Living

I am not him,
The leech that clung to my brain,
Devouring me
Bit by bit.
I am a warrior,
Worthy,
Courageous,
Strong,
Powerful.
That is enough
To keep me going,
To never quit the fight.
He is darkness,
Deception,
Hatred,
A foul being.
He preyed on my soul,
But no longer.
Recovery is living,
I am becoming. I am alive.

Healing

I am expected to look a certain way,

To be beautiful,

To conform.

I needed to be perfect.
I broke.
I am not whole,
But I am mending.
The cracks glued back together,
The tears sewn shut,
The contamination being stripped away.
Life is waiting underneath.
Seeds will be planted,
Gardens will grow.
The sun will once again shine.
I am learning what it means
To be human again.


 

The Voice

He tells me that I am not sick enough to heal.
I can only stop
When I am dying,
When my body is broken,
When I can no longer be repaired.
Will I leave this world
Forever?
I was dying,
Starving my body.
That bottomless pit of hunger,
The darkness that never ceased.
He fed me lies.
I did not matter.
I had no worth.
I was insignificant.
He was a parasite,
Eating away at me,
Until there was nothing left.

 

 

Relationship with ED

  I met Ed the end of  April my freshman year. I was outside, surrounded by people who didn’t really like me, but let me eat with them anyway. He came up, full of charisma and happiness, and struck the most intense conversation I’ve ever been apart of. He made the world seem brighter and he made me feel special and beautiful. He came at the perfect moment, with how stressful school and family had become over the winter. Our initial meeting was brief but incredibly memorable. Ed made me feel better about myself then I had for a long time, and I’m forever grateful for him. He made me recognize my goals and made me want to achieve them. He sat with me everyday during lunch, talking about nothing and everything at the same time.

    “What kind of apple is that, Hanne?”

    “Want to hangout with me after school?”

    Ed and I became fast friends. He was there for me through all the ups and downs. We were attached at the hip; where one went, the other wasn’t far behind. Then I met my first love. I heard from Ed less and less, until I barely heard from him at all. I was so wrapped up with how in love I was, that Ed faded almost completely out of my life. But then my first love broke my heart and left. Ed came right back. He rushed to my side the instant he knew.  He was different however. He was harsher, more controlling. He’d tell me what to feel, what to think, how to act, and what to do. In the vulnerable state I was in, I let him. I followed his every rule, his every command. He was my puppeteer, and I was attached to his strings. One pull and I was there. One tug and I did what he asked. I was his submissive.  The following year I wasn’t in control of myself. I didn’t want to be.

“Why are you talking to her? She’ll only drag you down.”

“Don’t stand next to her. You’ll look fat compared to her.”

“Don’t eat that, Hefty Hanne.”

“Don’t eat that. You don’t deserve it.”

“Don’t eat that.”

“Don’t.”

    One day he pulled my strings too hard. I weighed 99 pounds, and I hadn’t eaten in three days. I was driving my friend home, when Ed took over. My lungs were full of lead, my mouth was laden with dirt, and I saw the stars of the milky way. My head felt like it held the weight of the world. My eyes closed and I took a deep breath. I was unconscious. Ed had taken all of me and wasn’t satisfied, so he tried to take others down with me. I passed out behind the wheel, with my friend in the car with me. I could barely walk. I was so weak, that getting out of bed felt like a herculean task. But that was the final straw. I had nothing left to give.

    One by one, I started cutting away his strings. Some were thicker, harder than others. The first string cut had been coiled around my eyes. He had blinded me from the beginning, shielding who he was and who I’d become. The second string cut filled my lungs. He taught me to believe that I couldn’t breathe without him. There wasn’t a reason to do so without him. Next, I cut  the string that bound my hands. My bones cracked from the lack of use. They could finally reach for help, hold myself up, and take back what was mine. The final string was the hardest to cut. It was hard as metal and thick like concrete.

It was my heart. For so long it was locked away, behind miles and miles of barbed wire, metal fences, and fear. This was Ed’s favorite toy. One could saw away at this rope and get nowhere. Or get so far and come back, with the string tighter and larger than before. But I managed, because he was not going to win.

Now, his strings are gone, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of Ed. His scars cover my body; they’re deep and painful. Some days I look at them like one would look at their own baby photo. With a tender familiarness of better times. Other times, it’s with a look filled with shame. That I let him sink his hooks so deep into my very soul. Ed will be with me forever. In the backseat of my car, at the end of my lunch table, at the spare desk in the back of the classroom. It’s hard to love a spare desk or a backseat driver, but I thank him everyday. Without Ed, I wouldn’t be the strong woman I’ve become. The journey is far from over, but Ed’s time with me is through.

Robot

I am fading.
Fading into the
Darkness,
Fading
While the sorrow and fear take hold of my body.
I am trapped
In a cage,
Begging to be let out.
I am alone.
I am a robot.
Smiling,
Talking,
Walking,
Eating,
Living.
But that robot is not me.
Where have I gone?
I cannot find myself.
I am lost within the maze that is
My mind.

