Recently I asked my community if there were any questions they would love me to answer on the podcast and there were some juicy ones, so over the next couple of months, along with my usual episodes, I’m going to be coming in to share with you the answer to these questions.
So - the question that I’m going to be answering today had a few elements to it… And the question was...
What did your trauma feel like? How did it play out in my life? Did I have any physical responses in my body? What was my mindset and what were my thoughts like pre healing?
There is another part to this question which talks about what my healing looks like, and I’m going to answer that in the next episode.
So - let’s do this.
Why did my trauma feel like?
It’s a really interesting question - because while I knew I had experienced trauma, and continued to do so over a few years - I don’t think I actually acknowledged that that’s what it was.
The sexual assault happened when I was 15 and it wasn’t until I was 30 that I started to heal from that. For those 15 years, I very much kept it a secret and would only tell a few people about what had happened.
So I would say it played out through suppression, avoidance and numbness.
I didn’t really allow myself to ever feel greatly, especially when it came to what I then perceived as negative emotions - so sadness, grief, pain, hurt, - anything other than happiness or joy.
I should say that I no longer see these as negative emotions, they’re just emotions that we need to feel.
I also became a shell of a human. In the sense that there was a lot outside and people who knew me would never have known there was anything wrong - but inside there was a lot of darkness, and there were a lot of things that I wasn’t sure of. Myself for example.
One example of this was when I was in the police force, I always said I could and would never work with sex offences.
How did my trauma play out?
For 15 years I lived with cyclical depression (undiagnosed). This meant that for 6-8 months of the year I was this super, outgoing person, and then I would crash. And I'd hit a state of complete and utter burnout, because I just never stopped. This would inevitably lead to me hiding away at home, going through a really dark time with suicidal thoughts and waiting for it to pass...before going back through it again.
When I was in this space, I often couldn't see a future for me, and to be honest it was a really scary time and place.
It also played out through my patterns of behaviour (and this is something I speak about a lot with my clients). I was never comfortable when things were good, I had become so used to not feeling good, feeling undervalued that when things were feeling good, it didn't sit well with me and so I would sabotage that.
It sounds really twisted when I look back on it, but I felt better when there was drama or conflict or something that needed fixing in my life, because I had become so accustomed to those feelings. And so I would subconsciously (and probably consciously) sabotage things in my life.
When I look back at it, it was really the never allowing myself to do the good things, or allowing myself to break free from the patterns.
What were the physical responses to my trauma?
This is a super interesting question, because pre-healing I would've said there were no physical responses. I had become very good at blocking things and not letting things get to me, putting up those walls so that nothing impacted me.
But I was definitely triggered by things (despite what I might have told people), and when I get triggered there is a physical response. That feeling faint, having a hot/cold flush run over you getting a bit anxious etc.
But the most interesting thing, is that I have endometriosis, and I certainly don't have it to the extreme that some people do. But I had surgery at 21 and it would flare up and it was horrible. After I started doing the inner work, my endo pain minimised and I very rarely got cramps or symptoms.
I feel like I was carrying a lot of trauma in my body, in my womb that I no longer carried after doing the work and beginning to heal.
I always held the belief that because of the endo, and the pain, and the irregular periods that it would be hard for me to get pregnant. There were so many issues throughout the years. And when I did become pregnant, I did (and still do) believe that it wouldn't have been able to happen had I not done the healing work.
My thoughts and mindset pre-healing...
I've already touched on the cyclical depression, the suicidal thoughts and just the really dark place that I would get into.
Other than that it's kind of a double edged sword in that I've always had a strong mindset in times when I needed to. If I want something badly enough I will get it or find a way to make it happen. But this wasn't about me, it was about showing up when I needed to, wearing a mask and just making things happen.
I also used to view life as a competition. I was competitive in everything. I needed to be the best. Part of that was that I felt like I needed to be the best at everything in order to be liked and have friends. I always felt like I was good at everything but never the best at anything. And this competitive trait that I used as a coping mechanism was a really ugly trait that I had.
The biggest, and probably most notable way was the belief that I wasn't good enough.
The belief that I didn't deserve happiness.
The belief that I was a disappointment.
I lacked confidence in many ways and was very disconnected from who I was, I chose to ignore so much of me. Externally I was extremely confident, but internally I really wasn't. I chose to ignore any softness any vulnerability, anything that I perceived made me weak.
I also knew that if I allowed myself to go to those places that I would probably just fall apart, and I really didn't want that. There was so much of me screaming to be seen, screaming to show vulnerability and to cry, but I never allowed myself that time or space.
I'm sure there are other things that have come up or happened that I've forgotten, but that's a little nutshell version of how my trauma impacted me and showed up in my life.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this one, so please reach out when you’ve listened to it.