When I first started to write my book, (The Goal: Publish This YEAR!) the thing I actually started with was, I was a person who had a seizure disorder and 60 pages into it I realized I wasn’t really capturing the story; the deepest darkest places I hadn’t even scratched the surface of. It took me 38 years to realize, that I wasn’t just battling a seizure disorder. It just so happens that the seizures were what was ruining my life insidiously every single one took something from me and those pieces are gone and now improvised through time and constantly reinventing me. The bodily harm of the falling is what I will have for the rest of my life. Yet this was only a symptom of much larger issue.
The big picture eluded me because I wanted to be absent from it all. I was the queen of denial and never had to deal with it and that was subconscious. It did help for a while until I was ready to cope with the big things. It, the details and raw emotion of living my life was just too big to deal with. Thinking about being a victim of a violent crime where being beaten so badly as a child until I almost died, a couple of times and living with a brain injury; just too overwhelming to comprehend at times. Even to this day, if I really just sit and think about the losses that I have accumulated over time because of my victimization it’s almost too difficult to bear. I did not think about it and it beat me repeatedly, but I didn’t realize that I was so oblivious to the details. Not dealing with it made it seem less significant; I just had a seizure disorder, how convenient, if it could be considered that. For me it was.
Then it struck me, literally like a light bulb going off, an epiphany; my life was all of sudden being spread on pages of thought and events and I was not really feeling it. I didn’t know how to feel the feelings they were gone or so I thought. I had no idea that they had been so distant until I really began to bare my soul on paper. I started writing 15 pages or more a day and the tears would just stream down my face and I pushed myself to sit quietly and just BE. Almost every emotion I experienced as a child came rushing back to me and I can still at times be brought to my knees.
I no longer just intellectualize and compartmentalize every emotion. I have found my way through the maze and even though loss is real and struggle is real I much rather be the person that I am today, understanding those horrors and how they affect me than be inwardly silent and void of great emotion. That’s not what I call living. I am someone who believes that you can’t have one without the other. For instance, you can’t have great love if you haven’t had hate, you can’t trust if you haven’t ever trusted, and you can’t have amazing happiness if you never let yourself feel deep sadness. Therefore, it goes what is life without experiencing the highs and lows. It really teaches you things about yourself.
I will say however that we resolve things in our own sweet time and we don’t if we never want to, or are not ready to. I have worked in human services and in the mental health field a long time and you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. I understand the process of coming to terms with grief but that doesn’t make it any easier, just that I knew more about what to expect. That’s what it’s all about, simply put, I had to grieve my old self and all that I had lost and until I did, my demons, pain or whatever anyone wants to call it swaddled me; restraining the real potential of Me.
I will say though, that if you are not ready you won’t come to terms and when you do, seek help if you need to because this loss of self or perceived self is very real. This unraveling or peeling away the layers is difficult and takes time. It is a battle worth fighting when you have all the weapons you need to defend yourself from total collapse. I am still a work in progress.
What helped me realize the fact that I had to grieve my childhood happened in a therapy sessions that I had after having a very bad seizure breaking my knee cap in 1994, having surgery and getting 12 stitches in my head, oh yeah and chipping my teeth. I began to have these crazy panic attacks and I thought I was going to seize. I felt fear as no other time in my life or that I understood. I went to about five counseling sessions and boom, there it was, I was grieving and I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which isn’t uncommon for people with the life that I have had. The seizure brought out all the helplessness of being a victim and it now was crippling me, more than a broken knee. After therapy and my epiphany, I realized that I had to face my fear; this was a very small beginning of healing. I remember writing a poem named Fear. It was no literary genius, just raw emotion on a page that helped me get to the root of the problem. I never had a panic attack after that day.
So grieve when you are ready and where you want and how you want and with whom you wish to tell or not. Sometimes just journaling helps with grief or other emotions that you feel you can’t tell anyone. Yelling helps and breaking things helps but writing is healthier and cost less; but I whole-heartedly say try yelling at least. NOT at someone, just yell and cry and roll on the floor and then pick yourself up and move on. However, don’t break vacuum cleaners if you can’t afford to buy another unless you have a wonderful Aunt and Uncle who play Santa Claus and then they will bring you a new one for Christmas. Therefore, I guess you know I have some experience with this.
There’s another piece of me. Go buy a journal and write pieces of you and you may find yourself changed in many positive ways. Life is worth living only if you can feel how amazing it could be. Your story is important if to no one else other than you.