One of the scariest thing for a survivor of childhood sexual abuse to do is to share with others our painful experiences, not in detail of course (usually, this could be with another survivor, trusted counselor or therapist), but in the details of the painful emotional and psychological impact of the trauma, which I like to coin as heart knocks. My heart knocks are my flashbacks, doubts, anger, sadness and anxiety. My anxiety is rooted in fears and manifest at the worst in panic attacks. Even when we end up forgiving our abuser, which I have (and will write about later), it does not take away from the pain we deal with often into our adult lives.
For most of my life, I try to bury that pain with external factors like work, school and art, my way of escaping from my problems. But because of my personality of being 'paranoid' in doing anything that may 'alter my brain function,' this paranoia prevented me from running to drugs or alcohol. Heck, I get anxiety just thinking about taking any kind of drugs that can alter my state of mind. This is off topic, I remember after having my son, I dealt with major postpartum anxiety and literally could not function or sleep. I sat at the psychiatrist office and was telling her that I was very anxious just thinking about taking any kind of anti-anxiety/depressants and she kind of chuckled and so did I. I was too paranoid of being dependent on any medication since most of my childhood I've seen loved ones addicted to alcohol. Yup, that's my personality and also partly my pride because then that meant I really needed to accept that I was 'messed' up, even though I knew I was and can finally say, I am a mess often and it's okay, part of being human, and part of healing.
In God's grace, I humbled myself (with some grumbling) and did take the anti-anxiety medication for a short time. It did help for a moment when my panic attacks started but I didn't like the side effects so I did my best to try alternative methods like exercising and changing my diet. Plus I prayed a lot too and confided to those close in my life. Eventually, I took the anxiety meds less often as I started trusting the decisions that I made for myself and trusting that God will help sort my stuff out. Please note, that by no means am I judging anyone for taking any kind of anti-anxiety/depressant medication, I believe it takes courage to embrace help and to take medication that will help you. I am only speaking for myself and sharing my experiences and what worked for me. I do use a homeopathic medicine (due to less side effects) by Hylands call CALMS, it's a blessing and has helped with my anxiety (I wonder if it helps because the name is already suggesting that I'll be calm).
Okay, back to my original message (if I can remember what it was): Oh yes, God's grace has taught me to deal with the heart knocks in my life (my fears, anxiety, flashbacks, doubts, anger and sadness) a day at a time, that there is no magic trick to recovery and healing, that it just takes living a life day to day as fully as we can. How? Well, I am still living out what His grace has taught me (probably throughout my whole life) and for me, it is to acknowledge these hard knocks in my life without shame or doubt, to embrace them as strengths rather than weaknesses, to cry if I have to, to get upset if I have to, to trust that I have a loving God, and to just allow myself to feel the knocks because, eventually the pain will be less burdensome and more bearable. All you have to do is allow the door to open. If you are like me, I sometimes try locking the door with dead bolts. BUT whenever you do allow that door to open in your own time, healing begins.
*heart knocks is a metaphor to the pain in my life, which did not break my heart or damaged my heart (since our hearts are resilient and these words implies permanency) but knocks at my heart (sometimes the knock gets really loud), and part of my healing is to open the door whenever they visit.
I am wishing you the strength and courage to swing that door wide open when the heart knocks in your life visits. I am praying that when that door is swung open, you will feel a bit of His loving grace. Remember, to open the door in love and, if possible, humor too. Plus, if you need to punch or kick something, I suggest an inanimate object and not a spouse or pet, and use boxing gloves to lessen the impact on your lovely hands. God's peace.
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..."
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