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The Eruption of Post Traumatic Stress is a Healing Opportunity

Hi everyone.  I hope you had a wonderful summer and are enjoying this beautiful fall season.  Wow.  Two weekends of Indian summer was such a blessing!  In my eyes the beauty of the season makes up for summer coming to an end.  I hope it is beautiful wherever you are located!  It has been a while since I have written, I have had some ailments that have added some stress to my life.  But as always I feel there is a lesson in everything that happens.

Two ailments occurred on top of each other.  I was already in distress about a painful ailment when something randomly flew in my eye and temporarily blinded me and with such severe pain that I could not drive myself to the doctor to get it removed.  This caused me to over-react in such a distressing way that it caused me to experience some childhood emotional pain that had been hidden from me until then.  The object was removed from my eye and it healed completely in the next 4 days but during this stressful time, I remembered a comment my mother had made. It was an epiphany–an aha moment!  Her comment was, “When you were 1 1/2 years old, you had severe diarrhea and were in the hospital for over a week and the doctors never figured out the cause.  The nurses wouldn’t let me visit you because you would try to climb out of the crib to get to me.”  Years ago when she told me this, I had no emotional reaction to it.  But the stress of these health events caused an over-reaction in me that now makes a lot of sense!  Because of this epiphany, the reason for all of the overwhelming feelings I was experiencing came clear.  I realized I was feeling all the repressed emotion of an abandoned toddler who was terrified that her parents were never coming back, who felt she was being punished in this crib in the hospital, who was confused about why all this was happening and it seemed like the end of the world.  This hospitalization at an age where attachment is so crucial and separation anxiety is at a peak, my whole world crumbled and my security completely gone, I emerged from the hospital traumatized.

Now it took me a while to figure all of this out, but analytical and self-aware person that I am I was fascinated with the process, even though it required releasing these unbearably painful emotions that had been frozen in time, finally freeing me in their release.  I believe that when traumas like this occur and never get worked through, they remain stuck in our bodies causing an energy blockage that can cause illness and disease (dis-ease). (Louise Hay and Dr. Christian Northrup–see Recommended Books.)  Talking through this and releasing the pain and having my husband for a witness, I started feeling like I was finally healing from this ailment that had been chronically stressing me.  Yay!  It was shocking yet exhilarating for these facts about this trauma to be unearthed the way it occurred.  So many unexplained fears that I have had started to make sense to me.  Their origins were from this trauma that had been hidden from my memory my whole life.  It was a post traumatic stress event that now has given way to new understanding of the origins of some of my irrational fears and insecurities.  Now, I feel stronger and less fearful and I am healing those deep insecurities by releasing the pain and having someone witness and validate my feelings–a safe person that I trust completely.  This is the process of inner child healing.  I thought I had worked through all of my previous traumas but it turns out that I had one more vitally important trauma to work through.

At the time I was releasing the pain I felt it would go on forever and that I would never recover.  I very soon felt better though as I released these fears that were from my childhood trauma. Releasing the emotions had to include my memories of clinging to my mother for dear life for years after this event, and my needs for security were not met and my trauma never acknowledged.  She didn’t understand all the attention I gave her, clinging to her in fear like that.  I laid in her lap on car trips and never left her side.  Intuitively gifted even as a child, I took care of her emotional needs so that I would not feel rejected–after my unhealed trauma I couldn’t bear the thought of it, even though, I now understand that I was obedient and good out of extreme fear.  I remember the stories of how she did not send me to kindergarten and a neighbor discovered my age and brightness and made it clear she must send me to school finally.  I feel much gratefulness for that neighbor stepping in.  My memories of how I flourished in those few months in kindergarten and how the teachers built me up and I was proud of myself are the memories I hold onto of my true self persevering and shining through.

If you have had some traumatic incidents like this in your childhood, and most HSPs surely have, I understand your pain.  Writing out what happened and/or talking to a safe person is important. It helps to think back to a memory of a happy time before the age of 5 or 6 (5 or 6 is the age when we usually give up, (if you have a narcissistic parent or an unsupportive or unsafe environment or some trauma), and develop a false self to survive–Alice Miller).  This memory is your true self making itself known to you. Thinking back to that moment can give you strength as to your positive happy potential.  You can recover your true self again if you can see that you didn’t get the validation of your feelings that  you deserved. Then finally release those painful emotions.  The next time you over-react to stress or have a full-blown post traumatic stress episode you can look at it as a healing opportunity.  Learn to recognize and release your painful feelings and then relate them back to the origins of when they occurredthis  is how true healing occurs.  Hopefully you can find a counselor or coach who has experience with inner child healing as a safe person to trust with your truth.

