“Maybe you’re not healing because you’re trying to be who you were before the trauma, that person doesn’t exist anymore. There is a new you trying to be born. Breathe life into that person.” (a meme on social media posted by @Boii_McCoy)

First let me say that this is perhaps the most vulnerable thing I’ve ever written. It’s a breakup letter, of sorts. I am breaking up with everyone in the world being more important than me. Our relationship, if I am the secondary person instead of an equal, is over.

It’s time for me to show myself COMPASSION.

Compassion is necessary for healing. While it IS important to navigate through remembering the trauma from my past, it is not necessary to do it all at once. I am entitled to breaks. I am entitled to moments of quiet contemplation. It doesn’t mean I’m taking steps backward. (Try telling yourself that when your anxiety causes you to obsess over every little detail… It’s a challenge to be sure.)

The only way I am going to get through this is to show myself some grace. I’m trying to get there, friends, I am. I am trying to convince myself I am worthy of showing compassion to myself, accepting myself, and loving myself in order to heal. I do believe it on a logical level. I am struggling with my heart believing.

One thing I have realized along this journey, not just for Lent, but for the past year or so is that I am an all or nothing kind of person. There is no middle ground. I go all in. Full throttle. Don’t get me wrong, I can multitask, but I can’t seem to pour my energy into more than one thing. I think that’s a big reason why I am the procrastinator I am. Slow means failure. Crash and burn, while more destructive, is at least everything I have. More specifically, as related to this post, as soon as the horrifying experiences from my childhood came into my consciousness, I thought, “well, OK, let’s take this on all at once and get it over with!” It has been a challenge, to say the least, to keep my head and my heart above the water.

The same goes for all the rest of my feelings. Part of it is that I’m not practiced in feelings like the rest of the world. I have been told (and believe) I am an empath. It came to be this way because it HAD to in order to feel anything at all. By reading people and feeling WITH people, I can trick myself into believing those are my own feelings.

But, as soon as what I sense are MY OWN feelings coming to surface, I freeze. I stop allowing myself to work through it. I begin to abuse and torture myself.

SOOOOO….Back to COMPASSION. How does this all relate to my anxiety? To my PTSD? Well, I read this blog post and it helped me understand. The paragraph that resonated the most with me was this:

“Put in other words, rather than slogging through the scariest stuff, we get stuck in the mud and can’t go anywhere. Then, because that's not a normal way for the human brain to function, we develop nasty symptoms like nightmares, hypervigilance, and fears of uncertain situations like crowds. Because after all, if we’re to blame for bad things that happened to us, we probably don’t feel very confident to function in the world in general. Our brain then reminds us of that constantly with anxiety.”

So… here I am… stuck in the mud. Afraid of the world around me. Afraid of conflict, controversy, and never being enough. I question every day if I will be able to get through the day without falling apart.

While I’m stuck, I seek to distract myself from feelings by looking to help others. Care for others. I want to do everything I can for the people around me. I need to run, run, run, run… away from myself and towards anything to get me unstuck. I’m not trying to show myself compassion or accept myself and love myself despite my flaws. Instead, I wrap all of my self worth into what someone else thinks about me. Am I a good wife? Mother? Friend? Teacher? Citizen? Christian?

The answer in my mud-stuck mindset is most assuredly always NO. I am not good. I am not worthy. It’s a terrible place to be.

So, it’s time we break up, mud-stuck Amy. It’s time we grieve and mourn who you were, and breathe new life into who you can be. It’s also time to be brave enough to say goodbye to those around you who cannot handle all that you are or all that you can be. Because, frankly, the most compassionate thing I can do for myself is allow my feelings to be felt… and appreciated.

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