As I began my study exploring trauma and the effect it has on a person’s body in response to chronic pain and/or autoimmune disease, I became very intrigued. I have started to explore my past experiences in order to relate and attempt different healing techniques. I want to be sure that the techniques I offer in my business as a wellness coach are effective and worthwhile. To accomplish that, it has become imperative that I stay in the forefront of my own pain and my voyage through wellness.
This journey into my past has been anything but easy. I am determined, though, because I no longer wish to be held captive by trauma. I understand that even though my mind has learned how to ignore the misfiring of my neurological system, my body has not. Acknowledging my past does not make me weak or whiny. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Acknowledging my life and all its events makes me strong because I have to face myself with courage and endure any painful memories in order to make sense of them. If I continue to deny any struggles, the struggles repeat themselves over and over in my life. That is a form of imprisonment I no longer will endure. So if you find yourself reading this and thinking, Yeah, yeah, we all had struggles growing up, but we just move on, I ask you: Have you really moved on? How do you know you have moved on? Do you have one lesson that keeps repeating itself over and over again that you can make no sense of?
As a toddler, I eagerly awaited to meet my biological father. There was a lot of hype buzzing in the air about this meeting, and even when I was very young I could feel it. I was supposed to feel excited, or maybe I was excited. I knew I was missing a father, but I never felt a great loss because my grandfather filled that spot. Well, he filled it until years later when I would appoint the job of father to another man who was and still is my father to this day.
There was a knock on the door, and every one tensed up. I stood next to my grandfather and gave my best smile. The door creakily swung open, and there stood a man and a lady who were holding a small baby. We all stood staring at each other for what seemed like forever but probably lasted only seconds. I felt awkward, so I began to act silly in hopes of engaging him in laughter. For years, this move has summed me up in a nutshell. Mandy = acting silly in hopes of engaging you in laughter. Just as I did that, he turned around and walked out of my life. He would never attempt to contact me again. Of course, I did find him when I was nineteen years old, and we would have a distant and strained relationship, if any at all.
These last few months I have been searching my memories and my inner thoughts. I have been focused mostly on different traumas but also on core beliefs. As I explored many different traumas, one core belief kept presenting itself over and over again. This core belief, which was false to begin with, began the moment my father shut the door. The thought I experienced was: “I have done something wrong.” When he left, I thought I had done something wrong. A belief is a thought that I think over and over again.
This thought was the beginning of a faulty belief that would play in my mind time and again, each time reinforcing itself and getting stronger. The worst part of all is that it would serve absolutely no purpose in my well-being or happiness. Later in life, when violence would erupt in my home, I would think: I have done something wrong. When I was taken into state custody and put into foster care twice the thought that I had done something wrong would echo in my mind. When I would be forced to move to a new school every six months, I would think I had done something wrong. Each time any person was angry, I would believe I had done something wrong. This belief had become so imbedded in my day-to-day life I did not even recognize I was having the thought. After each day and each interaction with another person, I would be left thinking the same thought, and each time my shoulders would tense and anxiety would drop into my gut like a little bomb that I could not stop. I could not stop this reaction with any amount of positive self-talk. Only now, in my thirties, have I identified this unpleasant belief.
So how did this one experience install a thought that became a belief that somehow turned into…I am wrong? How do I change years of negative programming? By facing it and uncovering it! Now if my mind begins to even try to think that thought, I catch it and counteract it in my mind. I know this problem will take time to change, because the neural pathways in my brain for it are deep and worn. But today I have begun to heal, and today I know that I am not wrong. I know that sometimes I can be wrong without being wrong as a person. I am allowed to make mistakes, and not everything has to do with me. I don’t have to solely focus on me and my wrongs; I understand sometimes people are just having a bad day. I don’t have to push so hard to always be right, for fear of being wrong. Today my body does not have to tense up and endure extreme stress, because it has begun to settle the score and let it go.
I get that many people have faced adversity and difficulty and have beautiful and productive lives. I am one of them; however, that does not negate or nullify the importance of my experiences. Your experiences, no matter how big or small they may seem, are important. I have learned so much about trauma and how it presents itself in an individual’s life. There are families who are war-torn within them. These people and their families experience pain, loss, fear, insecurities, threats, and trauma. From experience I have witnessed that a strong, perceptive, and intuitive person can be made out of these ashes. A person who is solid and determined to make a difference in our world. A person who will not settle. Most of all, a person who will survive.