I’ve been having this dread.
I know other trauma memories want to come out. And I know fighting them VS welcoming them will give me two different results.
These new trauma memories have me wanting to curl up in the dirty laundry and cry and flee mentally (check out.)
Ok fine, I am curled up in the dirty laundry crying. But I switched what comes next. I didn’t checkout.
“If I checkout and hide, maybe I won’t get hurt.” That was the 6 year old me. Now 41 year old me is in a safe home with safe relationships. I don’t need to find safety in self-retreat today. I. Am. I might not feel safe, so it takes a ton of energy to convince myself it’s okay to enjoy life today, to constantly choose to stay engaged in the present, to feel worthy of a good day. If you find yourself exhausted, I invite you to sit with me. Relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw, and breathe.
I am showing you behind the laundry room door, because I don’t want to heal alone. I absolutely need all of you to come with me.
I need the other rape victims and incest survivors, and gaslight survivors and IPV survivors, and narcissistic mental abuse survivors and self-abuse survivors to come with me. I don’t want you to miss out.
Despite sobbing in a pile of dirty linens – I’m not wearing a blanket of depression and hopelessness. I may be curled up in a ball on my laundry floor behind a closed door, but I’m also asking myself to look at “Why do you feel this way, Jamie? What feeling is this really, and where did it come from?”
Then I replay the morning backwards in my head to try to see where I was triggered. I ask myself for each possibility, “Is that really it, or was that part of a reaction to something else?” Asking myself OK what feeling is this? When did those feelings start? What’s happened so far today? Was that what triggered this? No, I think it was before…and before that…” It’s a hard thing to be able to ask those questions right now, but I’m learning to use my coping tools even when sobbing in the dirty laundry. Also, not beating myself up, not letting shame shut me down, is huge progress.
My go-TOS blames in the past: being a SAHM means I’m just a robot doing things for other people; everything is all about the kids, I’m last on the list; resentment at being used. Now I ask “Who is using me? Why do I feel used?” And so on until I get to my true heart. And today my true heart is that these new memories are hard and sad and disgusting and horrifying and “how could anyone do that to a kid?” My real resentment today is linked to my new memories that started coming to the surface yesterday. My current reality is no one is using me today. It’s left over from my trauma, and I can choose to move on mentally now. I play positive affirmations while I sleep, like “I am safe. I am loved. I deserve love.” That’s been a gamechanger.
These “new” memories don’t want to stick around any more than I want them here. My heart wants to expand and everything I share about self-love is actually true. I have to untether my soul/mind/body/heart from these trauma memories, like letting them float away free like a bubble.
When I know there is big trauma recovery work to do, I try to prepare myself while “waiting.” Man, it feels like the work is all done in the waiting. So how do I wait and how do I cope when I know a freight train is coming? At least now I can see it will be on the way. Do I freeze and hide? (It hasn’t been a very fulfilling option so far.) Wait, that’s been my only choice for so long – let me think about my new options. I am a powerful survivor and I’m strong and I survived (sure with some cPTSD, anxiety and depression running the show, previously ) and I am thankful to my self for driving me this far on “E.” I deserve kindness from myself. I tried my best to protect myself. My reactions to my situations were the best I could do at the time. I am still here. And now I am learning what thriving can be like. Now I’m learning to appropriately engage in and react to the actual present that is happening right now. I have my life tools out and in full swing: journaling, pausing, breathing, positive affirmation guided meditations. Some people use prayer, nature walks, positive physical releases (boxing, weight lifting, running…)
I’m walking in three different worlds at the same time in my mind these days: the horrible crushing past that almost took me out with suicide twice; the present – where I have real power and real choice; and the future, which I now realize I can shape and form!
While I might not want to show you the woman behind the door sobbing on the floor in the dirty laundry, I want you to know that even when that’s my situation, I still have my coping skills. Asking myself “OK what feeling is this? When did it start? What’s happened so far today? Was that what triggered this? No, I think it was before that…and before that…” Being able to take the steering wheel of my mind while depression was trying to do the job I had assigned it, that’s winning!! I drove my mind back to a place of calm. That’s huge progress worth celebrating! Instead of lying on the floor passively letting depression and anxiety take over, I used my brain to think why is this happening? And I used my bravery and my inner strength to find what my need really was.
So while I might not want to show you the woman behind the door on the laundry room floor, I do want you to know that my new coping skills still work, even there. Instead of lying on the floor leading to depression and anxiety taking over, I used my brain to think why is this happening? And I used my my bravery and my inner-strength to square off with my demons. I found my one-two punch that knocked me out, but I got back up this time before the count began. I’m in the driver’s seat and I’m a powerful force. I created a lot of my self-hate, fear, anxiety, depression myself. That means I am a very powerful creator! I got TKO’d by my own caregiver by age 6. And I was kept down and abused for years. You want to hear something crazy? When the abuse stopped, I felt abandoned and unloved. Because I was told that the abuse was me being shown love. Why would I want to let anyone love me if that’s love? If you have a friend who is never happy with herself, always complaining, Debbie Downer – thank you for loving her even though she can’t love herself. If your wife or loved one or husband can’t love their self yet, keep loving them anyway. I f you feel unloved in the present, maybe you can use some of my bravery while you work on creating your own. Because you are no more worthless than I am.
Until next time,