Often times in my weekly sessions, I talk about how these feelings of poor self esteem, anxiety, flashbacks, worry, being a victim, feeling damaged, seem to never go away. Will they ever subside, will I ever fully heal? How will I know when I’m healed? Do I even have a right to heal? This whole process seems daunting.
If there is one thing that she tries to drive home every every time I say these things, it’s that once you start confronting your past trauma, and truly face it, it will get worse before it gets better. You’ll have bad days, and worse days, and days you can’t think of anything but those events that turned your world upside down no matter how long ago it was. You might not be able to look yourself in the mirror without seeing yourself in the way that I referenced.
However she will also always follow that up with, it will get better. It will! It may not seem like it, it may seem hopeless. It may seem like the pain, the frustration, the stress, the flashbacks, the anxiety won’t ever go away, but it does. In time, the more you get vocal and talk about it and work through your feelings and thoughts, it gets better in time. The more you realize you are not alone, that there countless others who have gone through similar circumstances as you and have not only survived, but thrive; you can get there too!
She also tells me that those same people said the same things that I do and had the same doubts that I do, when they were in the middle of healing like I am.
This healing thing is frustrating at times, often times. The crisis stage seems to be ongoing, and that’s pretty much all I can see in front of me now. I can’t see what she says will happen, that I will be able to look back and realize that what happened was indeed terrible, and horrific, but that I made it through and survived and I can feel….gasp…empowered???!!!!
If you could only see the sarcastic look of complete disbelief on my face every time she tells me this stuff, you’d probably realize it’s a similar look that you give your therapist or give someone else that gives you advice.
Let’s assume for the sake of conversation that in time, some undetermined amount of time, that I do start to see light at the end of the tunnel. How in the world do you focus on that? How do you actually believe what your therapist tells you, what you see on social media from other survivors? How do you get past yourself, get over yourself?
Man that sounds harsh, even writing it in relation to my own feelings…getting over yourself. Perhaps that’s not the proper terminology to use, but when the past is at the forefront of your daily life, thinking that I can heal seems pretty far fetched. I guess that’s where trust comes in, and knowing they have your best interests at heart and they aren’t letting you go through this alone.
I’m not yet to the point of being able to reach out to other support resources, like close friends, or a support group. Not even close, but hopefully that will come. I realize everyone says it’s important to have a support system, I just need to get there and find mine and most importantly, be comfortable with it.
I don’t mean to sound like a “debbie downer” but this is the reality of where I am in dealing with past sexual abuse, at 40 something. Perhaps you’re in this stage too, or have been before?
I should make it clear again though, I didn’t have these intense feelings my whole life. I suppressed them for decades, until last year.
How did I manage to suppress them? Well that’s where the brain, in it’s infinite wisdom, realized I was not yet ready to handle these emotions so it basically kept them bottled up, tucked away in a corner. Then last year it decided that, “Hey, remember this stuff? Well it’s been affecting your whole life and you didn’t realize it, so now it’s time…lets fix this!”
So that brings me to present day and my struggle of Trying to Heal and not let this beat me. No matter what, I have to keep trying, keep fighting, and not let myself go back to suppressing like I did before. Easier said than done, but nothing worth fighting for, is easy.