Category Archives: Trauma Healing

Trauma: feeling safe

Oh how I wish there was some magic button of safety.

When you have gone through trauma, it’s hard to feel safe. Especially in places that are new.

Every sound you hear, you wonder. Wonder what it’s from, who it is and if you’re ok.

tossing and turning, trying to sleep and startled at every noise.

Is it the wind? The furnace? Is someone awake? Someone at the door? Is someone outside? Is the house just settling? Maybe it’s the dogs?

This is the reality behind trauma. The long lasting effects.

Some things I have personally done to help this is by helping myself feel safe.

I make sure all doors are locked before I go to bed. I keep my windows closed (curtains and blinds). I put some extra security locks on my front door that didn’t feel so secure when I moved in here. It’s also Christmas season so I have an excuse now to put jingle bells on the door handles. Haha.

With all that I still do meditation and breathing exercises while reminding myself that I am in control of my safety and I am safe.

What are some things you may do or know others do to try help this? Maybe someone reading can get some helpful tips on ways they can help feel safe again.

When predators invade your healing…

Trusting while healing trauma…

As someone with childhood trauma, it’s already hard to trust. Not just with relationships but anything or anyone. The trusting skill was never built. Instead you learn not to trust anything or anyone as a survival tactic.

When you start your journey on healing and then someone comes in and makes you put those survival walls up again, it’s disheartening.

Always trying to give myself that feeling of safety.

When I really started my healing journey in 2018 I started going to a local psychiatry office in New York. At first I was unsure but I knew I desperately needed it because my body and mind couldn’t take the constant battles anymore.

I was at one of the most vulnerable times in my life. I couldn’t simply wake up in the morning without instant panic attacks that was debilitating and so frequent, the only thing I did every single day the moment my eyes opened was concentrate on not dying. It was severe.

The first time I had ever left my children. My kids never went to babysitters, stayed over night somewhere and was only not with me while they were in school, except for the youngest who wasn’t in school at all at the time.

I was so emotional, so lonely in my head, so lost, so panicked, so determined to not die.

To clarify, I wasn’t actually dying, physically at least. But panic attacks make you feel like you are about to. The awful physical and mental feeling.

I was vulnerable.

I did both medication and weekly counseling for awhile. I think the only thing that kept me from not going there, or at least that specific place, was when Covid hit and we did virtual sessions.

This was because although I loved my counselors and will forever be grateful for both of the ones I had there, I was re-traumatized by the physicians assistant in that office. Having virtual sessions still allowed me to see my counselor who I liked, but I didn’t have to go into the office and be re-traumatized every time I had to go in.

He used my vulnerability and used many others vulnerabilities that went to him as well. I let my survival wall down because I wanted to live. I wanted help and I needed help.

You see, my panic attacks were so bad, things around me would go on “without me“ in a sense because my mind was so focused and so concentrated on not dying, not passing out, breathing… just surviving.

Around early 2020, a news article in our area we had lived in at the time was released about a local physician assistant arrested for forcible touching. (See article below)

Psychiatric physician’s assistant charged with forcible touching

I decided to contact the detective working the case. I didn’t know the details of what had happened with the forcible touching other than what was in the article but I recalled going through an encounter that was very uncomfortable with this same person.

I called and gave the details of the encounter of what happened between myself and this physician assistant. I told them, I’m not for sure if it’ll help, but I felt compelled to at least say something.

At this point is when I realized my encounter with this physician assistant wasn’t ethically appropriate at all. But I was so focused on healing my past trauma that still consumed me and getting by day by day, I thought that this encounter was me overreacting. I thought it was normal for them to go up your shirt with a stethoscope.

It was uncomfortable because I wasn’t wearing a bra. I avoided bras as much as possible during this time because they made me feel suffocated even more during panic attacks. Again, everything I did was to avoid feeling like I was dying, as well as trying my best to not have one.

So he went up my shirt from behind at first with the stethoscope, but then went around to the front while still under my shirt. I did my breathing to remain calm even though it was highly uncomfortable because I was trying to avoid another panic attack.

What I had realized was that this was the common tactic he used on his vulnerable patients to take advantage of them.

Then another article came out…

Physician’s assistant charged with forcibly touching 11 additional patients

I was disgusted. I didn’t know how to process. I honestly was mad at myself in a way. Mad at myself at the time for being so focused on healing instead of surviving. Telling myself if I wouldn’t have been trying to heal, I would have protected myself. I would have not fallen victim AGAIN!

It traumatizing all over again. Why can’t you just protect yourself? Why can’t you just give yourself that security?

I knew I still needed to heal though. That I couldn’t just live like this carrying all this trauma, pain and hurt for the rest of my life. But how?

I decided to write this because despite my continued healing efforts of my trauma, I realized I still haven’t been addressing this. To myself even. That I needed to address this part because it re-traumatized me so it is important to see to it as well.

One thing I will say, as a survivor, it’s hard just knowing that your perpetrator is out there in this world still amongst people. Not that you want revenge on them. But you always are trying to protect others. Thinking about who else they’re going to do this to. Wanting to be their savior when you didn’t have that. My perpetrator from childhood is still free, walking amongst people. It’s hard constantly feeling like you’ll run into them somewhere. This physician assistant was “processed” and just let go to appear in court because New York’s new laws protect criminals more than victims. Still continuing to work at the office he was employed at for a little while after the arrest even. My current counselor at that time quit working there because of that. Because of how it was handled. And that was hard as well because of the relationship I built with that counselor.

I felt disappointed in myself. Even though I shouldn’t have been, I was. Because trauma plays games with your emotions, your self esteem, your love and belonging for yourself.

