Archive for the ‘emotional health’ Category

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What Is Healing?

March 16, 2013

When I first started out on this last leg of my healing journey…the awareness of DID and the realization of some of what had happened to me (which was an “aha-now I understand” time)…I had an idea in mind of what healing looked like. For me, it meant that my hard work (with G-d’s help) was somehow going to reverse all that had been done to me and there would be a complete merging which I called “integration”. I looked at it like a broken bone or a sickness. I wanted to be restored to the condition prior to the break of illness…or to be made even better. After all, they say a broken bone that heals is stronger in the area of the break and will never break exactly there again. I wanted to be like pre-DID and trauma.

Looking back, I would have to say that I was pretty naive, but not in a bad way. I believed what I needed to believe in order to start the journey and do what needed to be done. There were things I did not yet understand about DID and how abuse affects the brain. There were also implications in my view of healing that I did not fully think through…implications that would later change my view of healing…and again…not in a bad way.

Initially, my goal was simply to work on whatever needed to be worked. If I needed to face a memory…so be it. If I needed to reach out to an insider…so be it. Whether it was writing, listening, sharing, art…I did it. I believed that if I just kept doing what I was doing that integration/merging would occur naturally. It would not have to be forced. And it pretty much did happen that way. As I focused on healing, integration and merging seemed to happen almost seamlessly and without any real effort. Some of it happened in huge chunks during several days I spent with a counselor at her home. I stayed with her twice and through days of prayer and working with insiders massive amounts of integration/merging happened.

Over time, I came to realize that not all of healing is as simple as that. Now, I believe that a huge part of healing is to simply live my life…enjoying it as best I can…and seeing the beauty around me in addition to seeing what is evil in the world. I walk in the Spirit of the Creator, trusting Him to show me whatever I need to see and to help me with whatever I need help with. He has always been my greatest Healer…my best therapist. And He has helped me see that my idea of what healing looks like was very faulty.

I know the Creator can do anything and I believe He could even make it like nothing had happened…but that is not real. Like so many others, I had to come to terms with a childhood I simply never had. It was not just a matter of putting the brain back to how it was originally created. All my childhood experiences shaped and affected my brain. Removing the effects of the negative experiences does not replace them with the positive effects of the good things that never happened!

I also realized that all those things that did happen a part of what make who I am today. And even with all my foibles and what I perceive as “weakness” and “brokenness”, I am a pretty awesome person. I am a walking miracle and I am doing pretty darn good considering all I have been through. So, part of healing is also accepting imperfect functionality.

So…maybe…healing is not about restoration (like a broken leg). Maybe it is more about learning to live as I am and celebrating the me I have become and the me I am becoming. Maybe it is more about giving myself the freedom to enjoy life now…without guilt and with less and less impact coming from the past. It is about accepting imperfect functionality. (What is “perfect”, anyway?) It is about learning not to compare myself to others…not my abilities, my weaknesses or my strengths. Every one of us has abilities of some kind; we just don’t all have the same ones. We all have weaknesses and we all have strengths, regardless of how healed or broken we are. It is about not comparing my healing journey to another’s. We all walk on different paths.

I know I still have more to learn, but I carry one thing with me on my learning/healing journey…one very important thing. I know the Creator of all things and I know who I am in my Creator. I know I can trust Him to continue to lead me. Whatever is ahead, He will help me to face it.

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Healing in the midst of living…

December 5, 2012

Healing can be hard when you also have to focus on living. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all go someplace safe where our physical needs were met and there were safe knowledgeable people who could support us and walk with us as we face our pasts and work toward our futures? It sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Oh, how nice that would be.

The reality, though, is that most of us do not have anything even close to that. We take snippets of time here and bits of space there and try to sort through what is happening to us…attempting to make sense of the experiences that are rocking our world. We have any combination of families and loved ones to take care of,  jobs to tend to , classes to take, sick ones to nurse. And somehow, in the busyness of life, we try to heal.

There are so many things I had to learn about how to heal without taking a vacation from regular life. Recognizing and accepting my limitations goes a long way…instead of fighting them. When I feel overwhelmed or like I am pushing against a wall, I find it is better to take five to ten minutes and go hole up in the bedroom (or some other safe alone place) than to try to keep on slugging through it. Just taking those few minutes to breathe and refocus helps so much.

What about when I cannot leave or don’t have the option to be alone? I try to find an opportunity to close my eyes for a few seconds or minutes. Or, if that would be seen, perhaps I can sit somewhere just outside of the conversation zone and just sort of “tune out”  for a minute or two. Letting my mind wander, or even just listen to other conversations without taking part in them can really help.

