Posts Tagged ‘healing from trauma’

Dear Faith,

I am sorry that you are feeling so crappy right now. It isn’t fair. You did nothing to deserve feeling this way. You did nothing to cause it, and there is nothing that you are doing or not doing that would make it all better. This is emotional chemo. This is something that you cannot get around, over, or under. The way out is straight through the pain until you get to the other side.

I know that it feels like you have always been and always will be in this much pain. The truth is that this feeling will not last. The longest it has ever lasted was six weeks. You didn’t believe it would ever end, but it did. For four wonderful hours, the clouds parted, and you felt the warmth of the sun. You felt more alive than you ever had before. When those four hours ended, you kept the hope that this pain would not be forever. Hold onto that hope.

Don’t let anyone minimize your experience. The pain really is that bad. It’s not your imagination, and you are not just “being dramatic.” Your pain is very real, and you don’t owe anyone any apologies for not being OK with being in so much pain. You don’t have to get through this time with grace: you just have to get through it however you can.

This is not a situation that you can “fix.” There is no magic formula that is going to make the clouds part and remove the intense pressure from your spirit. This is all part of the “emotional chemo” process. Healing moves to its own rhythm, and you are just along for the ride. It will feel more endurable if you stop fighting it and, instead, express what you are feeling.

It is OK to cry. It is OK to get really, really pissed off about it. It is OK to take it easy. If you were going through physical chemo treatments, nobody would expect for you to keep the perfect house or get everything done. You would be given the time and space you needed to heal. This emotional chemo is no different. Take the time you need to nap and rest.

I know how hard it is to believe that this is survivable, but it is. You already survived your childhood, and you have already survived these dark places several times. You can do this, one baby step at a time. You don’t have to get through the rest of your life – you just have to get through right now. Do what you need to do right now, in this moment, to survive it. I promise you – the clouds will part.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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On my blog entry entitled Dealing with Diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), a reader posted the following comment:

I am only beginning to accept the fact that something did happen, the “others” know it did and can easily say so when they are out. I, however, have found it all too hard to believe. I can’t continue to heal until I believe them, even if I don’t remember it all. Memory is a strange thing, and I’m not sure that the memories are totally accurate. I’m wondering if they may in fact be a combination of memories somewhat jumbled up? Do I really need to get them all straight? or is just the acceptance of them what is needed for healing? ~barbi

This is a complicated issue, and this is a conversation that I had with my therapist more than once. My therapist said that there is no need for me to “relive” every trauma that I ever experienced. Instead, I needed to reconnect enough to understand and accept my overall history.

My experience has been that I needed reconnect with every big issue that I faced. For example, I needed to remember and heal the fact that I was vaginally raped by men. I don’t have to remember every single rape by every single man. However, if there was a particular man who raped me that had significance (versus the nameless and faceless men involved in the cult), I needed to recover those memories as well.

When you have DID, different memories and emotions split off into different parts, whether those parts are personalities or fragments. When I remembered and dealt with anger toward being raped, I could integrate a bunch of different angry parts that might have originally split off from many rapes. I did not have to “relive” every rape to do this.

However, there are other memories that were particularly traumatizing, such as the first vaginal rape, that I needed to heal. Healing the generic “a bunch of men raped me” did not heal the initial horror of that very first time.

I have learned to accept my truths, whatever they are. If a part tells me that X did Y to me, I choose to believe it. As I open myself up to this reality, that frees the part to integrate. As the part integrates, I feel the emotions and may or may not recover the specific memory. In my experience, the key to healing is loving and accepting each part, memory and emotion as “me” and “mine.” I generally do not have to “relive” the memories very often unless they were particularly traumatizing. I trust my inner guide (my intuition) to lead me where I need to go.

I don’t know if this fully answers your questions. Please post any questions that I did not address in the comments or email them to me.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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