It is January 1, 2020. Lets just say 2019 is a year I am grateful to be leaving in the past. Very few aspects of my life bear any resemblance to the life I naïvely believed I had built just twelve months ago. It was an ugly and painful year that came with a side of destruction. As the pieces of my life fell like dominoes one by one, I realized that sometimes you have to burn gloriously to be reborn.
My personal theme for 2019 was trauma work. I am no stranger to therapy. At this point in my life I think its fair to say, I’ve earned my stripes on both sides of the chair. I’ve seen my current therapist on and off since I was 16. However, this time the work we focused on now was much deeper. This trauma had always been under the surface, psychologically I was just unable to process it until had garnered enough strength and life experience to truly handle the ramifications of it.
January brought the perfect storm of stress in my life to move this long buried trauma to the forefront of my subconscious. Once it was open, it was present all the time. Repeatedly re-experiencing intrusive memories, hpervigilence, insomnia & digestion issues became the norm. And personal therapy sessions (which had not been a big part of my life for the preceding 5 years) again became a biweekly occurrence
As the months unraveled I sloshed on in therapy. Processing memories, tying patterns of behaviors back to the initial trauma, and deciding what I was no longer willing to tolerate in my life.
By May, I had broken off an engagement. June brought the devastating blow of my business partner cutting ties. This summer also brought a litter of 10 puppies (my exes project that he abandoned to me). Plus a hospitalization for a staph infection (that should have been caught with outpatient treatment but instead nearly killed me).
By my 30th birthday in August, I was stuck. Surviving the summer had taken everything out of me, and I didn’t have the emotional energy to reengage with the work. My depressive tendencies took over, and I allowed myself to wallow for much of the next four months. I engaged in some of the unhealthiest behaviors of my life. Plus I allowed a new relationship to get completely out of hand. Because I just didn’t care anymore. I also knew I could not expect things to get better until I re-engaged with my work. So the craziness, the lies, the tears, the insanity, the destruction, the betrayal just continued.
I was struggling with severe insomnia and night terrors. The inability to complete a sleep cycle without relieving the worst experiences of my life had worn me down to a barely functioning, completely on edge, grade A bitch. Each morning this fall was like waking up to my own personal hell: everything was foggy, I was constantly on edge, loud noises startled me, and God help you if you crossed me on the wrong day. Because guess what?!?! Sleep deprivation will do that to even the best of us – that’s why they use it as a torture technique.
The good thing is – when live in that tension long enough, eventually it becomes unbearable. On December 12, I had a dream that I had done what I had known for months was the final step to this trauma work. In this dream I had THE conversation that I had been avoiding. The one that would forever change dynamics in my family and once said could never be taken back. For a few brief moments in that dream I felt relief. Waves of tension rolled off of me and I wasn’t carrying the weight of the world inside my head.
When I woke that next morning, the tension was back worse then ever. I knew I could not continue to slug on like I had been. The relief I had felt in that dream, it had been like water to my parched soul. I needed that to be real. That morning I got dressed, and I took the plunge.It was painful and raw. But it was over, after all the tears and anxiety released, I began to = experience the relief that I had felt in my dream.
Not only was it real this time, it has been enduring as well. I finally stood up for this little girl inside of my who was victimized so long ago, and now she can be at peace. I have slept through the night, experienced pleasant dreams and now awake feeling rested. I have hope again!! That I can rebuild this time and I will finally be free of the chains of my past. That this time the cycle won’t be repeated. That life can be good.
So as I enter 2020, I enter with excitement to see where things will go.
What will my phoenix moment look like?
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