Healing Is Hard
Before you read further, please take a look at the content warning. This blog post discusses potentially triggering issues.
I want to talk today about healing from trauma. I’m going to share with you some of my recent struggles in my healing process. The blog is mostly a stream of thought blog as opposed to one filled with tips and tricks and wisdom. Healing is hard. This is simply part of my journey.
The first recent struggle I had recently was remembering that PTSD leaves behind triggers that we may not be aware of until we stumble upon them. PTSD can be tricky and insidious and deceptive and can pop up at the most inopportune times. Sometimes, I can expect some PTSD related anxiety and other times it hits me out of no where. Last week, I had to complete a 45 minute video training about workplace harassment for my new temporary job. A big portion of my recent PTSD came from work-related trauma. While watching this video, thankfully alone, I grew nauseated. By the end of the video I was ugly crying. Watching that video caused a bunch of flashbacks to real work trauma and harassment. I didn’t expect it when I started the video. As I said, it just hit me out of no where.
The second thing I have been struggling with is the anger. I’m pretty open about the fact that I’m in therapy, and I also spend a good deal of time talking with my partners trying to sort out my feelings. I’m finding myself quite angry lately as I’m uncovering things about myself from my childhood that I thought I had long ago dealt with – still impacting my every day life.
Most recently, the big revelation I’ve had is that I spent my whole life making myself small. And I never would have said that about myself before. I am out and loud and proud and there’s no way I make myself small. I used to hear people say that, “Don’t make yourself small” or that they made themselves smaller – and I thought “that’s not me, I’m opinionated AF.” I was the chairperson of a kink group, I’ve done advocacy and public speaking – I take up space, right?
Except I realized – I’ve spent my entire life afraid, and making myself smaller. Trying not to be noticed. Not to be made fun of. Not to be picked on. Not to be abused. Not to look stupid. I don’t do things in public that I’m not pretty sure I’ll be good at. I grew up in a house with my grandmother, who’s number one rule in life was “Don’t embarrass me.” I think some of that rubbed off on me, and then how brutally I was bullied – of course I made myself small. Duh. But that was then right? I left all that behind, grew up, had kids, and was a fierce advocate for them.
But – I stop doing things, things I want to do, the minute I’m afraid of what someone else will think. Often because of my body. I’m a big girl. Not infinity fat, but I’ve been tall and big-for-a-girl as long as I can remember. And super uncoordinated. I refused to play gym in high school, because I didn’t want to get picked on. I can’t make myself go to a group yoga class because I know I will look dumb. I realized a week or so ago that I was afraid to even jump in the air. I was afraid I would look silly, or whatever – in my own house with no one there. I have had a lifelong desire to learn ASL, but gave up multiple times because I’m afraid to practice and be wrong.
Even right now – I’m blogging, but I’m dying to create video content – for YouTube and Instagram and maybe even TikTok – but I’m so worried about how I look or sound that I can barely even record a practice 2 minute video. I want to, I have things to say. But that anxiety is so strong. And it makes me ANGRY. I’m so angry that I didn’t even get what it meant to have “made yourself small.” And now I see that I did it – do it – all over the place. I’m angry that it took me until I was this many years old to REALLY understand my childhood trauma and PTSD, and I’m even more angry that it took being traumatized and victimized again in my adulthood to fully be able to process what happened to me as a child.
I’m hoping that by sharing my journey with you, I will give myself courage. I’m hoping that by sharing my struggle with you – that I help someone know that they are not alone. It’s okay to be angry. Healing is hard. It’s messy. Sometimes it’s awful. Please know that if you are struggling, you aren’t alone. It’s okay if one day you feel okay and the next you feel like you got the wind knocked out of you again. PTSD sucks. Healing is hard. I’m working on overcoming this need to make myself smaller – I don’t know how successful I will be, but I’ll try to let you all know!
Please give yourself grace as you heal. Be gentle with yourself, and I will try to do the same. If you are struggling with PTSD or other mental health issues, and don’t know who to call, I’ve put together a list of resources you can find HERE.
Until next time my friends. Be kind. And remember that you are loved.
CONTENT WARNING – this blog post discusses issues related to mental health including depression, anxiety, bullying, and PTSD.