(Online) Dating as a Trauma Survivor

When you start to get paralyzed, I need you to write about it, my therapist told me during our session on Friday. I need you to write about it because that’s how you process what’s happening, and for too long, you haven’t processed. He’s right. I know he’s right, but writing scares me. Writing scares me because there’s this layer of uncomfortability that comes with each post. Each...

The Town I Grew Up From

What a now-defunct Walgreens taught me about living (originally posted on Medium.com) The town I grew up in has 28,625 people. It's a town my sister left, flying all the way across the country to find herself. (While I chose the more expensive route of hospital stays and therapy.) It's a town full of memories and pain, nostalgia and heartbreak. But mostly, it's full of family. Family...

My therapist regrets to inform me I’m not a terrible person

And other things I doubt My therapist has this way about him. Speaking gently when the voices in my head are screaming at me. You feel alone, like you have no one to be 100% honest with. Your support group, your friends, your family have no idea. I tell him: Sylvia Plath once said, 'I talk to God but the sky is empty.' That's how I feel right now, totally alone in this great big universe. I...

Anchors

What's keeping you here--those anchors--are stronger than any suicidal ideation you may have. Photo by Lucas Sankey on Unsplash I heard him speak softly between my tears and gasps for air, you have significance. Those anchors you just listed are stronger than any other thoughts you may have. You need to reach out when it gets tough; we're not meant to do life alone. I'm not...

I found self love through a 15 pound weight gain

and other things I have to tell my therapist i. I gained 15 pounds in three weeks. ii. I can't tell if my boundaries are getting more rigid or I'm just putting up walls. Again. iii. I gained 15 pounds in three weeks because instead of talking about my feelings, I ate them. Which I guess is better than starving myself, but not by much. iv. There's a thin line between self-confidence and...

It’s not yours to carry

As I write this, I’m sitting in front of the altar in the sanctuary of my church—the church I attend and the church where I work. Twenty-four hours ago, I told a pastor and close friend that there are some days when I walk into this building I call home and feel like I can’t be here—shouldn’t be here. I’m too broken, too bruised, too shattered. But this is a sanctuary—a literal...

This changes everything

Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.JK Rowling I didn’t realize the power of prayer until I was sobbing at the altar, through the prayer, through the closing song, through the benediction. I didn’t realize the power of prayer until I had an army of people surrounding me, and for the first time in my life, I felt the Holy Spirit truly move. It was the Sunday...

How does one put themselves first anyway?

"Do you have any tattoos?" was not a question I expected to be asked in the Psych ER. But there I was--curled up on what Plato would refer to as a couch that's not ideal, with one of my friends next to me--so unprepared for the question that followed: "Do you have a boyfriend? Because I want to be yours." Apparently not having tattoos is not a prerequisite for love. I told him I'd think about it,...

The girl in the brown pajamas

They take your phone away, lock it up with the rest of your belongings. You can't have them in the Psych ward. But they do have ginger ale and water; graham crackers and ice cream; visiting hours and showers. They also have a tv. But there's only so many times you can watch Chopped before you go crazy. The boredom is enough to make anybody go crazy. "...suicidal" it read on my admission form,...

living life palms up

finding the will to live amidst the trauma Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels The first thing I learned in therapy was to validate myself--validate the past versions of me that were hurt, validate the parts of myself that are hurting now; another thing I learned while completing the 'Emotional Regulation' section of DBT theory, designed to help manage the effects of Borderline...