I purged and cried…

Last night, on the phone with one of my best friend, like a sister, she interrupted me, while I was attempting to explain an upset to her. I exploded into, “You cut me off. You didn’t listen,” which stopped her cold. Usually this would make me feel instant remorse and shame, that I acted liked that (out loud), instead it brought up, like vomit, grief; a volcano erupting from years of growing up with a schizophrenic brother and living in the house of shame and wondering why everyone else had friends but me. There was no social veil or pretense that all was well with my insides, they were front and center, leaving no room for anything else. I purged and cried, and felt shackles of my mental prison dissolving into something tender and raw; it didn’t feel so terribly awful to face this or let it come. Why have I spent so many years keeping it at bay, in the shadows, bubbling up into bodily somatics and emotional pain, only to now be revealed? No cue, not really, but boy do I have a healthy respect for the power of denial, which in my case seems a little overly bossy. I also have an incredibly healthy respect for the power of communicating when it’s safe, under an umbrella of trust, where love shines a light on acceptance. (BTW: that conversation? It ended in fits of laughter over some silly thing about my dog)

About The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

The year 1895 was filled with memorable historical events: the Dreyfus Affair divided France; Booker T. Washington gave his Atlanta address; Richard Olney, United States Secretary of State, expanded the effects of the Monroe Doctrine in settling a boundary dispute between the United Kingdom and Venezuela; and Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted for "gross indecency" under Britian's recently passed law that made sex between males a criminal offense. When the news of Wilde's conviction went out over telegraphs worldwide, it threw a small Nevada town into chaos. This is the story of what happened when the lives of its citizens were impacted by the news of Oscar Wildes' imprisonment. It is chronicle of hatred and prejudice with all its unintended and devastating consequences, and how love and friendship bring strength and healing. Paulette Mahurin, the author, is a Nurse Practitioner who lives in Ojai, California with her husband Terry and their two dogs--- Max and Bella. She practices women's health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time. All profits from her book are going to animal rescue, Santa Paula Animal Shelter, the first and only no-kill shelter in Ventura County, CA, where she lives. (see links below on Ventura County Star Article & Shelter) To find out more please go the The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on facebook or Amazon or e-mail us at the gavatar addresses. Thank you. (photos: of Paulette, her family, and a reading at The Ojai Art Center, July 2012)
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82 Responses to I purged and cried…

  1. tazzielove says:

    I was impressed with the honesty in both conversation and in posting what happened. I’m proud of the strength Paulette (my wife) showed in sharing this. Terry

  2. Paulette, I too had a schizophrenic brother but we were not close in age. The eleven years that separated us allowed him to still be my hero. Life presents us difficulties one time or another and I consider myself fortunate to have enjoyed a sheltered, happy childhood without the shame you speak of. I do understand your need to have control as it is a normal reaction to not having any means to help your brother. I recognise myself in that respect… xx
    Please read my post http://inspirationimport.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/no-psych-ward-in-heaven/

    • Thank you, Lesley. I just read your post. It leaves me at a lost for reply, just feeling lots of things. It is beautifully written. My brother was also older than me by eight years but the impact and heartache on my parents with his comings and goings was there all my life. It was a time when mental illness was not looked upon with a lot of compassion, back in the fifties, family secrets swept under the carpet. Stuffing emotional pain a way of life. I really appreciate your stopping by and this connection.

  3. fournier0917 says:

    Beautiful…it has the feeling of springtime finally giving sign of life rejuvenating. JJ

  4. Angeline M says:

    A true friend. And then she listened.

  5. A courageous post, and one that will surely help others who feel the same, but can’t quite express it as honestly and eloquently as you just did.

    One thing I know for sure, bottling up volatile emotions will eventually manifest in some physical malady. So it is best to risk the outburst of feelings and save yourself from some disease later on. I wish I known that, oh, 30 years ago! πŸ˜‰

    • Made me cry, Lorna. In a good way. I’ve been wondering about what is down there, deep down, that might be preventing me from having a full recovery to the Lyme Disease and chronic fatigue. Something definitely feels different today, more hopeful and lighter, that I can face some stored up pain and let it come. Pop the pimple. Vomit the toxin. I feel an immense kindredness with you after having read your memoir and gotten to know you. Maybe in part, knowing you and other compassionate cyber family are there, helps. It sure feels like it.

      • Paulette, I’m convinced that our bodies are messengers, telling us in ways we cannot ignore that we have to pay attention to our emotional “house.” I’m an energy worker (something I didn’t mention in the book) and I believe that all physical ailments start off as emotional ailments. Look at the word “disease.” Dis-ease, or stress is the catalyst for so many physical problems. I’m sure my years of stress with my ex-husband culminated in my chronic fatigue. My quest to be such a perfect child? I developed migraines and alcoholism. My sisters didn’t. It’s no coincidence.

