scattered memories – the healing process

MEMORI have read so many blogs and stories of others who have really struggled with the process of therapy, and how some people feel like therapy has made them feel “worse” than better!

I was one of those who struggled with that same thought years ago – until I realized why I was feeling the way I felt, and saw the process of healing actually working.

For the first couple of years in therapy for me it was like being thrown into a warp zone of vulnerability. I would leave therapy after a hard session, and I would struggled to do my every day tasks, and it was so hard to focus on anything else.

I struggled with being grounded or connected to anyone around me. I felt like I was in a constant fog, and would zone out during conversations with others not being able to concentrate because I felt so lost and raw feeling.

I too was one of those people who thought “is this making me worse? “how is this healing?” “Maybe I should quit, because this doesn’t feel very good and I don’t think I can continue this hard path“.

BUT  something deep inside told me to hold onto this, keep on going, keep on moving through this process. Keep trusting the process and trusting my therapist and the good work we were doing.

One of the things my therapist has helped me to see over the years is how memories work and why they are so hidden so deep within us; especially if the trauma happened at a young age.

For those traumatized at a young age, including myself, our brain scatters those memories over time, and those memories are scattered until we are able and ready to face those memories and face those moments that our brain hid deep deep within. It’s a protection within us . . . but not something that is healthy to keep hidden away.

Therapy is a process of pulling those scattered memories one by one and putting them together like  a puzzle, and the more we sit with the puzzle, the pieces get easier to fit.

I have been in therapy almost 9 years now. I began my journey April 2007 .. I started this journey scared, vulnerable, raw, and had so many walls up that you needed to climb walls just to see the walls. But I knew what my past held, and I knew something needed to be discovered and talked about, because how I felt inside, wasn’t how I wanted to live and be.

I hear of a lot of people who struggle to find the right therapist, and I will say, having the right therapist is so CRUCIAL, because this is your healing journey, this is your life, your voice, your truth, and its so important to feel safe and connected with someone who can walk this journey with you.

I was lucky, God really placed me on a path with an amazing therapist right from day 1. I knew within the first month that my therapist Andy was someone I could walk this journey with – he is warm, gentle, caring, open to hear and open to wisdom that I really needed to hear. I trust him more than I trust anyone else, and that is a big big deal for me, given what I have endured in my past.

Therapy and healing is a process . . . it’s not about covering up the wounds expecting it to scar over and feel better right away … it’s about digging into that wound and cleaning it out before you can cover it and heal from it. Therapy is not a band-aid .. it’s a process of true healing to what is going on inside of you – – those scattered memories from the past that need to be brought together and be told a story of truth.

It’s a painful yet rewarding process as you take those steps. Even today, after almost 9 years in this journey I still sit with hard things that take me out of my self – but because of the process I have taken, it has made those hard moments bearable. I no longer walk around in that fog of hopelessness, instead I process each session and talk through it and live my life the best I can on the outside.

When I read these blogs of those who want to quit or give up on their process of healing, it makes me sad, because I know what that feels like, and I know what is to come if you stay with it and trust the process – yes a painful process – but one that you will see changes you .. but you have to really want to make that change within! No one can do it for you – your therapist cannot do it for you – it’s a team effort and its about your wisdom and your process that takes you there.

There are things that I am still working through – some really hard things that surfaced out of a situation I was put in years ago … some of my close friends and family know about the hard times I have gone through the past couple of years – but I am trusting the same process and continue to work hard just as I have thus far.

I also have come to learn that not all wounds are ready to be healed .. and some heal faster than others. Some need to be covered up again until your ready to uncover and peel back the layers of skin, and although painful and raw, you will know when you are ready for that healing.

Some wounds take a long time to heal, and some remain raw and all you can do is learn how to adjust to that pain.. but you will and your life will feel livable with more hope and even happiness will shine through those wounds.

SO for those who are in the process of healing . . . stick through it, work through it, give the process of healing time .. you are worth it, your wounds are worth healing, your voice is worth hearing and your truth is worth believing – a process I am still learning to trust – one step at a time.

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still holding on . . .

aeb49113c0295cf9be7569219e077c70This weekend so far has been a toss between good and hard, sad and happy, empowered and maybe feeling a little weak, but I try to remind myself “I am not there yet, but I am so close“.

Being stuck in place and waiting for “the switch” to happen inside is not always the easiest thing. I know what I want to feel, I know what I want to do, I know where I am going – but it’s not here yet.

It can be so frustrating at times.

In all the years I have been working on my healing and physical healing in the gym, and all the hard work I do – this is the longest I have been stuck emotionally.

I have support, I have love, I have people around me who remind me that I am cared for when I am feeling down.

I am surrounded by endless understanding. I have a therapist who checks in (in between sessions) and always reminds me of the okay-ness of where I am, and showing me the hope of where I am heading in my healing.

I have people who embrace me – ask me how I am doing if I am the slightest bit quiet. I have people who understand this “stuck” place emotionally I have been in, and truly deep inside I know if I hold out my hand, I have 10 hands waiting for mine… but really finding that goodness is an inside job.

I have learned that no matter how many people surround me, truly the way to goodness and strength inside is something that I need to grab a hold of myself. There is no one who can do it for me – support me YES absolutely, but do it for me NO.

In the past when I have been stuck I have waited for that switch to happen and I know when it happens, because nothing can stop me. I am filled with fire, I am ready, I am pumped, I am filled with unstoppable energy .. and sitting here writing this, I know it’s close, I know I am almost there, but not yet, something is still there and we are working hard to figure that out.

I have been stuck emotionally many times in my life, but this time it’s taking longer, but the one thing I have learned in this is that, something is to be heard, learned and understood about this time, and I am listening quietly and patiently.

