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
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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Yesterday when I woke up to get ready for therapy and the day ahead I knew it was going to be a really hard day – I just knew it and felt something really big inside tugging at me!
Emotions were really close to the surface from the moment I woke! Emotions scare me – – emotions make me want to run – – I hate feeling, and being with emotions; especially letting them be seen!
Yes even in therapy, even after 8 1/2 years of working thru my feelings and it still is a huge struggle for me!
When I showed up to therapy I knew from the moment I sat in the waiting room that this was going to be a hard struggle – sitting there waiting I even struggled with and debated on walking out and going home before he came out to get me – which I have never once done in 8 1/2 years of being in therapy.
But I stayed with it, I worked with the struggle in the waiting room and knew in that moment that “connection is found in working through the struggle, not running from the struggle”.
I knew from the moment I sat next to my therapist that the silence I felt wasn’t going to work, swallowing my emotions and feelings was not going to work like it once did, and so I gave in and let them just show up no matter how bad they felt!
My therapist took and held my hand and said “just breathe and let it be here” and when the emotions got big, he hugged me in those tears and told me I am supported, loved and cared for – even in the days I have tears, not just in the days I am strong with all the wisdom I bring and how strong I am.
My therapist knows my struggle with emotions, he has been a witness to this fear for over 8 years now, and he knows no matter how many tears I have shed, it still scares me to the core every time they show up.
The story behind the fear of emotions is so big that its something I still have such a hard time with no matter how many times I reminded that “your tears are SO OK!” – “however you feel is SO welcomed” “you are not alone”.
There is also a part of me that struggles with emotions on a level that “if I am expressing my emotions, if I am having emotions, it’s too much, or I am not being strong enough, or this is a step back instead of seeing it as a step forward.
I feel guilty and ashamed for having emotions, because I was abused into thinking that.
BUT – For the first ever, I just let go of my inner fear and just let the emotions be there, because it was too much work to sit in the silence!
I realized how bad it felt to be silent and disconnected vs letting the emotions be there and let go of that inner fear that holds them. I felt what the sadness felt like, I felt what the tears felt like, for the first time I was able to feel fully and not disconnect from my self or the young part.
I showed up yesterday regardless of how bad it felt inside, because I know deep inside God is along side of me taking those steps with me, and I know I am supported by a wonderful therapist who helps me to see that I am not alone in these big feelings, and my support is there in the connection if I allow the connection to be there.
Never have I FELT my emotions … I have cried many many tears, but never have I felt them or even felt what they meant and why there were there … never have I accepted them to be here.
and another step is made . . . .
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I feel like the theme of my writing has been “its been a while since I have written”, and it’s true, it has been a while since I have written, and I think it’s because when I am working so hard internally, I become detached with everything else around me.
The work in therapy the past couple of weeks have been really hard but good work! My therapist keeps telling me “I am so proud of you, you are working so hard and you are on such a different path than you were just months ago” – and I believe that because I feel it.
I have been trusting and learning more and more of what it means to work with my feelings and emotions “as” I have them; not pushing them away until I can find empowerment over them.
I am still waking up in the middle of the night with “crying wake up’s”, and instead of forcing myself back to sleep like I normally do, I have been grabbing my phone or laptop when I wake, and write notes down on how I feel, what I woke feeling, and what the tears mean… I have even allowed myself to stay with the emotions and feel them instead of pushing them away by falling back to sleep.
It hasn’t been easy, and I hate the way it feels, but I do notice the more I do that and allow myself to be with the emotions that show up, the more connected I feel to talk about them.
My therapist always tells me “every tear is a tear of healing” “every tear has a story and meaning behind it” – when in the past I would think tears = weakness or tears = consequence.
I left session Friday feeling as if we peeled back an old scar and left it wide open to see all the insides exposed, and the only TRUE way to re-heal that old scar, is to take care of the insides instead of just throwing a band-aid over it.
Sometimes, we need to open old wounds so that we can treat it the way it should have been treated, so it can heal the way it needs to be healed – – and that is with truth and understanding. If we don’t get to the CORE of our wounds, it will never fully heal.
I have been working so hard on looking into those wounds and facing the core of how they got wounded, and a part of the healing has been about feeling and accepting.