        I also believe that the people we meet in life are people who we NEED to meet–one who will teach us an important lesson or ones who we are meant to help along their journey. It’s no coincidence we met either, Paulette.

        When I said in my book that I had faith that things would always work out, that’s what I meant. Events and people come into my life at exactly the right time. The same for you, my friend. The same for you.

      • It’s starting to really feel that way, on a cellular level and not just story talk. That’s interesting and no surprise that you do energy work. I’m sure we’ll continue to learn all sorts of things about each other, that will probably continue to not be a surprise. Thank you for this, in your busy schedule. Means a lot.

  6. Paulette I’m so happy you got it out! You will see how differently life appears now without those shackles keeping you from being all that you are made to be. Shine bright my beautiful friend. And may peace begin its wondrous affect on you. Sheri

  7. Sounds like a much needed catharsis. A friend a few years ago was going through heavy events and when I asked her how she was doing she answered β€œFor the time being DENIAL is a great land for me to live in.” So perhaps it was what you needed then and are strong enough not to need it now BRAVO!

    • Oh it’s so good to see you and thank you so much. Honestly, I don’t fully understand all that’s happening but what you wrote sure makes sense. Perhaps it’s a good thing that I’m just feeling a lot of things and they are moving about all on their own without me trying to make any sense out of them. It’s like watching a movie but I can feel changes in my body. I am hopeful it will have a good impact on my health.

  8. pishnguyen says:

    It’s so wonderful to have good friends. I am happy you were able to get a lot of these pent-up emotions out. It sounds like a good thing for you. I can understand about denial. I grew up in an emotionally abusive household, and became very skilled at pretending everything was “just fine” … or that I was the problem, instead of the people around me. It all came to a head a couple of years ago, when Depression finally latched onto me. Huge, huge, huge emotional and physical crisis. But, I guess it’s better than the alternative. I got into therapy and am making a come-back, slowly but surely. No one can live in denial forever … and no one should have to live feeling ashamed of things beyond their control. (Easy words, I know … but they are hard to accept and live.) Many hugs to you!

    • Oh my, what an incredible reply from you.Thank you so much. I am soaking in your hug, like a bath, to all those empty places that the grief left behind. I think it’s exactly what I needed and send back to you many warm hugs and wishes that all you are going through brings you to a better place. Count me in on your wishing you joy support team. That’s the best thing about sharing, we see we’re not alone and can give and receive comfort. That’s what yours did for me here today. I’m really grateful.

  9. So much to celebrate about this post. You, your friend, your letting loose of something that has bound you for so long, finding support in and from a world who also doesn’t always understand-but does care. So much Paulette. Something within you knew to let it go, then, there, and with that friend. I hope it is the start of healing and helping others understand as well.

    • I hope so also, Colleen. You know, I think something started to change when I read that post of yours that made me anxious. I felt fearful to communicate but risked it with my comment on your post and then wrote something about that here. I haven’t forgotten how safe you made it for me to open a little and express it, safe but still anxious (if that makes any sense). I’m extremely grateful for this connection with you, a real friend.

      • I am quite honored that you feel safe. It does make sense to feel safe, yet anxious. To have something to say, to want to say it, to think about it, wonder about it, and build your courage to say it. Even knowing that people will listen, and not judge, maybe not understand. But questions might be asked, that make you think and explore more thoughts and feelings…..

        I have so much that I think about that I don’t say. For many different reasons. And not all of the reasons are about “me”, but others. But on occasion I have written something that has been inside of me for a long time. And what a tremendous relief….

        I believe we have a mutual gratitude, and connection. πŸ™‚

      • Good point on questions might be asked to lend to more exploration. And, yes, a lot of not saying things because of the other, for various reasons.

  10. TBM says:

    sometimes you just can’t hold it in. And I’m glad it ended with laughter. That’s what friends are for.

  11. Clowie says:

    Having had a difficult childhood, my biped can empathise. It’s strange how something suddenly bubbles up, it may become clear later. It sounds as though you understand yourself a little better because of it. For my part, I couldn’t help but notice that it was a dog that brought laughter to the situation and I prescribe some doggy cuddles!

    • Oh, Clowie, you’ve no idea how much I love you and just seeing your photo, being with my fury kids, has rescued me and kept me okay (relatively speaking) in the worst of situations. I firmly believe that as long as dogs exist I will always have joy in my life. Your cuddles made me feel warm all over. Max & Bella woofed me to let your biped know they give her some cuddles back and a sniff sniff to you.

