Archive for January 16th, 2009

One of the beauties and frustrations of the process of healing from child abuse is having to relearn the same lessons. For example, I used to struggle with pretty bad obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms. I learned that repressed anger manifests as anxiety and depression. I processed a lot of repressed anger, and … voila … my OCD symptoms eased dramatically.

Then, a year later, I found myself once again struggling with deep anxiety. You would think that I would just say, “Aha. I must have more repressed anger to process.” But, no, that’s not what happened. I wrestled with the anxiety until I eventually “relearned” that I needed to process my anger. I did, and the anxiety went away again.

This is only one of many examples of how I seem to spiral around and “relearn” the same lessons as I heal on deeper and deeper levels. I wish I could learn it all only one time and not have to go through the struggle of first using a negative coping tool until I finally have that “aha” moment again.

I am in the process of relearning another lesson. I have battled an eating disorder for most of my life. In 2005, I mastered it. First, I went about three months eating in a healthy way, lost a lot of weight, and felt really good about myself. Then, I got derailed and had to “relearn” the same lesson again in 2006. This time, it lasted for eleven months! Eating well and feeling good about my body came easily and naturally.

Then, something triggered me badly, and I fell off the wagon. For almost two years now, I have not been able to get back to that place. And then, out of nowhere, I “relearned” the same thing that worked twice before, and now I am losing weight again and feeling better about my body.

The beauty is that, once we learn a lesson, we never really “unlearn” it. The truth is buried inside of ourselves somewhere. However, the frustration is that it seems to take a few passes to embrace a lesson and practice it in a life-long way. Maybe we need a few passes so we can absorb a lesson and put it into practice.

If you are frustrated that you learned a lesson that now eludes you, try to take a step back and remember that the lesson is already inside of you. You did it before, so you can do it again.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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