finding new light and darkness

“I stopped looking for the light and decided to become the light instead.”

This quote is so true to what I feel is going on inside this past month.

Even as I sit here and write this blog, it feels different – there is a newness of this writing and the process of being open with where I am.

Like I shared with my therapist in session last week, “this past month has been the most healing in all the years of being in therapy.” I look forward to what this new light will bring to me as I continue to take steps; allowing myself to be the light, rather than finding the light to lead the way.

One of my biggest struggles in the 10 years I have been in therapy is being open and truthful when I am really going through a hard time, or really struggling with something! Well, doesn’t that sound contradicting seeing that therapy is “made” for helping when you are struggling and going through hard times?

Well, for me, as far back as I can remember, I have only allowed myself to be open about whatever struggles I am going through if I have come up with how to fix it or make it better, and then I ask for support and help as I move through it.

I have always had this fear that if I allow myself to be seen struggling, that I will be rejected or I will be punished or pay consequences for talking about how I feel.

I am a FIGHTER, and I like to show that side of me – not the side that struggles or needs help.

When my therapist and I work together in therapy, we work TOGETHER! I rarely allow myself to say “I need help, and I don’t have it figured out.”

This past month I came to this realization that there is more light in allowing myself to be who I am “in the moment” and allowing others to see me in that light.

I made a decision this past month that allows me to be authentic to the moment instead of always raising a wall to the hard and only allowing the wall to come down once its OK enough to be seen.

The same goes for my writing, a lot of times I wouldn’t write a blog unless there was a resolve or an understanding of something. I would write a blog about positive things that I have overcome rather than letting people know “HEY, I have struggled and I don’t have it all figured out and hey that’s OK.”

What I have come to realize is that, healing happens even in the moments that are not fixed, or don’t feel better. Healing can happen in the hardest of all struggles, and its OK to ask for support in that. I don’t have just to be supported when I have figured it all out – that I am loved, cared for “SEEN” in the darkness.

The past couple of weeks in therapy have been the most healing, the most supporting, the most open, and the most vulnerable I have ever experienced because I have allowed myself to be in both light and dark.

I am finally seeing myself taking steps back into the things that once used to be a huge part of my life. Like the church, writing more, being around my once close friends, and not because I have found the light, but because I have allowed myself to see the dark, and heal in the dark.

I am open to what is next. I am hoping that I am going to write more by allowing others to see not just the good healing steps in my life or the good healing steps in therapy, but being open to the struggles it took to take those steps. Even in the moments of saying “this is where I am, and I don’t have it figured out, and that is OK because I am supported.”

This is such a HUGE step for me because I never allowed myself to be fully seen or supported without me putting up a partition wall to the struggles until It was ok for others to see. This is such a new space for me and I look forward to seeing how it brings me to the places I long to be.

I look forward to writing and connecting with others more in this space and seeing what it does for me and how it heals and meds and where it leads me.

I look forward to writing the blogs that say “I am having a hard day, and ITS OK” or showing up in my life no matter where it is open to the dark, and not just the light knowing healing can happen in both.

So I hope you will all walk with me in both the light and dark and both Good and Hard as I continue to take steps on this amazingly un-perfect journey.

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awaken memories

The past couple of weeks I have been experiencing very strong, vivid dreams and memories of my past when I was a little child, and it’s been incredibly hard to sit with these memories that have come to me in my sleep.

I have written before about “crying wake up’s” that I experience once in a while – dreaming and then waking up crying out of my sleep. Well, its happening again only now it’s happening along with very vivid and strong memories of my past.

The moment I wake up with a dream like this, I try and grab my phone’s notepad app to write down whatever I can remember to capture as much as I can! If I fall back asleep without writing the dream down, I will forget details.

I have had crying wake up’s before! I had had bad dreams before, but this is different, this is vivid, and they are strong and painful even. These dreams have been effecting me and my personal life and connection to self.

My therapist and I have been talking about them more in session and the meaning behind them and what the dreams/memories may be trying to tell me. We have spoken about it, I have written about it, I even talked with someone who knew a lot about dreams from those abused in the past, or from abuse survivors.

The dreams and the wake up’s are the inner young child’s way of telling a story she holds! Sometimes when we work on healing for so long, the inner child begins to trust more, she begins to step away from the wall just enough to let images be visible from the young child’s perspective. My inner child is telling me a story of the past that needs my voice, needs healing, needs to be spoken for her to move on, and grow up to be the adult I am today.

I have been told many times that the inner child is stuck inside, and sometimes it takes years and years for the young inner child inside to finally be free and ready to accept the endured abuse and pain, and the story she holds to be told, to be felt, to be trusted!

