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A Messy, Long Process


Healing from trauma, no matter how recent or long ago it happened can be a messy, long process. Often you may think you are better and things in life are going swimmingly, then one day you face the worst day ever in a long time. You are overcome with anxiety, fear and just want to disappear. I've been told healing will come in waves, some days will be smooth and good, while others will be turbulent and choppy with no end in sight. And now I understand. And while you read through my current blog, please read and understand this:

SOMEONE YOU KNOW/LOVE JUST TOLD YOU ABOUT THE WORST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED IN THEIR LIFE. PLEASE ACT/BEHAVE/REACT ACCORDINGLY.

I know that there can be many doubts and misunderstandings with anything in life and especially when you talk about sensitive subjects like trauma and assault and other sensitive content, whether it be as a child or an adult. There are a few conclusions that I have realized going through my own healing and processing.

- There is no ONE WAY or RIGHT WAY to heal. Everyone has their own way of dealing with trauma and what one person may do is not what another will find effective or work well. Being judgmental about how someone is trying to work through their own demons and struggles will not help anyone. Even if you think that they are not behaving/acting appropriately with their grief, it's their path, not yours. If you worry about how they are handling things, offer to listen.

- There will be anger. From many people. From the victim, from the people who know the victim and/or the accused. From individuals who are on the outside looking in, from those who don't even know all the facts. And it's ok to be angry, it's just not ok to lash out and try to hurt others in the process of managing your anger.

- When an abused individual is faced with resistance, they retreat. Almost ALWAYS. Their entire existence in the dysfunctional situation was either Fight, Flight or Freeze response and more often than not, the Flight option is better than standing your ground and facing what is worst. But sometimes, with the proper support, these individuals will stop, will stand tall and will fight back and tell their story. And stop the cycle.

Currently I see 3 different therapist. All who have told me to move forward in heal in my own way, my own time. Which is very supportive for me. Healing from trauma can be a confusing path, filled with anxiety, fear, anger, shame and many, many other emotions that I've had along the way. Each of these wonderful people are specialized in a different area and help be my sounding board and give me the tools I need to get through the next day, the next week, the next month.

One of my therapist has insisted that I do not blog after dinnertime. When I seemed confused, she explained to me that typically I blog about my struggles, my hurdles in life and I should not be going to bed with these negative thoughts in my head. I can blog in the morning, during the day, but not in the evening. The evening is for only positive thoughts. And she gave me a journal which I am to write down every evening before bed all of the positive things that have happened in my day or just wonderful things I enjoyed that day. No more negativity before bed. So that's what I've been doing. And surprisingly, I fill a page every night of all the things of that day that were wonderful, or positive for me.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Partly to try and understand, partly to help myself heal. And many other things I've noticed while exploring online that may seem like common sense to many people, do not seem valid to others. Questions like: If a person told you they were robbed would you believe them? If you would, then why won't you believe them about assault? False reports about sexual assault and abuse are very rare. Mainly because most instances go unreported due to the victim either being shamed, threatened or guilted into not reporting.

What do you need to do? What do individuals like myself need? LOVE & ACCEPTANCE. Essentially, we just need to be heard, to be loved and not shamed, guilted or felt like we cannot tell our story. Some people do not want to talk about it, while others do. And you need to respect what each individual needs during their healing process. We do not want to stay hidden away from everyone and everything that may upset us. We want to move past the trauma and learn how to have a happy, healthy life.

While trauma and negative instances should not define us as a person, they should help us grow and learn as an adult. I'm using the knowledge and tools I have now to be able to heal and tame my anxiety and fear, have open conversations with my children as they grow and build strong, meaningful relationships with family and friends who want to be included in my circle. THAT is what is important. Not everyone will see things the same way I do, and that's fine. That is their choice, but I will live my life who I see fit and I will try my hardest to not hurt others with my words or actions in the process. I will show love and acceptance for people, no matter what our differences are. I will be understanding and tolerant for those who struggle and are seeking help. And I will listen. I will be here to really listen to them and their story. For as long as they need.

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