I had first remembered my mother’s comment about my early hospitalization with no emotion at all for that experience on the tiny sensitive child that I was.  Now I have much compassion for the pain I experienced and that all infants and toddlers go through in these early childhood hospitalizations without parents present.  Nowadays, doctors know not to keep parents from their children at these young ages when attachment and security is so crucial but back in the 60’s they hadn’t learned this yet. Thank goodness times are better now.  I was encouraged to stay and sleep in the hospital room for several days with my first-born when he had pneumonia when he was 2.  And my second born never left our room after she was born and I gave her first bath. I am grateful to have experienced such compassionate hospital experiences for my own children.

This ailment that I mentioned is still causing me stress even though it is beginning to heal.  I won’t go into detail about it except that it is chronic pain, slow to heal, and it has become clear to me that it requires more of my attention, more rest, and I must make some adjustments in my activities.  So unfortunately I must take a temporary leave of absence from this blog. 😦  You might call it a sabbatical because I am determined to return stronger than ever and with even more wisdom and insight to share. It is my hope that during this time you will support and answer each others comments since I will be unable to do so.  This has already been happening by some regular commenters, which has been wonderful to see–when you reach out and support someone else who is hurting, the good feeling that you receive from helping others is exhilarating and wonderful.  I hope that you will try it out and see what I mean. 🙂

I am not going to say goodbye, I am just going to say take care of yourselves and each other while I am gone and I will be back!  🙂

Warmest wishes and love to you all,

Roxanne

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13 responses

  1. Stella Warburton | Reply

    may God bless you as you take care of yourself- you deserve the best! I too have decided to take a break from certain aspects of my life, taking a stress leave of absence from work- I feel so at peace and empowered by making these positive choices.

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    1. Thank you so much, Stella, for your kind and supportive words. 🙂

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  2. Roxanne,
    Thank you so much for your posting . I can feel your pain as I know that pain all too well. I will pray for you as you take this needed rest. God Bless you
    Dana

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    1. Thank you so much, Dana, it means a lot. 🙂

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  3. I recently discovered your blog and have found it to be so helpful….although it is my Dad that I am dealing with. My Mom is out of the picture since she passed away when I was little. Get lots of rest and hope you feel better. Lots of hugs.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Yarnia. Thank you for the well wishes and hugs. 🙂 Sending you warm wishes in return, Roxanne

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  4. Thanks for the post Roxanne, how your subconscious shows you your imprints from your childhood is very interesting. Mine shows me my imprints through my relationships all around me. It is very scary for a child with no way to understand or reason being in the hospital and have doctors pick over you away from your mother. I completely understand.

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    1. Thank you for your comment and kind words of support, A. I looked at your blog and your writing is amazing…I completely understand as well. 🙂 Warmly, Roxanne

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  5. Hi Roxanne,

    I hope you are feeling better. Having had some similar experiences I appreciate how challenging it is to heal and take the time to do so. I have spent a lifetime healing. You are right that trauma stays in the body until we are ready to release it. I think for us HSP’s it takes us a long time to figure out what is me and that is someone else’s stuff because we take it all in.

    I have been using healing techniques like TM, reiki and Ayurveda to clear out toxins. They work and have helped me. Some of these energy techniques can be a gentle way of releasing.

    All the best,
    Maria

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    1. Hi Maria, Thank you so much for your kind words and well wishes–it means a lot. Coincidentally, I had found your website recently before you even left your comment and I want to tell you it is wonderful!:) I like how your explain that high sensitivity can be explained as less about emotionality and more about sensory overstimulation. I have many clients and readers who are intuitive thinking types and male and find your website very helpful in explaining this to them (my son and husband included). For this reason I will be adding your website to my list of helpful links. I agree that learning to have healthy boundaries and techniques for not absorbing “other peoples’ stuff” is a daily requirement for the highly sensitive to live a balanced life. I also very much have benefitted from ayurveda in my own healing–understanding what it means to have a very vata dosha years ago helped me to finally learn to rest and respect my bodies needs. I am feeling much better now after this latest ailment but view all this happening to me as a wake up call to pay even more attention to healing and strengthening my body–I will be starting with a new holistic chiropractor who has suggested Reiki, Yoga, and massages as part of my treatment plan. Thank you again, Maria, for sharing you helpful tips. After the holidays, I plan to leave some comments on your very helpful and interestiing blog. Happy Holidays and warmest wishes, Roxanne

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  6. i really love this post, and many of your posts have really helped a lot. i hope that your doing better. i have been finding more and more about myself these past months, and the more i find the more i understand, its both a good feeling and a bad feeling. its good because now i understand myself and realize it wasn’t all my fault all this time, but its a bad feeling because letting go of the hurt others have done is hard. in your post you are talking about how something seemingly small to others impacted you for most of you life. i always just thought that the things that hurt me as a kid shouldn’t bother me anymore, but now i realize that whether i realize it or not things i could have even forgotten could be still affecting me. i remember this one experience that still affects me, it still gets me upset when i think about it. i just thought i would share it.

