When I got home from a recent session, I was immediately compelled to start writing about what we discussed during that 60 minutes. I brought up the feeling that I have of teetering on the edge of being sucked into my emotions vs trying to live like a survivor. It’s literally being pulled in two different directions at the same time.
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the emotions of our past abuse and allow ourselves to be drawn into the black hole of depression, rather than trying to feel empowered and live life to the fullest. For what it’s worth, I hear that at some point in recovery from abuse, you actually do get a feeling of empowerment, but for me that seems like a long way off yet. So in the mean time, I’m more than content to allow myself to feel miserable more often than not. Maybe content isn’t the right word, but then again maybe it is. Content, comfortable, I suppose it’s all the same. Yes I ramble, and over-think even when I’m writing.
Anyways, to clarify, I mentioned “easy” not in the sense that dealing with any type of past abuse is simple. On the contrary, it is unbelievably difficult, hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life to date. Rather, “easy” in the sense that, it becomes so familiar to us that we just gravitate to that comfortable feeling of despair. That’s the raw truth, for me at least. Feeling discouraged, sad, damaged, insert your feeling here, is just easier to deal with. It doesn’t matter if it’s healthy or not, it’s just there and as comforting an old pillow or blanket.
After a rough day at work, or a rough session, or just a random emotional thought that hits me, I can be completely out of commission for an entire evening and not think twice about it. It’s mentally taxing to try and fight my way out the oncoming emotional storm bearing down on me, especially when I’m so new to getting help and understanding what’s going on with me.
What my therapist is trying to teach me, is to recognize the warning signs that that discouragement and depression are coming and be able to use coping skills or distraction to try and minimize the affects. Same with Anxiety too. The theory is, I suspect, that the more I do this over time, I’ll be able to start living more like a survivor, that my past won’t haunt me every single day as much as it does now.
Being able to go out with a buddy for wings and a beer, and not have a random thought take over and ruin the evening. To be able to hang out with my kids, laugh and carry on enjoying our time together, and not have a trigger send me spiraling down a path of misery and solitude. To not take constructive criticism personally, and not let mean, insensitive people get me upset. To not dwell on the past failed marriages; taking them as a sign that I”ll never find true love and companionship. I can go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point.
The name of this site is Surviving My Past, and I have the teal survivor ribbon at the top, on the sidebar, and on my twitter profile pic. That was intentional, to help keep affirming to myself that I am a survivor, and that you are a survivor, and that we can one day live life the way we want too and deserve too.
Sure, it may take years & years to get it under control, and although we’ll always have our past with us, we don’t have to let it dominate and define us. We can actually live like…Empowered Survivors!
The way I try to figure it is, If I can live through the trauma of abuse, the bullying as a kid and failed marriages as an adult, I have to think someday I can have the life I want if I continue on this healing path. Hopefully you can feel that way too. Whatever has happened in your life, when you’re ready to start healing, there will be a light at the end of a tunnel that won’t always feel like an oncoming train.
Easier said than done, that’s for damn sure but the alternative is much worse. One day at a time, one positive, small victory at a time, and you’ll get there. Just keep telling yourself that, no matter how often you don’t believe it, like me.