There are a lot of wonderful resources out in the world now to heal, to educate, and to learn. I did not believe I would find the resources I needed for some areas, but I have found them. I am looking for more in other areas, I believe I will find them too. Also, I am creating them and speaking up about what I have learned.
In the guidebooks, they touch on some things but there are topics I have not heard many people talk about yet.
There are parts to healing that I wish someone had shared more details on. In Part One of this mini series I discussed how I experienced jealousy when I have friends with parents that have passed away. As a survivor of incest, it is a complicated array of emotions where many opposing truths and feelings exist all at once. It can be a lot to hold. It is important to me that I be ruefully open for others who need to know they are not alone. In this series, I address topics I feel need to be discussed. These are topics I want to share about because when I arrived at these issues I felt very much alone, again. And after seven years of work I know that is just not true. Our second topic.
- You will try strange things.
In the book, “The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse” by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, they highlight several stories of survivors. All the survivors heal differently and through a variety of ways and trying many things. I wish they spoke more in all the books about that journey.
Here are a few examples of paths I walked and pieces that stayed with me and what it was like. First, I admitted that my Christian college had proven Christianity was not the only way to Heaven for me. I went to a beautiful school filled with soul. I truly felt safe to question my doubts and over time I embraced that faith in the divine was more personal than one size fits everyone. I felt safe to try things that my strict Wesleyan faith had deemed sinful. Dancing was considered a sin and I had never stopped that. I explored conversations with my atheist, Buddhist, pagan, and Muslim friends for the first time without thinking I was the only one with the right answer to salvation. These things led me to meditation, more yoga, and less self-judgment. This initial questioning felt like a loss of identity. But it has been foundational in my healing as I am also a survivor of religious and ritualistic abuse.
I was in the height of my CPTSD symptoms, unfortunately, I was still approaching each new conversation and activity looking for a quick resolution to all my pain. I went for brain scans and heart ultrasounds hoping that was truly the origin of the issue. I just could not deal with my abusive past. I found a woman who taught something called chakra dance. It focused on dancing each chakra over the course of eight weeks, the last week was to be an integrative dance of all seven chakras. I stomped around in the dark with elder, middle, and youth aged women. We howled and called out and moaned and whooped, dropped to the floor in silence, laughter or weeping. I felt ecstasy, abandon, and release.
Two months later after four hospitalizations because I was still dangerously suicidal, I moved to the south where I stayed with a friend’s parents and let them take me to a charismatic church and everyone prayed demons out of me. I would wake at night screaming, “Help” from nightmares of my abuse. I got worse and worse, yet I felt companionship in my fight against inner and outer evil with new friends who came when I called for prayer. There were no demons, just my denial. Eventually, I moved in with friends and got a psychiatrist, started the medicine, and speculated about electrical shock therapy or dissociative identity disorder. Neither of those was necessary. The medicine my psychiatrist put me on alleviated some of my anxiety and for five months I slept almost twelve hours a day. I got a job across the country at my old college and I found a trauma therapist then finally, slowly, realized everything I did was beautiful. I saw the truth though that there was no fast food solution, and everybody was just showing me what worked for them. Over the last five years, I have found that yoga, poetry, laughter, and a lot of grace are healing the pain. I have been accepting my story and myself. Looking into the pain has not killed me yet, in fact, some days are less fear-filled. You will do strange things in your pleading, exploring, and healing. It will be a mess, and nothing will make any sense until one day, it does.
You might feel like you need to explain everything you try to others or everywhere you go, but you don’t. You don’t even have to understand it yourself. Somehow your body and heart are leading you the best they know how. My journey was filled with such intense, sometimes desperate, questioning and exploration. I undid a lot of rigid views of the world. You deserve adventure and peace.
Follow your curiosity, redirect your sails, and find what works for you. You get to choose your path. As a survivor, one of our most powerful healing tools is taking ownership of our choices and allowing others to make their own choices. I want only for you to take your path. I am simply sharing mine as inspiration that it will not look like you think it should. It may help if you embrace that now instead of later. My love is with you as you go on your way. In our next article, we will explore the loss of others. For now, be with yourself and meet yourself right where you are.
Be sure and check out Part I of, Between the Lines of Guidebooks
I am passionate and driven. I advocate for myself and others through writing, speaking, photography, and leading trauma informed yoga classes. I have my bachelor of arts in psychology and I am applying to graduate schools now for my masters or my doctorate in clinical psychology. My dearest form of self compassion and healing is writing poetry. I am a seeker of adventure and joy, eager to accept my humanity and find my strength in vulnerability. You are welcome to reach out and connect to me through email at [email protected]