A month and a bit has passed since my last post on self-awareness. So many things have happened. I wanted to make this post specifically about healing and what has helped me in the past few weeks. For those of you going through trauma, have gone through traumatic events (childhood abuse, living with addicts, loss of a loved one etc.), or in a low point in your life, you may resonate with this post quite a bit. I want to share my experiences with everyone because you never know who’s reading it and how it might change their life, give them hope, and help them on their journey.
For the last couple of months, I have been attending therapy that focuses on trauma processing, in particular PTSD. When I first heard the term I thought to myself “No way, I do not have PTSD, yeah my dad hit us, but that was normal, I am fine now.” I was not fine. I was/still am carrying a lifetime of abuse, which transferred into anger, hate, jealousy, depression, FEAR, emotional dysregulation, feeling worthless and not good enough….the list goes on. Years ago, a friend of mine said to me “Oh yeah, you have so much anger inside” but at that time I was thinking “No I don’t, I am actually very happy, we are going dancing, everything is great!” What I wasn’t able to see was that my closest friends and family were seeing an angry woman. At that time, I was not very self aware, at all. I was full of anger deep down in my core, that anger (I learned through therapy, and a very intelligent close friend/unpaid therapist), was a cover for fear. Fast forward to 2020, I meet a man, he is nice, we get together, we get serious, I start getting triggered, having anxiety, panic attacks and massive breakdowns where I mentally leave my body and become a child during small arguments. I start making small arguments HUGE arguments and one day, he says that he thinks I have PTSD. I tell him I don’t but the reality is, I do. When reality hits you in the face, you only have one choice…you put your big girl panties on and you get help. That was the only choice I saw and I have never looked back.
I want to say that, everyone’s journey is different and it starts and ends differently, no two people’s journeys are the same. I had no idea that my journey to healing will probably take a lifetime, it’s already been 3 years. I often tell my partner that I am 68% healed or 89% healed, then when I have a bad day I say “I think I am at 45% today,” and then we laugh. The truth is, I am nowhere near done my healing, in fact, I am just getting started. Let me tell you how amazing it has been so far and it’s only the beginning. I will also tell you how difficult, painful, and shitty it has been.
I found an incredible therapist that focuses on “Trauma Processing,” and within a month, I have processed the worst childhood memories, which has completely changed my life. I had no idea what I was getting into, I just knew that it wouldn’t be easy. I began with creating a timeline of memories from childhood to now. My timeline was 2 pages long and I must have had at least 50 memories that I can recall. I then circled what I thought were the worst ones. We decided to begin processing these first. My therapist says if we process the worst ones first, most of the rest of the memories kind of fade and seem insignificant. The next step was art therapy…I hope she likes my stick figures 🙂 We incorporate art therapy, tapping, and talk. I’ve learned that through drawing an event that has occurred, you open up the right part of your brain, which is where all of your trauma is stored. A typical session looks like this:
1) Draw a picture of the memory we are going to process
2) Close your eyes, feet grounded on the floor, go back into the memory, listen to her questions and answer them
3) As you are answering questions, she will tell you when to start tapping (Right hand taps left upper arm, left hand taps right upper arm, alternating, not at the same time)
4) You start to cry and your heart races, you feel like absolute garbage for a few seconds, you are back at that moment and it feels so real
5) You go back into the memory again and she guides you into doing what you wanted to do in that moment years ago, you visualize it, say it, and then you start LAUGHING for no reason (Some people cry, some yell etc)
6) The memory no longer has any emotion/feeling when you go back to it a third time, it’s like you are a visitor watching and it’s just a scene with no emotion
7) You seal off the memory with a statement “At that time I felt….” “Now I know that….”
