my path to healing trauma


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Trauma happens to all of us, it can be something tragic that occurs when we are children, or a series of micro-traumas throughout our life. We accumulate trauma in our body and it effects our mental, emotional and physical bodies in a harmful way unless we go about healing.  As an almost 30-year-old, I have had my share of life-altering events and micro-traumas. While I began to learn about self-development early in life, it took me well into my 20’s to become aware of all the underlying trauma that was living inside me. The desperation I felt in 2016 when I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, anxiety and panic attacks was enough to make me not walk, but run towards healing.

Choosing to heal means taking full responsibility for ourselves and our lives. It means we will not be playing the victim or choosing to pity ourselves and stay miserable just because of our past experiences. It means that only we can make the choice to heal or be a victim. I feel that when we don’t heal ourselves, that we continue to attract situations, and people into our life that reflect our subconscious beliefs and fears. Below are some of the different things that proved successful for me and that I am still doing today.

Therapy is something that thankfully worked out for me with the first person I made an appointment with. My therapist was so full of compassion and just as passionate about self-development, spirituality and the power of our mind as I was. She was the one who was able to shake me into awakening with her words to the fact that I had been telling myself stories, and allowing them to subconsciously bring me down for 20 years. If it wasn’t for her, I’m not sure I would have ever told my parents about my childhood trauma- something that literally and uncontrollably flew out of my mouth the minute I left the building. She helped me to figure out that I was harboring so much guilt and shame towards myself and it was causing me to hold myself back in many ways. With each session, she was able to catapult me into the direction of healing and developing myself into a better woman. I will forever be grateful for her.

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to research the things that I am passionate about. While I was far from thrilled about my mental and emotional instability, I was still able to find within my darkness, the fire I needed to learn all I could about my depression and the symptoms and feelings that I felt. I quickly began reading through dozens of articles on holistic healing, watching videos about curing panic attacks and anxiety, put together my symptoms to be able to give a name to what I was feeling (co-dependency and de-personalization), listening to podcasts with self-development experts, doctors and spiritual teachers, and reading endless books. I was in such a dark place that I was out of work for over a month, and I was unable to be alone. Everything that was occurring was so overwhelming but the thought of not trying to heal, forever doomed, scared the shit out of me so that my number one priority was to get better.

Journaling has always been one of my stress relieving outlets since I was a child. As a teen I stopped writing and it was my depression that got me back into journaling and even what gave me the courage to start my blog. I know now that for a long time my throat chakra was blocked up. I was petrified of speaking in front of people and it was even part of the reason why I dropped out of University (the first time). When I would speak, everything that came out was filled with anger and fear, I was unable to talk without hurting those around me. Writing is what allowed me to express myself and learn to communicate in a healthy manner. When it comes to blogging, it is the tool I use to voice my truth so that I let it out of my body, and as a way to bring awareness to my readers.

Writing was also what helped me to create self-developmental “charts” for myself where I could work through all of my spiritual, emotional and mental blocks. I created tables for figuring out boundaries for myself, the fears I felt in my relationship and how to work through my emotions in a way that validated what I felt and helped me to look underneath to reveal the subconscious fears and needs that my body was trying to tell me. It was how I was able to learn to face my extremely uncomfortable emotions head-on so that I was able to feel them and find the root cause behind it. Each time I did this I felt the relief of the heaviness lift off me that had been weighing over me for so long that it felt normal.

