Healing is a really complicated thing. Some days you feel like you’re making a lot of progress and it makes you feel really powerful. Other days, not so much but at least you’re further ahead than you were a year ago, so that’s still something. Then there are the bad days. The fucked up, panic-attack-filled, crying on the floor days where it feels like the world is ending.
Sometimes those days happen and make you feel like a complete and utter failure. Like you haven’t made any progress at all. Those are the days that make you want to give up altogether.
PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP AFTER A BAD DAY.
Don’t give up after a few bad days. Hell, even if you have a few bad weeks… keep on pushing through. It’s easier said than done, I know. I promise you, I know firsthand that it’s actually really hard. But I also know that when you do the work, those days eventually end and you find yourself back on the path to progress.
I had a few of those bad days last week. They came out of nowhere and left me reeling. I don’t know what triggered me, but I found myself on the verge of tears one morning. I was sitting with my daughter, trying to hold it together, but I couldn’t stop the images that were flooding my brain. Again and again, I kept reliving my trauma. I kept seeing the worst moments of my life and nothing I did could keep the bad thoughts away.
It made me furious.
I was angry at the people who hurt me, but even more, I was angry with myself. For years, I’ve been working so hard to overcome my trauma. Healing is honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do, but I’ve been putting in the work because I want to be better. I want to be strong and happy and confident. I want to be a good example for Emily- to show her how to show up for herself. And in those moments when I was falling apart last week, I felt like I was failing. Like all of that hard work has been for nothing because I’m still just this pathetic broken girl struggling to keep it together. To be fully transparent, it made me hate myself for a little while. I also felt guilty because I am lucky enough to be able to spend my days with Em and I couldn’t even stay present with her.
But then the hard moments passed.
I remembered how far I’ve come. And remembered what a badass I am now and about how many changes I have made in my life. I remembered how strong and determined and empowered I am now and how much I have accomplished. Am I fully and completely healed? No. But am I a hell of a lot further than I used to be? Abso-fucking-lutely. And I’m really proud of that.
Sometimes, you’re going to have hard days. You’re going to have hard moments where it feels like all of the progress you’ve made just disappears. Those moments/days absolutely suck. But they pass. Healing from trauma is a journey- it’s an emotional roller-coaster with ups and downs. It’s important to remember that just because you take a step backwards sometimes doesn’t mean that all of your progress has been erased.
Give yourself some grace.
During the hard moments, you really need to practice giving yourself grace. No one else is going to do it for you and getting angry at yourself for being human isn’t going to do you any good. Take some time and let yourself feel it. Let yourself cry. Talk it out if you have someone you can count on. Write it out in your journal and try to get to the source of your triggers. And then remind yourself of how far you’ve come.
Again, it’s easier said than done. But it is possible.
I had three bad days last week. One was really bad from the moment I woke up until I went to bed, while the other two were just a series of ups and downs crashing over me like tidal waves when I least expected them. But now I’m back to feeling empowered and proud of who I am, because I know how hard I’ve worked to become this person.
Healing isn’t linear and it isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.
Not every day is going to feel like a huge success. Some days you won’t feel like you’ve made any progress at all and some days you’ll feel like you’ve gone backwards. But then there are the days where you feel on top of the world because you’re seeing results of everything you’ve worked so hard for. Remember, even a little progress is progress- sometimes that progress is so small that we don’t even see it, but it’s still there. Not everyone’s healing journey is going to be the same. Some people will have more hard days than others. Maybe they’ll get through things quicker or maybe it just seems that way.
Sometimes healing will feel exciting and powerful, but sometimes it’s lonely and stressful and overwhelming. It’s up and down and scary and confusing. Mostly, it’s a process.
You have to be patient with yourself.
Healing from anything, but especially from a trauma, takes time. You can’t expect anything to just be fixed overnight and sometimes, you’re going to need a good cry. It’s okay to have to start over. Sometimes you’re going to realize that what you are trying to do isn’t working and that it’s time to try something else instead. That’s okay. Acknowledge all of the hard work you’ve done and be proud of yourself for trying. Then go back to the drawing board and start working on a new plan. The most important thing is to not give up on yourself.
You have the ability to heal.
Not only are you capable, but you are deserving. You are worthy.
And you are not alone.
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