Guest Blogger: Marisa Hughes - Trauma Healing is a Long Game
I'm excited to say that I have a great guest blogger on the site for you today. Her name is Marisa Hughes and she's an expert Trauma Therapist from South Florida focusing on EMDR (and a friend of mine). I invited her today to talk to you about what Trauma looks like on the other side -- after the bulk of the healing has been done.
If you enjoy her writing, you can find her on Facebook @MarisaHughesCounseling. Hope you all are doing well!
Trauma Healing is a Long Game
As a Trauma Therapist and a survivor of trauma myself, I know how important it is to be able to picture the end result of all the work that you put in to your own self-help and healing journey. While sometimes it is hugely beneficial to stay focused on the here and now- keeping your eyes on the present moment and not looking too far ahead. But when it comes to healing and going through the difficult parts of working on yourself it is extremely helpful to look forward for a bit and understand why you are doing the tough stuff now. This builds momentum and keeps you going when the closer future looks painful.
Trauma work is not easy. In fact it is one of the most emotional journeys you will take, as it forces you to grow, stretch, and view life with a different lens. It means gaining a deeper understanding of yourself, creating healthy boundaries, letting go of people in your life that do not serve your highest good, and reevaluating your perspective on the world. It means questioning the stories you live by and getting in tune with the most authentic parts of yourself. No one said it would be easy, but it is most definitely worth it.
Trauma is not something that ever completely gets resolved, as there will always be new experiences and painful memories that resurface. But true trauma healing means that those new experiences are ones that you have the tools to endure, regardless of what comes your way, and that when memories and triggers arise they no longer have a hold on you as strong as they once did.
For me, healing from trauma has been a journey of learning, growing, and evolving with time. I am no longer anxious, depressed, or on edge like I once was. Of course there are times when I experience anxiety, sadness, and a whole range of emotions but the difference now is that they no longer rule my life. Moments of anxiety no longer mean months of an elephant on my chest debilitating me from progressing forward. Instead, they now come in quick, tolerable bursts, acting as a reminder that I need to check in with myself, pull out some coping skills from my toolbox and tackle them without judgement or fear.
The key is without judgement or fear…because I know it is not forever anymore. Moments of anxiety, even when experiencing triggers or anniversaries, etc. are now no longer frightening because I have built a strong foundation of healing and wiped away the cobwebs so that they are no longer layering into previously existing issues. The pressure valve has already been released, so that added pressure no longer leads me to explode. Issues are now worked through as they arise, rather than piling on. Life is more digestible, both the good and the not so fun parts of it.
I can feel deeper. I experience joy like I never even imagined possible. I love deeper, connect with others on a more meaningful level, love myself just as I am, and I am far from perfect ;) and no longer live in fear of my painful past standing in the way of a successful future. I have healthy relationships, a loving marriage, and clear boundaries with those that are toxic for me. I no longer judge myself or others around me harshly. I have learned that life is messy but beautiful, it is about progress not perfection, and I am and always will be “good enough.” I know that I will be able to handle anything that comes my way because I have the tools and support system in place to do so and am no longer afraid of the unknown.
Wondering what your life will be like once you work through your “stuff’? Imagine a life without triggers that set you in a tail spin and throw you off your track. Picture what your life would look like if you had healthy relationships that filled you up instead of toxic ones that beat you down. Envision what your life can and will look like once you have tackled your trauma head on and overcome it. What will you achieve? How fulfilled might you feel? What would it look like, feel like, be like? Really take some time to get clear about your own personal long game and how you hope you will feel after doing the work.
I even suggest creating a vision board or checklist, something tangible that you can see every day and use as a motivator for you to keep pushing through the tough stuff. A reminder that it is worth it, because I can honestly say from my own experience and from watching my clients’ journeys unfold, trauma healing is the most worthwhile thing that you can do for yourself ever. Let me say that again so it really has a chance to sink in… Working on yourself to heal your trauma is arguably the number one most important thing you can do for your life.
What do you stand to gain from working through your trauma? What is your biggest Why? I challenge you to walk through the fear and take steps towards healing yourself so that you can enjoy your life. I can’t promise it will be easy but I can promise that it will be worth it.
P.S. I would love to hear more about you and offer you support as you grow in your healing journey. I have created a Facebook group @TogetherWeHeal (the one with the fish emoji) just for women to connect, share, and heal. Join our tribe of healing women today to gain support that will hold space for you when you are feeling alone and cheer you on in your own personal healing journey as you take steps to heal.