How do I extricate myself when I find I am engaged with someone? Go to the bathroom. Seriously, if I am at someone else’s house, I can quietly excuse myself and then take my time getting back…a reasonable amount of time, of course, as I don’t want to be rude. When I come back out, I do not have to go back to the same conversation, especially if there are scattered groups around the room or house. I can go get a breath of fresh air or even just sit in another room for a minute or two…just long enough to not be considered rude. If someone notices and asks, I can just say that I needed a moment to sort of clear my mind and/or just soak up the wonderful atmosphere of the event. Or I was just taking a moment to feel appreciation for all my friendships…or whatever other creative thing I can come up with. And, of course, because I always want to be as truthful as I can, I make sure that I actually do something suitable for the environment and the people and go with it.

Being able to take good care of myself when I am feeling stressed goes a long way toward my healing. It helps to keep me from slipping backward. And when I do get some precious alone time to work on my healing, I don’t have to spend it decompressing. I am ready to jump in because I have been dealing with the day-to-day stresses as I go along.

Sometimes, though, I do need that alone time to simply relax…or to simply not have to answer to, or be responsible for, another person. It might even be a good time to take the phone off the hook. Or take a nap. Or just do something I find difficult to do when others are around. I work on doing as much as I can when I am not alone so that I can be most productive for my healing and personal growth when I am alone.

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What is healing…

December 4, 2012

I am not really sure what healing looks like. I think it is different for each person. After years of looking at it, I still don’t have a solid definition, but I can share with you some things that sure look like healing for me.

Healing Is

Healing is being able to laugh…even in the midst of pain.

Healing is being able to cry…even when others are around.

Healing is being able to somewhat identify what I am feeling,
and hopefully…even being able to have an idea of WHY I am feeling it.

Healing is knowing when I need to decompress,
being able to identify safe places to decompress,
and then…doing it.

Healing is being able to sense whether a person or place is safe
And then being able to keep myself safe.

Healing is being able to find joy in life.

Healing is being able to see good things…even when bad things are happening.

Healing is being able to have gratitude for what I do have
rather than bemoaning what I don’t.

Healing is being able to be productive in some way every day
even if I am the only one who recognizes it.

Healing is being able to take a step forward,
no matter how tiny
and even if it is only in my heart.

Healing is being able to face some aspect of my past…without completely crumbling.

Healing is being able to recognize that some part of my history,
no matter how small or big,
no longer has a hold on me.

Healing is being able to make plans…and know that they might actually happen!

Healing is being able to say that I made it through
another minute,
another day,
another hour,
another week,
another month,
another year,
another anniversary,
another flashback,
another body memory,

Healing is having the freedom to fully unleash my creativity and
sing again,
play music again,
write again,
talk again,
share again.

Healing is being able to give without manipulation
and receive without manipulation
even more importantly… recognizing the difference.

Healing is being to allow myself to truly love
and open myself to the potential for heartache without fear,
knowing that I can rise above anything that happens.

Healing is allowing myself to trust others
and being trustworthy myself.

Healing is giving myself permission to live life to the fullest
without thinking much about healing or hurting or my history.
It is allowing myself to temporarily “forget” that I even have an abusive history.

Healing is knowing that I was a victim who dared to survive
and am now a survivor who dares to thrive.

Healing is being able to put words to my experiences,
words like
“rape”
and “sexual abuse”
and “incest”
and “satanic ritual abuse”.
And healing is to put them without capital letters because
I am bigger and taller and stronger than they are
and I refuse to give them capital letter power in my life.

Healing is being able to cry and know that I am OK
and everything will be alright.

Healing is being able to see my Creator’s love for me
even when I know I don’t deserve it.

Healing is being able to see His hand in my life…even during the most awful of experiences.

Healing is being able to see His protection and how He got me through.

I may think of more things to add to that list. As I do, I may edit

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Sharing Another Post on Trauma Brain…

April 9, 2012

In my post before this one, I had shared a link to a post on another blog that talks about how trauma affects the brain. Well, here is a link to another post from that same blog.

More on How Abuse Affects the Brain

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It’s Time…to Write…

October 15, 2010

I need to write. It is time…perhaps even past time. I am fighting tears right now and, I must confess, not doing a very good job of it.

