There are times I apparently appear so ‘normal’ I realize others assume it was easy to get here. Perhaps my strength and detachment from the emotional aspect of my experience as I tell it seem as though I hold some magical secret to healing that I can bestow to make all the hurt and the trauma of others disappear.
I am resilient and have had an undercurrent of happiness woven through me since childhood. But understand it has taken work to get here post abuse. Intense, miserable, brutally painful work. No one likes to do emotional work. I didn’t want to do it either. It was not until the pain reached a point where it was unbearable that I undertook the task of getting myself better through active participation in therapy; the only way I saw to get back what I’d lost.
There were days I was too distraught at the end of therapy sessions to drive out of the parking lot outside my therapist’s office. What was stored away safely was stirred up and rose to the surface. I would sit in my car, desperate and crying, until I could pull myself together and go on with the day. I did not skip away into the sunset of a perfect week between sessions.
I gladly share how I’ve done it, gotten to this point. Though I have enormous compassion, I can’t do it for anyone else. Not only is saving someone from their own journey unkind and controlling in its own way, emotional health is our individual responsibility. I am not a therapist, nor a guide. Just a fellow traveler. I’ve looked into my own abyss. Perched on a ledge still precariously close, I cannot accompany you to yours.
There are certain things….a particular angle of the sun, or the moonlight streaming into my bedroom, being startled or an unwelcomed memory, a dream of the confusing recollection of intermittent normalcy followed by instantaneous verbal assault…that take me back. I still have days when the enormity of the psychological abuse and the final moments make it an extraordinary effort to even get out of bed. I cry because I need to. I get up. I do the next thing.
If I have anything to offer as a way out of hopelessness and despair, it is only this: be willing to do the work. If you are not willing, pray for the willingness. The rest takes care of itself. It doesn’t ever completely go away. Truly, I only know how to live with it. You must find your own way to co-exist and as you get stronger it loses its power over you. I share openly, intent on being a beacon that despite the worst, there really is a happily ever after to be found and claimed. Though for many we simply have to do a little extra to create it.