Facing My Trauma

A self-discovery journey
to wholeness and
unconditional love.

What you face, you can heal. Yet, facing our deepest wounds requires courage, vulnerability and tenacity. It’s also a curvilinear lifelong journey, so patience, kindness and self-compassion are integral. One of the cool things about looking back is that you get to see how far you’ve come. As you confront the hurtful experiences of your past, you must also embrace the beautiful things in between. Only then can you arrive at acceptance. These were the three pillars of my healing journey that helped me integrate all my life experiences and molded me into the woman I am today. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m sharing my trauma story to help bring awareness to the value of trauma-focused therapy, self-compassion and emotional resilience. 

For years, I thought my trauma began with experiencing the death of my mom at a young age. My insight was realizing how difficult other parts of that experience were for me to process. While she was alive, I had already been through trauma. So, in addition to being traumatized over losing her, I did not get to face up to the trauma I experienced while she was still alive. That’s a lot for a 10-year-old to process. I had so many conflicting emotions, with zero tools or the proper support to work through them. Instead of learning to deal with my emotions, I learned to suppress and disassociate from them. I became a master at numbing out.

My Breakdown

Losing my mom, confronting the complex emotions I didn’t quite understand at that age and doing it without a caregiver to support me were additional traumas. After years of dismissing, suppressing and avoiding, this load became too heavy, and in my mid-30s, I broke down. As an adult, I’ve had to work hard and give myself the space and grace to grieve and heal properly. 

The breakdown I experienced in October 2018 opened my heart to seeking counseling and receiving trauma therapy. I contacted a therapist who had been recommended to me. God works in mysterious ways and knows what we need and when we need it because I was given KaKa Ray’s contact information the week before. She was an angel who helped me kickstart my healing and guided me on my journey to unconditional self-love, which continues today.

The Road to Healing

Most people are unaware of their emotional wounds and how their trauma impacts who they are. It appears like you’re on top of the world and you have it all figured out, only to realize you’re not living up to your full potential due to your suppressed emotions. I intend to share my story to inspire others to heal and become their best version. Awareness is the first step. Once I became aware, I committed to myself by seeking help and investing in my healing. 

On the road to healing, I quickly learned that not all therapy is equal. To uncover the root of my trauma, it was essential for me to work with a trauma-informed or trauma-focused therapist. I recognized how important it was to seek a professional who was knowledgeable about trauma therapies such as brainspotting and EMDR.

One of the ways I supercharged my therapy was by attending two trauma intensives at Psychological Counseling Services in Phoenix, AZ. PCS provides a multi-dimensional, multi-model approach to healing trauma, and offers intensives for the entire family. This investment was a gift to myself in entering chapter 40, and it catapulted my healing to the next level.

During my healing journey, I learned about a few life experiences that can often trigger unresolved trauma. 

  • The time of year when the trauma happened
  • When you reach puberty or walk through a major life change
  • When you fall in love or have hardships with relationships
  • When you experience a heartbreak and need nurturing or support
  • When you get engaged or married
  • When become a parent or each time you give birth
  • When you turn the age of your parent
  • When your child turns the age you were when it happened

I have experienced all these triggers, and my work has equipped me to work through those I have not listed. Neurofeedback therapy is a modality I used in addition to trauma therapy. It is a non-invasive treatment that helps train your brain to function more efficiently and addresses issues regarding brain dysregulation caused by trauma. Neurofeedback was a fantastic tool to calm my sympathetic nervous system after an intense trauma therapy session. Tennessee Neurofeedback in Brentwood is the place I trust. Visit www.tnnfb.com for more information and if you decide to give it a try, tell them “Linda Hope” sent you to receive $250 off the initial brainmap.

I also learned how beneficial meditation is for mental health, and to supercharge my neurofeedback therapy, I began meditating. To support my meditation practices at home, I use Muse, a biofeedback meditation device and platform that helps you train your brain for intentional meditation. I also love apps like Calm and Headspace.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.

Embracing My Experience

The next step was embracing what I experienced and who I am now because of it. While I’m still working through the traumatic experiences from my childhood, I understand now that it all led to my adulthood issues, including operating from a space of believing that I’m not worthy or enough. You have to embrace all parts of you to accept who you are. If you reject your ugly parts, you’ll never fully own and wholly accept yourself. That was a source of my insecurity and imposter syndrome. A lot of it had to do with the parts of me that I was rejecting. If I couldn’t accept myself, I automatically assumed others wouldn’t accept me either. It’s a toxic cycle you can find yourself in based on fear of rejection or abandonment. Those fears haunted me most of my life because of what I have experienced.

I’m learning to accept ALL of me – the beautiful and ugly parts. It’s a practice that I have to commit to DAILY. I’ve had to learn how to integrate both and accept the fact that they made me who I am today. Just as much as I needed all the beautiful aspects of my life, the ugly and hurtful aspects were also necessary to contribute to the growth I have experienced. I am now encouraged to look in the mirror every day and finally be proud of the woman I am because of the ways I’ve decided to invest in myself to arrive at a place of healing and wholeness.

The biggest blessing in doing my work is that I now get to create a legacy of healing and living whole. I now get to also co-create a healthy and thriving marriage because I’ve inspired my husband to do his deep work. Together, we are raising emotionally healthy and balanced children because we’ve committed to becoming healthy and balanced adults. Where this milestone could have been a moment of grieving, it will now be a moment of celebration. Not only are we impacting the lives of our daughter and son, but we’re also benefiting the generations to come after them – breaking the intergenerational cycle of unhealthy coping practices that often lead to self-destruction. 

If this inspires you to take a step towards healing, you can search for someone to speak to in your area or find more information on PsychologyToday.com.

Chris and I at Psychological Counseling Services pictured with renowned trauma therapist and author Marilyn Murray.

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