Maybe it is the time of year. Maybe it has to do with my parents (I know there is anger under the surface with that one). Maybe it is what feels like a tenuousness in my living situation (even though I am seeing Yahweh do amazing things). Maybe it is being in contact with a cousin (mother’s side) for the first time in many, many years (we never lived close so I have only met her a few times). Maybe it is my expectation of what may be to come…system wise…when we do finally move into the house (which will be unfinished inside). Maybe it is my age and/or the way this living situation has taken its toll on my health. Maybe it is something I don’t even know about…something that is buried deep inside and whirling around.

I see things I want to do…but cannot. My situation and time, along with my state of emotional/mental health holds me back. I want to contribute in ways that I am simply unable to. I want to keep up with my online friends…and cannot. And all of these things are OK…I know (in my head) that they are. But I struggle in my heart. My online friends…in all of their various places…mean a lot to me. They are a form of support that is precious to me. Yet…as beautiful and precious as they are…they are not enough. They, too, are human and facing challenges of their own. They are not able to always be available…which leads me to the next thing I need to write about.

There is something that has been happening in my spirit over a long time. But lately, well, the only way I know to describe it is that it is almost like a surge. It is as if my heart connection with Yahweh has surged forward. I have been facing some challenges…which I have really tried my best to deal with. Those challenges…like challenges often do…have pushed me toward Him even more. I need His wisdom and His guidance, but mostly…I need to rest in His love.

It seems that my faith gets stretched and my spiritual maturity grows through that. And then it seems like I hit the wall. I am utterly helpless and I find it necessary to fall back upon the childlike aspect of my faith. Yeshua said that we should trust like children do. And so that is what I do…I just fall into His love and trust Him for the things I simply cannot do…or even see.

So I rest in Him, trusting Him and drawing even closer to Him. The strength, maturity and depth from the stretching I went through settles in while He is preparing me for the next stretching session. I stretch. I grow. I rest. Stretch. Grow. Rest. A cycle that is as old as time and yet very much in the present and will continue to be right there in the midst of my future. One long strand tying past to present to future.

There are things in that “maybe” paragraph that I think I need to write about…but I think I will separate them out into different posts.

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Healing and Emotional Detachment

August 30, 2008

Hmm…not really sure how to say this. I am realizing that I need to have a healthy emotional detachment from others. I notice this the most with the one person I am closest to, but it applies to others, too. I tend to feel guilty at times about how others are effected by my issues. It is OK to feel sad about it…but it is not OK to feel bad about myself because of it. Feeling bad about myself helps me to spiral downward. Feeling sad does not.

I can feel sad that my brokenness effects others without feeling badly about myself. There is only so much I can do. If I cannot do, or be, what someone else needs me to do, or be, that does not make me a bad person…even if they have every “right” to want me do it. I don’t need to beat myself up, or be miserable, just because someone else is miserable or unhappy about how my issues effect them. I can be empathetic. I can care. I can do my best to work on my healing; but I do not have to push heaven and hell to try to change something that I have no control over. That just sets me up for failure and I start to crash.

If someone is struggling with something about me that I have no control over I need to let them face that and work out how to deal with it. Yes, I do need to keep working on my healing…and, hopefully, I will be changed in that process. But the results are not up to me. Neither is how someone else handles those results. That is something that person has to work out.

I can do the footwork, but Yahweh God has to do the healing. He has to change me. I cannot force change. I can change my behavior…to a certain extent. However, I cannot change my triggers. Shoot, a lot of the time I am still trying to figure what the triggers precisely are and why they even trigger me! I can work on those things, but I cannot force myself to not be triggered.

Another thing I struggle with is that, acceptance of myself as I am right where I am at, can look like I am giving up to someone else. It can appear that I don’t care and am not really “working” on something anymore. That is not the case, though. To me, acceptance of where I am at simply means trusting that God will do what is needed without my having to be constantly striving and then feeling awful because, in spite of all my hard work and striving, I am still being triggered…or still failing. It means that I can continue to do what I can and trust Him for the results.

Sometimes, if it is someone really close to me, I find that the other person’s struggle with me and resulting unhappiness causes me to feel bad about myself. The feelings of worthlessness start to kick in, along with thoughts of them being better off without me. I start to spiral downward and that is not good. I am realizing that my feeling that way means that I am sort of taking responsibility for how they feel. It is harder to see it that way because it happens in such a roundabout way. Nonetheless, it is real…and it is not healthy…for them or me.

There is nothing like feeling helpless to start a round of depression. It works so well. I need to be on guard for that and practice taking good care of myself. It is my responsibility to take good care of my emotional and mental health, just as it is for me to take good care of my physical health.

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