Two weeks ago I started seeing a therapist. During the two times we met, we talked and went over the details of my past. We started with memories from my childhood and moved towards the more recent past. We made a plan – a timeline of particularly traumatic experiences and we’re going to work with each memory and event separately.
I haven’t had the opportunity to talk freely about my past and everything that has happened so far. I had a brief experience of therapy back in Ireland right after my sister died but at the time, I had no idea of the magnitude of traumatic stress I was experiencing. As my therapist now confirmed, the death of my sister in 2015 triggered what she called regression to a developmental state linked to my childhood.
She also confirmed I’ve experienced emotional neglect, along with the physical abuse I’ve suffered at the hands of my mother. The tragedy of my sister’s death blew up the lid and everything I had so far accumulated in terms of trauma, exploded. Due to the emotional neglect I’ve experienced, my development as a child was frozen at a certain stage. When my sister died I regressed back to that underdeveloped child state.
Imagine a helpless, powerless child in an abusive, unsafe environment where love also means fear. That’s where I’m currently at developmentally – the environment has changed but I’m stuck emotionally. This translates into many behaviours and/or inaction, fears, phobias, etc. As my therapist said, it could develop into a specific personality disorder. I’m not there yet but if I let things be as they are now, I could soon be.
I knew it was time for me to seek some external help and I searched for a good while. I knew I’d reached the limit of what I could do for my self-healing. I’ve built a strong self-awareness and understanding and in no way, I would let myself worsen but sometimes we need help. We need to seek that help even if it feels uncomfortable, unsafe, and we feel reluctant.
I’m encouraged and motivated to work through all my trauma. As we were going chronologically from each to the next event, I had to acknowledge what I’ve always known – it’s a lot of trauma for 34 years of life!
There hasn’t been more than a couple of years of calm before the next storm hits. My whole life is a chain of traumatic events, starting with my birth. I haven’t had the courage to put it all together in one story but talking to my therapist, it was clear that it’s a layer after layer of trauma. To a point where I was unable to hold it together – in 2015 I literally withdrew from the world.
I had to retrieve within myself in order to preserve my sanity. I had to block almost everyone and everything in order to protect myself from going mad with grief and pain.
However, what this really means is that there’s this internal resilience that has always made sure I survived. Even in childhood, this self-preserving capacity was there. It’s what has kept me alive through all the suffering and pain.
Really, this is something to be celebrated.
I choose to see the pain I’ve been through as the power I’ve had to survive it.
It ain’t easy staring at all that trauma. There’s no way you won’t feel sad or feel the loss. Your heart will be breaking as it is rejoicing that finally you can start working at building yourself as you were always meant to be – whole, free and safe.
I take pride in my journey because I know I’m not alone – there’s so many of us out there. My pain is your pain and vice versa. But we’re on the verge of transmuting all of it and healing ourselves. We need no longer suffer. We no longer need to hold on our pain, hide it, suppress it, be ashamed of it.
Stand strong in your truth, bravely walk the path of awareness and healing, lead the way to our resurrection. We’re all in this together.0