That’s it. That is how I process each horrible scenario that I remember from childhood. This sounds silly I know, but it has significantly changed my moods, my outbursts, my thought process, my heart. I felt this heavy, burden-like feeling in my heart for years and now its slowly going away. When I think of my father, I feel compassion for him (and that is HUGE for me, because for the last 20 years I’ve purely hated him). I understand that he is hurting and lacking self-awareness and most likely, he will never ever get to the point of enlightenment (my free therapist friend used this word the other day). When you feel enlightened, you are awake, you see reality and realize that you have work to do, you begin to understand the world and you have a desire to change and be better. I do not see that happening to my father. All I can do is pray for him, wish him health and happiness, and hope that one day (hopefully before he is dead) a spark flickers inside him and he awakens to reality. I also understand that I can forgive and still have nothing to do with him because I am on a different spiritual and enlightened level. He really wouldn’t be able to understand me at all and I wouldn’t allow anyone to interfere with the energy I am working hard to protect. So, I can just send him positive vibes energetically and wish him peace and love.
This week I processed my son’s father leaving us. I can’t believe I held onto so much pain for the past 11 years. I wish I knew then what I know now, but then I wouldn’t be growing. It was difficult to process this particular memory because I didn’t even know I had stored so much anger inside because of it. I was too busy raising a baby alone to even cry. Of course I was angry, hurt, betrayed. I mean what kind of individual leads a double life and has his family helping him in the process, leaves his baby and then pretends we never had a life together? I will save this story for next time, all I know is, my inner being is changing and every time I process a memory, a part of me becomes free. I am so happy and blessed to be able to experience this feeling of peace.
Healing is a long process, I believe it is a life-long process. Just because I processed a few memories does not mean that I am healed. It just means that I am opening up and allowing my true self to come back, the fun, loving, compassionate, real self that lives her truth. The self that was hidden and scared, living in fight or flight mode, unable to love herself is slowly disappearing and I am glad. It has been so exhausting being strong for so long, handling everything on my own, feeling like shit, controlling, overprotective… I don’t want to live like that anymore. Healing is causing me to give zero fucks about people’s shitty actions and behaviours. I am more outspoken now than I’ve ever been. I will tell anyone to their face what I think about them, I will point out their inappropriate behaviours and wrong doing, I will acknowledge my own and make sure I change because I want to be better, not because I want to please anyone else. Healing is so beautiful, it is teaching me to embrace my flaws and others’ as well, to be less judgmental (this one is very hard for me, I am working on it), more accepting of the way people are, more understanding of why people do what they do, more present with MYSELF and my family, more in-tune with my emotions and feelings (watching them and accepting them as they are, acknowledging that they will pass through and won’t last forever). Oh, the benefits of healing are endless.
The road to healing has been disastrous and difficult, painful. I of course still have moments where I am not ok, I still have to constantly talk to myself and get myself out of negative thinking and feelings of inadequacy. God didn’t make us weak, He gave us everything we need to grow, to be better, to do better. I believe we all have the ability to be better, for ourselves and those around us. All we need is that spark, that one person sharing something that might change our lives, that one podcast that speaks to you, that one random suggestion to try this therapist. The world is full of energy, an incredible source of healing, if we want it to be. I hope I am able to give at least one person some hope of a better life. A better life to me today looks much different than 5 years ago. I used to want a better looking car, a bigger house, fancy clothes, more success, and thought that it would make me happier. I was living in a fantasy world. Those things were only surface level living. True happiness is when you let go of your pain that’s deep inside your soul and you find compassion, peace, kindness, love and acceptance. True happiness is not outside but inside. The other night we went out and ended up in this dive of a bar with fancy green wallpaper (it was velvet but I was not about to touch it), I looked in the mirror at the bar and for the first time in a very long time, I thought “wow Desi, look at how beautiful you are” and my whole soul lit up in that moment. I didn’t need anyone to tell me how beautiful I am because I already know it inside. True happiness is loving yourself enough to know that you are a badass, you have more to offer than any of the unaware individuals you dated in your past, and knowing that all you really need is yourself.
My wish for you is for something or someone to light a match inside you and move you into healing so that you too can truly find your happiness within yourselves, and live your truth in peace.
Lots of love,
For those of you interested in therapy, Taylor Thompson is amazing. https://www.abmacounselling.com/meet-our-team