This week sees the last of my Psychology Level 1 lessons. I have learnt a lot and a vision for my future has transpired. I began this journey out of anger towards cuts to vital services for women who experience sexual violence, hoping to do one thing, but as I have gone through the first year of my Psychology Degree I have found out where my interest really lies.
It’s still early days for me on this journey and I am excited to see where the next steps of it take me.
I feel like I am so different on a personal level now. Studying has made me prioritise a hell of lot of things in my life, and there’s a lot I have let go. Mostly it has been trivial stuff, but one thing was a friendship that I considered to be of value, despite the warnings from family that the person was no good to me.
Earlier this year there was a situation in my personal life and it was during this time that this person blocked me on all social media – the situation was not related to her, it was something else. At the time I had too much going on to even give her actions more than a moment’s thought, but as life got back to a semblance of normality I got to thinking about how the loss of friendship was going to feel.
And I felt nothing.
I was quite surprised by this. I have known this person for many years and whenever one of us has stopped speaking to the other I have tended to feel the loss keenly. But I feel absolutely nothing this time and I think this has a lot to do with the inner work I have done on myself, plus how I prioritise who and what I allow into my life now.
Moving forward, thinking about where I want to be in terms of how I show up in the world, I now have a solid sense of who I allow into my inner circle. Working on myself on a therapeutical level and studying psychology has allowed me to tend to my inner garden, so to speak. I now only allow healthy relationships into my life. If something or someone is not good for my health, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, then it has no place in my life.
What started out as an angry call to action has possibly been one of the best decisions of my life. I have learnt how to weed out that which isn’t good for me, whereas in the past I would tend to ignore it, convincing myself that I knew myself well enough!
Sometimes endings are the best things for us. Sometimes letting go is the best thing we can do. Not all loss comes to hurt us, often it comes to teach us and we have to be willing to listen and learn, otherwise the lesson will just repeat itself until we learn what we need to.
There’s a buzz in the air. We have sprung forward – aka moving into BST. Plus, we are now moving into the start of what our Prime Minister terms his roadmap out of lockdown.
It made me sit up and think yesterday. It is the time to be seen out in the world. We cast off our winter blues, our thoughts turn to sunny days and maybe, just maybe, being allowed to meet up with family and friends we haven’t seen in however long.
And all of this requires us to be seen, obviously.
Being seen is a normal part of life. We venture out into the world and are seen by those who we pass in the street. By those who we share public transport with. By those who we work with. It’s normal and we don’t pay it much heed.
There are those of us who have suffered terribly because of things that have happened to us. There are those of us who have anxiety disorders. Fear of going outside. Fear of being seen.
For me it is all about being seen because of a traumatic experience. I have spent over thirty years believing people were judging me because of what happened to me. They weren’t, they didn’t even know, but my hyper-vigilant mind had me believing that there were threats everywhere around me, and that everyone I saw was forming an opinion of me based on what happened.
When I finally broke free of that never ending cycle of fear I was left with a gaping big hole in my thought process. The idea was to fill that hole with positive thoughts, reinforcing what I had learnt in therapy. Only that somehow didn’t happen. I found myself gazing at what my therapist termed the wounded child. She was kind of healed, but she – me – I had no idea of who the hell I was.
The work we did when my therapy was nearing completion was geared to help me understand that for thirty odd years I had been emotionally trapped. Sixteen year old me was the forty odd year old me. Emotionally I had remained that age because I hadn’t processed one of the major parts of my trauma – the threat of being killed.
When my therapist had me reliving the attack over and over again I remembered things I hadn’t even processed. They were stuck. Inside of my head. Keeping me perpetually in fear. Always scanning for the threat. Never wanting to be seen. Needing to be invisible.
I have done the work on this issue. I have continued to do the work on this issue. It is a work in progress.
When Covid hit the UK I was just finishing my therapy, just getting started on dong the inner work that was required for me to continue to heal. I had a setback. The restrictions felt like I was being forced into doing something I didn’t want to do (please understand here that I fully understood the lockdown rules and the restrictions, I am just describing how I felt from a recovering from trauma POV). The threat of a deadly virus felt like the spectre of a ghost from my past. Enter hyper-vigilance once more.
This caused a breakdown. I was given medication and offered therapy once more. The latter I didn’t take, this time. The lockdown meant I would have to wait a considerable amount of time to see the lovely lady who has helped me so much. By the time she could see me again I didn’t even want to consider what state my mental health would have been in. So I began to work on myself using the tools she taught me.
The conclusion has been who the hell am I?
Well, in a few short weeks I will be 50 years old. A lifetime has passed between me of now and me from then. After a lot of inner work, facing my demons, and truths, realising I am not who people perceive me to be, accepting I am becoming who I want to be, and realising that I will be seen when I venture out into the world, and being absolutely OK with that.
That monster from the past has been dealt with. Yeah, he’s going to pop into my head,, probably several times a week, if not daily. But I don’t have to let his sneering face into my beautiful mind view. He didn’t conquer me. I lived. I maybe thought I hadn’t, but I did. I found love. I had a family. I have created so many beautiful moments in my life. Created stories that one day the world will see. Created a vision for women who have suffered what I have.
Springing forward this year feels so much brighter than last year. The year the was hell actually helped to heal me. I am different person. I am not who most people perceive me to be. I am not who social media portrays me to be – sometimes at the hand of others.
I am me and proud to be me.