Healing From Childhood Trauma: Progress I’ve Made #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to the #AtoZChallenge, day eight. It’s already nearly 9PM as I start writing this post. I wasn’t home from day activities till 5PM, then had dinner and then drove 50 minutes one way with my husband to pick something up he had bought. On our way back, we stopped by McDonald’s, which was fun.

Anyway, today’s theme is healing. I was inspired to choose this theme by yesterday’s post, in which my final goal was to heal from my childhood trauma. Let me share today how far I’ve come on my journey.

My trauma-based symptoms first became fully apparent in 2009 or 2010. I had moved from a locked acute psych unit to a resocialization unit in early 2009. Once I developed trust in my staff, I apparently felt more ready to uncover the trauma-based conditions I’ve been living with all my life. You see, my trauma started early on and is in some respects ongoing.

When I started to open up about my symptoms, it still took a long time for them to be diagnosed as first dissociative identity disorder and PTSD and later borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder shares a ton of symptoms with complex PTSD and I think that’s what I have.

I have never been in formal trauma therapy. The reason is that, first, it was hard to find a therapist with expertise on DID. Once I’d found one, my diagnosis had been changed and I was assumed to be making it up.

As a result, I’ve done most healing on my own. I got the book Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation as soon as it came out in 2011. I worked through some of it on my own, but that wasn’t helping much. Talking a lot about my experiences was.

After I’d been talking through my experiences for a long while with my resocialization unit staff, my classic PTSD symptoms started to fade. Unfortunately, they’ve been back to an extent lately. However, my emotion regulation issues are a lot less pronounced.

I still have dissociative symptoms. Accepting them and validating my alters has helped me manage these symptoms.

Since I experience ongoing stress that reminds me of my trauma, I don’t expect to find the peace to fully heal anytime soon. However, I really hope I can continue to make progress.

Goals: Major Things I Hope to Achieve in Life #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day seven in the A to Z Challenge. I’m finding that, even though ideas spin through my mind to blog about, I’m already less motivated to write and especially so for the #AtoZChallenge. Today’s post is a list, so I’m not sure it fits in with the theme of miscellaneous musings. I am feeling a bit uninspired though and lists are the easiest to write posts. I am sharing my major goals in life.

1. Find myself a satisfactory living situation. When I wrote a list of goals I had for myself on my old blog, buying a house was on it. Not that I’d ever be able to buy a house on my own, but divorcing my husband wasn’t on the list. This (buying a house) was however more my husband’s goal than mine. When I finally decided to try to get into long-term care, I felt much calmer than I did before. Even though the process is now going on for six months and counting, I’m still sure of myself on this part. This is the reason finding a satisfactory living situation tops my list.

2. Write my autobiography. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a young child. Of course, I am a writer with my blog and I also got a piece published in an anthology in 2015. I would love to publish more pieces, but I’d also love to write a memoir.

3. Find a hobby (other than blogging) that I can do independently. Or almost independently. I’m in a course now at day activities to explore this. We’ve been trying soap making for the last two weeks, because I used to enjoy that, and it’s going okay.

4. Visit the United States. I have a few long-time online friends from there whom I’d love to visit. I’d also love to visit carol anne of Therapy Bits in Ireland.

5. Heal from my childhood trauma. I hope to be able to someday access a qualified therapist able to treat me for my trauma-based symptoms. Even if I can’t do that, I hope to heal.

What are your major goals in life?

31 Days of Writing for Growth Landing Page #Write31Days

I started this blog last July with the aim of writing more frequently, as well as more freely. I wanted this blog to be a diary-style blog while I maintained my other blog for more “blog-worthy”, less personal content. That last part didn’t happen – I practically abandoned my other blog. The first part though was a relative success. I didn’t write as often over the past two weeks as I’d done the first week of my blogging adventure. However, I did write nearly everyday.

I tried to participate in #Write31Days several times before. In 2015, I did it on my other blog on mental health. In 2017, I tried doing it on autism, but landed in hospital after an overdose on October 4 before I’d published my post. The fact that I would no longer be able to fulfill the challenge requirements discouraged me and caused me to let go of writing almost entirely for the rest of the month.

This year, I’m starting the challenge back up. My theme for this year will be 31 Days of Writing for Growth. I will write about my own personal journey of healing and self-improvement. I will not limit myself to a specific aspect of personal growth. I will most likely use some prompts from the various journal writing prompt collections I have in book or other forms. I didn’t prewrite my posts, so I’ll have to go with what inspires me each day.

This is the landing page for my #Write31Days posts. Here, I’ll be linking my posts each day so they’re within easy reach for those wanting to refer back to them.

To my fellow #Write31Days participants as well as to my readers, enjoy!

Quote of the Day (July 28, 2018): No-One Makes Us Feel Inferior

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”―- Eleanor Roosevelt

This is so beautiful! It pretty much says that you’re yourself responsible for your feelings. NO-one “makes” you feel anything. I won’t go as far as to say we choose our own feelings, but we have remarkable control over our thoughts and our thoughts influence our feelings.

If someone tries to make us feel inferior, it’s our choice to rise above it and see this as something about them, not us. Another person does not define us – we define ourselves.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy owning our feelings. We struggle with this a lot. We are often told we have an external locus of control and that’s probably partly true. In oter wrods, we look to other people or circumstances to “make” us feel good. That’s not how it works and I realize this.

Of course, being a trauma survivor, I do not need to blame myself for having post-traumatic symptoms. A mental illness is not a choice. On the other hand, it’s not my abusers’ or anyone’s responsibility to make me feel better either. In our case, most of the trauma we endured was not intended as abuse. That doesn’t change its effects, of course. It doesn’t mean we don’t suffer and we are allowed to hold the people who hurt us responsible for their actions. But not for our feelings.

This does not mean the trauma we endured is not an explanation for our symptoms. It is. However, it’s not an excuse to wallow in self-pity. Enduring trauma is not a choice. Having post-traumatic symptoms is not a choice. Recovery, however, is a choice.

Quote of the Day (July 26, 2018): The Way to Get Started

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

This sure has to got to be the motto for this blog. And maybe for my healing journey as a whole. I may talk healing, but if I don’t work hard in therapy and such, I’ll not accomplish much.

This also reminds me of a conversation we had a few days ago with our husband. I said I miss talking to him, really connecting to him, like I did when I allowed my alters to be who they are. I thought my husband didn’t want us to be us. This isn’t the case. My husband told me to actually stop talking openness and connection and start opening up. That’s the only way to actually connect. And though that opening up involved talking, it also involved connecting on a deeper, more-than-words-can-say level. We loved it.