When I first began this blog I wrote about facing my childhood and how this whole journey began. When I look back, after just over a year – I am amazed at how coherent and focused this first post sounds. Especially when I contrast it against the backdrop of the last year, and how I feel now. It is almost surprising to read such a held together thought process, with such a clear understanding of the tasks at hand.
Was it …
I also wrote about 12 months in therapy when I hit that milestone. Now as I near the 2-year mark, I swear the deeper into therapy I delve, the more difficult it gets – or maybe that’s just how it feels right now.
I think I need to journal more.
My ability to recall is terrible; maybe that is why this first post feels so foreign.
In that first post, I wrote about how I had difficulty handling emotionally charged situations. Here I am a year later still having difficulty managing highly charged emotional situations; and while I am becoming more aware of how the layers of trauma are causing me to revert to a trauma-driven mental state – I still Repeat Behavior, as you can read about here.
In that first post, I talk about needing to accept who I am, where I come from, and what I’ve been through. I’ve spent the last 6-8 months talking about all of this stuff with friends and family, with myself in my head, like I am an expert on acceptance. Then it all came crashing down on me over the last month; I absolutely haven’t accepted anything yet.
Trauma recovery is an unbelievable challenge.
PTSD while reversible for some, I believe can also become similar to a chronic illness for others.
The time and commitment needed to heal is likely shocking for many; I know it has been shocking for me – which is why I wager so many of us fall to avoidance and disconnect.
But, I wouldn’t change anything.
And I have no plans for quitting therapy.
I have found an amazing therapist (very important!) who has created a safe and supportive environment for me; she provides the perfect balance of resource and knowledge with empathy, compassion, and experience in helping trauma survivors. Recently, I wrote about how I got 7 Points back in my life.
With her, I do a lot of talk therapy mixed with EMDR.
EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing has been life-saving for me. It is founded on the premise that trauma gets clogged in the limbic system of the brain and is not processed properly through REM sleep due to trauma victims disturbed sleep patterns as a result of hyper-vigilance. EMDR focuses the mind on an idea or image that evokes strong emotion or negative thoughts and then recreates a waking REM sleep through bilateral stimulation (either hand-held vibrating paddles or your therapist’s hand). A series of EMDR eye movements will take place for one individual feeling or thought to help move it through the brain, followed by a reprocessing of positive thoughts and emotions.
It was founded by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D in 1987; you can learn more about it here in her book EMDR: The Breakthrough Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Trauma.
Finally, as I look back, I realize how important this community was to me then, has been since then, and will continue to be going forward. I wrote about why connecting with survivors is so important and I still believe it. Connecting with others who understand the chaos I feel, who find comfort in my words, and give purpose to the pain I carry – it eases the burden of isolation even if we are only talking in the comments on a post.
It’s pretty amazing the ups and downs of recovery, how different the days, weeks, and months can feel. How life can come in and out of focus, and how new awareness makes that ever more uncomfortable and foreign feeling.
I am amazed at all that I have learned, yet how much I still struggle.
Final thought is a shameless plug for a friend:
At the end of my post, I hashtag #RecoveryInRealTime. I got that tag from a book that helped me make sense of the craziness in those early days; it is a compilation of easily digestible hashtags that explain the big emotions we feel when things start to unlock. My book is worn, written in, and loved. Get your own copy of Recovery in Real Time: A Trauma Survivor’s Anti-Workbook here.
Hope you enjoyed the walk down memory lane with me.
Trauma recovery is a whole lot of reflection.
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Love & Support 💜💚