I have spent my life going back and forth between running from pain and plunging into whatever is my honest experience. Today I heard the author Glennon Doyle on a recording ask the question “what if we just once and for all decided that we were strong enough for the pain in our lives?”...
I mean... yeah, I have not approached life that way. I used defense mechanisms I didn’t even realize were defenses because I believed that looking some of my deepest wounds in the face would literally kill me. I mean, I legit suppressed memories for 26 years and lived a life of anxiety because of how badly I didn’t want to feel it.
I’m sharing this because some of you have reached out asking for help with anxiety during pregnancy, or anxiety in motherhood. I want you to know that I lived as if the only way to live was to survive. I pulled a Regina Spektor, and loved with “one foot on the ground”. As children who experience trauma we need these defense mechanisms. But often as adults, those defenses stop serving us.
In this season where I’ve been facing my darkest darkness, I am seeing the light appear. Freedom I never even dreamed of has slowly started to become a part of my life. Flickers of peace. I stopped having panic attacks which I’ve had nearly my whole life! I’m starting to see my worth, starting to believe I am lovable. I see my grit, and my strength is revealed by the grace of God (who I am finally beginning to lean on). Lots of prayer and leaps on faith. Choosing to follow His gentle lead even when I’m afraid it won’t work out.
In the past 12 years I’ve done lots of significant work to heal from parent wounds, an eating disorder, and other difficult things, but no healing has compared to what I’m getting a glimpse of now. It hurts like a motha. Im censoring myself here, that’s how bad it hurts. And I freaking hate that part. But you know what? It hasn’t wiped me out. I have started to address what I ran from and my life is richer in the moments where I’m brave enough to show up. I see my daughter more clearly some days because I’m not hiding behind the fear of “what if?” Like what if I outlive her? That’s a real fear of mine that shakes me to my core more often than I’d care to admit.
For many of you who are not recovering from PTSD, this may sound dramatic or embellished. But allow me to show you all my tear stained clothes and journal pages and yoga mat.
The truth is you don’t have to have to have a PTSD diagnosis to be afraid or sad. Life is freaking hard sometimes. And it’s painful sometimes. And it’s magical sometimes. And it’s chocolate cake sometimes. But if you are in the hard part, know that you are strong enough to recover and heal from this. That freedom is waiting for you on the other side of the work. The showing up. The breathing through it.
You are strong enough.
I know that with all that I am.
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