Truths of Trauma: Calling Shame by Name

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Are you ready for a lot more truth than I have ever had the guts to reveal?? I LOVE sharing the exciting things I have experienced this year. Who wouldn’t be proud of a spiritually renewing trip alone in the smokey mountains that lead to building my own version of a tiny house, which took me on a healing journey of a lifetime, and inspired the man I love to seek his own relationship with God?? I mean, is that not a comeback or what?? Well.. let me get real with you.. as glamorous as that may look to everyone on my social media accounts, there’s a whole lot more to that journey that will never be easy to share. However, while on this journey, God revealed his call on my life. It is my  responsibility to give my shame a name and reach all who may suffer, just as I, after the truths of trauma hijacked their life. If this is you, “endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:4-5

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As glamorous as that may look to everyone on social media, there’s a whole lot more to that journey that will never be easy to share

I call the ugly side of trauma the hard days. These are the times that I realize I have relapsed in progress. The days, even weeks, when I think I am finally doing life “normal” and come face to face with, yet, another trigger. Triggers are uncomfortable reminders that I am not fully healed. As a trauma survivor, I want to believe I can be “fixed” in a year of therapy. The truth is, though, my trauma didn’t happen in one defined moment that I can revisit over and over again until healed. I have to revisit many moments over 26 years that may or may not be the key source to the current trigger. It is my reality that some pieces of my puzzle may never be found. It is a place where I am suspended miles above ground with no safety net around to catch me when I fall. Shame, anger, guilt and humiliation are bitter truths on a hard days. Suspended above ground, in shame, is a dark place to be. However, I am fortunate enough to be a faith warrior, so I know the One who overcame the world carries me when I cannot carry myself.  I am still here, healing, with God by my side who will forever clothe me in dignity. “You will not need to fight in this battle. “Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.” 2 Chronicles 20:17

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The hard days hurt.

They are brutal emotional rollercoasters. . I do not wake up knowing when something will trigger unwarranted emotions. I do not step out into my day to intentionally over stimulate my brain and allow my intelligence to take the back seat. It just happens. No warning. No preparation time. It. Just. Happens. Something as simple as a word can send my brain into emergency mode and my anxiety shoots through the roof. I have learned that my 2 biggest hot buttons are abandonment and suppression. If I subconsciously sense either one of these, it’s going to be a hard day. After 4 years of dealing with this, my significant other has become so much more equipped with the right tools for these situations. Processing my thoughts in therapy has helped me learn how to communicate my challenges to him on a new level, which equips him to understand the truths in trauma. He knows how to help me self soothe and supports me when my fight or flight reflex goes bonkers. Recently, I asked for a time out in a disagreement. He was, simply, trying to slip into his “Mr. Fix It” role, and wanted to finish our conversation. In the heat of the moment, he said the wrong thing, at the wrong time, and hit the most sensitive abandonment button I have. Needless to say, I lost control of my emotional common sense that day and we ended up in my therapists office for assistance in navigating through the situation. Vulnerability, our growing faith, and therapy are the key ingredients in our lives together. I am sincerely blessed that God lead us to the light as a couple because Jacques is home to me. He is my soft, quiet place to land when the clamor of the world gets to be too much.

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God is present in all situations..not just the good.

With therapy and Jacques willingness to support me in times of distress, I have located my physical warning signs of a trigger coming on, which allows me to vocalize when I am in need of a time out. From what I have learned, the more I exercise this tool, my brain’s response to warning signs will become more and more natural. It is a process that, sometimes, feels like I am teaching my body very basic, natural functions. I have a tendency to become shameful about this. I am 37 years old learning these things for the very first time, which doesn’t feel right. The potential of bitterness setting in is often possible, which is when I really have to lean on my faith. God has had to step in on many occasions because of this. There have been people who have criticized my faith during these particular times. I can imagine that it’d be easy to. It appears my faith is strong from the outside, then I become this not so pretty person. Here’s the deal, though.. if you don’t have faith in the miracles of God in dark times, you’re not making it out of here on the right foot. God is present in all situations..not just the good. He sees what are hearts are struggling with and He never leaves us. He never forsakes us. Even on hard days.

At one time, I was angry with God because I couldn’t understand why my life felt cursed. I looked around and envied others because I didn’t have what, it seemed, everyone else did. I could never just relax. From as far back as I can remember, I was under constant scrutiny and had to prove myself in every single area of my existence. I failed to do so on many occasions, because I was never given the right tools. I was set up for failure then criticized and shamed when I didn’t succeed. There is this little girl inside of me who started out good, with a good heart, and good intentions, who, now, has to fight to override voices of her childhood that convinced her she is a bad person. It feels like a constant battle between good and evil. Though my common sense wants to tell me it was all unintentional, the broken little girl still wants to say that it wasn’t right.  Last year, when I felt God’s permission to lay that cross at his feet, I felt free for the very first time. I sensed a bigger purpose for everything I had endured up to that point. Everything, finally, made a little sense. You see, God doesn’t just hand someone trials and tribulations without a reason.

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Though we may never fully understand, just know it is a part of a bigger whole that He is working on

Recently, I came to an “Aha!” moment! I realized everything isn’t about me (bummer.) Maybe, my life was used to shape a heart that was in desperate need of healing. Just maybe, I was an instrument in the execution of God’s most divine plan. Though I know the human mind is incapable of understanding most of what He is capable of, this brought a sense of peace to my heart, because I pictured myself saying to Him, “If this is the case, I am honored that you chose me to help.”

It seems that those hard days will be around for a little while longer, but because of my relationship with God, my family, and my therapist, I am learning how to navigate through them. Regardless, I am so blessed to be where I am today. Where I stand now is a world away from where I stood just a few short years ago. Where I will be tomorrow is one step further from than where I stand today. I am certain the end result will be so much more rewarding than if I had never experienced adversity.

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I can rest easy knowing that I am the daughter of a King who was well-groomed for the battle of life and I am equipped for anything that is to come. 

If you, or someone you know, is fighting a war within themselves, please share my story. Sometimes, we all need to know that there IS understanding in the world. It’s way too easy to feel like we are the only one wrestling with demons when we aren’t. God is always near, and though it may seem like He does not hear us, trust that He does. He is working on all our behalf for the greater good. Trust in that.

Sweet child, be free.

Love, D

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