwise, they are available only to those with social status and financial means. They cost thousands of pounds or dollars and require travel or relocation in order to participate in the programs.

This is
an outrage! It is a disgrace and a societal shame! It is a waste of human resources! Most of all, it is an abuse of abuse victims and survivors of trauma! It is about time that people suffering as I do and those enduring far worse reactions and syndromes should be treated with care and attentive, intelligent methods to untangle the web that entraps them in their own bodies and their present nightmares of the past.

To Aaron Gilmore, and others like him and me who seek understanding and who address the issues that affect abuse victims, who pursue justice on our behalf, I want to say,

"Thank you very much for a precious commodity--validation of my writing and of my right to speak and to write these truths. I deeply appreciate it."

That was my personal, self-focused reply.
Here is the socially conscious, mature, unselfish reply:

“Thank you, on behalf of all who suffer. My situation is mild compared to the torments many endure, and minute compared to the larger sea of suffering.”

Both replies are valid. Thanks for understanding that.

Goodness, Truth, and Beauty endure.
May we look to them for guidance in everything.


 A short addendum to this post:

I just returned from a visit to my G.P., in which I requested a different drug for the pain of my fibromyalgia. She asked me whether I would consider acupuncture treatment. I said that acupuncture and massage therapy were very helpful to me 7 years ago when the condition was first diagnosed; but that I had been told repeatedly that acupuncture and massage are not available through the NHS. She said that there is now an acupuncturist working for the NHS in this area, and that she has referred several patients with Fibromyalgia to her. She will refer me right away.

I have not received such good news in a very long time. Hope is rekindled that I may overcome this illness and be able to live a more normal life again.

I am smiling, and I am still in pain. I am dreaming of a time when I will not be in pain.




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