Blogging · mental health · poetry · Uncategorized · writing

How Darkness Became My Friend.

I sat in the dark for so long, I got comfortable. I would fumble around confused and run into the walls, literally and figuratively. Over time, my eyes adjusted to the darkness and I began to see more clearly. There was a comfort in the darkness, for I could not see my reflection, the self hatred written on the walls. It became my safe place from the spotlight shed upon me, all the judgements faded away behind a black cloud of hate.

I pushed everyone away, fear drove me this way, for I just wished to suffer alone. In the mind, you can not hurt others this way. It is a journey they must find for their own. Why would you want to take others to the depths of despair with you? That was my lonely road to travel alone, or so I believed.

You see, I came upon a mirror one day, and was saddened by what I had seen. A stranger stared back at me, skin and bones, the twinkle in her eyes…..gone. I wondered then how in the darkness, I could see her face so clear. He whispered just then, she is the light that shines with me, for our souls are twins. We are a packaged deal, two for the price of one, and I would say that is not a bad deal. For those like me, who are sensitive you see. The light begins to blind you, and you lose your way. Only then when the darkness descends, are you forced to see things in another way.

To find the light and dark within yourself and adjust accordingly. Do not fear the dark for he will show the light when it is time. Frame the mirror from which you found yourself and display it proudly. You have walked through something many never found their way out of and be ready to go back someday. For the lessons are never really over, this world is to cold to hold onto the warmth forever. You will find the blanket along the way and come out each time stronger than before. Have faith they say, I choose to find it in both places. They are both now my friends, for they showed me the right way.

~Jennifer Steen

*This piece was inspired by my sister Emily, she gives me the courage to keep fighting and to dig deep within myself and find the light within. We have walked similar yet different paths and found each other along the way. Along this journey we call life, we will encounter Angels in our midst, they will shine their light on us, and we will be forever changed. I love you Em and thank you!

Blogging · health · Lifestyle · mental health · music · poetry · wellness

Self Survival and Recovery……a creative reflection.

So let’s just dive in and bring it to surface. This feels like coming back from the brink of death, all the pain, unknowns, brain games, and ever lasting shame. Fighting for your life, hypnophobia, your mind on replay. I love how music is on display, in your darkest hours. The melody touches your soul, like the crashing waves on the coast. My other home, where the sea turns to foam. My feet in the sand, I feel at home. Wishing you were here, to see for yourself, the heaven and hell I’ve been in. My own creation, then invited others in. I write to heal, to have a voice for silenced. To put a smile on someone’s face, changes lives everyday.

It is time to let go and just fly, over mile high. Where the sunset paints a canvas, my star in the sky shines bright. Like falling stardust, a continuous process. Take a deep breath and let the calm descend, if only for a moment, as eyes open wide. Looking back it was a slow ascend to the top, full of clarity, then the bombs were dropped. Like a nuclear attack packed with flashbacks and long lasting side effects. Reflections stare back, unrecognizable to you now. Not sure when you will come back, all those faces to survive. Masks are easy to hide behind, what color defines who you have become inside. Synchronicity begins, its 4:04am, how time never ends. 4:20 is usually my jam, it’s very personal, like a vice. I will talk about it some time, for now I will fix what is going on, right here and right now. Or is this a dream, more like a living nightmare. You awaken and the fog is still there, not like the first time, when everything was so clear. Then it all disappears, cycles away like night and day. Why I am I stuck on repeat, the music in my head writing out sentences. How amazing that would be, put pen to paper, and make history.

Which one will it be? Fear or anxiety……overcoming is never easy. It’s relies on strategy, no playbooks are the same. The mind wanders and misses time, so you play catch up as you try and get by. All you have is today, right now in this moment, amongst the parade. The siren she calls to us all, he is hot on her heels, a game of cat and mouse. Who will win these time? Outsmart the ego and call a truce before they tighten the noose. Suffocation like claustrophobia, crawling within my skin. Poison leaks from the pores, and then the healing begins. A slow speed in the fast lane so to speak. Capeche! Understanding comes with peace, take it from me, seeing clearly is the key. One of many shapes and colors for the locks change periodically. The door stays the same, an imprint on the world, for ALL to see. Even the ground beneath our feet and the trees 🎶Twenty One Pilots “Trees” stop and add it to your playlist now!!🎶 blurryfaced in the breeze. Like a coat of many colors, I had one when I was 13, how eccentric of me. Anyways its time to go, I will be back soon with another review.

