I was speaking with a friend yesterday who has been going through a difficult time as she recovers from a trauma. She felt discouraged at her progress, and didn’t feel like she was moving forward fast enough. She had been feeling disconnected from her friends and family and had been afraid to leave her house. I was grateful that we had made a plan to meet up and she was able to join in on a group discussion with friends.
I related a lot to how she is feeling. When I started my journey in recovery I started out feeling great, like a weight had been lifted off of me, just admitting I had a problem and making a commitment to seek treatment for that problem set me off on a high I hadn’t ever felt. I rode that high for a while until one day I fell flat. I was told it was common for this to happen, and then there it was, happening to me. I felt let down, scared and confused. I was working so hard to better myself and get well, so why did I feel this way?
For me, one reason why is that I had taken away all of the crutches I had used in the past to get through the day. I couldn’t rely on any of things that I had and felt like I was standing out, exposed and alone with an empty tool box, not sure how to navigate through these new waters, but I knew I had to hang in there and learn new ways, healthier ways, to deal with this new life, and my fears and insecurities. And as time went on I did learn new ways, and I started to fill up my tool box with better tools. I started to live this new way of life and feeling good about it, and then, that’s when the anger set in. At first it confused me. Why was I feeling angry when I was doing so many things that were good for me, and was making progress in leaving my old destructive habits behind? Well, the truth was, and it took me a while back then to realize it, is that now that I had taken all the distractions away I was now left with the actual problems, not just the ways I used to hide or cope with them, those issues were much bigger than what I thought the problem was. It was during this time I had to dig deep into what I had already learned and lean into the support around me, things had gotten really real.
I remember feeling like my friend yesterday, feeling like the pain was insurmountable, that it was never going to go away and that it was taking too long to work through. There were many days I felt defeated, or that there may be no hope, but I was encouraged to keep going, that the change was happening, I just wasn’t seeing it yet.
You can’t put at timeline on change. Especially when it comes to those deep rooted traumas we may have suffered. It will take the time it does to get through it, and, it may be a lifelong journey to walk through it with grace. For me, the toughest parts have past, but there are days when it flairs back up again and slaps me in the face. Old wounds are like onions, they have many layers, and I now know to expect that there will be times, and typically unexpected ones, where another layer will peel away to reveal another piece of the trauma that I will need to deal with. But having the ability to look back at where I started, much has changed, and most of that anger and resentment has been long gone because of the work I did early in my recovery. We tend to see the change in ourselves last, everyone else has a clearer sense of where we are because we are living it, and are hoping and expecting it to dissipate at a speed of our choosing, but it will when we are ready and when the work has been done.
As I said to my friend yesterday, find some comfortableness in your uncomfortablenss, an impossible sounding task I know, but when I was able to find some comfort in that place my journey to the other side it became easier, less tortured, it was still difficult, but I found some acceptance there until I was able to reach the other side.
When you’re doing the work to better yourself and to get well, there are changes every day, some may be smaller than others, but they’re there, and even if they’re all small, when they’re added up, they make some pretty big changes. Trust the path you are on, and keep moving forward, even if it’s only an inch at a time, one day you’ll look back and see just how far you’ve come. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Are you going through a difficult time? How so? What are you working on or through? What have you been doing to work through it? Looking back at where you started, what has changed? What would you like to see change? How can you go about achieving that change? If you don’t know, who can you go to to assist you in this change? You are capable of anything, as long as you continue to move forward, to work as hard as you can and as honestly as you can each day, knowing that the days will ebb and flow, some days will be easier than others, but if you keep going, and trusting you are where you are for a reason, you will find some peace on the other side. I speak from experience, and I am here in that place waiting for you.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you