Unlearning Complex Trauma and Negative Experiences
I didn’t write much about how my emotions dipped from positive, hopeful, and content to doubtful and bleak during July. Some of that time I spent denying it, conversely questioning what the hell happened. There was fear that depression would gain hold and that felt even more disappointing.
The main changes I noted happened after the onset of my menses. For several weeks, I hadn’t been drinking enough water each day nor taking ashwagandha regularly, which may have contributed to a lull and difficult cycle. This particular episode gifted me with days of pain and roller coaster emotions and easily claiming the title of “One of the Worst Periods I’ve Had in a Long Time.” Simultaneously, a newly consistent sense of irritation, sadness, and waning confidence attempted to conquer me.
While experiencing the lows, my tolerance for socializing and interacting within groups of people increasingly became smaller. Yet somehow, I managed to make it to Lavender + Lit. During the discussion portion, the group discussed the cost of unlearning trauma.
And of course, I became intrigued instantly. Managing trauma, PTSD, and anxiety is constant, which means my little wellness tool box is ever-changing to meet this variety of needs.
The following are inspired ideas and topics (in no particular order) based on some reflection I’ve been keen enough to write down; always-always taking notes. This is a working list of the things. A collection of questions, ideas, and musings that will hopefully be useful.
What emotional work do you need to do?
This is not a rhetorical question, but I’m not quite sure how to answer in an authentic, articulate way.
The smart-ass in me wants to ask “What emotional work haven’t I done?” It can feel overwhelming and tiresome, but my long-term physical and mental health are worth the work.
I posed quite a few questions to myself and attempted to collect a few verbs and tasks that would be my actionable responses.
Awareness. Who are you? When are you your most authentic self? How can you remain present in this state? Beautiful first-born you are destined for great things. Your worth is priceless, infinite. Raise your vibration. Move, act, speak, and think in accordance with your highest being. Some people won’t be aligned with this and that’s ok. Your inner strength and intuition provide clarity and are reliable, be sure to use them regularly.
Express yourself clearly and firmly. Be unafraid. Use your voice. Do not dull or diminish it in order to preserve someone else’s feelings. And your feelings are valid, no need to apologize for having them.
Protect your energy. What do you need to ensure your energy, contentment, and well-being remain intact? You can be loving, giving, and generous without losing yourself. When you aren’t emotionally well, it is perfectly fine to nurture yourself in whichever way suits you and feels good; try a few items on your self-care list and also add more.
Evaluate and let go, regularly. What or who acts as an obstacle to your happiness, success, and voice? Whomever or whatever, you can go ahead and let them go. They’ll live, you’ll be fine. You’ll thrive. It is okay to walk away or detach. When necessary walk away, unplug, say goodbye (or don’t) to make certain that you remain whole.
Be kind to yourself, you deserve it. You already know how much you’ve endured and if no one else, you need to forgive yourself and be kind & supportive. Give yourself time and remember that this path to unlearning and healing is not linear. You may have temporary setbacks, but you can stand up and continue moving forward.
Lessons. What are you supposed to learn from anything recently that felt hurtful? What does this situation tell you about life or yourself? Don’t forget AWA (acknowledge with action—during my mental health break last year I created this acronym in response to dealing with difficult situations in order to remind me to move forward and not dwell). Just as important, what did you learn that inspired joy?
This list reads like a letter to myself. But the purpose is to continue healing and taking care of myself in healthy ways that foster growth.
What would you add to this list? If you created your own, what items would you include?