Something I have really struggled with in the past was “acceptance” – acceptance of support, love and care from my therapist in therapy, and I didn’t realize just how needed that is in the process of healing, and how accepting those things doesn’t mean “dependence” – it means I am saying YES to me and YES to the younger parts that never had the support I have now.
The other night, I felt some really big feelings and I leaned in and emailed my therapist (which I don’t normally do unless I ABSOLUTELY need it; even though he tells me to lean in anytime I need it) .. well I leaned in and I opened myself up to support at a real vulnerable time IN the emotions, and he was so proud of me for leaning in and by leaning in and talking about my feelings, I was able to accept his support back and know “I am not alone and I am heard and supported” ..
It helped! It helped heal a little bit of that wound in the corner that still has a hard time healing. I took a small step and in that step I learned to accept.
So, in my quietness lately, I have been really work hard within, and I am really hoping that I can take this acceptance and start writing more about this important process! I hope to write more because when I write and connect with others, I do notice healing happening there as well …..
So, as I sit here on this Sunday morning, I am thinking about the week ahead and I am looking forward to see where this path continues to take me in therapy and in the steps I am making all around my healing.
Acceptance, being with these emotions that show up, and really facing the core feelings and emotions that show up and what they mean ….
I am learning more and as much as that is scary, it’s equally exiting to know I am finally facing the wounds that need to heal the way they should have healed.
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I have woken up many times in the past week crying out of my sleep; literally crying with tears and all out of my sleep.
I have written about this experience before and its something that I have gone through quite a bit in the past couple of years.
This past week I have experienced this almost every other night and it has left me feeling emotionally drained!
I have talked about it with Andy in therapy and he knows this has been something I have struggled with for years, but we never have put a secure understanding of why it happens when it does and what it truly means.
It happened again last night, only this time I cried for an additional hour after I woke – when normally I would fall asleep almost immediately after waking from the crying.
My therapist and I think it has something to do with emotions finding their way out when I am most un-able to stop them – in my sleep.
Tonight I did some research on this – even contacted someone who specializes in dreams and I found out some really interesting things about this.
These wake ups of crying is not only emotions finding their way out, but its my body’s way of letting me know that I have surpressed emotions that are trapped by fear of showing emotions in front of someone.
Emotions and showing emotions have always been something I struggle to show or be with. I have written about this a couple of years ago called “Fear of Emotions”
Even after 8 1/2 years of therapy, I still struggle to show or have emotions in therapy, or even outside of therapy. I have this intense ability of keeping my emotions in check no matter how bad I feel inside.
Reading more on this “waking up crying” it says: according to mind/body medical experts, repressed feelings and emotions don’t just go away. They actually remain in the body, taking up our energy and laying the groundwork for emotional distress which can be emotionally damaging.”
Another Dr who writes about this says: “Unexpressed emotions tend to ‘stay’ in the body like small ticking time bombs,” she says. “They are illnesses in incubation. The danger, experts agree, is that when we delay acknowledging our emotions, this can lead our body to speak louder and louder to get our attention.” –
Hence me waking up crying out of my sleep is my body’s way of saying “your leaking!!!!”.. they say when you repress your emotions, the body tries to find places to express those emotions when we are vulnerably able and in the sleep is the one place the body rests the most.
It makes sense, but it doesn’t cure my fear of emotions or talking about them.
I found it interesting that in this article one DR writes: “This could also be due to repression from an external source, such as a person that will not allow you to cry or a person that you are afraid to cry in front of.”
I spent my whole childhood fearing my own emotions and spent many nights rocking back and forth in my closet trying to swallow them or talking them away! I feared crying in front of anyone because as a child, I wasn’t allowed to cry “or else!” I was SHAMED for crying.
I don’t like crying in therapy, it sends me signals that I am going to be harmed if I show emotions. I have this shame come over me like I am doing something terribly wrong.
I have had emotions in therapy, but its incredibly hard and I work my hardest to swallow them as fast as I can. It’s not something I like to talk about, and even writing about this right now is making me a little anxious and I want to stop …..
But I also don’t like the feeling of waking up and having thee heart wrenching moments that I don’t understand.
In a way, I am sad now because I realize how much I am repressing myself and the younger inner child that is healing from having emotions that I hold.
In the article and most of the Dr’s say the best way to move through this is to talk about the feelings, talk about those things that are repressed allowing myself to feel them, not just talk about them. I cringe at that thought as it’s not something I feel comfortable with, but I also don’t want to wake up feeling the way I have been the past week!