  12. Sometimes getting it all out does the trick. Its only when you bottle up all the emotions that you are overcome by a dull heaviness. Love how you sais it all in just one paragraph…
    Lots of hugs and prayers…

  13. My Tropical Home says:

    I purged and cried…it was a “moment of (facing) the truth” within you and now you’re free of it. If you will let me – here is a big warm hug…I remember that post from Colleen and the post you came out with afterwards. I have no other words to add just my hugs and that our God loves you even more than I do. I hope you will add that to all the love you’ve been given here.

    Warmly and with love from across the miles and cyberspace,

  14. As always, I am in awe of your honesty and courage, and the power of one voice making a difference … so, you give me such hope (because I can identify with the carefulness and policing myself to the nth degree). I’ll be thinking of this post all day.

    • Oh Lee, I’m so happy to see you here. You know I love you. Well put, policing and carefulness… and the agony of what slips out that makes one want to cut their tongue out. The agony of being human. And the joy. We’re all over the place, aren’t we. Give Baby Rae a hug from me.

  15. Mustang.Koji says:

    It is good the conversation ended with laughter. That is something I need to work on… Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Hi Koji, I’m really so happy to see you here. I’ve seen you over at Colleen’s. I wish there were some way for me to work on laughter along with you but I sure don’t know where any switches are. I think the world would be a whole lot better with more laughter. I love that you brought up that aspect.

  16. Alison says:

    The power of denial? It’s just the mind-made sentinels doing what they think is needed to keep us safe. What a wonderful relief/release. Bet you feel much lighter.
    Big hugs

    • Alison! I do feel lighter. I also feel hopeful right here and now, which is kind of weird cause I usually associate hope with future-hoping for something to change or be different. It’s never just kind of sat in a static place infusing me with this sense that all is okay and I’m okay. A whole new place, in the context of the continuous work in progress that I am. Big cyber hugs back to you and your hubby.

  17. lgyslaine says:

    it is very well to say things, it relieves where it hurts πŸ™‚ Have a good day Paulette

  18. Triggers can be strange things, but I’m glad this happened for you. I can’t imagine what life must have been like for you with a schizophrenic brother or what it was like for your family. All I know of schizophrenia is from working in state institutions after I graduated from Nursing School (1969). I remember my instructors telling me I would be wasting my time going to work there as nobody could help ‘those people’. I’m glad I didn’t listen. And I’m even more glad that treatments have improved so much since then.

    • Thank you, Ruth. I was so young for a lot of it and don’t remember much these days. Things come up, like yesterday, but without the emotional impact and seem like a movie that happened to someone else. What yesterday showed me was a lot of the raw emotion attached to some of it. So yes, I concur on it being strange, whatever triggered it. I’m with you on being glad that treatment has gotten more compassionate.

  19. Paulette –
    As much as I want to say I am sorry, I am proud of you. I believe the unconscious knows when we have had to store enough. And if we aren’t able or willing to let it go without prompting, the unconscious will make that happen. Ofte we suffer more from our imagination creating fearful images and feelings that letting something go will be horrible to deal with. So we suffer with and longer than we ever needed to. I have dealt with PTSD from sexual abuse from a step dad. I feared what would come out if I confronted those demons. And it built up so badly that I had not more room for me. My husband’s disabling illness triggered some early memories of childhood of being molested, abused, abandoned and aloneness. And suddenly after four years of trying to be a super worker, caretaker for my husband and housekeeper, I collapsed. I couldn’t even work. I had no memory of how to get to my job even if I could have functioned at it. Repressing and suppressing is not healthy. Yet most of us do it. We have a an unrealistic fear of what lies inside and we do most anything to not have to deal with it. But the body and mind have coping mechanisms to release and heal. You are beginning now a new adventure. You have released the old person and made her the person that will survive, thrive and go forward. I am proud of you. You did a great service for yourself.
    Love always

    • Thank you for all of this. I see that you can deeply relate. I’m sorry to read of your abuse but from all I see at your site you seem to have found a beautiful inner calm place, which I really admire. You offer so much wisdom that I respect, especially since it comes from so much raw and painful experience. I appreciate and value your words and will be back to read this again. I’m very grateful for our connection. My heart is with yours.

  20. jmgoyder says:

    Bravo, yeeha and onya, Paulette!

  21. seeker says:

    This person must have been a true friend where you can divest yourself and still accept you for what you and then laugh silly about the whole incident. Good one.

