What I tried, but did NOT work
Intro Part 3:
Before I share with you what that taught me how to Stop FAKING it, heal, and OWN MY STORY I believe it’s equally important that you know what I did prior that did NOT work.
Please bare with me. It will seem like I’m hopping all over the place, because in actuality that’s what I was doing in ‘real’ life trying to avoid facing my past pains.
So I will be highlighting parts of my journey in story form and then at the very end I’ll clean it up with a recap in bullet points so you can see clearly what I tried, but it did not work to help me heal and own my story.
In case you didn’t know already, I’m a God girl. I grew up Christian and gave my life to Christ at seven years old, was baptised the whole nine and it was amazing! Then when things started to get worse at home with my Dad’s temper, I started to wonder how can someone profess to know this God of love yet hurt their own family? The worse things became, the more angry I got and I vowed I would never get married nor have children to subject myself to the torture my Mother, siblings, and I were going through.
I grew up in the West Indies around a lot of very proud West Indians. Proud meaning---If someone is facing a really challenging time---it could be life or death for themselves and their loved ones ---- and they still will NOT say anything.
In fact, you put on “face” and pretend as if EVERYTHING IS PERFECT. You know what I mean by putting on “face” right? Masquerade, put on a mask, wear a face that doesn’t reveal the truth of what you’re really going through.
I watched the adults in my life stuff all their problems, and act as if there were no real issues that needed to be addressed and resolved.
I too learned how to play mask by watching them. I learned how to stuff everything. This led me to feel shame, created low self-esteem, later led to social anxiety, speech impediment, lost control of my bladder, and had severe panic attacks.
As I got older the stress of carrying around these unspoken burdens started to affect my menstrual cycle. I went from 3 days to 5 days to 8 days of heavy bleeding and excruciating pain that left me unable to move for days on end. During that week of my cycle I would throw up until stomach bile came up. By the end of my eight day I would be close to 10 pounds lighter.
Later on, I started having sleeping spells where without a moment’s notice I would fall asleep after twenty minutes of being still. I could be in class, behind the wheel of a car, at a desk at work, in church etc.
My abnormal cycle and sleeping spells started at the age of 13 and went until I was 31 years old.
Now, mind you I never correlated my holding onto past pains as the reasons why my health was suffering. I thought it was all separate issues that needed to be dealt with by those who specialized in those areas of physical, mental, and spiritual health.
My attempt to seek out help
For my Mental and Emotional health:
I sought out professional board certified counselors, therapists, and even phycologists.
For my Physical Health:
I went to the doctor and specialist who could help me normalize my menstrual cycle.
For my Spiritual Health:
I went to my pastors and mentors.
By society standards I went about seeking help the right way. By separating out each issue and seeking specialized professionals who were experts in those areas.
Here’s how that all turned out in a snapshot:
For my mental and emotional health….
The counselors, therapist, psychologist all wanted me to revisit moments in my childhood to talk through what took place and what was the defining moment of pain that put me on the trajectory to where I was presently---angry and afraid to trust.
Well, these experts who guided me back to moments in my childhood to study and reflect on the pains of my past--- actually retraumatized me and made me even more angry with my Dad, all men, and myself.
I was then given special exercises of what I could do to help me manage my temper and stress levels. I was also taught how to keep from having a panic attack and ways to safely come down from one if something happens to trigger it.
I used many of these techniques and exercises for years and they helped me manage my issues but never heal to set me free.
For my Physical Health:
I was told they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. That I was perfectly normal and healthy and the only thing they could prescribe to help with my menstrual pains was birth control pills.
For my Spiritual Health:
When I opened up about what I was so angry about I was told I needed to forgive. Of course I did not like that answer. So I explained to my pastors and mentors the reasons why forgiving those who hurt me doesn’t work..
I gave these four main reasons:
- I did forgive them many times before and they continued to hurt me.
- I forgave them, but I remember everything they’ve done and I get mad all over again.
- Forgiving is not a good idea because then the person who hurt me will think their abusive behavior was okay and do it again.
- When God said to forgive I don’t think He meant people who hurt children.
...and I would go on and on why I had a right to hold onto unforgiveness, anger, and the memories of all the past painful experiences as a marker to protect me from falling victim to similar abusive situations in the future.
After all of my long winded explanation (they) would tell me they understood where I was coming from, but the Bible says that in order for God to forgive me of my sins I must forgive those who wronged me.
Well, I would leave those sessions feeling bummed out and defeated because I just couldn’t Relinquish control over to someone who is undeserving of my trust.