I began meditation in 2013 when my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 &1/2 breast cancer and thyroid cancer. It was my brother who acted as a catalyst when he taught our family about the power of our thoughts. With this knowledge I went full-force into spirituality and self-development. Meditating is what I truly believe got me through those tough years at home and in a job that was unfulfilling. I meditated every chance I could, sometimes up to 4 times a day. These were also the last years of my partying phase. When I was younger, I used drinking and drugs as a coping mechanism to numb out my feelings. I can truly say I was just floating through life without a purpose or care for anything or anyone around me, including myself. Maybe it was the psychedelics or the hours dedicated to meditating and opening my chakras that has now led to my hyper-awareness. After the depression it was like a life-long curtain was lifted from my whole being- it made me think that I was possibly depressed my entire life and I was now able to see it. Regardless, it caused me to become so hyper aware of everything around me; the people I surrounded myself with, how I behaved, but most importantly, my emotions. What was so easy to numb before was the complete opposite now. It was like each fear, thought and emotion came with a big red sign, horns and flashing lights. At first this shook me to the core, it made me feel completely ungrounded and even crazy. But deep down I knew I was experiencing some type of shift inside and that as petrifying as it was to face my fears and emotions, I knew I had to do it if I wanted to survive and live a healthy and stable life. I knew that I could not live with myself if later in life I had a family and passed down all of my trauma and subconscious beliefs, knowing now that I have a choice to heal and I chose not to.

Each time I felt overwhelmed, anxious or hopeless I knew in my core that the way out was to go through it in meditation. It was extremely difficult and painful most times, but I knew It was my way to healing. Now meditation acts as a way for me to reflect on myself and is part of my grounding practice in my morning routine. Sometimes for days, even weeks, I stop meditating, but I always come back to it. I know when I do it, I am home.

Healing the inner child was something I had heard about vaguely in the numerous self-help books, podcasts and books I read. At first glance it sounded ridiculous but after the idea kept popping into my head at random times, I knew I needed to at least give it a chance. What I like to do is meditate and use visualization as a way to bring myself back to each traumatic event (yes, that means purposely reliving it again), and watching it like an outsider. Then I go to the younger version of myself in the visualization and I just hold them, love them and console them. It is what gives me the epiphany I need to connect the event with a subconscious belief or fear that I’ve been holding onto my whole life so that I can finally heal and let it go. I’ve done healing inner child meditations using guided videos the first time, but after that, I was able to do it on my own. I’ve been able to “go back in time” and heal fears around finances, relationships, family life and even my sexual trauma. As an adult we experience triggers and many times we have no clue why. Instead of running away from or avoiding the trigger, or even blaming others, what I believe is the most beneficial is to find the root of the trigger and heal it. I know I don’t want to be running for the rest of my life avoiding people or situations. While it can be very difficult to willingly revisit traumatic times, it has the most profound and life-altering effect and I highly recommend it.

Doing shadow work and healing from trauma is never an easy thing and it has no quick fix. But you will never regret having the courage to heal from the past. After I overcame my big depression, I was able to have so much gratitude for it. Now when I experience difficult times, I can recall on how strong I was to overcome my trauma so that I know in my heart that I can overcome anything.

Thank you all for reading this, please reach out if you have any questions or experiences you would like to share. I am not a medical professional so be sure to find help if you need it.

 

Love always,

Mabes

 

shadow work: healing from childhood trauma

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trigger warning: this is a true story of childhood sexual trauma. names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

Her face looked disturbing as it loomed over me, peering down, expressionless. I just lay in my crib, limp, and unable to do anything as she touched me for what seemed like eternity. I felt like a science lab rat—voiceless and unworthy of consensus.

I was about 5 when I remember my next experience, this time with my friend Marlena, playing house as husband and wife. We were naked in my bed when my older brother threw the door open. He and my other sibling taunted me about “doing it” and dangled it over my head for years, threatening to tell my parents, calling me a lesbian, and when they were mad; telling me I was going to hell.

Another time I was at my playmate Monica’s house and her mother caught her pulling down her underwear. She ran me out of their home and forbid me from playing with her ever again.

For several years I experimented with my friends; curious, confused and excited—I found myself attracted to the same gender—a direct result I’m sure, of being molested at the age of 2. I enjoyed these friendships and even the thrill of possibly getting caught. I was about 10 when I remember the first time where I found myself angry with my friend Amanda for wanting to tell her father that we kissed. I realized then how scared I was, and how uncomfortable it felt to harbor these emotions of what I didn’t know at the time was a cocktail of shame and guilt. I felt like I was doing something bad, and I was a bad person for doing it.

