I’m always honored to have one of my good friends and fellow survivors, Don Shetterly, share a blog post here on Surviving My Past.  I have the utmost respect for Don, and the work that he does with his blog is helping countless people all over the world feel validated and encouraged as they go through their own healing journey.

In this post, we are reminded that no matter what we have been through, no matter how traumatic a past we continue to fight through, we can never give up. It’s a perfect title, I Won’t Back Down, because as a survivor of any type of trauma, you can never back down from the challenges of healing, because the rewards are life changing

Don Shetterly - Guest Blogger - Fear was What I knew - Surviving My Past.

Don Shetterly

As I’m writing and editing my new book, I am coming front and center with some of the issues that I thought I had long put to rest.  With each word I write, I can feel the strong emotional connection to it as if almost I am reliving that moment.  While I’m not opposed to this happening, it can be a struggle.

I know deep down that the more I can process and heal, the more of my life that I can reclaim.  It is empowering, although getting there can be quite a challenge.  My life and my healing have not been easy, but I know that if I give up – they will win!

Years ago, I made a promise to myself that the best way I could make those who abused me suffer was by becoming all that I could be and by healing every bit of my life that was possible.  I promised that I would break the silence and be there for others because I know how difficult healing from child abuse and trauma is.

I never thought I would make it to this point.  I didn’t think it was possible to walk again as I laid in my hospital bed with my last breath of air.  Conversion Disorder isn’t easy to come out of, and neither is child sexual abuse and trauma.  I was not about to give up.  I wanted to beat these things.  I wanted to find a way to live my life.

Yes, it took a lot of courage.  It took a lot of determination to get this far.  I remember the line in the song by Tom Petty,  “You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t back down!”  It became my fight song.  It became my assistant and motivating coach when I felt like I could not go on.

There were many times that I didn’t feel like going on and there were many times that I just wanted to give up.  In fact, I did try to give up several times.  I often walked alone, but no matter what, I vowed to keep fighting.  I knew deep inside of me that there was more than just living the life of hell and torment.

There are still moments that I face which try to take me under.  Sometimes anxiety and depression get the best of me, but now I have more tools to stand up to these things.  I know more how to take care of myself and how not to numb and disconnect as easily.  I have people in my life who have helped me to make a big difference in not only my healing but also the joy and love I feel.

Healing is a process.  It is not a piece of cake.  It is not an easy journey.  In the end, though, it does get better.  The joy and love and peace begin to enter your life more.  They take up more residency than the pain, anxiety, and despair.

The hard work is worth it if you keep going and don’t give up.  Even at the moment when it feels the darkness of despair engulfs you in grief, pain, and hopelessness, know that the next step may be the one where you see the light of what possibility holds in front of you.  Be like me and say the words of Tom Petty’s song, “I Won’t Back Down.”

-Don Shetterly

© Don Shetterly 2017 – www.mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com

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