Day 4: Then & Now

I have decided to join a 30 day writing challenge. Writing is so cathartic, so healing, and such a big piece of my healing tool-kit that a writing challenge makes sense – so here we go!


Can you believe it – four days in a row, I’m on a roll. I have no expectation of whether I will write each day or not and so far that is working – but who knows what the weeks to come will bring. Anyway, stick around for the next 30 days, who knows what I will be writing about!

Day 4: Then & Now

This prompt suggests I pick a time frame to write about where I once was and where I am now. The suggested tips say specifically to stay within the time frame because let’s be real – a prompt like this is so vast when it comes to healing, personal growth, and discovery of self.

I always see the saying, you will wish a year from now that you had started today, so I am going to try to take a look at the whole of my last 12 months.

But …

Do I want to compare/contrast my healing? Or perhaps my marriage? Maybe my new path in life and the decision to begin my own business?

Geez, so many things have changed since last year.

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Out With the Old, In With the New … Job 

By July of last year I had lost my job as a result of COVID and I began using DoorDash as a means of income as I refocused [yet again] on my website and whether or not I could make a living of sharing my story.

I committed to myself last year that I would dedicate as much time and work to myself and my dreams as I had the previous 20 years of my life to other people’s companies.

As the months pushed on, I went from writing a blog a day – to daily content creation on IG, sharing my story LIVE, and then conceiving my own LIVE series. It was insane to watch the organic and rapid growth of my audience as it grew from a few hundred to over 47K and it continue s to grow quickly.

Over the course of the last year I have been slowly turning my healing and my skills into a job of service that I love. I have naturally evolved into a Peer Advocate and Online Content Creator sharing my story of Complex PTSD.

I have gone from wondering if I can make a living – to offering Surviving Childhood Trauma merchandise, Peer Support Groups, Monthly Subscriptions, and LIVE shows. I am doing interviews with others on their sites, and conducting my own on my channel.

The then vs. now of my work and achieving my professional goals has been amazing!

My Healing Has Definitely Leveled up

Over the last year I have made connections with other trauma survivors that I didn’t realize were possible. I have friends to turn to and lean on that understand my trauma and accept me as I am. 

The time I have been able to take for myself and my family due to the pandemic has been miraculous in many ways. Without the stress of being over worked, I have been able to focus on the roots of my trauma and build an amazing foundation for self-healing which has opened the door for me to help others.

Through connection and stories, I am learning how trauma affects me and others, I am letting go of shame and embarrassment, and I am developing a compassionate understanding for how my mind and body has stored the abuse and trauma that I experienced.

I am healing the relational wounds from my childhood of abuse in new and safe relationships.

Over the last year I have made significant progress with:

  • Boundaries
  • Self-Care
  • Self-Love
  • Identifying, sitting with, and processing emotions
  • Identifying and managing triggers/trauma responses
  • Communicating my wants and needs
  • Taking time to rest
  • Not feeling selfish for putting myself first
  • Showing up authentically without shame or guilt
  • Accepting what I have been through, how it has affected me, and how it will affect me as I live my life.

That list doesn’t mean I have mastered it – but wow – have I made some serious progress!!

***

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The Reconnection in my Marriage

My relationship and young marriage took a massive hit a few years ago when my childhood trauma showed up like it did. It affected me negatively in so many ways in those early months that naturally it overflowed and affected my husband. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, he became collateral damage.

It changed the landscape of our partnership, challenged our ability to communicate, and pushed the balance of give and take for quite awhile in the early months/years but we have stumbled through with stubbornness and tenacity, together, never giving up.

In the same way that the new world in a time of pandemic gave me space personally to refocus and direct my healing – it also gave me and my hubby space to really see each other again.

As we both explored dreams that we didn’t even know we had, doors that had been closed in our relationship began to open again.

For so long we mourned the relationship we had before my trauma unlocked and feared we would never find that closeness again – but wow were we wrong. 

We are finding each other again, in new ways, as new people because we are both committed to our own journeys of personal growth and discovery.

Over the last year, my marriage has become one of the safest places I have in my life; a place where I can explore who I am emotionally, physically, sexually, intellectually, and playfully with someone who wants to see my happy and growing.

If that isn’t a gold medal Then vs. Now I don’t know what is!

Don’t Give Up Hope

If I am honest, I didn’t need this prompt to see my progress – this is a skill that I have been working diligently at in therapy for years. I am a pro as negative self-talk so this has helped me learned to let go of self-judgement and criticism when I am not healing as fast as I want, or when I don’t catch a trigger.

I reflect on my progress every time I cycle through an episode of dissociation or freeze mode. Every time I feel like a real-life situation has set me back, every time a new memory surfaces – I always reflect on my progress.

A little becomes a lot – there is no avoiding it. 

If things are tough right now, if you are journeying uphill – remember, eventually that hill will crest and you will be heading downhill again.

Nothing hard is ever easy to do and healing is not easy.

Keep going brave warrior and don’t forget to look at how far you have come and celebrate!

On goes the journey

**

To learn more about this writing challenge visit Rachel Havekost on Instagram and there is a link in her bio to the Writing to Heal: 30-day Writing Challenge

Read Day 3


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