Heal My PTSD
4,731 members8,145 posts

Am a stitch? about to unravel?

I saw a string on my sleeve, I gently tugged it. What happened next was no surprise. I knew better. My stitches -- unraveled. Is that what is going to happen if I start tugging at my past. One stitch (incident) at a time until I completely unravel? As any seamstress knows, whether using a sewing machine or by hand, one must create a backstitch or anchor a starting point where the thread is double up. At this point, the thread is secure. Then come stitches created in succession. If the tension is correct, the stitches are evenly distributed and exact. If the tension is off, the stitches are uneven and bind up and break the thread.

Through out my life, I have created so many anchors. Are they strong enough to hold? Will I have to uproot those anchors?

Ill be navigating the unknown anchors. This is scarier than you can imagine. What if too many anchors (incidences) unravel too fast? What if the stitches between them are harder to unravel? Sewing patterns are used for guidance, a path to sew. What if the paper thin pattern rips? What if I have no tape to fix it? What if I have to create a new one? Do I have enough resources to make it happen? Can I navigate this article of clothing (my life) with no visual pattern? Put my pressure foot (my life) in reverse?

5 Replies

Great analogy. I'm afraid I don't have any answers, but ask the same questions. I think that fear of unraveling and not being repairable is what one of the things keeping me out of therapy. It's comfortable with the known, with the pain and the fear and what my life has been for so long now. I'm terrified of what will happen if I start tugging at those threads... I completely understand!

1 like

I'd never embark on any healing journey without a counsellor, a ship steerer, someone who knows the land and knows how to navigate the waters. Sometimes it may seem too much and you may feel your unraveling, it's important to have a counsellor who will make some emergency time available to help anchor the boat until the next session you have with them.

I absolutely love the way you have used imagery to talk about your fears, I am a visual person myself so I do get it.

Maybe write a list of what you will have if you do not begin this journey, for me it's ongoing nightmares, triggering, dissociation and at times suicidal depression.

What I will have as I continue my healing journey is a life well worth living. It will still have its moments but I will be better equipped to handle them.

I'd also suggest you write a list of what keeping where you are today will give you because there will be bonuses to be had in not moving anywhere. For me it's the ability to get crisis support over and over, no one expects anything of me if I stay where I was...they know I will let them down because I will sink into deep depression..and on and on I could go.

I wish you well on your decision making about whether to put your feet in the stream that leads to recovery.


An anchor. Maybe two. That is what is needed on the healing journey. What you will ultimately find, however, is that you are the anchor in your own life. In the meantime, like growing children, we need the support of therapists or loving friends or pastors or this forum - anyone who can serve as our cheerleaders, guides and touchstones as we navigate the minefield analyzing and feeling what happened to us, revising and reframing those experiences and ultimately, healing. It is a journey of advance and retreat. Ups and downs. Progress and setbacks. It saddens me when I read about fear of embarking on the "healing journey" yet I get it. I was driven to healing through deep personal crisis and love of my children who likely would have repeated my fate had I not broken free of my family and ill-conceived "marriage." Today I am my own anchor and have a new loving, supportive husband and circle of friends that I cherish and count on. Admittedly it took years to get here but it is so worth it. Pull the thread. If the garment you are currently wearing does fall apart, you will find you emerge with a whole new one that is likely better than the last one. Your constant awareness and commitment to healing will ensure that outcome


This is a terrific and lovely metaphor, Andgils.

I'm not enough of a sewing pro to answer in a like metaphor, so instead I'll share with you the way one of my clients expressed it as she came to the end of her PTSD recovery and our work concluded:

She said that healing was like making a quilt -- putting out in front of her all of the scraps of the past and present and then arranging the pieces in a way that made something beautiful. She was a professional quilter, in fact, and I now have on my bed a king size quilt she made for me to symbolize the recovery work I'd helped her do.

The key to any healing work (and I learned this first from my own PTSD recovery process) is to go slowly. If you pull the thread slowly you retain more control over how and in what way things unravel -- and with what stitches you intervene to create the new pattern you desire.

Healing without a pattern can be frightening -- but it also offers the option of incredible creativity that leads to a most personalized recovery. With your well-developed sewing skills I bet you will find a way to take the metaphor into real life.


I LOVE this analogy. I am visual and I do sew so I totally get it. Also love ALL the replies.

I would offer one idea, take or leave it, which is this. What if the anchors are still there but you add stepping stones -- sort of like anchors but they're ahead of you. Don't step (or pull a thread, to mix metaphors) until you can visualize the stone you're about to step to. One step at a time, don't look farther ahead than that. Then as you get to the next stepping stone guess what? It becomes and anchor. A good therapist can help you visualize the next stepping stone, what it looks like, what will feel good about being there, and it will be feel less risky.

Can you tell my son has had me watching "Howl's Moving Castle" over and over? Also a great movie for healing. I highly recommend. Bad things turn into good things over and over.


You may also like...