Working to heal

Hello world- thanks for taking the time to read this. I am new to this site, and am excited to find a place where I can express my feelings (that is new for me and I've been told from a young age to suppress them / they just cause stress to others so best to stuff them). I've been on a healing journey for some time. I've experienced multiple traumas and am working with a therapist - EMDR therapy has been helpful. So many years of stress and dissociation to try to cope with the stress has put a toll on my body. I feel frustrated that at 33 I didn't start this hard work sooner. I was trying to survive through my circumstances, but I am hard on myself...and now I'm just being hard on myself for being hard on myself. Can anyone else out there relate and what helped you while you did the hard, and exhausting emotional work?

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  • Welcome! First, I'm so glad you're here. This is a great space to feel free to be your true self in this moment, which is important in healing. So often we suppress who we are, how we feel and what we want because of things we've been taught in the outside world.

    Second, I so deeply understand how you feel about waiting until your thirties to start healing. That was my situation, too. My trauma occurred at 13 but healing didn't begin until 30. But you know what? I look back now and feel really proud that I was able to hold myself together as long as I did until I found the right healing resources and was actually ready to engage with them. I missed a lot of my life that I can't get back, it's true, but I also discovered in myself a strength that's very comforting to know I have.

    Third, yes! I can relate to being hard on yourself. In fact, all of us do that. You'll see that mentioned in this forum in many different ways. I think it's part of the survivor mindset, to expect things of ourselves -- which I actually think is really healthy. It means that rather than giving up we keep hoping, believing and expecting in ourselves. That's a beautiful thing! It may feel bad but it comes from a good place so the objective is learning to use that self-criticism in constructive ways.

    Lastly, to answer your question about what helped when I did the hard and exhausting work: restorative activities. We need down time and time off. I developed a daily transcendental meditation practice that helped restore energy and a sense of relief and release. I also put in place a daily dance habit (literally, I took a class every day) to give me at least one hour of being out of my head and into an activity that I found fun and freeing. And then sometimes, when I really needed a break, I suspended all healing work for a day or two or week so that whatever had been stirred up had time to be processed and released.

  • Welcome Catsandcupcakes! Your name makes me smile. :)

    I can relate to everything you have written. I too have had multiple trauma and dissociation episodes. I suppressed most of my trauma for many years, so I too am starting therapy many years later.

    What has helped me while doing the hard and exhausting emotional work? Many things...

    1. This Forum: sharing with other people that understand our PTSD symptoms & healing process

    2. Gratitude: being grateful every day for the many blessings in my life

    3. Breath work: extremely important to relieve every day stress

    4. Mindfulness: staying present and choosing where to put my focus

    5. Enjoyment: intentionally choosing to enjoy as much as I can each day

    6. Helping: reaching out to other people gives my life more purpose and meaning

    7. Exercise: walking outdoors every day, with my dog, Deli

    8. "Your Life After Trauma": using Michele's book as a daily guide and road map for my recovery

    9. And so much more... :)

    What helps you?

  • Hi catsandcupcakes- Sounds like you already have been on a courageous healing path.

    I can relate-started at 45. Sooo the longer it's been in our systems, the fears stay in our body's cells, the more we must persevere. I looked at my recovery journey as a spiritual path and found more enthusiasm for life. In addition EMDR or EFT...I did and still do daily devotional readings and use Affirmations:

    like: I am enough, I am loved .... and you are too, believe me. All these old suppressed emotions surfaced and must finally be set free by us. Take care and be gentle on yourself!

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