I started this blog in 2020, immediately following my “Big Reveal”, my first of many flashbacks related to my childhood abuse. Here I am in 2023 in a much stronger position mentally, emotionally, and financially. But I still get knocked on my ass from time to time. The past two days I have been triggered and I have been saying things that are intrusive thoughts of self-harm. I did not act on on any of the self-harm intrusive thoughts, but they are rough and they can take me out.
Maybe you are unfamiliar with the term intrusive thoughts. Theocdandanxietycenter.com gives us a great description: “Intrusive thoughts are unwanted thoughts, images, impulses, or urges that can occur spontaneously or that can be cued by internal/external stimuli.”
This is still progress because a few months ago it may have taken me a whole week to become calm internally again, whereas this time it was “only” two days of complete rage and mental chaos.
This is why I love the phrase “healing is not linear.” There are ups and downs. There are big triggers and smaller triggers. We can get knocked down again and again. And we learn to pick ourselves up again and again. There is a Buddhist saying, “fall down six times, stand up seven times,” and that is more true than the intrusive thoughts, the pain of the past, the rage of injustice. What was done to me was immoral and criminal, and the rage and pain I feel when triggered (when something touches on an old wound) can feel overwhelming. But what is just as real and equally as powerful as the pain is how I have chosen to face my demons in therapy and look in the mirror at my negative behaviors and thought patterns.
Where do you hide your pain? Do you lash out at your partner? Do you isolate and hide? Do you binge eat only to regret it later? I hid my pain in each and every one of those. Then in 2020 the true source of my pain was exposed through flashbacks of my childhood abuse.
Healing is not linear, and neither is success. Life has cycles, ups and downs – plummeting drops and soaring highs. So if you aren’t feeling life today know that you aren’t alone. I am here. I see you. I feel the same pain and fight/embrace the same hope as you.
Please don’t give in to your intrusive thoughts today. Please reach for hope one more time. Please choose to follow the brief glimmer of light, and leave behind your darkness one day, one powerful self-love filled thought at a time. If we can accept that there will be downs, we can prepare for them, at least a little bit. And we can offer ourselves the room we need to feel all of our feelings. It’s not easy, nor is it pleasant when those effing lows come along. But it’s part of recovery, it’s part of life, it’s part of healing.