A client of mine who I have worked with extensively over the past couple of years sent me her story of healing and asked me to share it with you, dear readers, in the hopes that it would resonate with you and assist you in your healing journey; whatever that may look like in your particular circumstances. I am so honoured that she has offered this to all of us to grow and learn from. She is a remarkable woman and I am so lucky to have been part of this journey. I have watched her grow and change so much, that the woman I see today bears very little resemblance to the one who walked in my door a couple of years ago. What follows is a personal account of what can change in your life when you show great courage in the face of past demons, face them head-on, stay the course, and keep believing that you are meant to experience so much more joy, peace, and love than you have previously know and to go for it…
I thought I had it all together. I thought I had overcome what happened to me- sexual abuse as a teen. I was an over-scheduled, do-it-all for everyone else working mom who had made it, without ever having to look back. A person from my past came into my present and I fell. I fell far and hard. But truth be told, I think part of that was me falling for a time in my life that I have always looked back on with such immense fondness- a time where I was independent with no real responsibilities and I was making my choices just for me. This distraction was an escape from the rat race I had put myself in and told myself I had to win at all costs. I nearly threw it all away- my family- who are my world. I crumbled to the ground; both literally and figuratively, when things did not happen the way I thought I wanted them to.
I had been running from my trauma for a very long time. I told myself that I had to overcome and prove myself strong enough to survive in spite of it. What a fool I was, but I had a good run. I crumbled to the ground with what I thought was a broken heart, but it turns out- I was just broken. Period. I had been an emotional ticking time bomb for a long time that I was just too stubborn to see. I had spent my entire adult life giving every ounce of what I had- and then some- to try to prove my worth to the world. I needed to stand on my own two feet and never show what I perceived to be signs of weakness. I had to prove I was stronger than that. What a crock that turned out to be.
What I endured throughout my childhood at the hands of people I loved and trusted; the very people who were meant to protect me, turned my world on a tilted axis. I never realized it was tilted in a different angle than everyone else around me.
This past couple of years I have worked harder than ever and this time, I was finally working on me. I have made peace with my depression in a way that makes me not run from it and pretend it’s not there. I no longer hold anger and resentment towards it. I have stepped off that roller coaster, hopefully to never get back on. I have learned that I am okay despite the trauma I endured. I have also learned that I suffered a terrible trauma. I would have never before given my experiences-my abuse- that much weight. I never let it. I ran from the weight of it.
I hit what will hopefully be my lowest point. I look back and cannot believe how bad it got and how little I admitted that to myself or anyone else. I went from moments of wanting to act with reckless abandon to just wanting to make the pain I was feeling (and was certain I was causing everyone around me) go away- to stop forever. My darkest moments, I pray, are behind me. I hope that I never see that darkness again. I have never been so afraid- of myself.
It was a long, dark, windy road, but one I am so grateful that I was brave enough to travel.
One day I hope this is a road those who suffer like I did, get a chance to travel. It is long and hard- but the most rewarding work.
I have found what I think is a truer me; a more honest version of me.
However, I do have regrets. During part of this process, I lost sight of pretty much anything else. I separated myself from everyone and everything around me. I now understand that it was anxiety that added to my deadly cocktail of grief, pain, confusion, self-loathing and loss of hope. My darkest days were so dark that I simply wanted to turn the light off indefinitely. The pain and grief- it was all just too much weight to bear. Had I not been guided through this- my version of hell- by my trusted advisor and professional guiding light- my therapist, Esther Kane, I simply would not be here now. Just knowing that I was in that deep, scares me even now. Had I not found such a warm and inviting open door to walk through at the beginning of this journey, I cannot even imagine….
*Comment from Esther Kane:
Reading this part brought tears to my eyes. I am so deeply honoured that you see me in that light. I cannot begin to tell you what an honour and privilege it was to be by your side as you went through this incredible transformation and healing. Thank you for allowing me to be part of it. Thank you also for sharing your experience here. I’m sure many readers will be inspired by your story.
My Life Today
I am on the other side. It is a light-filled place of self-awareness, love and an inner peace I never could have dreamed of. This may sound like a cliché to you, but these words are my truth now.
The trauma that I suffered was real. It is not gone, but it no longer owns me. I am still working on my healing. This work will likely never end, but I have the ability to feel happiness again and that is one of the greatest gifts- waking up unburdened and happy each day is a totally new experience. I realize now that I had never experienced true happiness. It caught me off guard at first; this waking up happy-really happy- for no apparent reason.
My hope for those of you who have suffered a trauma, feel lost, or are struggling within, is that you choose to walk your long, hard, painful path towards the healing which will lead you to the other side. It’s more work than you’ll ever do again, but more rewarding than any other either.
I cannot change my previous behaviours. I cannot take away my mistakes. I can only learn from them and shine on. I am a better me- by my standards- the only ones that matter to me now. I can say that and believe it now.
I don’t know your story, but I wanted to share mine in the hopes that it may inspire you take your own journey towards healing and take back your life. My advice for you: Do the work. It’s worth it. It’s hard as fuck, but so worth it. Let yourself be helped. Let yourself be more than the collateral damage of trauma inflicted upon you- the trauma you did not deserve. You deserve happiness. Happiness that does not come from feeling the need to test people and push them away to protect yourself from letting anyone else in.