This healing journey has come with many different paths, and this is the one path I always detour around, and maybe its time to take that path and learn how to heal the very things I fear …. emotions.
Wednesday morning while driving into therapy, I was feeling a bit disconnected – I woke up not being sure I wanted to show up to session and be vulnerable to how disconnected I felt – I felt a bit quiet inside like emotions were right there at the surface . . . . .
Then… 3 words came to my mind and into my heart – ITS A CHOICE!
I have the choice to feel the way I am feeling! I have a choice to show up just as I am, and let my therapist connect with me and connect back! I have a choice to change anything that is going on inside of me!
Tears began to well up, and emotions were really present! Those 3 words just hit my heart so strongly, and I knew it was a message from God in that moment!
When I got to session, I could tell right away my therapist had this great energy about him. He was open and really gentle with his words, and his demeanor was soft.
Even though he could already tell, I told him right away “I am feeling really quiet, and emotions feel close to the surface, and you know how hard that is for me”.
Even after 8 1/2 years of therapy, emotions are still something I struggle to express!
My therapist then said something to me that was probably one of the most caring things I have ever heard him say, and he said to me “you work so hard in here, and I imagine you waking up this morning you just wanted to have a break from feeling all these feelings and working so hard in therapy like you do, it makes so much sense you would wake up feeling the way you did, and in this moment I wonder (and this may seem silly), but I wonder to myself, what if I can have the emotions for you?” …
I smiled a little, part of me being in shock, and then said to him “although that is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me, no one can feel my emotions for me, and to be honest, I wouldn’t want anyone to“.
It was in that moment I really understood just how much my therapist cares about me; how much he is here to support and walk this journey with me. (not that I didn’t know this or trust this after 8 1/2 years of working together) But hearing those words, I really got just how much I am supported in this journey and how blessed I am for that.
He also knows deep inside that it’s not possible to have someone’s emotions for them, but a part of him wished he could do that work for me so I could have a break!
It didn’t sound silly to me, because I know what its like to want to take pain away from someone else, I just never imagined anyone would want to do that for me.
I get it .. I really get it now.
I shared with him the 3 words I heard on my way in “It’s a choice” and I went on to tell him what it is I have the choice to do!
I have the choice to feel better when I feel sad..
I have the choice to not let fear over-take me.
I have the choice to not let others and their actions keep me in a place of disconnect.
I may not have the choice to change others, but I have the choice to change me and how I perceive the actions of anything outside of my power.
I have the choice to TAKE MORE STEPS!
I have the choice to HEAL what isolation I have been in for the past 2 years.
No one can take that choice for me, because no matter what happens, it’s up to me how I react and move through this journey and choose my feet to the path I take.
When I said all this, my therapist just sat with me in awe of the 3 words I put out there. “GOD is with you, God is with us in this moment he said”.
He went on to tell me that in this choice, I have his support, his care, his wisdom and guidance and I am not alone in this journey. He even went on to tell me how sad it was that I had to fight so hard every-day through this hard isolation I have been in the past couple of years, but he sees so much hope of me moving out of this because of that CHOICE I see and hear.
And I finally get it! I finally understand that no matter how I feel, no matter how many mornings I wake up in fear, no matter what feelings hit me, I have the choice to turn that around and direct it in any direction I want.
I can take the sadness I sometimes feel and turn it where it belongs and away from me. I can take the anger I have pent-up inside of me, and turn it away from me and direct it where it belongs –
By talking about it – by letting someone hear about my sadness and anger and finding a way to re-direct it right to where it belongs, – By writing about it – getting my feelings out to where they belong – and I have been doing those things this past year, only now, I BELIEVE in it, and I know the choice is mine now! I accept that these feelings and anger and sadness and frustration and fear are not mine to hold, I don’t deserve these feelings!
The energy in therapy room yesterday was nothing I have ever experienced! My therapist sometimes describes the energy as “sacred” … and that is what it was – SACRED!
When we come to an understanding – especially when it’s from God, It hits you a certain way to where you have this acceptance and belief and a moment where you take a breath just knowing “its Going to be ok”
As the session began to grow close to ending, my therapist said to me “I just want you to know you are so safe, and I am going to “watch” and “guard” and make sure nothing gets in the way, and if anything even looks remotely close to getting in the way, we will talk about it, I will tell you right away!