  22. So much feeling and energy here.We don’t know each other, Paulette, but I feel for you, and understand the relief of release. Now that the window has been opened a crack, throw it wide open and enjoy the benefits awaiting you. Your close friend most likely is worth her weight in gold. Hope you find more to smile about soon. I wish you well.

    • Thanks so much for this. It is pretty amazing that we, as strangers, in this wonderful cyber community can connect in a way that communicates across space to feel each other. I can’t tell you how much it helped me to step a little out of my comfort zone. There are some areas, I’m perfectly fine chatting about, even extremely controversial ones, but about my insides, not so much. And, that’s probably the area where it would help the most. I’m learning.

  23. FlaHam says:

    Paulette, what a wonderful post, what an openning to the inner soul. It is quite amazing what denial can do to you, and sometimes for you. But realization is a stronger better tool. Please take care, Bill

    • Thank you, Bill. We’re pretty complicated creatures, aren’t we. When is denial helpful? When not? But it’s an excellent point about realization being stronger and better. Seems that’s the place from which I learn things. I am sure you can also appreciate that part of my stepping out here is because of the lyme disease. I’m okay at tackling most aspects that one with a chronic illness needs to, but the stress. Take care also.

  24. I love your honesty, Paulette. Denial is a powerful thing.
    You have a true friendship with your friend.

    • This from you means a lot to me because I know from reading your posts some of what you’ve lived through/with. For me it’s a process and I don’t ever see I’ll be without emotions, some enlightened without thoughts or suffering woman, but what is happening is I’m taking risks to come out of the closet where I stuff way too much. It’s not good to do this when trying to heal from a chronic illness. I’ve always been the provider, the helper, the strong one and there for others and it’s been a rare cold day in hell that I tend to open, let the emotions out. I’m sure there’s a whole lot more of that and I’m still skittish with what and how I say things cause after all these posts go out to cyberspace for eternity and…!!!!!! Thank you so much.

  25. Seyi sandra says:

    This post is indescribable for me in a way, my husband’s cousin had mental illness and it was so bad his parents almost separated! Thankfully, he’s okay now and married with a son, and what’s more, he’s taking his meds. You wrote this post simply from the heart! Thanks for sharing.

  26. natuurfreak says:

    As something you involved as long ,it is good that you finally lost it to friends.Thats were friend are for

    • That’s what I’m finding out. Honestly, I don’t know why it’s so hard to share the emotions. It’s still not easy but I am stretching beyond my discomfort and that’s a step in a new and what feels like a right direction for me. It’s why I have always loved nature and dogs, you can share just about anything there and it won’t hurt or judge back. πŸ™‚

  27. You have to let it out at some point otherwise your health will suffer in the long run, that’s why it is called dis-ease.

    • Danny! I’m so happy to see you here. Interesting enough, I’ve been a health care provider for (too many years to mention, lol) and objectively am aware of this but subjectively, from my real honest and scary place, it’s as if I know nothing and am just finding out. Just this morning I had the experience, feeling, like little Paulette needed to express something and out it came and with it was a little more clarity that it’s the wounded child in me having some of the emotions so why should I as an adult fault that or not let her have her say? There’s a new sense, it’s small but there for the first time, of allowing and facing, letting come and then trying to have courage to share/express. I’m trying to do that with each friend who comes here to give me support, like you here now. It feels good, and different. Thank you, friend.

  28. Denise Hisey says:

    Ah, Paulette… I’m so happy for you! πŸ˜‰
    You have a good friend to let you be real, and express such deep sorrow.
    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful triumph!

  29. JK Bevill - Lost Creek Publishing says:

    Reblogged this on lost creek publishing.

  30. 68ghia says:

    Sometimes, concealing the hurt is the only way to keep functioning.
    That being said however, anything that’s left to fester will eventually poison everything around it.
    I had my bout of crying the other day in the car – I’m glad you got the healing process started!!

    • Yes, I think what you wrote is very true, and wise. I’m starting to discern that difference. The contacting and letting it out, for me, is more the problem. Keeping things in is how I’ve operated most of my life but boy it can really sock you in. I’m glad you got it out of you the other day, hope it was a beneficial purge. Thanks for coming by and saying what you did, it’s helpful because once again it shows me how much we all do have in common which makes it safer for me to open up a little bit more.

  31. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Good on you, damned good on you for SAYING what you wanted to.

    I’m sorry you purged & cried, but I do understand it.

  32. malctg says:

    Hi Paulette. Thank you so much for liking my poem ‘ Hotel’. The Foureyed Poet.

  33. Thanks for sharing such a personal moment with us. We have all been there and wished we had had the courage to do what you did. It feels good to let it all out when you know you will be forgiven. Hurray for you.

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