seven weeks of sleeplessness

Sep 23, 2014

The last seven weeks I have been dealing with many sleepless nights and gut-wrenching dreams stemming from abuse situations in my childhood. At times I have felt so fragile, it has seemed possible that if someone touched me, I would shatter in a million pieces. At other times, I have felt strong and able to face this new layer of necessary healing with faith and courage. At other times, I have been simply exhausted and unable to even think.

It has been tough.

I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about healing.

But not enough yet. There is still much for me to learn.

I have learned that quiet, peaceful moments with my children have come to mean immensely more than I ever knew they could. These precious moments of love and trust and connection are full of life-giving-light, they are sacred.

I have learned (or relearned) that Richard’s arms erase the fear and pain stored deep down in my soul.

I have learned how incredibly painful it is to go through life, doing all the things that life requires, while behaving on the outside like I am not dying on the inside.

I have learned that I absolutely cannot separate my physical body from my emotional body. I know this, yet it still surprises me. My emotions are screaming to come out and it seems they scream at me best through my physical body. Remember my 10th miscarriage hair debacle? My lungs are full of fluid – pneumonia has got the best of me, and the emotion for the lungs is grieving. I can think of no other emotion for what my spirit is experiencing than grief. I have been in bed since Wednesday night, coughing and hacking and gagging on the piles of mucous that need to come out of me. In the midst of the coughing and hacking, my kidneys woke me up screaming in pain several nights in a row. The emotion for kidneys is fear. I try to honor my spirit, to listen my emotions, to be in tune with myself, and (laughably given my many failures in this department) I actually think I do a really good job at it…and yet, my body pretty much never gets sick from a germ. Everyone around me can be sick and I won’t get sick. I get sick from my emotions. When I was pregnant with Fisher I made my whole body sick because I was so afraid of having a boy who would grow up and hurt others. No amount of talking or crying or gnashing my teeth could heal me. God was the only one then and He is the only one now who has the power to heal me.

However, I am doing some things to help the healing process. I am trying to be really open and honest…to say “I am not okay” when I’m really not, when I’m really suffering. I am spending time in deep, heartfelt prayer. I am looking at little girls and seeing how small and innocent they are and allowing myself to let go of the responsibility I have felt for so long for somehow not preventing these older, stronger, intimidating boys from touching me. I am crying. A lot. I have never cried this much in my life. Tears pour out of me nearly every day…and I am letting them flow.

There was a time in my life from about age 12 to age 22 where I did not cry. I would not allow myself to “lose control” like that. I held it all in and became super girl, getting straight A’s, being a teaching assistant for the math teacher and the principal, running every organization I was part of, working at our family’s grocery store, befriending the elderly people of our town, taking care of my young siblings, protecting my little brother from my stepfather’s rage, and keeping a smile on my face from sun-up to sundown. I actually believed I was okay. I didn’t know I was a hot mess on the inside. I was so effective in stuffing all the pain deep down inside that I didn’t even know it was there.

But sometimes it would explode out of me. Like when a Young Women’s leader at church would give a lesson about listening to our (future) husbands. Angry words would burst out of me (as I had decided that not only would I never, ever have a husband, but if by some terrible, unfortunate accident I ended up with one, I would never, ever be bossed by him.) about how men are not the boss of us and why should we listen to them! All they do is hurt us! And I would run out of the room and collapse in the bathroom or gym and every once in a while a few minutes of tears would come.

But then, I would calm down and put on my happy face and go home and take care of everything. And believe I was okay.

After we were married, I fell apart. Really fell apart. Richard was so safe and stable, I no longer had to hold it all in. Together we worked really hard on healing…he had the much harder road here because I was nearly impossible to live with. One day I would be loving and warm and safe. The next day (or minute!) I would be a raging lunatic begging for a divorce or stomping out of the house or demanding he leave me alone forever. It was so, so hard. But he loved me. Deeply loved me, scabs and scars and rage and all. And slowly, through his great love and patience with me, the bloody wounds healed and my heart calmed down to a much more even keel.

From the time we were engaged, we have talked about my abuse. We have dealt with it again and again and again. I have let God heal it again and again and again (and He has.) I have seen counselors, Bishops, and others. Up until a few months ago, I would say I was healed. And yet, here is another layer to deal with. Another stage of healing that we get to traverse together. And we are. We are talking and holding and praying and loving and helping this black slime come out of me.

We have decided it is time for me to see a counselor again, it has been about 19 years since my last set of counseling appointments. We are praying these appointments help me sort out the dreams and hasten the healing power of the atonement. I know God can heal me.

I feel a need to be fairly open about my journey on this current path. Since the morning I woke up with the awful, awful dream over a week ago, I have felt the need to write, to share, to bless. I think abuse is often spoken of in whispers or downright prohibited from being spoken of at all. There are a lot of people hurting in this world and my journey may help one of them know they are not alone in being abused or full of rage or feeling crazy, that abuse does not sentence you to a life of misery, that God can and does and will heal your deepest sorrows, and that it is okay to talk about.

So, if you see me, know I am hurting, know I am fragile, know I am doing everything I can to make it through each day with love and trust and hope in my heart. And be gentle.

And I will try to stay in a place of real.

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  1. Tracy,
    I am praying for you. This life can be so very hard sometimes.

    • tracy

      Thank you Tash, I need all the spiritual direction I can get. Love you.

  2. Kerry

    I’ve worried for a long time about how much you do. Are you running faster than you have strength? I know you can run dang fast. . . while carrying a whole bucketload of other people on your shoulders, but that takes a lot. Who carries you and rejuvenates you? Richard, I know. But how does Richard carry a girl who is carrying everybody else? I don’t really know anything. Maybe your superhero stuff is the best medicine for you. But if it isn’t, then a grumpy face and realness and even a little selfishness (for lack of a better word) is what I would best love to see from you. Not acting and smiles to make everyone else feel secure. Love you no matter what.

    • tracy

      Kerry, I don’t know how to do anything else but DO. I do love doing. And this whole injury situation has certainly taught me to slow down and spend days on end doing nothing, but I probably need to learn it more.

      Love and miss you!