I felt this relief come off my shoulders and chest like I have never felt before. My heart was filled with so much thankfulness in that moment.
CHOICE .. it’s all about the choices I have to make something different! I can’t change the choice of anyone else but my own, and I think I finally see that my choice is just as strong (if not stronger) than the will of others.
Projection is something that I sometimes struggle with, and something I have really struggled with the past couple of weeks.
I am learning more and more about what projection is and why I struggle with it; how projection relates to me and my work in therapy.
I read a wonderful article written by Morgan Sontag called “Things are not as they appear“. She explains how Projection is a defense strategy in which you unconsciously defend yourself against unpleasant impulses or feelings by denying their existence in yourself, while attributing it to someone else.
Basically in a nut-shell, projection is “blame shifting” .. not something done purposely, but it’s done when we feel so badly about ourselves that we turn how we feel thinking others feel this way about us.
A great example: I walked into therapy last Monday morning and the energy in the room didn’t feel right, and immediately I began thinking my therapist was acting like his normal self, that he didn’t want to be in connection with me, that he was mad about something, and I felt his mood was off – something wasn’t right! Well . . . . in “REAL” this is how I felt about myself. It had nothing to do with my therapist, his energy was fine, he was big and open and actually he was really happy to see me – it was my projection trying to blame shift it on him.
When I looked back at where these feelings began for me, I realized that I woke up that morning not feeling good about myself, I didn’t feel good about the connection, the energy I felt inside was really blah, I felt emotions at the surface, not loving myself at all, so when I got to therapy, instead of owning those feelings as my own, I projected them “blaming the bad energy on my therapist”.
This is what projection is!
When I realized this is what I was doing, I was able to connect to my therapist and talk about it.
We have worked a lot around projection in therapy and he knows when I am struggling with it.
But it’s also important to know that not all times we feel this way is projection, there are also times when others do own their own bad energy or disconnection. There are times I go into session and my therapist falls short of being there fully connected, or the energy is off due to him, not me. It’s the humanness of the therapist/client relationship.. we are all human..
Learning about when projection happens is important and something I have to work with.
I do the same thing here at home with my husband. When I am feeling down or I am struggling with myself and how I feel about myself, or I am feeling in a down angry mood, I will project that onto my husband thinking “whats wrong with him? why is he not in a good mood?” .. it’s not him at all, it’s me! I am the one struggling with these self feelings, and that is when I need to take a step back and figure out where the feelings are coming from.
Projection is tricky, especially if you’re in the middle of the projection, because you can’t tell if this is “whats really going on”, or “is this how I feel about myself!?”
The past week or so I have really struggled with connection to myself and others and some of that is projection. I am working on it, but at the same time, it’s not a really good feeling to feel disconnected.
Half the battle is trying to figure out, “is it projection”, or “is there disconnect?” My therapist is REALLY good at helping me with reminders of what is real, what is truth, what the connection is that he see’s, and then that helps me to tell the difference between “am I projecting” or “do I really feel there is something wrong with the other person”
….. more times than not, its me projecting. There have been a few times it really wasn’t me, it was the other person, but most of the time its a projection coming from something and that is where I need to really work on where this is coming from and why.
Projection is a real tricky thing, and it can really get in the way of connection. A great quote on projection is
“We do not see things the way they are, we see things the way we are”
I am a bit frustrated! I have had a hard couple of weeks with self connection, and connection with others, and I am really hoping that this week I can fine tune what is going on inside of me, and really get re-connected to self and others.
I think I know what is going on, and I have hope that I will work with it this week with my therapist, and I know he is open to really help and support me thru this hard disconnect I have been struggling with. He is amazing when it comes to working thru things like this, I have no doubt I will figure this out.
I see projection as a self “TUG OF WAR” .. a battle you have with yourself.
The frustrating part in this is, I haven’t felt this way in a long long long time.. so I am curious as to what is going on, and I am ready to work with it and figure it out!
I dont even have words to describe the awe and gratitude I have for those who surround me and those who are a part of my life today.
I have had a very tough 3 days emotionally. I didn’t know why, or even how I was going to move out of it (as I have never ever felt anything like this before in my life).
I have had hard times before, and I have felt depressed on and off like situational depression to certain situations, but it was nothing like these past 3-4 days have been – this was hard stuff.
