It’s been 2.5 weeks since my world flipped. A week ago I thought I was moving comfortably into the realm of acceptance as I faced all of the emotions that came with the suddenly change and how it happened.
That’s the tricky thing about bargaining. Not to say that I wasn’t dipping my toes into acceptance, but now that the shock is wearing off I see my emotions are not as “processed” as I thought.
The last few days have been hard, and I am exhausted.
Sleep Patterns from Childhood
Over the last week there have been two instances where my sleep was extremely interrupted. It’s hard to explain what I experience but I am going to try.
It’s like my night was covered with a blanket of fear and fitfulness. I’d thrash violently in my sleep, and drift in and out of conscious awareness. I’d dream, but as I began to wake, any memory of the dream disappeared and instead I’m left with a pensive fear and just the taste of the dream. As quickly as it happens I fall back to sleep, only to repeat this pattern through the night to the point I felt as though I got no sleep and spent the entire night afraid.
I used to go through this as a child during the years of my abuse.
Managing Emotions Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t Still Uncomfortable
I’ve said it before in conversation, I even made a meme – managing triggers doesn’t make the experience any less traumatic. Employing coping skills and self-care techniques doesn’t make the pain any less uncomfortable.
All that does is aid in the journey through the mess. I keep forgetting this part.
Feelings of betrayal, of being ostracized and dismissed for standing up for myself are still bubbling like acid in the pit of my stomach. I still want moral justice for how I was treated. I still replay the scenario in my head and think of all the things I wish I had said, and still want to say.
I feel everything right now: betrayed, defeated, hurt, sad, angry, powerless, and afraid.
Holding Space for All Emotions
I feel genuinely happy too. More relaxed and less stressed in ways that really matter to my mental health.
I think a challenging part of trauma healing is not just feeling all emotions without judgement or explanation, but also allowing them to coexist together and to present simultaneously.
I can feel happy and still recognize my sadness
I can feel both loss and hope together.
I can feel scared and still be excited for the future.
I can feel stressed out and uncertain while still being completely committed to this new path I am being throw at and choosing to follow.
I can also feel the hurt and betrayal of my former coworkers, holding them accountable to their actions while still feeling grateful for the outcome they forced on me. And that gratitude doesn’t take away from, or absolve anything they did or made me feel.
That’s been a tough awareness to realize, but I am learning to make space and not get caught up in a mental tug-of-war with myself over feelings that conflict with each other.
As I sit here with occasional shots of adrenaline pumping through my system from anxiety, as my mind goes back and forth between anger and acceptance – it is really sinking in what it means to feel and manage all these emotions.
It takes work.
Recognizing that I can get so caught up in the emotional weeds of a situation that for all intents and purposes I am actually okay with is a glaring reminder of just how deep my trauma wounds and response really go.
Nonetheless – I will persevere.
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