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Practicing Vulnerability and Finding Joy in the Pain of Healing From Trauma

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It’s 3:33 a.m. Tears fall to my beard like waves crashing into jagged rocks. Searching for mental clarity in total darkness, while listening to the whispers of the devil. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t wake up in a mental war zone. I vent to my journal like an actual person is listening. Call it a fantasy, I guess — wishing someone was here to help me through it. But I prefer to be alone. What a paradox. I stretch, drink my alkaline water and sit by the window. Thoughts of invalidation bury themselves into my mind. Why is healing so painful? 

A few hours until my morning run, and the pain increases. My body already feels like I ran a marathon. Yet another battle in the war with my mind. My jaw clenches as my heart attempts to escape from my chest. The sun begins to peek through my window as I sit on the floor in agony. Acceptance washes over me while I bathe in the early sunlight. Smoke from lit sage dances through the air as I struggle to get on my feet. I have to get up, or else my brain will make me suffer. Routine is everything, or the balance I’ve created is crushed under the weight of negative energy. 

I’ve never been a person to hide when I’m in pain. I simply can’t pretend like my brain isn’t attacking me. I don’t think I could even begin healing if I didn’t practice vulnerability. A challenge that sometimes feels so futile since I tend to enjoy solitude, but I also despise it. My defense mechanisms from a life of trauma still form a shield around me. Every person I pass is a potential enemy. I fight against my own barriers because I know I can’t heal alone. This mindset is so foreign to me there are times I feel sick because it’s so hard to focus. I find myself to be uncomfortable, but I feel it’s necessary for the future of this one life I have.

I don’t quite call it meditation, but many times throughout the day I close my eyes and feel everything. I visualize hope. Sometimes it’s an object, and other times it’s a person, or simply light. I spend a lot of time outside in quiet places, far away from crowds. I seek balance with the trees, and peace with the water. I tend to love nature more than humans. Nature is honest, and understands what pain feels like.

Notification. A text from my son says, “I love you, Dad.” That’s the collateral beauty; the reminder to keep going. Joy in the pain of healing. Time to run.

Image via contributor

Originally published: June 4, 2021
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