    when i was still an infant i was adopted, i have very little to no early memory of my biological mom, although i have met here a few times. i became attached to my adoptive mom who i consider my real mom because she was there for me when my birth mother wasn’t. still though i would sometimes act out or not be paying attention and for some reason my mom confused this behavior with me being unhappy with her and would threaten to “send me back” if i started acting badly (i dont remember what exactly those behaviors were) there was the fear that i would be taken away from the only family i knew. i would go into a panic (yelling and screaming which is something i never did otherwise) each time my mom threatened to send me back, to the point even at that young age i had decided i would kill myself if she did send me back. i saw it as punishment, the worst punishment ever even though apparently she didn’t mean it that way.

    later on when i was much older i talked to my mom about this. apparently she wasn’t aware that it even hurt me, she said she just thought i would be happier with my birth mother but that i was just afraid to say this, when it was just the opposite, i was terrified of being torn from the only family i knew. to this day just thinking about those threats make me want to cry, i can’t talk to my mom about it because i am too old for that, yes thats right, she says that once you reach a certain age you should “grow up” and get over your past. she says no one can blame anything on their childhood after 20 or 21. i vehemently disagree but can’t say anything about it. i am left with only finding support online

    im really sorry if this is too long, i feel awful after venting and yet for some reason i don’t want to delete what i just wrote. i have always been told “no one wants to listen to your problems.” and now even though i try to tell myself that maybe some people care, i will always think that no one does because thats what i have been told for so long. so i am apologizing for sharing my experience, i have to.

    actually this is only one experience, but i won’t share anymore, that would be too much. i know i could benefit from therapy, but i can’t afford it, and my mom always tells me that its a joke and makes it seem like something to be ashamed of, saying no one will hire me if i admit i need help basically.

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    1. Summer, Thank you so much for your comment–I am SO GLAD you did not delete it! Many people out there are being helped by your story of early abuse and they still feel too ashamed to dare to speak of what may have happened to them as small children. What happened to you was horrible abuse! You were brave to share it with your mother and not only did she not apologize but she refuses to let you express yourself further and shames you for reaching out to anyone else for support. Just awful! Thank you for telling us about this! I do not believe that she did not mean it as punishment (threaten to send you back)–yes she did punish you with the worst kind of fear in order to control your behavior. Having your safety threatened like that is devestating to a small child. This explains why you are so drawn to my website, Summer. She shamed you repeatedly for expressing yourself so that she could control you and with no remorse or compassion for your feelings. But you have expressed yourself so brilliantly here and don’t be surprised if you have shame coming up to heal because you dared to tell your truth. I always had deep shame come to the surface after I wrote each of my poems and songs. It was a very difficult time at first but soon I realized the pattern and realized, man, that one must be extra good because the shame was extra strong. 🙂 And as each layer of shame was released and acknowledged and written about or witnessed, it never came back and was healed forever. Now there are just tiny traces of shame and doubt when I express my true voice, evidence to me that I am speaking the truth. You did a great thing, Summer, and the shame it may make you feel is all from unhealed wounds from your past making itself known to you. The shame is saying, “This is how bad my mother made me feel about myself over and over again”. You have a right to feel many feelings about it–angry about it, sad about it, and grieving for the childhood that was lost to that little girl too afraid to express the truth for fear of being physically abandoned in addition to the emotional abandonment you experienced over and over. You are now on a healing path and I hope you never forget that telling this painful truth is just the beginning and it will help you heal. Your pain can be your guide to the true you that has been hidden all of these years. Keep reading my blog for ways for you to support yourself as you continue to express yourself. The way you feel “awful after venting” is shame she induced to keep you quiet and obedient. But now you are free and there is no shame in seeking support and validation for such horrible emotional abuse from your mother! I am wishing you strength and compassion for your wounded inner child–may you be extra kind to yourself and comfort yourself with your favorite things as you work through the painful feelings right now. If you can’t afford either Coaching or therapy, I hope you will read some of my books on my recommended books page and especially keep writing out your truth. You are a special highly sensitive soul, it is clear. Take care and thank you for sharing your story! With warmest wishes and much compassion as you heal, Roxanne

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  7. thanks i will check out your books, i am sure they will be helpful.

    well she actually did apologize, thats one good thing, if she realizes she is wrong she will apologize. but my point is that just an apology, however good it may be won’t be enough, i just needed to talk about it to someone.

    actually other than what i wrote above, and a few other things, i had a good childhood, a lot better than things have been recently for many reasons, but i will be ok, i have ways that i cope, and i have some online friends who do seem to understand. i will keep track of your blog too, it has been quite helpful.

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