 

 

Panic

I am scared.
No, not scared,
Terrified.
I am terrified of the world,
Of the future.
Anxiety is creeping in,
Soaking into my bones,
Poisoning my mind.
I am waiting to break,
For the panic to take hold,
For my grip on reality
To disappear.
The darkness will come
Soon.
I cannot escape its clutches.
Fear has come for me.

 

 

Suicidal Thoughts Are One of the Most Heartbreaking Sadnesse's I Can Think of

Suicidal thoughts are one of the most heartbreaking sadness's I can think of 

God be with me I’d often say as I prayed for God up above

As torn and depressed I’ve often been that I’ve contemplated taking a drastic step in ending my life

I’ve often felt that I lost all control of my life so suicide is what my brain tells me from inside...(read more)

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Drowning

There is sadness
Everywhere.
Leaking into my pores,
Clouding my thinking,
Finding a home
In my heart.
I am disappearing.
I am screaming,
There is no one left
To hear me.
I am drowning,
Being pushed to the bottom of the ocean
Inside me,
Being overtaken
By never-ending waves of despair.
I cannot move.
I am stuck in place.
I am trapped
Inside my mind.

 

Freedom

Between stimulus and response there is a space.

In that space is our power to choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Viktor E. Frankl

 

Freedom

I got into meditation because my body told me I had to. For many reasons. I went to learn how to self-soothe a frantic brain with the end goal of getting back to full time work. As with most things, what I am learning are things I didn’t plan for or even want to. I had to start further back, way before my injury, to learn self-compassion, to figure out how to be gentle with myself, and most importantly, to learn to love myself no matter what. In the thick and the thin. You see, I’ve always been hard on myself. I have this amazing ability to push through things, to keep going like the energizer bunny. Speedy Gonzales was my nickname. It can be a superpower, and it can be my worst enemy.

Just like in “Ultimate X-Men #41,” where a boy learns that his mutant power isn’t a dream come true. Instead it's a curse and causes every person, family member, friend and even dogs to burst into flames. Logan tells him there’s no cure his mutation and nobody can ever find out that a mutant could kill by accident. Since the boy can’t go on living, there’s only one thing to do. Wolverine walks out. End of story.

Thankfully, I have an option. Kindof. I must learn an entirely way of being, which my brain can’t yet grasp. Sometimes I feel like I am in a dream, in someone else’s body. Other days, I feel like my heart is so wide open, I can barely breathe. I feel people’s anger like shotguns and since I am not wearing any armor I receive multiple gunshot wounds. I feel emotions in the air but sense speaking about what is actually in the room is too difficult. So the elephant remains and I cower licking my wounds.

There are times when I find myself deeply listening, in a way I haven’t before even as a social worker. Knowing that what the person is telling me is their experience, their feelings, it’s about them. Not me. Not me problem solving it. Not me fixing it, not me wiping all the suffering away. And guess what? It’s a freeing feeling. And leads to deep conversations. It is social work, it’s planting seeds. 

So far, practicing has helped me grapple with the fact that my healing shouldn’t be another form of pushing or striving for that end goal. It is a push and pull inside me though, a fight, where there is no clear winner. Similar to the Cherokee grandparent that imparted, “a fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – the wolf is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good – the wolf is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought for a minute and asked, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

The yogic tools and teachings can reach and resolve the root of pain and stress. If we are brave enough to sit in that space. The approach can be gentle, compassionate, blissful, and deeply transformative. And long. As Sheryl Crow says, “everyday is a winding road but I get a little bit closer feeling fine.”

I have to trust this process and believe that when we face the fears of seeing what’s inside us - a new, blissful self-relationship expands and emanates to everyone and everything in our lives. I am working on expanding my space. Choosing my response. Growing my power. Savoring the freedom. Namaste my friends.

- Henrietta

Monster

The hunger is like a beast.
Writhing inside of me,
Never satisfied.
My brain fights back.
It will not allow the monster to win.
I am a warzone.
My body is the battlefield.
My bones ache,
My body weakens,
My head pounds,
My limbs shake.
I am so tired.
I am dying
While my body is at war with itself.
I wait
For the inevitable victory of my mind.
For the hunger to continue.
It will never end.
The pain will never end.

- Anonymous

 

Strike Me Out As I Shout

In the back of my mind I wonder what time will my depression end up striking

Will I ever find any peacefulness within my life without hiding 

When depression hits I can go into a negative state of mind and emotionally eat 

Then I look at myself and see this fat ugly women in the mirror with defeat 

I am screaming within myself and I feel as if my life is another strike out...(read more)

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Underneath

I am 32 years old.

I am raising 4 children, one of which I will soon be adopting.

I have a great job, family and friends.

I have a lovely little house with a beautiful yard, a 7-year old dog and 3 cats.

I travel as much and as often as I can - Peru, India, Haiti, South Africa, and all over the US

I recently took my 3 girls to watch the sun go black in Kentucky for a solid 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

 

Even with all of this and so many moments of happiness, laughter and love, I still struggle...(read more)

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