Yesterday, I wrote a blog titled, “What are you addicted to?”
In that blog, I gave a list of things you could do to improve your levels of happiness and encouraged you to take one action step each day from that list to decrease your dependency on “HOPIUM”.
(If you missed it, I suggest you go back and read it so that you can see that list for yourself.)
So for the next 25 days, I will take one item from that list and expand on it so that we can all go on a journey of self- discovery together.
I would love to have as many people as possible join me in this journey.
Leave your name, your blog page, and any tips or hints that you have used in your own life to decrease your dependency to “Hopium”.
Item #1 on the list was Healing…
So here is my story from abuse to healing.
When I was first out of high school, and a newly married woman, I went off to the mountains for a weekend of hiking with an older, wiser friend of twenty-two.
After we set up our tent, we sat by a stream, watching the water swirl around rocks and talking about our lives.
At one point she described how she was learning to be “her own best friend.”
A huge wave of sadness came over me, and I broke down sobbing.
I was the farthest thing from my own best friend.
I was continually harassed by an inner judge who was merciless, relentless, nit-picking, driving, often invisible but always on the job.
I knew I had made a mistake by getting married so young and to a man who had been abusive while we had dated, but I was to young and inexperienced to know how to get out of the situation…
So I had just allowed the inertia of my life to carry me forward.
(At the age of 18 I found myself in a very abusive marriage.)
I was terrified, and did not know where to turn for help.
So I just kept silent and pretended that my life was perfect.
In the eyes of the world, I was highly functional.
Internally, I was anxious, terrified and often depressed.
I didn’t feel at peace with any part of my life.
I longed to be kinder to myself.
I longed to befriend my inner experience and to feel more intimacy and ease with the people in my life.
But, until I was ready to be honest and tell the truth about my life, I was going to stay stuck.
And stuck I stayed for 10 years.
I finally filed for divorce when I saw that the abuse was starting to happen to my sweet little boy Tyler.
Unfortunately, since I was still not being honest and telling the truth about the abuse in my 1st marriage…
I married another abusive man.
And the cycle began again!
This time I stayed in that marriage for 12 yrs.
But after my second divorce, I did something radically different.
I took a time off from a social life for a while and spent time getting to know ME.
I vowed to not date until I had given myself time to heal.
It was during this very lonely and difficult time that I discovered meditation, affirmations, and the importance of feeding my body healthy and nutritious food.
But at some point I realized that I needed to dip my toes in the water of social life and start to re-connect to the world again.
Now, I realize that not everyone who endures a traumatic experience is scarred by it;
the human psyche has a tremendous capacity for recovery and even growth.
However, recovering from a traumatic experience requires that the painful emotions be thoroughly processed.
I had to face the fact that I had been wounded by the abuse, and that the psychological trauma that had been caused by the years of abuse could not be repressed or forgotten.
I had to learn to trust people enough to talk about my experiences and ask for help.
As long as I was going to try and suppress my experiences, they were going to continue to choke any joy that I might have had completely out of my life.
And that if they were not dealt with directly, the distressing feelings and troubling events would continue to replay over and over in the course of my lifetime, creating a condition known as Post-traumatic stress disorder.
The other unfortunate side effect of refusing to deal with the trauma was that I had married the same man twice, and I most likely would continue with that cycle again and again unless, I allowed myself to heal properly this time.
There are so many wonderful resources out there for victims of abuse, but whatever inner resources people need to mobilize for recovery, they still cannot accomplish the task alone.
Depression and trauma are disconnective disorders.
They do not improve in isolation.
To fix them you have to be connected to others.
If you overload an electrical system with too much energy and too much stimulation, the circuit breaker activates and shuts everything down.
The human nervous system is also an electrical system, and when it is overloaded with too much stimulation and too much danger, as in trauma, it also shuts down to just basics.
I can still vividly remember this time in my life. The best way I can describe it is that I always felt numb,
or dead inside.
The juices in my life had turned off.
Fortunately, most people will not have experienced so much primary trauma that they must see a professional counselor.
They can usually work through their feelings by involving the people they are close to.
They do it by telling their story—a hundred times.
They need to talk talk talk, recount the gory details.
That is the means by which humans can begin to dispel the feelings of distress attached to their memories.
The more that those feelings can be encouraged, the better.
The more you feel the more you heal.
The expression of feelings can take many forms.
For most people it may be easiest to talk.
But others may need to write.
However they tell their stories, the rest of us have an obligation to listen.
The next step I took in my healing process was to
begin to take action and make a difference even
in the smallest ways.
Taking action helped to restore a sense of
control in my life.
I now find so much joy and happiness in the work I do for my community and family.
Taking action put me back out there in the world in a way that has helped me discover who I am, and what makes my heart sing.
In conclusion today, I just want to remind anyone out
there who is hurting and cannot find joy in their life,
that traumatic experiences are the broken bones of the
If you engage in the process of recovery, you get stronger.
If you don’t, the bones remain porous, with permanent holes inside, and you are considerably weaker.
I am saddened each time I hear stories of
I want so desperately to wrap my arms around
you and support you during your healing
That is what I hope will happen as I detail the 25 action steps to happiness.
I hope and pray that we can each feel safe to share our stories and the ways we healed so that all of my readers can enjoy a greater sense of joy.
When we heal, the entire world heals.
So let’s all join hands and do this together