When you get targeted during your healing journey, it makes it hard to get back up over and over again. To want to trust again. But most importantly, I need to trust MYSELF.

We shouldn’t feel as if our healing is less important because we need to survive. Because survival is also about truly living and loving yourself.

I’m still healing ❤️‍🩹. One day at a time.

Trauma in Childhood: Healing the inner child

Why should there be awareness about effective childhood trauma healing?

I went to counseling for awhile. For a few years at least. But even before that, I tried medicine to help. Help fill the emptiness I had still felt inside. The never-ending dark cloud over my head.

As I went through undergraduate school and into grad school, I realized something. I realized that I was just surviving. Instead of truly living. I had to find myself, the true me, and the little girl inside that just wanted to be loved, that just wanted to FEEL loved and wanted to feel safe.

I knew that the common counseling that I had been participating in, was not the right treatment I needed for healing. I was not just overcoming a failed relationship, anxiety about careers, or just needing to have some more positive outlooks. I was overall happy with my current life. Everyone around me always said I did an amazing job at being a mom, a student, and always positive in friendships. What they did not know, was that I was still triggered by things that, at the time, I had thought it was just something that was normal and annoying to me. But I realized it is not just an annoyance that bothered me. It was a trigger that I needed to identify and learn the why behind it. I realized I was expecting love, friendship, praise, or even security, from others instead of myself. I needed to give that to myself though, I deserved that.

With diving deep into my inner child to understand the triggers in my adult life helped me to actually make progress with what I continued to feel. Sometimes not realizing I was doing these things because of the trauma. Me working on my healing was really needed. Needed more than I knew.

For so many, I’m sure you hear people say to just…

“forgive and move on.” Or “the past is the past.”

And then you think, Forgive who? I’m supposed to forgive my abuser? Move on from trauma that has impacted my development as a child that you can’t just shake it off, be rid of and carry on about your day like it never happened? The mind and body don’t forget even though you think the past shouldn’t stay in our present life.

The statement of forgiveness is absolutely nothing but a slap in the face to survivors in my opinion. Those who do the harm cannot even admit nor face their own actions. But you expect survivors to? Does that mean I also have to apologize for the triggers that I cannot control or the nightmares that haunted me for years?

With the common counseling theories or techniques used being the vast majority of options out there for people suffering, there needs to be awareness of what will work or what can work when you do not feel like you are getting anywhere.

I was quite shocked at the curriculum at my first graduate school for clinical mental health counseling (side note: wouldn’t recommend that school). Taught old traditional ways of counseling clients and older theories instead of knew information that is widely out there. And because I brought this new information into my studies and into my papers when writing and researching, it was almost as if I was shunned for… maybe knowing too much? Actually learning outside the box? I don’t know, really. Why weren’t we learning about all the new proven techniques for anxiety, depression, anger, trauma, couples etc?

Someone who suffers from complex trauma, often spend years, if not the rest of their life, in counseling. Others may just not even try and continue life with the trauma the best they know-how. We need to help create more environments everywhere that survivors feel heard in, safe and feel like they are actually making progress. Not just talking to a counselor about it. Talking does not help survivors of childhood trauma. It just does not help. (Talking about it in general does help and I always encourage people to live openly and get it out, but it does not stop triggers and reshape your childhood development) Some people may feel like it does. That is always fine and we want what is best for that person and THEIR healing.

The majority of survivors though will say that it did not help. That they still felt stuck even after years of counseling because they still had nightmares, they still did things they didn’t recognize as being a conditioned effect of trauma. They still quietly wondered why they quenched as if someone was running their nails on a chalk board every time someone yelled. Or why they felt on edge and emotional inside while watching a movie or tv show that was violent in nature. Or why with relationships they either clung on for deer life or played hard to get but really begged them to stay if they lost interest? Felt the need to always be with someone but never felt wanted or loved with no rational reason of why they would feel that way? This… is what needs recognized and healed.

In my graduate studies, they want you to pretty much “pick” a counseling technique to go with for your career (Cognitive being the main one everyone chooses). But I questioned it. I question why you should only do one? Why, when there are so many to choose from, can you not incorporate what you see fit for that current client. I get people specialize in certain areas. Like EMDR for instance. However, there are soooo many cognitive behavioral counselors out there and not enough that is doing specific trauma work. After the MeToo movement came about (and let’s be honest, already knowing statistics of events that are traumatizing for years now), I would think it is clear that there should be more that do trauma work with clients.

Another reason for awareness with this is that there are so many false perspectives, whether within our system or within families, about trauma. The movement to be able to make a difference in so many lives and to help others to understand the realities and the truth of the false narratives people have portrayed and believed is so important. This would help to create not only space for survivors, but also to grow knowledge in communities all around about the effective strategies to heal and how to approach cases with victims within our system without the shame or blaming aspects.

We need to normalize the healing of childhood trauma. Normalize being able to openly talk about it and heal in all aspects of the effects of trauma like the few I mentioned above.

One thing I love to say is that, the discussion may make people uncomfortable because of the automatic anxiety around the silence that has consumed it, however, the importance of the discussion needs to become more important than that of the uncomfortableness it may bring to others.

With discussions it brings more awareness, more normalization, more support, more healing, more connection for those who feel they are alone in the battle, more help. More prevention to end generational trauma and to end the silence.

Join me in discussing the realities and stories around childhood trauma. Help me in getting the word out, getting the foot in the door to helping those heal effectively, getting survivors heard, and finally bringing hope in the lives of childhood trauma survivors.