Friday, April 23, 2010

Would I still do it - part 3 perhaps

Two years ago I wrote a blog post ruminating on whether I would still have embarked on the healing journey had I known what it entailed. Part One of that entry starts here. The question was - "If you knew then what you know now, and what it would entail, would you still do it? In other words, would I still choose to start down the road of recovery?" I answered yes at that time. Part Two of that entry (here) continues to explore the emotions I felt and even remarks that if the choice was between going back to the time before all the panic attacks set in - aka the "faking it and stuffing it time" - and smack in the middle of the healing journey, then I might choose to live in that land of Denial.

At that time I was about 1 1/2 years into the healing process. Today, 2 years after those journal entries and 4 1/2 years after I started the really intense therapy, I can say that my answer would be YES.

Yes, I would still do it. As much as it hurt. As much as it resembled reliving the abuse. As much as it cost, in terms of time and money.

I've learned that healing from abuse is much more than just digging up memories and dealing with them. That, in some ways, is the easy part (don't laugh too hard.) The more difficult thing is trying to figure out who the abuse has made you. It means shifting through every aspect of who you are and deciding how you became that way, if you like it, and if not, how to change. It involves letting go of the shame and guilt, while at the same time accepting some responsibility for who you are from this point forward.

For me I had to let go of a lot of shame and guilt. I had to also make a conscious decision to do everything in my power to move forward. I stumbled, fell, took a whole lot of steps forward, but I also got back up and tried again. I am less of a control freak than I used to be. I am more relaxed. I live a heck of a lot more in the moment than I used to. I have less rigid control over my emotions - I let myself feel. I cry a whole lot more. I express when I'm hurt and allow myself to feel hurt. I deal with disappointment and anger. I get angry. I express it - more often than not in a healthy way.

Did the process suck? Yes. It hurt. There were times I gave up. Then continued on. There were times I wanted to end my life, and times I came darn close. I bear scars - both emotional and physical. But would I do it again? Yes I would. I am better for it. And so is my family.

I now work in a job where I get to help abused, neglected and dependent children. I get to help them financially. I get to help them legally. I also get to help abused, neglected and exploited adults. Would I want to be abused just so I could do this job? No way! But does my childhood help me relate to these people? Yes it does. And I think it makes me better able to help them and a heck of a stronger advocate.

So if you are wondering if this journey is worth it, look hard. It was for me. And I think it will be for you too.


cerebralmum said...

Oh, Enola.. This is a wonderful, wonderful post. Thank you.

Marj aka Thriver said...

This is really a wonderful post series you've created here, Enola. I'm glad I went back and read them all. You are another writer and fellow survivor who reminds me that feeling those feelings is really the key to healing. Great work you've done!

Missing In Sight said...

Thank you so much for sharing this post. It came just in time as my will to recover is fading.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Marj aka Thriver said...

I love this encouraging post and I love the theme for this month's blog carnival. Thanks so much for both, Enola.

Lynx217 said...

what a wonderful post. hugs!

Patricia Singleton said...

Enola, I have asked myself those same questions. Was it worth going back and feeling all that pain and fear? Yes. I am a better person today than I was when I felt like a victim. Today I am stronger and have compassion for other survivors. Thank you for sharing this article and for picking the topic for this month's Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.

From Tracie said...

I love the encouragement in this post....I think you are absolutely right about the really hard part is figuring out who I am. I love that you said how part of that healing has been to let yourself feel. To not shut down and feel those feelings, and work through me that is a huge part of healing...and very worth it!

lawyerchik said...

This is a great post, Enola. I can sense the strength and identity you've developed in your journey, as well as the sense of purpose. I feel humbled and grateful to have been allowed a peek into your life as you've gone through this, and I am so glad to see how far you've come!!