I will continue to pray to God; show up and write him letters about how I am feeling and know that when the time is right, when something is to be learned from this stuck place, that I will move, and not only will I move, but I will move BIG!

Like my therapist tells me and just told me “what we can do in this moment is stay connected, continue to lean in, you continue to look at all of  us who have their hand out, know that we can talk about anything, and keep holding the hope, and it will happen“.

– I will feel better inside and move out of this stuck place I am in.

I will get to the place again to go to church every weekend and not feel unworthy of it. Enjoy eating again without feeling sick to my stomach. I will go to the gym with no fear that I am not strong enough. I will go to the coffee-house and sit with my friends and let myself be seen in the hardness OR the goodness without feeling isolated. I Will move out of this stuck place.

So tonight I will make dinner with my family. I will write my Sunday night connection email to my therapist. I will go for a night drive with my husband like we always do on Sunday nights. I will continue to write.. chat with my close friends online.. relax with a book, and tomorrow I will wake up and let the healing continue.

However I will say this, this has been a VERY hard “stuck” place I have been in for 2 months now; the longest I have been stuck ever.

but I have BIG FAITH – HUGE FAITH that it’s not going to be like this for much longer. I KNOW something is waiting for me and that shift will happen. I know something is going to happen to where I shift into a huge place inside my soul and in my healing, and I trust all the love and support around me in that .. but right now I will just move through each moment until that moment comes…

I have some hard work to do in therapy this week .. we have two 2-hour sessions planned this week and deep inside – I have a good feeling about this week coming up. My therapist sounds filled with hope, maybe even a little joyful/excited, and he says to me ” you don’t see what I see, but you will“. I trust that, I really do. I have been trusting it for 6 years and I will continue to.

I am blessed by all the people who know about my hard stuck time right now.. God has surrounded me with good good people .. I am lucky and have never lost sight of that – ever!

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a new kind of hope

hope in handsIn all the years I have been writing in this blog, never have I named the subject of the post the same as the name of the blog – but today it fits! I found a new kind of hope today.

Today in session my therapist said something that latched onto something deep and it gave me tears so fast that we both wondered “where did the tears come from, and what do they mean?”.

and I opened up….

I opened up about something today that gave both my therapist and I “a new kind of hope” going forward on this path. Something that gave more understanding to why I am struggling to find the path I was on before the past “hard” year happened.

I was the adult before I was the child, and well to be honest, I dont think I have ever been the child, but lately I feel the emotions of the 9 year old child that I put away to live forward.

Being a victim of child sexual abuse I had to grow up quick, and whatever emotions I had, I had to put them away. Every tear, every bit of fear, every bit of anger, or sadness, confusion – I put deep inside of me, and I became the adult at the age of 9 – hell I became the adult when I was 5-6-7-8-9 when my choices of being a child were taken from me.

Something about this past year when things got really hard and I got re-triggered by many many things – brought big big feelings right to the surface and I feel as if the emotions and the feelings and the anger of the 9 year old child are finally coming out.

Today as the 40+ year old adult, I am confused as to why I am feeling all these confusing feelings that are painful, sad, and anger filled.

I want more than anything to stuff them back away and continue being the strong adult woman, mom, wife and friend I created myself to be since I was little, but for some reason, those tools of stuffing don’t quite work the way they used to work. I dont have the ability to build walls like I did as a child.

I took a hammer to those walls 6 years ago when I first walked into therapy and continue hammering away at those walls even to now. Those walls are pieces all over the floor, and simply they cannot be re-built.

Rebuilding those walls are no longer an option to cover the pain, and today for the first time in years of working on this in therapy, I realized I can’t build walls anymore, I don’t have the tools, and therefor I need to honor all the emotions that surfaced in order to heal.

Today there was hope that there is no fear in feeling what I should have felt as a child – just like the anger I had Tuesday.

These emotions that are here are telling me something – maybe God is trying to tell me something through these feelings.

My therapist while sitting next to me this morning took my hand, held it, and said to me “I now know whats going on inside of you, and I can help you“.

A NEW KIND OF HOPE!

that is the first thing I thought of when he said those words to me today. It’s what my blog and my writing represents. HOPE to move forward in the knowing and not the unknown.

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As I was driving home from session I felt this opening inside of me happening! I opened up to my therapist in a big way today and told him exactly how I felt inside, and he understood, heard me, and he really got it!

This wise woman name “Mary Armstong” once said to me “You have to love the child inside and honor the child inside of you in order to fully heal her pain

Today I think I finally understand what that means. I always had this feeling of shame or guilt that I would ever allow myself to honor something I stuffed away at 9 years old – because my thought was “if I feel those feelings when I was child, it means I am not healing, I am sick, and I will never move out of this“. I can only imagine where I got that impression from, could have been the millions of times my abusers said “it’s your fault, your bad“.

Deep inside of me the 9 year old emotions want out, and, in a scary fearful way, I need to honor that, because if I dont, I will always carry around with me those emotions and feelings that never had a reason to be, and I will never let go to heal for me.

I dont think I like the idea of feeling emotions that I stuffed away at 9 years old, but I also don’t like the feelings I have right now in feeling trapped. I guess Mary Armstrong was right, I need to love the child inside of me that I was, before I can love the adult I am today.

I remember this quote I read once from a philosopher

we all have the child inside of us, each and every one of us –  it’s up to us how we let that child go. Some of us already have, and some of us are stuck from painful memories and abuse

– I am stuck.. and I need to find a way to let her go.

I do walk towards this in fear, but I also walk in confidence that the support that surrounds me; will see me to the end of my new beginning no matter how hard the road is.

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