March 2, 2017

There Is Work To Be Done, But I Can Do It

“I have a lot of work to do, but I know I can do more than exist.”

-Connie, Survivor-

This is probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to write. I’ve contemplated for days on how to adequately express myself. I have struggled with deciding to say anything at all, but I would feel like a horrible, selfish, ungrateful person if I kept it to myself.

I was given the opportunity to go to The Haven Retreat.

This past year has been one of my hardest yet. Why my mind remembered things I haven’t remembered in 20+ years baffled me. It made everything else I had to deal with seem unbearable. I could feel myself eroding away back into a shell of myself, and I didn’t want to be there again. So even though, I was petrified to go, I went.

I attended many classes that explained the different ways our bodies and brains change after trauma, all sorts of trauma, which I’ve had more than my fair share of. I learned that for all the times I’ve been called weird, questioned why I can’t sleep, why I did this, why I don’t do that, and why I felt crazy, had a reason. Those things were normal for trauma survivors, and that some things can change.

I cried a lot. I laughed a lot. I also got angry for allowing myself to feel this way for so long. I was finally able to say things out loud that I’ve never said to anyone. It’s impossible for me to explain how healing it is to just be honest even if what you have to say is “terrible.” I made friends that I’ll always cherish, and we continue to support each other.

I received the purest form of unconditional love, kindness, and understanding from complete strangers. It completely overwhelmed me because I never have thought I was worth very much.

Most importantly I learned to accept that I do deserve to be happy, that I am worth something, and that I am not alone. I can honestly say, it saved my life. I’m not “fixed” or “cured.” I have a lot of work to do, but I know I can do more than exist.

-Connie, Survivor