Bill of Rights

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year End Reflections

I'm ready for this year to end.  It has been one of the hardest on record.  The beginning of this year felt like one revolving door: separate - reunite - separate - reunite until I didn't know if I was coming or going in my own skin.  The pains of each discovery that sent H back to our other home so many times this year compounded each time he came back bringing his lies and deception with him.  This took its toll on both of us this year.  For H, at least, I am grateful he hit his pit of despair deep and hard enough to finally choose a healthier life for him. 

I've had things taken away and things added upon this year.  In fact, one issue in particular has felt to me one of the greatest losses, that of H's church membership.  Though his growth is slow, it is at least in a more forward path than ever before in our years together.  

My oldest joined the Marines early this year.  Something I said would never happen on my watch.  Luckily he waited until after he married.  That meant leaving behind a wife and two small children to wait on him and his training completion.   Another  complication and blessing to my year.

The first year has past in my new home filling it with a year full of memories.  Not all ones I want to hang on to.  I'm learning though, to see past the trials to the lessons within them.  Something I constantly remind myself of as I continue to process the hurt and pain and work my recovery.  

Anniversaries of D-days and triggers still plague me, surprising me with a continual physically and emotionally painful reminder of the life I have been living.  I told H today in one of our conversations that I still freeze and have a physical reaction every time he comes in the door.  I have a lot of faith that time will heal this.  I longingly await that season of peace.

I took an awesome trip home to visit family and attend Togetherness in October which was the highlight of my whole year.  The conference was amazing, but being able to meet so many of the warrior women I've come to know and love was an amazing experience.

One of my greatest victories, though not initially in my 2014 yearly plan was going back to school.  I aced the semester with a butt-kicking A.  I managed to keep my scores up above 98% the whole semester.  Truly this did more to boost a mangled self-esteem than anything else I accomplished this year.

This year is ending with me still in a state of indecision.  Letting H come home in April without firm boundaries, without enough therapy to sort through all the issues that his actions brought with him was my worst decision of the year.  I realize now, it was a typical reaction for me, responding to H's tears of despair and pleas for help.  The rescuing me reacted just as expected.  Once the decision was made and he was back home, the struggle to deal with unexpected emotions caused me incredible distress.  It was months before I realized I needed to fall back and regroup.  Separating bedrooms and going back to civil living while we both worked on our individual recovery has eased much of my anxiety.  It just has done nothing to bring me to a point of resolve regarding my marriage.  While I know H is coming to understand himself better, we still struggle so intensely in our daily interactions.  

There are time the words of scriptures come to me, reminding me of the dangers of living in chaos and commotion.  One of the pressing issues for me is to resolve the commotion of my soul with regard to my marriage.  To accomplish this, I've determined my word for the coming  year will be purpose.


* the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc
*an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
*determination; resoluteness
*the subject in hand; the point at issue 
*to intend; design.
*to resolve (to do something)
 *to act to good purpose

I'm not much for new year resolutions, but I do have issues to continue to work through, small projects I want to accomplish and a new year of school ahead for 2015.  No matter how the year unfolds, I do know it will not happen well without my continued recovery work and my heavy reliance on the Atonement of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  
I will continue to lean on the truths of the gospel to help guild me on the path the Lord wants me on.  Oh how the natural man in us is prone to wander, prone to be pushed off course as the tests of mortality over take us.  I've been there.  I've been lost, confused, in chaos and incredible commotion.  I want to guide myself away from that point and pray with all my heart that the intent and purpose that I have resolved myself to will be my guiding star and take me to this point next year more secure in myself and more at peace in my soul.
My prayer is that God blesses all of us with the training and tools we all need to be able to stay close to him and to his son, that peace will be abundant enough to comfort us when we are bruised by the pains of mortality, and that our search for truth will bring us the fullness of life we all search for.

Happy 2015
  • Happy New Year Glitter Graphic

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

What ever you are doing this evening.  What ever traditions hold your heart, catch your breath and take you back to that moment.  Stop, feel, be there -- at least just for a moment tonight.

