Out of the Dark Into the Dim
I've been having a rough go of it lately.
I've experienced over 40 years of trauma due to the many sexual assaults purpetrated upon me by various boys and men over the course of my lifetime.
I did a very good job of suppressing all this trauma. I did a very good job escaping my reality.
But recently something triggered what I like to call a PTSD flare up. I started experiencing flashbacks all day every day. But especially at night.
I would have dreams. I couldn't tell if they were imagination dreams or memory dreams. It really doesn't matter. The reaction was the same. I was in a dark place.
Last Thursday my husband came to the rescue. He suggested we do some magic mushrooms.
If you care to, you can read more about it here.
For days afterward, I felt good. I felt productive, brave, and strong. I had no trouble sleeping and no bad dreams.
I felt I had come out of a very dark tunnel at the bottom of a very dark hole in a very dark cave.
I felt inspired to write this article. I wanted to write it first thing yesterday morning, but the read.cash editor had other ideas.
On Saturday, the day after we did the shrooms for the second time (we shared 1 dose on Thursday and 1 dose on Friday) I felt as if I was waking in a bright sunshiny day. The sun felt warm on my face and brightened my smile. I stood far away from the entrance to my cave. I had no negative emotions and felt able to face the hard work of therapy. I feel asleep early and easily. I didn't drink wine.
On Sunday, it was still daylight, but some clouds had covered my emotional sun. It was still a productive day. I got a lot of chores done, and I imagined several new art projects I would like to start. I still didn't feel the need to drink any wine. But I was beginning to feel restless. Sleep came harder and later.
Monday, I still felt I was out of the cave, but my emotions had moved me closer to the mouth of the cave. It felt like winter. Like one of those cloudy, cold, overcast days. I gathered metaphorical wood for a fire, hoping I wouldn't need it, wanting to stay outside in the light. Knowing, the dark was coming.
Thinking about the article I had planned to write caused me to feel anxiety. It's just as well the editor was broken.
I looked in the refrigerator too many times though I couldn't settle on anything to eat; on anything to fill the home I felt forming in the pit of my stomach.
I drank wine.
I couldn't sleep until half past midnight. I didn't sleep well or easily.
Full winter had set in and I crawled deeper into the cave.
I haven't (yet) descended down to the hole in the ground or backed into the tunnel. But I feel the darkness whispering my name. Seducing me with is deep shadows and safe places to hide. I know there are monsters lurking in the deepest, darkest shadows but if I can't see them, they can't see me. The darkness calls to me.
Yesterday, I couldn't write. I couldn't think properly, either. I was trying to learn how to start my novel in Scrivener, but by 3pm I gave up. It felt too hard. I could hear that darkness whispering more urgently, calling more fervently, lying so believably.
I couldn't hear the inner critic, though. I wasn't practicing negative self talk. I haven't had any flashbacks.
I had some sort of night terror. I woke up shouting and terrified.
I didn't know why.
I asked my husband and he said it was his fault. He rolled over and put his hand on my back. And I freaked! Not his fault at all. The combination of my monsters, my past, and the fear of facing and destroying the monsters, destroying their power over me is what is causing the clouds to cover the sky. The fear is pushing me into the darkness.
I feel like I'm at the very back of the cave today. Not in the hole. Not in the tunnel. I've made a small fire at the mouth of the cave. It's dim light flickers and licks my toes, a bashful puppy wanting love but afraid of being kicked.
Before I fall into the pit of despair, I remind myself that the dim is still brighter than the dark. Even if I stay in the dim awhile, it is far better than the pit. Though the darkness whispers and clings, it is a liar.
It's far better being in the dim than being in the dark.
Two more days until therapy and my stomach flutters at the thought. I'm not feeling as strong or as brave or nearly ready enough to embrace it.
I'm sitting in the dim feeling scared of the dark. Feeling scared of the journey to full, bright, warm, sunshine.
Therapy is dragging my monsters out into the light of day for all to see.
For me to see.
What if they see me first?
They are no less terrifying for being in the bright. It means I can see all their horrible teeth and sharp claws. Their acid drool and the evil in their eyes.
Still, I have hope.
The dim shines a light on the monsters, yes, making them visible. But the monsters fade in the bright. They become diaphanous. I can see through them to my survival.
I've come out of the dark.
I'm back in the dim.
But it's progress.
If you would like to see all the prompts, linked, and in order go here.
lead image license free from Unsplash