(The top two pictures were my doing yoga today. It was all I could manage. The bottom two were from September 1st and part of an hour long practice I did)
Tomorrow (or today) depending on your time zone, we celebrate thanksgiving in the US. For the Native Americans, it’s often a day of mourning. For people with childhood trauma, it is often a day of mourning as well.
Many will spend this day alone as their biological family isn’t safe or they have been ostracized for telling things they “shouldn’t” have told. Many with childhood trauma will feel it’s their fault they are all alone and use it as an excuse to validate that they truly are the “bad” person they have felt they were as children. It’s not your fault, just like the abuse you endured is not your fault.
It’s sad. It’s actually tragic and wish I could have all the ostracized and abused at my house not to lament how terrible we are, but to celebrate how wonderful we are that we are still making it!!
I will talk about my mourning part of thanksgiving and then talk about how healing from trauma will make my thanksgiving a day of thanks.
The above picture shows how much I’ve changed in less than 2 months. I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds. My muscles are atrophying despite trying to stay strong. I’m extremely and debilitatingly fatigued. I’ve been slurring my speech more and more and usually won’t talk to people or will cancel commitments as it’s embarrassing. I had to get a nerve block yesterday morning for my occipital neuralgia. I decided I would go anyway so my primary care could hear me slur as I knew she wouldn’t think I was having a stroke as other people have and called the paramedics. I’ve realized it’s important she sees all my symptoms. I have spoken to her so many times over nearly 2 years very clear spoken that I figured it was time. I didn’t get a “you’re faking this” sort of look like I have from neurologists in the past. I got a hug.
I also realize people have to see me in my bad places as with losing 20 pounds, people say to me, “you look so great skinny”. I’d like to run them over with my wheelchair tire or stomp their toe when I’m using my crutches. Losing 20 pounds in 2 months when you are eating more isn’t normal. My normally athletic body is covered in stretch marks from the rapid weight loss. I now have old pictures from high school. I was bigger then (not fat), but I was healthy.
I of course mourn my son several times a day, but I know the truth will eventually come out, and I will see him again.
So onto my thankful part. After IVIG a couple weeks ago, I stopped by the gluten free bakery (which I NEVER go to) to get a very tiny and over priced quiche. It was the closest thing to the infusion center that would have something I could eat and when I become starving, I don’t just get irritable, I get fall over fatigue sick.
At the bakery, I ran into a lovely couple. The wife has hashimotos, EDS, and a number of other unnamed symptoms that are similar to mine. We started talking treatments and local doctors and such, but she became very tired, so we exchanged numbers with a promise to see each other in person soon.
I haven’t felt well. At the beginning of this week, I apologized for disappearing and hoped they had a good thanksgiving and said we could get together after the holiday. I was prepared to spend it alone as I’ve needed a lot of rest lately. She mentioned that they didn’t really have any family anymore and probably weren’t going to do anything. I pretty much said the same. She suddenly exclaimed, “why don’t you come here?” I have learned that when people offer, they are genuine and immediately accepted.
Within a couple days, we were discussing our different food “issues” that go along with people trying to heal from autoimmune disease. It was so refreshing to be making plans to be cooked for and cooking for others where we could actually enjoy each other’s food. I’m so used to bringing my own as it’s so complicated. She kind of closed the conversation talking about family members that had died recently and said she had been praying that someone would show up to give her a reason to celebrate thanksgiving. She said to me, “then god gave me you”.
I will explain to her tomorrow how much that means to me. As someone who is building community and has felt very unloved for a very long time and god being a very sensitive subject for me growing up, it meant a lot. Probably much more to me than most.
As I have chosen to set boundaries and surround myself with amazingly wonderful people, they fill me in great ways. Some I give back to. Most expect nothing. Many just admire my tenacity.
This final picture is my look of total amazement of someone I met who heard what I read last month and got people he knew, but I didn’t know to send him cards to support me in what I’m managing and made me this shirt too. He sent the whole package to me. I’ve literally met him once, and he did this for me. Loving people are out there.
Show your tiny light and loving soul and only demand the best for yourself. There will be some serious growing pains, but the great thing is that there are plenty of people who will grow with you or next to you or hold your hand as you do instead of trying to keep you small.