Wilderness trip

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Macfeegle
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Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:11 am

Wilderness trip

Post by Macfeegle » Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:49 am

Well, unfortunately, my 40 day plan for a paddling trip was cut short.

I ended my trip early. It was only two weeks in total up just in the forests and lakes just south of the tundra. I had a pretty major bear encounter (I'm unhurt). It was quite an experience! A week into it, I was woken up, and I faced a bear trying to get to me for about 30 minutes, never more than 8-10 feet away, circling me and turning in toward me. I stood up to him, yelling and banging my axe on a sheet of tin, standing in my underwear. When he moved in toward me, I'd stomp toward him and yell more, and he'd go back to circling. That was about ten days ago, and I'm still hoarse. I was in the middle of nowhere, it was misty, dewy, still, and in the predawn in a deep valley, my banging and yelling echoing off the cliffs.

He finally pretty clearly had enough of my shenanigans and just came straight at me, so I used my can of bear spray. After half a can, he shook his head and stepped toward me again, so I emptied the can. He slowly walked away, repeatedly turning back like he was going to get me and my stuff again (he had already taken half my food). It took a week to get back to people.

I think there is something I can realize out of it all if I can keep the thread. The whole thing felt vivid, grim, lonesome, iconic, primordial -- a very "human" experience. I dunno. I just felt so much: "I AM MYSELF", "I AM COMPETENT". "I AM STRONG". "I AM NOT GARBAGE". I asked myself while it was happening if I was afraid, and I realized I wasn't, at all. I thought about charging him and going on the attack with my axe, but thought it better to not escalate it, but I was comfortable with doing so if it seemed reasonable.

I do quite a bit of my therapy with a "parts" perspective, either Internal Family Systems or Structural Dissociation, and it really felt like the sort of MAN or FATHER part of me stepped up and all the hurt little boys in me just quieted themselves so they wouldn't distract me, trusting the MAN me to protect them.

I'm pretty proud of myself with it all.

Then the morning I got back a couple of days ago, I was walking back from meeting a friend for coffee, and was walking by an extremely beautiful young woman. Just angelic looking... I described her to my therapist as a woman over whom wars would be started. I froze up. Terror. Red faced. Hyperventilating. Dazed and dissociated as I approached where she was standing (my therapist pointed out one time how women I find sexually attractive are a major trigger for me, saying they are to me the same as the cliche of a car backfiring to a Vietnam veteran.)

I realized how logically ridiculous it was, fearless, competent, present, while utterly alone in the middle of nowhere with a bear who could have leapt on me in a second, and yet some random 18-year old GIRL, basically, completely terrified and devastated me. With the realization, I sort of imagined the bear there as well, which calmed me right down.

Somehow, I have to find a way to keep connecting with that part of me, not intellectually, but emotionally, so I can rely on that mental state to help me from being overwhelmed. It seems so easy to just lose that actual awareness, and have it just become some sterile memory that I can't connect with as ME.

Anyhow, the whole thing was pretty cathartic. I realized something else coming back I've never actually cued into, but has always been there when I've returned from other trips as well. The hostility I faced from my Mom, and lessser extent, sisters and Dad, and lesser still, picked on in school, and now again since my Dad's death, from the "whole world" - the legal system, really. I didn't feel it as universally when I came back. I just normally live in such a state of expectation of attack and hostility, I think I limit what I do, limit how much I stand up for myself, and am in a constant state of worry and fear, limit and m paralyzed by those expectations from what other's secretly think and want to do if given a chance. It jst feels, or now at least, hat most people are going to be basically decent, reasonable, and kind. I somehow have to weather the hell I'm going through regarding the fallout from my Dad's death, and maybe I can finally find some sense of safety, comfort and love, and not feel attack is inevitable at any moment.

Macfeegle

Fleur
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:23 am

Re: Wilderness trip

Post by Fleur » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:43 am

Welcome back, Macfeegle

Amazing bear encounter

Thank you for sharing

Very sensible to return when bear had taken so much of your food

Perhaps another time, you'll get farther into tundra

Really happy for you to have experienced all your changes, inward and exterior

What did the authorising agent say about your unexpected curtailment of plans?

May the bear remain with you my friend
Onward to a safe community for all people in which to thrive ~ gentle hugs [if okay] ~ Fleur

GrowingTree
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Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:05 pm

Re: Wilderness trip

Post by GrowingTree » Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:26 am

sounds like an amazing experience. i understand what you mean about the bear encounter giving you the calm in other situations where you feel afraid.
what type of bear was it?
GrowingTree

Macfeegle
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Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:11 am

Re: Wilderness trip

Post by Macfeegle » Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:49 pm

Black bear. Healthy adult male. When he stood up at one point he was about a head taller than me. I'm guessing 300 pounds.

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