Hey everyone, long time no speak as per usual! I’ve some things to tell you about today and need to include some trigger warnings as some of it is not pretty, but I figure it explains a lot and as I’m tired of hiding, I’m hoping being more forthright about some of my experiences might do me a lot of good, which in turn will let me start actually building a future for myself instead of staggering through each day. It has taken me months to deliberate on whether to write this post, so I hope you will bear with me here for a bit.
The last few years have been…hard. Heck, there’s been the good old plague doing the rounds (I’ve just recovered from my bout of it, and it flattened me, even in the omicron form) then of course there was my much loved dad’s diagnosis and the loss of him not even six months later. Then last September it was decided that skeletons had no place in my family’s closet any more, which meant that the severe sexual and mental abuse I suffered from around age 7 til nearly 19 was finally pulled out of the cupboards for everyone to see. A very good thing, all things considered, but exhausting as well.
The bottom line is that as a result of past trauma I have complex PTSD. I’ve had it for years but only realised it around 18 months ago, and its certainly made sense of the whole raft of problems I’ve struggled with for years – bouts of severe depression, an innate need for invisibility that makes it very hard to promote my business, whichever angle of it I’m working on, severe lack of confidence and a deep seated belief in my own inadequacy being just a few of them. I also have disassociative tendencies, which make it very hard to stay present in the moment, and that shit is there pretty much constantly to some degree or another, though I’ve learned to work around it to the point where you’d never even know it was happening most of the time. The main reasons why I’ve decided to be open about it now is that for me, secrecy has been adding to the problems – has done for a long time now in fact. If I’m going to move into the open and stop trying to hide constantly, I need to embrace and acknowledge the broken bits of myself as well as the bits that still just about get by. It has been safer and easier to remain invisible up until now, but there comes a point when its harder to stay in the cage than it is to leave it.
I’m also sharing it so that other healers who may be feeling a bit discouraged because of their own struggles with mental issues can see that it is entirely possible to struggle with this shit and still be a good healer. I can still help people, even on my worst days. It’s possible to bring light out of shadows, even with all this sort of mess, and if by doing so I can be some sort of useful example to other healers and herbalists struggling with these issues, so much the better. We are all awesome for surviving what we have survived, even on our worst days when its hard to crawl out of whatever hole we want to lose ourselves in.
I have had to do a lot of work on boundaries over the last ten years or so – I’m not good at being aware where my limits are, and have the bad habit of pushing myself well past what I can handle, which is when the cptsd flares up badly again and I get flattened with flashbacks of various types. When I get to that point, it can take me weeks to recover, and it really sets back my progress on everything. I’m also rubbish at asking for help. I’ve grown up having to carry everything and say nothing, and it’s a very tough habit to break. I’ve got very broad shoulders and I am very strong, but I am also getting inescapably tired.
I’m not sharing this out of a need for pity or because I particularly like hanging my personal dirty laundry out for the world to see it, but more because the need for secrecy has been hamstringing me for quite long enough, and its high time I tried to move past it. I may post more about this in the future, maybe with some coping and self care tips for others struggling with PTSD and CPTSD, when I can get past the nasty little voice in the back of my head telling me to shut up about it and never share it because its a shameful dirty secret, but ideally I’m hoping to get back to regular posting about herbs and poetry and stories and beautiful things, once I can bear to be seen in any way again.
Green Blessings and much love to you all, and thanks for reading this to the end.