During this time, I became very scared of men. I had an older cousin who lived with us for some time who tried to flirt with me and be alone with me and touch me. “You know our family is a type of religion where we have to marry someone in our family.” I stood dead in my tracks, a look of being dumbfounded on my face. Another time, I remember him walking into my room and trying to look at and touch the underwear I was wearing as I was tucked in bed, unsafe against his predatory hands and lustful eyes. I was too embarrassed to tell my family, we were quick tempered and hot blooded—I didn’t want to even imagine what the men in my family would do to him. I just wanted it to all stop and go away. I became more and more ashamed of myself and my body, retreating inward where I had no say in anything and no courage to stand up for myself.

My female experimenting ended as I transitioned into middle school. Pushing it to the back of my mind, assuming it would disappear if I ignored it enough. I abandoned this part of me as I went through puberty, as if it were a rite of passage or a coming of age requirement to leave myself behind.

I was a teenager when, ironically, my family had moved to the home of my old friend Amanda. One day, after being gone for years she came back to that home to visit. I sneaked a look at her behind the blinds through the kitchen window as she caught up with my brother on the back steps. I remembered opening the back door, pretending to need to talk to him—the look on her face of disgust when she saw me left a permanent scar. I felt like a monster.

It was in that same house when I tried to come out as bisexual to my mother. I was in my late teens and had been secretly dating females. My mother looked at me like I was a demonic beast. She didn’t understand, she interrogated me with a bunch of questions; “what about your boyfriend? Is he just using you for sex?!” “you don’t know what you are talking about! You are going to hell! You learned this from your friends and the tv!” she continued to berate me through my closed door before finally retreating to her room. About an hour later I heard her voice again; “Mabelyn, let’s just pretend that this never happened. Don’t tell your brothers or anyone about this, ok!” I felt completely rejected and undeserving of her love. Worthless, like a piece of trash discarded out the car window. I couldn’t make sense of it then, but this only added to all the shame and guilt that was bubbling inside—ready to explode like a wild, untamable, violent volcano.

It was the winter of 2016 when I had my first panic attack. I was working at my new job as a preschool teacher. I was in a classroom filled with children the same age that I was when I was first molested. It hit me like a ton of bricks as I fled the room, unable to breathe.

“Have you ever experienced any trauma?” My therapist asked me as I sat in her chair choking and crying at the same time. Before I knew it, the words had already left my mouth; “I was molested by an older female child when I was two, my family doesn’t know about it.” I explained how I felt like a horrible person, I remembered the look of Amanda as I told my therapist between sobs that I ruined all of my friend’s lives. For years I tried to stay away from young children. I had convinced myself that I was infertile and did not want kids of my own. When my siblings became fathers, I avoided their babies like my life depended on it… 5 years that I can never have back. Babies made me uncomfortable, and deep down I truly believed that I was going to grow up to be a pedophile, as if I had contracted some type of disease when I was 2 and it was incurable.

“You’ve been making up stories in your head Mabelyn,” the therapist told me.  “Lot’s of children experiment,” she said, “and you weren’t forcing anyone and pinning them down, your friends were figuring things out too.” I had never looked at these situations that way, I just knew, or thought I knew, that I was sick and a menace to society. Hearing her say these words in a sense gave me the permission that I wasn’t able to give myself to finally begin to heal. Over 20 years of suppression was awakening. I remember seeing my clinical herbalist Allison, as she mentioned the idea of Saturn Returns; and how this is a point in your life between the ages of 27-29 where Saturn digs up all your shit that you have never resolved and throws it in your face,” here you go!”

I knew I was on the right path, and I could finally start to forgive myself, and move through the pain of healing within, this time choosing to relive each trauma again in order to heal and move on, transcending the suffering into lessons of love.

To be continued…

 

Love always,

Mabes