~Jennifer Steen 🦉

* I am finally calm now, this is my favorite therapy. The creation of art and using my literary voice. Since my vocal cords only seem to whisper. I wander in this life, all around. I feel quite lost yet found……..it is 5:39am, time to roll over and sleep.

Lifestyle · poetry · Uncategorized · writing

Poem inspired by the Blood Moon and Eclipse

Wow what a sight! So inspiring that while bundled up in my backyard, a story unfolded and here is what I wrote……

The Wolf and The Lady in White
She shines like a beacon
Illuminating the skies
Dressed in white
Brave and unyielding
As she dances in the light
Late one night
A predator is on the move
His shadow descends
She fights to not fade as the darkness overtakes the light
He sets upon his prey
And the bleeding begins
A battle of wills is upon them,
and what a magnificent sight
He underestimates her will to survive
For she will not go quietly,
as she reaches for the light
The shadow ascends
The wolf retreats
The lady in white prevails
We once again dance in the moonlight
As our journeys begin
~Jennifer Steen

health · Lifestyle · Uncategorized · writing

My thoughts and the lessons I learned

December 2, 2018 journal entry……

I have been chastised for holding onto situations that can not be changed, for staying stuck in the “hurt” and not moving on. They are absolutely right, I was “hurt” so badly and never got closure. I was targetted and bullied and my sensitive nature just could not handle that level of betrayal. Not by people who swore to me they had my back and loved my family. And by those who were only out for themselves and used me as a pawn in their game. My logical side told me to be careful and my heart told me I had no choice but to trust, I needed it so desperately. I have been trapped in my trauma, a slave to the pain and despair. While part of me tried to find the silver lining, to keep going and pretend that I was ok. I was not and even though deep down I knew it, I could never fully face it. Some things are just to painful, it takes time. I could not let go, when in the past I have had no trouble brushing things off and leaving them where they fell. I asked myself why is that? In the wee hours of yesterday morning, I found the answer. It had not been the right time, the story had not been finished. I had not learned the lesson that was laid out before me. I also realized that not everything is meant to be swept under the rug, it is not ok to let people continue to hurt you and for you to stay out of a sense of duty. That standing up for myself and my kids was more important than keeping the peace. Not everyone agrees but I am not here to live other people’s choices. Only mine and I will not always do it in a way that others see fit, I will not always do it in a way that I see fit in hindsight either but my hope is I will learn the lesson, accept it, and do better next time.
I am a victim, I am also a survivor. Resolution does not happen when you want it to, it occurs when the lesson has been learned. Hiding behind the supposed sins of others will leave you trapped in your own personal nightmare for which you will never wake. Call me mental and crazy all you want but make sure you take a cold hard to look in the mirror before you open your mouth. Not everything will be washed away with hollow words hidden behind a fake smile.

In the past five years, I have had no less than 7 traumatic experiences. Most all wrapped up in one situation or another while my mind and body wasted away and the unknown sickness took hold. I know I am not the only one who has been through hell but I am not here to compare traumas and I will no longer let anyone downplay what happened to me and my family. I do not speak about it for victimhood, I speak because two years ago I was given a gift to be able to share my story in hopes of helping others like myself. To stand up for what’s right and speak against those who hurt people to make themselves feel better, for they can not face themselves. I also speak to those individuals hoping they will see the light within their own darkness. I too carry a darkness within me, we all do. When we acknowledge it, we take away it’s power. I too have hurt people but never out of hate or pleasure. My coldness and isolation is a defense mechanism to protect myself and I own the effect it has on other people, however I will continue to use it if I must. I owe them nothing if there intention is to harm me emotionally. Life is to short to hold grudges but I feel protecting ourselves is vital to our health. Not everyone will understand but not everyone matters.
I also write about my journey through chronic illness and pain, why? Because I can and because millions of other people are facing the same situation. They are scared, lonely, and feel like they have gone mad, we are all little mad though, aren’t we? I sure hope so, life gets to boring to be so sane. I want them to know they are not alone and the light is there if they choose to find it. Truth be told I am a hot mess, scared and scarred but still standing, even when dizzy lol

My journey is far from over and I have a lot of work ahead of me, I have amazing people that have stuck by me and put up with my craziness and for that I am the luckiest girl on earth. I love you guys and hope that you know how much you mean to me. Thank you for loving through my faults and tears, in the good times and laughter, and for my imperfections.
Each of us has a story and it deserves to be told if one sees fit to tell it. You will also suffer for it but the rewards will out way the risk in the end. Within suffering their is compassion, and the road to our own redemption. For me that is worth fighting for and I am grateful for the clarity to do so.