I have been in therapy for ten years, and in these ten years, I have talked about my story many times in different ways. I have worked through a lot of the pain! I have worked through a lot of the images and the story behind my past. I have painfully stepped into my past.

But it’s different this time; I feel a different shift happening inside of me to where the young part of me feels present; particularly through these vivid, horrific, painful dreams.

These dreams feel so real like it’s happening all over again! It’s the closest I have been to the abuse since it has happened, and it’s scary and painful in ways I cannot describe.

So what do I do with this? At times I am afraid to shut my eyes to sleep at night. My therapist knows what “I had a crying wake up” means and just how hard that is for me – – but that doesn’t even touch just how painful these wake up’s are or have been these past couple weeks.

My husband has even experienced me struggling in my sleep many times this past month, and he has seen just how horrible it has been for me. The crying wake up’s, the wincing in my sleep, the struggle to get out of the situation I am in during these dreams.

What I have come to realize and understand is, this is not something to hurt me all over again, but more so a way for the young inner child within me to speak and show me what she holds. It’s her way of saying “this is what I hold, this is what I remember – and she looks for healing.

But what about all the years I have talked about my past? What about all the hard work I have done so far in working with the images and stories of my past? I thought I was healing? Why is this happening now? Well, This IS the healing! This is the young part of me healing!

Finally, she has trusted to come out of the dark shadows within and show me, to use my voice to talk about “her” feelings and “her” pain.

We all have an inner child! For those abused as a child, that inner child is “stuck” and “silenced” and driven to fear out of being told for many years that she is not allowed to talk about it!

Me as the adult I am today, I have told the story! I have re-lived the old images of the past- but the young inner child wasn’t ready yet, she stayed dormant to the healing until trust could build just enough to come out from behind the walls.

As the healing has happened within me over the years, the young inner child has finally become awaken to my truth, to the trust of my therapist who holds the story. I have spent ten years showing up and showing her trust, love, and connection. The young inner child has awakened to that healing I have worked so hard through – and now that young wounded child is here – listening and ready to heal.

A physical wound heals from the inside out – An emotional wound heals from the outside in! Think about it, emotional healing begins on the outside and works its way inward, and deep within is that wounded, scared little child stuck, now ready to heal and speak and talk and even feel, and that is what I have realized is happening inside of me.

I spoke with someone recently who specializes in healing the inner child, and she said to me “Karen, you are healing, the dreams and the wakeups are not there to hurt you, but to show you.”

Difficult to think about isn’t it? Doesn’t make it any easier to shut my eyes before bed knowing I could be shown yet another image of my past that is painful or hard to see – – but if I can heal another wound on the little girl inside of me, it’s worth going through the pain again.

It took me years and years to believe that I have an inner child. I didn’t want to believe it! I struggled with the thought that if I admitted to having an inner child, that something was wrong with me. I feel differently now – I welcome this journey, and I embrace whatever the inner child wants to show me, because I know, from the outside in, she is healing.

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therapy helped me find my true self

When I began therapy almost 10 years ago, I was scared! I was vulnerable, I was unsure of what the process would be. I was afraid to let someone else into the part of my life I had locked up deep within for a very long time.

But I took that step 10 years ago, and I took that step because it was something I needed to do for me for that scared locked up little girl inside that never had a voice to speak without consequences.

I was told by “other people of my past” that going to therapy wasn’t going to help – that all therapy was about was paying someone to listen to my problems, and that talking about my past would be digging myself a hole I would never be able to get out of.

I was even told that I would be abandoned in the process, and if I took this step, no one would be there for me if I came back.

I was told that once I took that step into therapy, I would have to become dependent on the process; dependent on my therapist and change into a different person.

I was told that it wasn’t a good idea to open old wounds, that life is about handing everything over to God, and old wounds belong in the past.

The phrase “the past is the past“, yep I was told that time and time again by many – –  “the past belongs to the past” – –  “you can’t change what happened!” oh and let it go Karen.” – I have heard it all.

Well, they were right about some of those things – – –

I did change – I changed in ways that I never thought was possible. I found a voice inside that even I didn’t know I had. I changed – I changed into the person I always wanted to become – a person who can speak and use my voice in so many ways.

They were also right about something else – I did dig a hole, a big one, and in that hole what I found was a way to release the pain, and the hurt, and that lost little child inside who was silenced for way too long.

In that hole I dug I found a light – a light to healing; a light to a place where my voice would heal the hurt and the pain I held.

I found that the hole I dug, the hole I worked HARD to dig, also had something on the other side, a way out into a whole different life that I never knew was there for me. A life with connection, a life with healthy boundaries, a life where I could connect with god and people in ways I could trust.

