Last weekend I was triggered by a memory/image from my past, and this trigger was one of the worst I have had in a very long time; the kind of trigger that pulls you from the now and throws you into a tailspin of fear, emotions from the past.
Over time in my work in therapy I have learned that triggers and or memories are “information” not “emergencies” – that these feelings and thoughts are here to tell a story to heal, not to harm me.
This trigger was a pretty big one, and its been hard to be present and connected to the now, when I feel I was thrown into my past.
I have done a lot of praying around this as I haven’t felt much like myself since this trigger, and one of the things that I realized was – maybe sitting with this trigger, feeling this trigger, feeling my
This month, this week, this year marks 9 years on this amazing journey of therapy and healing. This is my place of healing, the room that holds the story, the pain, the joy, the truth of so many things I kept hidden inside me for 30+ years.
This is a photo of my therapy room, the room I stepped into 9 years ago and began my healing journey with an amazing therapist who has guided me into the life I never thought I could live.
9 years ago I began this journey with one foot out the door out of fear, and today I claim this room as the place of my healing and the place that has changed my life, and has healed so many open wounds.
I have sat in every chair in this room – made my way around the room in anger, tears, laughter, joy, excitement and many other feelings and emotions that I have had through the years!
It has been about 5 years since I have redone the look of my blog. I feel my writing has suffered at a standstill, and my blog has suffered in that as well.
I am taking many big steps and many big changes in my healing, in my life, in my self and this change was one of the big steps in reclaiming back my voice, and my writing!
My writing, blog, and myself went through some hard trials a couple years ago which pulled me away from my blog and my writing out of fear. But what the past year has really shown me, and what I have come to realize is – my writing, my blog, and the people I connect to through my writing is [ . . . . ]
I 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.
“a pause doesn’t mean your story has ended; it simply means you found a place to gain strength to continue forward”
As you all know and realize, my writing has taken a back seat for the past year or so, and I can’t even begin to tell you all how much I miss writing the way I used to write.
My hope – – (hope not expectations) — My hope is that I will begin to write more as I continue to take steps forward and out of this isolation I have been stuck in for months and months now.
My healing journey in therapy and the work I am doing with my therapist has been good, hard, and incredibly healing! As I wrote a couple of months ago, I am working so hard and have taken so many big steps for the good – the most I have been connected on this healing journey of mine for almost 9 years now.
I am turning a new corner in my healing, and its all about “trusting the connection” and “feeling what it is I am feeling“, “feeling emotions and understanding what they mean.. it’s been about “being in the moment“, its been about “pushing through the silence and speaking from the heart” it’s been about “accepting support” it’s been about “leaning in when the struggle is there and not leaning on the old messages from the past” .. so many changes and I am feeling like a different person each day.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is this hard self isolation I have struggled with for over a year or so now, and I am slowly taking steps out of that, but it has been a slow process; but a process that will take me out and forward back into the life I was meant to live.
Even in the hardest days, I am connected to myself and the process of this healing and trusting I can talk about anything – even in the most vulnerable moments ..
so why is the isolation still a struggle? why am I still struggling so much with fear and self isolation from the things I love? Well, because the fear and the old messages of the past has really pulled me from what I know and the connection I had with others . . . .
I have had a VERY HARD couple of years. I endured a struggle that shook the core of my healing and I was being pulled further and further away from connection to myself and the connection to others, and it has taken me a while to see the pull and the struggle, and to find the trust that I can pull myself out of that fear, and accept support to help.
It has taken me a long time to get to this new place I am in now. It has taken me a long time to re-find the trust of others around me. It has taken me a long time to find the self worth again. It has taken me a long time to realize what it was that was going on inside of me, and finding the steps needed to walk up and out of this closed in space of isolation.
It hasn’t been easy . . . . in fact it was hell for a while! I feel like I lost so many things around me – those things I felt defined me as the person I am – – but I know one thing – I haven’t lost it, I only walked away from it – – those things and people are still there waiting for me, and I am taking those steps back slowly as I heal the reasons behind the fear.
ACCEPTANCE has been the one thing I have found in this hard place.. acceptance of my own feelings and emotions. Acceptance of the hard place I was in and why. Acceptance that I am cared for and supported with no consequences. Acceptance that emotions are to be felt, not pushed away. acceptance that no matter what struggle I am going through, I don’t have to do it alone.