~Jennifer Steen

health · Lifestyle · poetry · Uncategorized · writing

Me on display…..and more to come!

Hey everyone! I know I have shared a lot about what has been going in my life over the last two years. The pain, the sickness, my inner most thoughts and feelings. Things I have rarely spoken out loud about and now I am sharing them for the world to see…. it is really scary and freeing all at the same time. I had a major life changing awakening, three months of journeying, journaling, and then it all came crashing down. Slowly at first then like an avalanche, getting buried inside as you get hit from all sides. A struggled just to survive, I curled up inside and infected my body and mind. My ego and heart collided. Releasing the soul within the vessel I reside.

The extent of the damage is severe, I fight with everything I have deep inside to keep surviving and thriving, then sometimes shut down and revive. When I started writing a few years ago at the very same moment in time, I purged all the feelings inside all the way back to before I was one year old. Again, things trapped deep inside where the deep pain and shame resides. 35 years worth of a life, put on display by my own hand, so I have no one to blame. Fate has whispered my name and this was the plan. My past, present, and future all collided like a flaming supernova from which I came. I lost a great deal of people I still hold in my heart, I broke the chains holding me down and there was devastation in it’s wake. For that I will forever be sorry and must forgive myself and others to truly be awake.

Sounds all kinds of crazy but that is ok! Crazy is sane these days…..makes sense if you choose to look at it that way. So anyways, just wanted to share this with you and thank you so much for reading. There will be much more soon, I am getting better most everyday, healing the fractures that remain. I have so much hope that 2019 will be the year that gold fills the broken pieces and I realize my dreams, for hope is a beautiful thing. Writing like crazy, I have a lot to sort through. Crazy because I never put pen to paper before in my whole life. I woke up a poet one day and as you can see, it has stayed with me, for that is a blessing. Must have been all the stories I read, that live in my head. For the story is never truly over even after The End. ~Jennifer Steen

*The featured image is one of my favorite works of art and I would love to have the concept tattooed as a half sleeve with other elements of my life. It perfectly represents what it feels like to me, the serene resilience, as the war rages inside. If anyone knows who the artist is, I would really like to know! Thank you!!

health · Lifestyle · poetry

To enjoy the days…..

There are so many reasons why I went away. I simply could not manage day to day. Locked away inside my tainted haven. Coping with what was beyond comprehension. I have to protect myself as I struggle to survive in this world. Energies hitting me from all sides. Draining my spirit while my soul swims in white light. My mind works overtime just like the machines of this time. Filtering all the vibes takes more time while my body declines. It is all connected….the heart, body, soul, and mind. I go at my pace now after falling so far behind. Living in the moment as if it’s my last time. Loving has saved me and losing has taught me. I do not see what many others believe to be. I believe in what I feel, think, and see. The beauty all around me and the good in all you see. That is the best life for me, full of music and the sea. Mountains and plains as far as the eye can see. I am finding my home and getting lost on the way. Endless journeys through space and time, leaving miracles in it’s wake. ~Jennifer Steen

health · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Trauma.

The pain of today
Remembered tomorrow
The sins of yesterday
Cleared away
How do we cope with the memories
I dare not say
For all of us are different
We handle in our own way ~ Jennifer Steen

It has taken me days to write this, I have written and then erased and cried until I am blue in the face.

This was originally going to be about my recent neurology appointment and where I possibly go from here but over the last few days, something else has taken over my mind and my soul is telling me to share it so here we go. Yes it does have something to do with said appointment. Here we go…..

Ok so we all know what trauma is correct?

trauma – a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury.

Regardless of its source, trauma contains three common elements:

• It was unexpected.

• The person was unprepared.