Merry Christmas

If you are looking for something uplifting to watch tonight to help remind you of Him. Check out, or or   There are some amazing things there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Finals, Birthdays and Recovery Musings

The late days of fall are typically busy ones.  Which totally goes against my natural rhythm.  To me these last fall days are more for hibernating and getting ready to hunker down for winter.  Life never seems to cooperate with my natural tendencies as it keeps getting busier and busier.

I'm wrapping up my first semester back in school in more years than I want to quantify out here in the open.  Though the class was fairly easy for me in subject matter, I'm proud of that A I earned.  I worked for it.  (And I hope that isn't too brag-y---cuz I'd hate that.)

I hit a peak birthday year this week (again, one I'm not too anxious to put in type here on the internet).  A couple years ago when I was looking ahead to this monumental birthday, I thought about some of the things I wanted to accomplish by that age.  (Of course, back then I was still in huge denial about what was going on in my marriage.)  On the top of my list was to walk the Camino de Santiago.  I'm still hoping one day the stars align to make that happen.

Instead of walking the Camino, I started back to college which has helped re-define some of those goals I had back in the days of numbness and hiding.  Working out my academic plans I'll be done with school right about the time my little D will be ready to head out on her college journey.  That Camino walk might be a great adventure for the two of us then.  It's something to hope on at least.

While I'm busy taking finals this week and dreaming about that Camino walk that never happened, I'm very stuck in my work on Step 8 (Make a written list of all persons you have harmed and become willing to make amends to them).  Truly this step is not for the weak of heart.  Some of you new to 12-step work might wonder why I am doing this, rather than my addict spouse.  Isn't he the one who did all the harming, after all?

It's true, the majority of my life's pain and trials have been due to the actions of my husband.  But I'm not perfect, and many times did not live up to principles or standards I should have held myself to (regardless of what H was doing).  This isn't an easy step.  The me I'm trying to become battles with the old me, wrestling with this whole process.

I'm not going through all of this for H either (and that can go on record here in cyber land).  I'm doing this for me.  Regardless of where H and I end up.  This whole healing journey is my journey.  I need this.

For years I lived in a cocoon, protecting and buffering myself from the reality of my life.  I've needed this healing journey to come to know me.  It has even at times taken the words and experiences of others to bring about that "oh yeah" moment for me. I've had a lot of awakenings; 'Yeah, I've lived that too" moments as I've shared this healing journey with others who know this life.

Right now, as I'm baking goodies for our last night at school get together, I'm thinking a lot about this quote in the manual from then Elder James E. Faust:  "Only as we rid ourselves of hatred and bitterness can the Lord put comfort into our hearts."

I don't hate H, but there is resentments and frustrations that have not resolved themselves yet.  New frustrations that get added into all the old ones that I hid from all those years.

To top it all off...

  • opryland living <b>nativity</b> opryland christmas <b>nativity</b> opryland at ...

It's Christmas time. As I prepare to celebrate the birth of the Savior, it is time to lay some of this at his feet.  After all, he came in to this world to take these pains from me.  Not to prevent them, but to give me a place to put the suffering I experience here in mortality.

I have at least one more post in my queue before the year comes to a close.  If I don't get back here before Christmas, I'll leave with this one last thought that I used in my lesson this past Sunday in my local Relief Society.

Merriest of Christmas Wishes.

Image of Everyday Christmas-Holy Night

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Catching Up and Working it Through

The time passes by so fast this time of year.  My schedule is loaded with extra things to do taking away precious time to ponder and work through my healing and recovery work.  I have been working on it though -- just not the way I'd like to.   I have a couple big issues that I'm not getting to the bottom of yet that are pretty difficult right now.  Healing, for me is complicated by the constant unexpected trigger that I have to stop and work through.

This time last year was a really hard one for me.  I spent Thanksgiving alone, without H for the first time in 27 years.  It was surprisingly peaceful.  My kids said it was really nice, but a little weird.  Yeah, it was weird.   This year H was with us, but my son was not.  He's a Marine, currently in San Diego at school.  

