Growth in any aspect or individual experience can be quite confronting come to think of it. The more we as humans think about changing what we have fundamentally been told, the more we swallow our suppressed emotions and ignore what is needed to be done in order to change. Why would we want to sit in uncomfortable thoughts, emotions and feelings? Why logically would you want to cause more distress? Isn't that a contradiction in itself? It can be. What if I tell you a bit about my experience with growth through trauma? I am hoping by sharing this insight into the pain and suffering I have gone through to finally be able to sit in uncomfortable emotions, you may seek comfort in knowing it is do-able. For so long I lived a life where I didn't foresee myself being here today to be able to write this.
Twenty-seven years on this earth, I have been fundamentally bought into a world where I have suffered from a young age. From a young age, I swallowed my feelings as I was never able to express them in a healthy manner. As soon as I was angry, I wasn't allowed to be angry towards the hurt and pain that was projected onto me. I simply had to nod and keep tight-lipped, even though the anger was boiling inside. The more the hurt I was feeling was invalidated, the more I leaned towards numbing out to deal with the emotions I was forced to suppress. The more I grew up, the more I adapted to this behaviours in order to survive my childhood. From childhood lead to adulthood, where these behaviours impacted my life immensely. I felt as if I was a teddy bear, stuffed with cotton wool which resulted in me feeling almost 'lifeless'. Because of this feeling, my emotions would be expressed in ways that would seem abnormal to the average human being.
This is where I think people really misunderstand peoples inherent behaviours and fundaments. Its so easy for someone to say 'well if I grew up in the same environment, I know I wouldn't deal with it the way that Carissa does'. A lot of people in past situations have stated this towards the unhealthy coping mechanisms I displayed due to my illness being untreated. Even though I was actively seeking out help (and getting set back), people still seemed to invalidate my thoughts, feelings and emotions. Even when I assertively and articulately explained to them my hardships.
The biggest thing for me to be able to learn, grow and move forward, is suffering. I have turned my pain into a positive. I have been able to still love (and love hard) despite the abuse I have endured. I have so many positive attributes to my complex and diverse personality 'disorder' that was overlooked countless times by past friends, old lovers, acquaintances- you name it. I was fired from jobs because of my dissociation. I was mocked by peers for being 'too sensitive'. My kindness is taken advantage of. My love taken advantage of. My loyalties betrayed.
Growth has been the hardest thing to take in about my whole experience with my mental health 'recovery' journey so far. I have been commended by the amount of hard work, dedication and change that has occurred in my four months so far. I am proud, but deep down that tiny shadow of doubt caused by invalidation and abuse at a young age still echoes in the background of my mind, whispering 'you don't deserve this'. It doesn't occur the whispering as much anymore, but it is really hard to validate your own self when you grew up learning that any emotion, thought or feeling you had was 'all in your head'.
The skills I have learnt have been quite minimal in the way they are taught. To be honest, reading it all on paper it all seems so simple. I think to myself that everyone is capable of growth and development. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to sit on a chair full of rosebuds. They will prick you and cause uncomfortable sitting. That's exactly how intensive therapy such as DBT feels like. It's extremely vital that people don't give up in trying to seek what works for them. Seeking what works for me enriched my soul. It made me become more comfortable in my skin. Through that, I had to be extremely caught off guard. I had to be uncomfortable before I was able to be comfortable with who I am. I was able to accept who I am, flaws and all. I think they are tools necessary to be able to accept the love and care you do deserve.
It's not as black and white as people think, as I use to think. Taking on peoples perspectives (even though they have never been accountable) for the pain they have caused me has been the most draining and challenging. Having to remind yourself they don't feel at a level you do, that they just feel different isn't validating the pain that was caused. That is reducing more suffering for you. That is enabling you to sit with your own truths, morals and values. And the more set in stone they become, the more you are able to attract people similar to your core beliefs. You will be able to see people on a much deeper level. Swimming in the shallows of people can prove to be such a drag.
Your love will blossom once you face the demons of your past. Demons that have haunted you since you were young. You don't need to live there with them, it all starts with acknowledging why there is suppressed pain and suffering. You know these demons weren't your fault, but somehow they have convinced you that you are the issue. When in fact, you aren't at all. You want to be able to grow, learn and love despite these demons tearing your world apart. Once you sit with them, have a chat with them and tell them you are ready to move forward from them, the more they will shrink. You know sometimes they will pop up and try to scare you, time and time again. However, you can simply push them aside and no longer let them rip you to shreds. Your pain is valid. Don't ever let the screams inside you turn into white noise. Be heard, and hear yourself out. The more in tune and connected you become, the more you will be able to function and live life to the best of your ability.