It was time to make the call. It was something I had been putting off, but something I knew I needed to do. It was time to get back into therapy. So, back in January I worked up the courage and looked up mental health providers on my insurance platform. And let me tell you, I was lucky on my first call. I knew I didn’t want to be calling around or going through a few therapists until I found the right fit and I think the Universe knew it too, so I managed to find the right person on my first try.
Now this wasn’t my first rodeo with therapy, so I knew the drill. But if I was really committed to my healing this year then I needed to do the work. I had read books about trauma, I had been practicing and teaching yoga, meditating, journaling, and now I needed to tackle all the stuff that had been bubbling up for quite some time.
Where to start? Well for me obviously that was with my childhood and my parentals. I didn’t have much luck in that department and have felt unwanted my whole life which led to an eating disorder, depression, and suicidal ideation and two attempts at taking my own life. See I believed my self-worth was determined by all these outside forces and I just didn’t live up. I was told from very early on that I wasn’t good enough, no one would love me, and I was called some pretty terrible names no child should hear, especially from their parents.
So, how did therapy help with this? I have learned this year that my self -worth is determined by me, not others. I am good enough, it wasn’t fair in how my parents treated me, and it wasn’t my fault. They were dealing with their own burdens, hurt, shame, regrets, and pain. Does that make it right? No, but here’s what else I learned, sometimes someone’s behavior isn’t even about you, it’s about them.
My self-esteem has risen, along with my confidence and my voice. Oh yeah did I mention I’m a people pleaser, not hard to imagine given what I just explained about those parents. I have trouble saying no because I don’t want to let others down or make them mad, this in turn makes me resentful and angry so I sabotage or lash out. See what I mean about how it’s not even about the other person most of the time.
And that anger, phew I didn’t even know I had so much anger living inside me! Anger at my parents, anger at my childhood, anger about being poor, the list went on. But slowly that anger has receded and I’m working on the shame and grief.
But what happens when you start to heal? What happens when you take a long look at your behavior? Well, there are tears, lots of them, tough days, depression, screaming into a pillow, yelling, the anger again, but then you start to climb out. And that is precisely where I am.
I am a survivor. It’s all I know; I have lived in pure survivor mode since I was a kid. My hyper independence, living in hustle culture always on the go, staying busy, need to make the money, watching how everyone reacts, all of it was to survive the abuse and stay ahead.
It’s now time to put my armor down. All that protection has affected my relationship with myself and with others. I have found myself in situations I didn’t want to be in, around people I didn’t want to be around, I have made mistakes, and I have said or done the wrong thing. There are apologies I would like to make that I can’t or I’m not sure would be welcome and apologies that I would like to hear that I know I never will and sometimes we have to live with that, we have to be okay with those circumstances and move on. This is how we heal.
There are versions of me living in other people’s heads that no longer apply to who I am but there isn’t anything I can do about that. All I can do is thank that version of myself and grieve for the person I used to be. As we change, we shed those versions but the people who don’t grow with us only know us one way. And I’ve also learned that not everyone is meant to continue with us on our journey forward. We all have our own unique path and purpose to live and sometimes that doesn’t line up with those we thought it would.
Am I done with therapy after this year? No, this is an ongoing process. Have I been through the worst of it? I’m not even sure, but I know I’m going to keep going because healing feels so much better than just surviving my life. Once I recognized how I have been treated, how I continue to let others treat me, and my own complicity and behavior, I can’t unsee it. And once you see it, know it, recognize it, you want better, and you want to do and be better.
Going into 2024 I plan to prioritize myself, be a little selfish, and focus on what I need. I might not be so quick to say yes anymore. I’m working on a little word called, Boundaries. Something else I learned in therapy this year.
So, it may have taken me 44 years to finally start to confront the trauma, but I am so glad I did and looking forward to the next year of this journey called Life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As a writer, speaker, educator and coach my goal is to help guide people on their own journey to making a wellness lifestyle work for them.
My holistic approach teaches that it’s not just about the nutrition we put into our bodies or our fitness routine, we also need to take care of our own well-being as well.In order to truly live a healthier life we need to realize this is a shift and change in our whole lifestyle and we must cultivate this lifestyle every day.
I’m a certified health coach with a Master’s degree in Health Promotion with a concentration in Community Education.
This degree prepared me to become a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). All of this knowledge is helping me create health education programs for children and adults alike.
MORE FROM THE BLOG…
I have always believed that everything we do is interconnected. Which is why when I embarked on this health journey years ago, I called it a wellness lifestyle. I knew that each choice I made, each habit I developed would influence other ones with all of them adding up to how healthy I was inside and out.
Writing in my journal has been a habit for me off and on since I was in high school. I don’t have any set routine around it and sometimes I’m not very consistent. I can go months without journaling only to pick it back up when reading a certain spiritual book, working on trauma healing, I need to work something out, or it’s a new moon ritual.
I recently read an article discussing the word resilient and it had me thinking how I feel about this word. I’ve used it to describe myself, heard it used to describe others, especially children, but is resilient what we are truly striving for?
Busy, the Grind, Hustle Culture, whatever you call it, I was a card-carrying member for years! I was proud of my membership and wore it like a badge of honor. I loved being super busy. Work multiple jobs? Check! Go to grad school while working said multiple jobs? Check! Accept every invite and say yes to all the projects coming my way? Check and Check!
I was raised Baptist not Catholic, but in my exploration of spirituality and the rituals I would like to participate in, I chose to do Lent this year. Lent is part of the Christian faith and is a time of penitence where we are asked to fast and choose items to abstain from in a way to mark the 40-day period that Jesus was fasting in the wilderness. Giving up certain pleasures is a way to foster simplicity and self-control, it is a reminder of our penance and creates a sort of suffering on our part.
As another year rolls around a new set of trends pop up in various industries. While I don’t consider myself the trendiest person, I do like to see where wellness is headed and if there is anything new I want to try or old habits I want to expand.
Here are a few trends that caught my eye for this year.