I really tried to avoid Thanksgiving all together.  I didn't even shop for groceries until two days before.  I didn't spend hours planning a menu.  I did not even make pie. (That alone is huge for me.)  If it wasn't for my daughter-in-law and two adorable little grands, I could have just skipped the event all together.   

I didn't feel like celebrating anyway.  Don't get me wrong, I have everything to be thankful for -- it wasn't about gratitude.

It is mostly just this unshakeable sadness I have in my heart about my marriage that I'm struggling with.

And then there was this......

christmas wreath : A brown twig wreath is decorated with red berries, pine cones and a red damask bow. Stock Photo

A wreath.  A Christmas wreath? 

How does something so innocent and simple cause such a huge trigger?

I went out Friday, after Thanksgiving, not to catch all the sales, but to shop for a wreath.  I 
wanted one that made a statement.  I have a new home and I wanted some pizazz on my 
front door.  Understandable, right?  I was prepared to purchase one with a pretty hefty price 
tag to get the look I was after.  I figured Target or the like wouldn't bring me the 'look' I wanted, but we 
started there anyway as it at least gave H a point of reference for what I was hoping to find.  

The one we decided on is lovely.  Every time I went in and out my front door over the 
weekend, I was so happy with the look.  I love the colors, the thick crystals giving off the 
appearance of ice.  It is really lovely.  

Then it happened.

As I was getting into the tubs with the rest of my Christmas decor I pulled a wreath off the 
top of the bin.  It literally stopped me in my steps.

The pain was physical and instantaneous.  

I could not for the life of me remember buying that wreath. I couldn't attach a memory to it 
at all.  Not buying it, or to having it hang on my front door the whole month of last December.  
don't remember packing it away either.  

How can all that living and doing and gone? 

I use my front door as my main point of entry.  

It was though, every memory that should have been there, all of it, gone.  
No remembering of visiting teachers or family or even the UPS driver at the door.


In that moment, with all that hurt and pain and confusion (and I was extremely confused), 
I looked right at H and said, "I think my trauma just cost you a hundred bucks!" 

H is in a good place right now.  His response was very kind and generous.  He could have 
haggled with me over the two options.  Which one did I have to have?  Was this big purchase 
that necessary?  Could you do with the one you have?  He didn't say any of those things.  

We aren't poor, but we don't have a great deal of disposable income.  It was a sizable
purchase for something that sits on the door four weeks out of  fifty-two.

His reply was, 'well, that is a small price to pay for what you went through last year 
because of me."

A friend of mine, who has a particular rough time this time of year, said this recently in a
group we are in together:
  "I think that what is most amazing to me about this D-day anniversary is that the body remembers physical pain. I'm a bit emotional too, but I'm mostly holding it together. But without even consciously remembering the physical pains of that period, my body began feeling them. At first I thought I must be coming down with a flu or something. Then I realized that this is how my body felt in that time period. And I don't otherwise feel sick. It's crazy."

It is interesting what the body remembers that the mind has blocked out.  

In an article on trauma and post traumatic stress it says this:

"Most people are familiar with the definition concerning soldiers in a war; however, PTSD has expanded from its original wartime definition to include all people, not just soldiers. It can result from a single or prolonged life-threatening event. The memory can bury itself deep in the mind and, for years afterward, torment the person with all kinds of strange unexplained feelings. Some people come through these events and recover. Some do not. Why the difference? As yet, probably no one knows.

PTSD is difficult to treat, even difficult to diagnose. The disorder carries an especially strong stigma of dishonor and moral weakness. During the first and second world wars, people called some soldiers suffering from PTSD and stress breakdown “cowards” or “deserters.” The military has come a long way since then in recognizing the seriousness of this disorder. Since PTSD is actually the body’s natural response to an injury, it is not really an illness in the same sense as depression. It is, however, often accompanied by depression and other mental illnesses."

I want to believe I won't always struggle with the triggers.  I want to believe that after time and more recovery work, the painful reactions of the body will lighten and the traumatic responses lessen in intensity.  

I still have several holiday 'D-day anniversaries' to get through.  And that whole January to April season last year where H's living here and not was one of my worst emotional roller


I really need to steady myself and practice some breathing techniques.