My therapist and I have a new-found relationship this past year . . . . a relationship of new trust, new acceptance, and being fully open no matter what is here in our work together. I am truly blessed for him, so so blessed that God put me in his path, and him on my path .. and I am blessed that God has opened “my eyes” and “his eyes” this past year to what was standing in the way of my healing, and what was needed to break through that.
God has opened my eyes to push through the old messages of the past, and although I am still working hard through that, I am finding faith in moving out of this place I have been in for years now.
I hope to write more about this journey as I take steps .. and I also hope to give my blog a new change to go along with the changes I have going on within . . . I would love to share this journey with you all, no fear, just being open and connecting with others and taking you all along with me.
That is my hope. . . . . turning a new corner . . . . . one step at a time. . . . . . the story continues ;
As I sat in session yesterday, There was a moment I made a strong eye contact with my therapist when he asked me a hard question, and in that moment I felt a trust I have never felt even in the 8 1/2 years I have worked with my therapist on this healing journey.
I felt this newness in me, I felt like the young part (in that moment) let go of all the old messages and all the old fears and just allowed TRUST to be present and I felt heard, and I felt supported, and I felt a letting go in that moment – another change on this journey.
There have been so many changes going on inside of me the past couple of months. Some are noticeable, and some are only ones that can be felt and seen by me’ changes that only I can experience that have no words to explain.
One of the biggest changes is the work in therapy and the connection I have been able to hold onto – even from the younger part side of me that holds all those old messages from the past. I feel CONNECTED even in the hard days. I feel the old me fading and the new me emerging – but it doesn’t go without a fight to keep this going. It takes work, it takes trust, it takes consistency.
My therapist has used this quote to me the past couple weeks and that is “Nothing changes and yet everything changes” .. meaning as he said to me – “as you move through the many changes going on inside of you on this new path you are walking through, nothing changes in our work together, nothing changes in the support, care and love for you in this work, nothing changes in the connection and trust in our work together, and yet everything changes in such a good connecting way as I seek new ways this path is moving for you”
So, what has changed? For me what I have noticed the most is the ability to trust the connection outside of therapy without disengaging out of safety and protection for self. Before I would create a wall outside of therapy out of fear of depending on the process of therapy an my therapist – making it really hard when I had my next session because we had to re-connect all over again, and the work became about connection and not healing.
I have/had this HUGE fear of dependency for such a long long time, and now for the first time ever, I am allowing myself to be connected even outside of therapy, to the process, to myself, and to the connection our work holds inside and outside.
One of the things my therapist says to me at the end of every session in a gentle way is – – “if you need any reminding or you need any support outside of session, lean in, all ways of connecting are here for you”
Before – I would completely disconnect myself from that out of fear it meant I was dependent, and if I DID lean in, or reach out outside of therapy, there was such guilt and shame that it would disconnect me and we would have to work hard to re-build that connection
Now – I feel a new kind of acceptance, I feel I can now reach out anytime I need to and accept that it doesn’t mean dependency, it means I am struggling and its OK to ask for help, and nothing changes, because I am still my “independent self”. I have learned that a part of independence, is allowing myself good healthy attachment, connection and support, and the difference is, when I come back into therapy the day after, or after I lean in outside of session, there is no disconnection or shame – connection is already present.
This is a HUGE step for me; even writing about it is a huge acceptance to change and letting others see this change.
This is probably one of the biggest changes, because from day 1 in therapy – almost 9 years ago – the first thing I said to Andy my therapist was “The day I depend on you, is the day I quit this therapy” hahaha I remember the look on his face even today. I said to him “I am NOT dependent on you nor will I ever be, I am my OWN person!”
To this day, we still laugh when we talk about that, because it’s the one thing I truly feared the most. It’s an old message from my past – I was feared into depending on those who abused me and since then I feared ever going through that again.
This fear of dependency got in the way a lot in our work in therapy when I needed to lean on his support or accept talking about really hard things. It created a lot of projection in our work as well. We called it the “D” word! Didn’t even want to say the word Dependent!
“Healing is a process that takes time”
Now, I am not going to say its easy.. it takes work to continue with these new changes.. some days are harder than others. I still struggle with a battle going on inside of me between the young beliefs and the new beliefs. Some days the old messages from the past are louder than the truths I know today, But it’s here and I am working so hard to continue holding this newness in acceptance.
There are so many changes going on within me as I continue to work with the younger little me who holds the pain and wounds and old messages that get in the way of living the way I want to live, and its a process! but as I work with these changes, its allowing me to seek these deep wounds and feelings I have never been able to reach because of those old barriers!