They were Also right about being dependent – only what I learned in this process of therapy is that, the only person I would become dependent on was myself in a good healthy healing way; a way to where I could finally accept support from others without me having to give anything in return.

I learned that the therapist listening to my truth and supporting me through it, was there for me freely – no consequences or hurt – but to help me find myself behind the wall pf pain and hurt.

They were also right about something else … I am paying someone – but not for the reasons they believe, because what I also learned on this journey thus far is that, the financial part of therapy – the money I put towards my healing – is about a healthy financial part of this therapy process that honors me and my therapist.

I began to hear being told many times that no price spent, no amount of session time, no amount of years in therapy equals to the value of who I truly am – – – realizing that money was something others did to control me in my past, but this was about my worth and the worth of the time of my therapist in a healthy caring supporting way.

They were also right about something else .. the past IS the past, and how this process of healing has helped me and the young parts of me to see that the past is no longer here, and those who hurt me can’t hurt me anymore! The past IS the past, and boy how therapy has helped me to define the difference in a whole new way!

Therapy isn’t only about healing wounds of the past, but also about finding my true self under the wounds of the past. I found that I don’t have to be the person others expect me to be, or want me to be, that I am my own true person and she is still healing every day – every step – on my terms.

I won’t lie, when I first started therapy, I feared that I would be “seen” to be dependent on the process of therapy, or better yet, fear my therapist would feel I was dependent on him (like others did in my past) – – but what I really learned the most in these past 10 years is, I am the one who is in charge of my healing, and my therapist is the one that helps to guide me each step of the way.

Therapy and this process of healing is not a time frame, but a process of movement, and each day I continue to move and change, and continue taking steps out of the much-needed hole that I dug 10 years ago into my past, so that I could take steps into what lies before me.

SO when people wonder or ask “are you still in therapy? are you still on this journey to healing? I proudly respond “YES I am”, and I will continue to take these steps until the steps turn more into the steps of the life God intended for me, and only I will know when those steps change from a process of healing, to a process of being whole, and I feel it happening EVERY DAY”.

No one can do that for me but ME.

So YES I have changed, and yet I am also still the same person in many ways, only now I continue to find freedom from the wounds and the past by giving myself the voice I never had;only now I know I have the choice to move where I want to move, and how far and how long.

Truthfully speaking, In this process of therapy and healing I have struggled, and I have celebrated, and I have cried, and I have laughed!I have had moments of wanting to give up, and I have had moments of big changes and wanting to continue this amazing path of goodness! I have been through all of it, and that is what healing is! it’s ALL of it – the hard and the good!

I have found the locked up wounded self inside, and I have become a person I never thought I could become, and yet there is still the same sparkle of me inside as well –  It’s there – for those who truly know me, I’m still here.

Therapy is not just a process of the past, but the process of the now and how to live in the new life uncovered. Remember that if anyone ever wonders about your process of healing.

When I was 8 years old, I sat in my closet night after night and prayed to God that he would find someone I could talk to about what I was holding inside.

I needed someone other than God who could hear me and help me make sense of the confusion and pain I was holding. A voice I could hear back saying “Its OK Karen, I hear you and your OK, you didn’t do anything wrong” I longed for that, I longed to no longer hold this pain and secrets I held for so long.

I was a little girl all alone scared of what was going on, and I had no one to talk to about it. I prayed about this every night! So you see, I did hand this over to God, and he sent me into this process of healing 10 years ago – he knew I was ready, this was my time and God has walked along side of this journey with me every single day since.

God sent me on this journey with a bag filled of uncertainties and fear, and a whole lot of pain and stories to be told, and I couldn’t have done this without my amazing therapist Andy who has gently helped me  to unpack that bag in a healthy, caring and supporting way. Thank you ANDY, thank you so much for being the wisdom and the ears to my voice.

My therapist who has walked this journey with me almost 10 years now is the kindest most caring person. He is truly an amazing person inside and out. I thank God every day for him and his guidance and wisdom.

He has shown me what safe and healthy connection is, and he has walked this journey with me in the struggles and the celebrations.

Thank you Andy for being a part of this journey along side of me and God.

So you see – there are a lot of things people were right about – but they were right in their OWN beliefs without asking me first what this journey is TRULY about – – this journey that I took and continue to take –

Yes the past is the past, but you can’t live in the now or the future without taking a step back and healing what keeps you from going forward.

You can hand everything over to God, but what he hands back to you is just as important, this is what God handed back to me – the ability to heal and use my voice not only to live the life God intended for me, but to help others in the process.

This is my journey …. my journey to healing …. changes and all.

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