You would never be able to look at me, and even tell it's happening. A fragment of my mind, separated and lost momentarily within the abyss. Childhood trauma for me, is what has centered my brain around safety mechanisms that protect me from harm. Now, as an adult, It takes consistent awareness and consciousness to manage and recognize. My brain and body are so hardwired to 'check out' when I'm faced with certain experiences. At one point in my life, I was faced with adversity that my brain nor body could emotionally manage. I was either too young, or it just was too much for the nervous system to regulate. It took me 25 years of my life for me to realize that majority of my memories in life have been erased. It takes a deep level of self awareness and a good trauma therapist to be able to help you with the tools you need to identify what is happening. As memories slowly came rising to the surface, dissociating became much more frequent. As you move through the process of healing, you could have experiences like this. Here is some of my personal take aways to dissociation and how you can learn to love yourself through it all.
Facing the facts
It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon on the boat on the lake. Music playing, no waves, fresh water and happiness. I had just spent the previous day with this group of people whom I just met. We went out on the town the night before and had a great time. I could feel where I was beginning to become romantically attracted to one of the men who I was with. After months of trauma therapy, I felt a pull to exploring the feeling. Feeling healthy, much more secure and finally at
ease with myself internally, I didnt see where this could go wrong. I leaned into the experince, allowing soft affection to grow and to settle into the comfort of this desire. For me, reminding my body that it is safe is essential. The thing about trauma though is, once the body is triggered to a certain degree, the nervous system has already activated its programming. So despite the fact that I kept awareness- my body was not ready. After a couple hours of feeling this desire, was when I realized where my mind was really going- and it was not what I expected. I quickly identified myself struggling. I moved with the waves of the ocean in my mind. I chose acceptance- despite how difficult it was getting.
I used to refer to this feeling as "giving away my power". In all of my previous relationships, I always felt like I would lose my world, and would be consumed by my lover's world. Now, I understand this as dissociation. It's not that I "gave away" anything- it's that, my brain would literally make me energetically and mentally leave my body. It was never me choosing to check out, or not put myself first- but the way my nervous system would respond and tell my brain to react. I was programmed to leave my body through receiving affection or love because of the dismantled way I received it as a child. This is where acceptance and unconditional love for self comes into play-.
As the day went on, staying in my body became more and more difficult. If you don't know what I mean by that, I mean the feeling of floating. The feeling of being high and uncontained. My thoughts began to move entirely to this man, who at this point was showing simple affection. I was consumed by where his attention was, if he was seeing me, if I looked good enough, if I was being 'cool enough', fearing for the future, unsure of what I should do or say.. the list goes on. The truth was, I had no ability to see myself. I was out of my body, and mind. Automated programming took over entirely, and I had no say at the moment. THIS is why this work is so important.
It took me almost 24 hours to come back into my body fully. When you have a trauma brain, you have to find acceptance for your differences in the world and the inability to be present in certain situations. You have to have grace and understanding for something you cannot control until you've moved through it. It's so easy to find shame in feeling misunderstood, but it's not about denial- it's about unconditional love and acceptance for self. On a level, only you will understand.
Yoga, breathwork, meditation and having a trauma therapy specialist are some of the most powerful tools for working through your own trauma. It's learning to take each day slow. It's choosing the step out of the rat race in life and honoring your needs to be heard and felt. Yoga allowed me to get back into my body after years of living out of the body. Meditation allows me to witness when I am dissociating and also to get back into my body. Trauma therapy gives me grace to allow another person fully witness my traumas and fragmented selves appear. You most likely cannot see when it is happening, or when you are being consumed by the power of the nervous system and brain. Self care is vital, but even more so- self awareness. The ability to know oneself in depth and hold your own power where you once were actually forced to give it away, is everything. Know that you're not alone. Millions of people walk the surface of this earth daily struggling to feel sane, and feel healthy. Just for today, give yourself grace. Give yourself unconditional love and lean into all the goodness you are here to experience. Life does get better- I promise.