We don’t hear much about what happens after you have worked through many of the effects that childhood sexual abuse can have on a person.
What happens after you’re no longer angry, no longer fearing everything, no longer a mess.
What happens after your PTSD, anxiety and depression no longer causes you and those around you distress?
I didn’t know either, of course. But nor had I heard many people talk about it or what it’s like.
We hear a lot about what it’s like during the dark.
We talk about how hard it is to be there and how consuming it is for us.
But we don’t often hear about what comes next?
You wanna know what comes next, what comes in the after healing phase?
Everything else and nothing else all at the same time minus the effects of childhood trauma.
There’s still loss, confusion, fear, isolation; it’s like being reborn and finding out that you have all this other stuff you have to do now. Like…plan the future.
If I’m honest I’ve been a bit lost. Not sad, not depressed, not anxious; just…lost.
It’s been about 6 months now since I have been in that deep-dark-PTSD-depressed and it’s been 3 or so months since I’ve had any kind of anxiety. In fact, my psychologist says I no longer have PTSD…Win!
It’s been that long since I’ve had a true thought of dying and that my friends is a relief.
It’s been that long since the dark that once threatened to consume me has come anywhere near me.
It’s been that long that I’ve had to get used to life without trauma and now, I’m just like everyone else.
Do you know what that’s like? To have regular problems like everyone else?
It’s just like having all your old problems, except this time, they’re ones you helped create. Which in many ways make them a shit tonne scarier than the ones you didn’t, it’s different, yes, but the problems are still just as consuming.
And no, I am not saying I’d rather be dealing with the chaos and Trauma of a PTSD filled life, nor am I saying that I am ungrateful for where I am now. But it’s whole new world out there, one that you’d assume was easier than what you’re used to.
But no, it’s all new and it’s all still hard.
That’s just it though; life is hard. I hear that from others who have experienced no childhood trauma in their lives and I used to think, “I wish that the only thing I had to worry about was money, or what car to buy”.
Having overcome Trauma doesn’t make dealing with regular people’s life easier, sure, it offers some perspective and sometimes you may find that it’s made it easier not to sweat the small stuff. But it’s not made it ALL easier because it’s all relative to you, at the time.
I obviously consider myself pretty healed in the scheme of things.
I no longer have flashbacks.
I no longer fear the night.
I no longer wake up fearing someones coming into my house to get the kids.
I no longer feel threatened by men of the same stature as my abuser.
I no longer cry from anxiety at the idea of continuing to live.
I am content and no longer hold any anger to my abuser. In fact, I hope he sorts his shit out. Yes, I do imagine that karma will get him one day, but I no longer feel vengeful or spiteful, things that at one time consumed me before.
My life is drastically different without the trauma.
It’s wonderful, it’s absolutely fucking wonderful and that is no lie.
I do all the right things for myself now because I have space in my mind for them; I exercise every morning. I meditate for 20 minutes (twice a day) and I’m eating better than I ever have and as a result feel and look better (not that it matters) than I ever have.
My relationships with my kids have been wonderful. My relationship with my husband is changing from one of dependence on him to one where I am seeking independence.
However, there’s a part of healing that many people don’t talk about.
I’m feeling lost because who am I without any of the trauma, the anxiety, the depression?
Yes, I’m strong, I’m brave and I’m awesome but what do I do now without continuously preparing for tragic darkness. I’m finding myself so aimless that I’m considering to go back to therapy just to deal with my ordinary life.
Life without the trauma coming at me all the time is stagnant.
I have plenty to do, I have kids to love, I have books to write, people to see and I start full-time university next year. However, the rest of the time that I used to spend crying or anxious is now empty. I just sit here, plodding around in my own contented-ness.
Woe is me. I know, oh how I know, I shouldn’t complain. I am so grateful to myself for getting me to a place I never thought I’d be.
But then there’s the rest of life.
It’s like when it’s your birthday and you can not wait for it to be your birthday, then it comes and it’s just another day.
There’s disappointment… Because look at me!
Look at all the work I did.
And there are no fireworks.
There’s no certificate of participation.
No one even brings you a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-less cake.
It’s just you, and the results of all the work you did. But the world outside of that is new, and its normal to be apprehensive about it.
This isn’t to scare you.
This isn’t to discourage you from working through the trauma because it is still so damn important. This is just to remind you that healing the trauma won’t fix everything, you still have to work on yourself afterwards, you still have a life after your pain fades.
So heal your trauma but also work on the rest of your life, because once you’re done there, you still have you left. And you IS important.
So the in the after, it’s just you; standing around thinking “What now?”
So tell me, what will you do now, or what do you imagine you’ll do when the hurt stops?