Feel It to Heal It

Night before last I had a nightmare. They are rare these days, but they used to be so bad and so frequent as a child and young adult that I would refuse to sleep. I used to wake up in fear and ready to fight.

My early life was extraordinarily traumatic. I don’t share many details for fear just hearing about my survivorship will traumatize others. But not sleeping would create chaos for me in day to day life. It took years (and some luck) for me to learn how to give myself the psychological safety and physical comfort by body needed to sleep.

A huge part of my healing journey came when I got very honest about what I needed in my home and in my intimate relationship. I need to sleep next to someone I trust with my physical and emotional safety. I found him. I love him. Together we have created a home that is beautiful. There is no yelling, no physical danger. We have food, heat, a soft bed and loads of love for each other. I am safe. He will protect me with his life. I am blessed.

This year we bought a house. Another dream come true. I have not lived in a house since I was a child in foster care. I knew it would come with some “large” emotional feelings.

Each time I step up in life, into a safer space, I move through what I call “large” feelings. As joy fills my world it always comes with fear of loss.┬áThis is what my nightmare was about. Fear I would lose him, our home, and all of the safety that brings us peace.

I spent all of yesterday haunted by the nightmare. A day filled with manageable but very real panic attacks. And a heavy heart. And a little anger that I am doing so well, and everything is good, so why does this pain invade me?

This is the life of a survivor. Maturity has taught me to accept the nightmares. The feelings are only temporary. If I continue to allow myself to feel my feelings without allowing them to turn into self destruction, there is more growth and joy on the other side of them.

I breathe. I listen. I trust. I write it out. I share with another trusted soul. Doing so makes room for more joy and goodness in my heart.

Am I grateful? Absolutely. It’s not grateful in that “hey you should journal as a morning practice” sort of gratefulness. (Dont get me wrong, I do count my blessings.) My gratefulness is much more hardcore. Gratefulness in the form of a punch in the face. Abrupt, undeniable, and mean.

My life is beautiful. And I feel it.