• There was nothing the person could do to stop it from
happening.

Simply put, traumatic events are beyond a person’s control.

It is not the event that determines whether something is traumatic to someone, but the individual’s experience of the event and the meaning they make of it. (Definition and explanation above was provided by a third party site, (MTIECI).

To be in such a dark place
Is scarier than anything I have ever faced
To feel the enemy but not able to see it
The weight of the grief
With no end in sight ~Jennifer Steen

Now did I know I had suffered traumas in my past? Yes, I have been working through them. I have talked to counselors, gone to therapy groups, and really worked to create a safe environment for myself. I began to write nearly two years ago and that has been an amazing therapeutic tool for me. So why am I here, writing about something I seem to have faced? Well it’s because I am not facing the current trauma that is my everyday life.

Please do not get things twisted, I have an amazing life and I cherish every damn day as if its my last. And there it is, the aha moment I could not see until it was pointed out to me. Can you imagine having the mindset that you might not have tomorrow because you are sick today? To have experienced medical emergencies so scary that you wondered if you would survive it? Your life flashes before you, all the things you have done and have yet to do, the things you left unsaid. How in the world could that not leave a mark, an imprint on someone’s psyche? It does, and each of us handle this in different ways! No one person is the same in their journey, even if we take it together.

Each of us is designed to deal with traumas, milestones, and life in general in a multitude of ways. The key is finding your own way. And know that it will take time and effort to work through, it is a marathon not a sprint!

I have been experiences some strange symptoms in the last year and my endocrinologist was so worried and by his own admission, stumped as to why, that he sent me to a neurologist for a second opinion. What an experience that was! Ok so my brain is quote “beautiful and healthy” docs own words. Yay! So what is the problem then? Why am I having significant memory lapses? Why can I not remember conversations or questions that were just asked? Why when I walk, do I just run into walls for no apparant reason? Why can I be in a conversation and go completely blank? Like I can not even answer basic questions. Why am I in a constant state of emotional upheaval? TRAUMA. Not long ago trauma but current trauma. He suspects I am suffering from fugue state or Dissociative fugue which has been linked to severe stress, which might be the result of traumatic events — such as war, abuse, accidents, disasters, or extreme violence — that the person has experienced or witnessed.

Wow ok, this one was out of left field lol my first thought was “yeah I am crazy, that is nothing new”. That is just me trying to lighten up a very serious issue. I am having an EEG done next wednesday to make certain that there are no underlying issues that have been missed. I am also being sent to see a psychotherapist, and I am ok with that. There is no shame in knowing that I can not do this by myself. Having spent the last six months with a diagnosis of a rare kidney disease and significant adrenal insufficiency after a year and a half of fearing the unknown, I have not had time to properly deal with that and all the other outside issues currently on my plate. I have depression and ptsd and I need more help. I spend a great deal of time alone and do not talk in person about what is going on outside my close friends and family, and sometimes not even then do I open up completely. I do not need to be an open book to the world, I need to be an open book to myself!

I am still at war from within. I am a mom trying to raise my kids with their own set of traumas. I am a wife trying to not put everything on my husbands shoulders, because he has enough on his plate. I am the friend trying to be there for my people and still feeling as if I am not enough. I tried to step away and give us all time but that was not recieved well. I was accused of being mean and uncaring of others issues. Let me tell you something, I have a tremendous amount of empathy and never want anyone to suffer. But if you continue to deny your problems and do not take appropriate actions to mend them, I can not help you! If you can not see how much I am struggling and need support, then stay away!

I will never compare my trauma to others, it is a slap in the face to those people. I continue to see others rate their trauma above others and you are wrong in doing so! So stop! We have all experienced levels of trauma and some continuous amounts of trauma and they manifest in a multitude of ways. I encourage those who are currently in this situation to seek help! Be open and honest with yourself and your doctors!

Please be gentle and understanding to yourself and those around you! Look hard within yourself, the answers are there! Same goes for the ones witnessing this first hand with someone they know. There will be some you have to walk away from because they refuse help, that is ok! Your decision likely is not based on how much you love them, everyone deserves love even when they are lost. When you see someone legit trying to get better, be there cheerleader! Encourage them!

Thanks for reading, feel free to share or comment! I would love to connect with you all!

Jennifer Steen