Tonight as I sit here, I feel warm and loved. I feel relieved that my therapist and I sat with this hardness today and came to an understanding of where it came from.
I sit here tonight and I am blessed that all day today I got texts and facebook messages from those close to me asking me how I was, and giving me hugs, prayers and good wishes – ALL of which were answered for me.
For the past 72 hours – since last Friday night I started to become VERY depressed. Tears and sobs found me to a point it was almost uncontrollable, and I didn’t understand it.
Each day it progressively got worse, and today in therapy session with my therapist was the worst; even to the point of my therapist having tears because he felt so badly that I was feeling so sad and withdrawn – and then it hit us both why.
I feel better tonight because I understand where it came from, and I was surrounded by LOVE, CARE, SUPPORT, COMFORT, understanding! I am blessed and dont even have the words to express how better I feel understanding the depth of where this came from.
I started to write my book last week and sent my editor 2 chapters of the book. One was called “The Closet” the other was called “Motherless” and Friday night I sent “The Closet” and Saturday night I sent “Motherless”. They were heart wrenching to write, but never did I think it would hit me so hard inside to the point of feeling every bit of those emotions like I have never felt them before.
I have talked about the abuse in my life before, but right now it feels so different because I am at a new level of my healing. I am feeling with no walls and no covers. I am here, I am healing, and I am also FEELING every bit of it. Which is SO new for me.
Almost like needing training wheels for emotions, I dont know how to be with emotions this big.
Today in session my therapist and I sat together and he held my hand, and then gave me a hug as I cried and cried and we figured out where the depth of this was coming from – it was coming from the chapters of the book that I NEVER EVER allowed myself to feel before with no walls.
Writing those chapters hit something deep inside of me that I never wanted to truly see with my eyes as wide open as they are now. I talk about “healing” a lot, but rarely do I write about the abuse, and when I wrote those chapters, it set off something inside and my therapist told me that all those very HARD RAW emotions that were sitting way deep inside came out and it hit me.
I have spent a lifetime hiding my emotions behind walls and only letting little bits and pieces out, but these emotions came ROARING to the forefront and I felt every bit of it. I dont know what it’s like to feel TRUE pain of emotions because I spent my whole life putting pieces of them behind walls.
I have now felt them to it’s fullest.
I think I cried more in the past 3 days than I have my whole life and that is no lie – to the point it made my therapist have tears and I found myself hugging HIM – it was THAT hard.
My therapist helped me to see that sometimes when we really touch something that we have kept inside for so long that we finally allow ourselves to feel, it hurts and it hurts so badly. It’s like DETOXING emotions – snot, tears, water, pain, GUNK, EVERYTHING deep inside coming out from inside – almost like a virus that needs to find it’s way out.
I was grieving and that is what happened in the past 3 -4 days. I was grieving for the parts of my story I was writing and it hurt.
I read a quote and it reads ” When you can tell the story and it doesn’t bring up any pain, you know it’s healed”
I am not ready to write the book yet – there are wounds that still need healing before I can face this book head on. It’s not healthy to re-traumatize myself writing this book, this book is supposed to be written from the empowerment – not re-traumatized pain.
I have wounds still open and healing and I need to work more with this. I spent so much time writing and talking about healing that I dont spend time talking about the pain without walls.
My therapist and I both took a deep breath in relief over the phone a little while ago after a hard hard session. I am so blessed for him, he is such a wonderful therapist and I am so glad he was by my side every bit of the way this week.
I am so blessed for my husband who truly helped me and was there for me, and all the people who I shared this with.
I am putting the book aside until I can work with the wounds that are here. My editor is more than willing to wait as long as he has to, he wants to see this book take it’s stand. INSTEAD I am turning my blog into a memori book to be sold as a part of the journey to healing and I will share that with you in time as I plan it out more.
My therapist and I have decided to work more with what is going on deep inside; to work with the emotions that are now out from behind the wall, this is important and its a crucial part of my healing – this is where the GOOD healing happens.
I will know when I am ready – one step at a time. IT WILL Happen, it will just take a little more time than I hoped for.
I am relieved tonight to know what happened and how much love and support surrounded me around this. GOD is so good to me to put wonderful people in my life when I need them most.
The healing journey continues . . . . . and so doesn’t my writing