Emotions is another change for me. I am beginning to FEEL emotions for the first time and yet I am noticing there are some things I am NUMB to – but the difference is, I know when I am feeling and I now know when I am numb – where before I would disconnect and project those feelings on others. I feel present to all the things going on inside of me. I can’t say emotions is something I accept as I still struggle with that, but I can feel and understand what it is I am feeling now.
I am still struggling with isolation that I have been stuck in for a couple of years now, but I truly believe as these changes emerge within me, I will continue to take more steps out of that . . . .
The work between my therapist and I have been amazing, and I am truly blessed to have a wonderful therapist who is open and patient to all these changes emerging within me. He has really inspired me to find the trust in this journey, in the process, and in him. I don’t even have the words to express what a good kind-hearted person he is! Truly a blessing that God has placed on my path to healing.
I have always said this through the years of writing in my blog about my healing journey and around therapy and the work I do with my therapist and that is “healing is a process that takes time“, there are surface wounds, and then there are deep deep wounds that take a long time to get to, and its a process of getting there, and in that process comes changes – changes both good and hard, scary at times, painful and hardening – yet all those are healing!
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As I look back on this past year, it was a very hard year for me on so many levels! But it has also been one of the most connecting and self changing years on my healing journey.
It began with the death of my mom last January 6th 2015, which set the stage for the beginning of a very hard year for me.
I was already struggling with self isolation from many things that happened a couple of years ago, and in that hard work of trying to move out of the isolation, adding my moms death was just another reason to pull back even more.
But then there is my healing journey, my work in therapy and the amazing work my therapist and I have done this past year has been absolutely amazing!
As we sat in therapy Tuesday, my therapist and I did a lot of reflecting back and forth about the good work we have done, and how blessed we both are for each other and the strong bond we re-built over this past year, and for that I am blessed that I can walk this amazing journey with so much trust, connection and acceptance.
As I look back on this hard hard year, I have seen where the hardness has changed me! I have seen the changes and for the first time in almost 9 years of therapy now, I can see how much I have changed and how connection to self, the work, and to my therapist has grown to a new acceptance.
My moms death opened my eyes to a new acceptance and healing for me. The self isolation made me see the places I can go and where I am stuck.
My therapist and I have re-created what “connection” means and what that looks like in our work! I have learned to accept connection more and when there is acceptance, there is healing, and in the healing I have learned to accept my worth!
I look back and I can’t believe how different I feel inside around connection and acceptance and learning how to “feel” my emotions and not be afraid of them – BECAUSE of that acceptance, BECAUSE of that connection I can finally feel worthy of.
Just a couple of years ago, connection was hard for me to accept, because I felt if I accepted connection like (leaning in for support, writing an email, or sending a text or whatever it was) it meant I was dependent or “too much” .. well I don’t feel that way anymore, when I lean in and connect, I feel a new acceptance that “I am worthy of being in connection” and that has made such a HUGE difference in my healing this year.
That has been the biggest change this past year, and because of this new found acceptance, it has made the bond between my therapist and I stronger, and that has made the healing take a really good turn on so many levels!
Looking forward I can see how this new acceptance is going to open doors for me to take more steps out of this self isolation! When I say self isolation that means “going back to church” “going out more without fearing things” “being open to being in the company of friends again like I used to” .. and then there are others things I am not ready to be open around this yet, but that time will come.
The self isolation also touches on many of my past hurts and triggers and that is also something else I am working so hard with – and will continue to as I take steps into the new year.
Emotions have always been a huge struggle for me, I am finally learning how to “FEEL” for the first time, really feel and that has opened many new healing paths for me as I talk about the hurt I still hold.
So, as I look back, there are many things that were HARD about this past year around the self isolation and self inner struggles and yet at the same time, this past year has been the year of learning to accept and trust the healing relationship and the healing journey!
As I look forward, I am scared and yet so excited to see what is next on this path to healing! not only are changes happening here at home for the good, but I am really looking forward to what my therapist and I are working so hard on in helping me out of this self isolation and more accepting support, love and care while learning to work with my emotions and feeling them more.
Someday I will be able to tell the story of what began this self isolation – but for now it’s good enough to just say “this is where I was, this is where I am, and this is where I look forward to being!
You will see a lot more writing from this year as I plan to take this new found acceptance and start writing more about my journey and not fear writing about it. I look forward to the connections I make in that.
I hope all of you have a HAPPY NEW YEAR! I love you all and thank you for the support this past year in my journey of both HARD and HEALING!
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