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To the therapist who helped make my heart beat again, thank you.
To my new teacher who encourages me to pick up a pen and write, I’m glad we met.
To my friends who make me laugh so hard that, for a moment, I forget my childhood trauma, you’re a gift.
And to the friend I met on a Facebook page who knows this same pain in your body of being “terminated” by a therapist, I’m sorry.
I’m truly sorry.
If I can be honest, six months ago, I didn’t think I’d make it to see another Thanksgiving.
This may be of surprise to the professor in undergrad who always spoke of my Colgate smile or my childhood friends who see me as being on top of the world.
The truth is is that I struggle. I struggle a lot.
And when a beloved therapist tossed me out into the world and locked her door, I landed facedown on the cement, bruised my heart, and couldn’t get back up.
I tried to stand, but I couldn’t.
Rejection is hard, but for an adult with complex childhood trauma, it feels like more than just rejection.
Rather, your heart stops beating.
You lie there lifeless, devastated, and unable to engage in activities that once brought you joy.
I went to therapy to feel better but the ending traumatized me.
I’ve tried to make sense of it by having gone to multiple therapists for help, but none of them seem to understand why I was treated in such a callous way.
Instead, they look at me with tears in their eyes and try to comfort me.
It doesn’t help much, though, as I am unable to accept my reality.
I wouldn’t say that I have healed, but there’s something shifting in me these last few weeks.
Today, with my new trauma therapist, I wrap up traumatic events in Bubble Wrap, pretend to launch them into space, and spend sessions blinking my eyes after laughing uncontrollably while retelling funny memories of adventures with friends.
Each time my therapist asks how I feel about the stuff strapped to the rocket, there is less and less of a charge.
And each time I tell another story with my best friends, I can’t help but laugh.
Trauma is interesting. It’s not stuck to me. Rather, it’s something I can move and send off to Mars in my mind if I’d like to.
William James once said, “Our experience is what we attend to.”
I think I’ll keep sending bottle rockets of trauma to Mars and laugh and smile at the beautiful life I have today.
To my new therapist who attunes to me and sits beside me, side-by-side, in our work together, thank you. It is truly a gift to have crossed paths with you.
To those who have ever been hurt by therapy, please share your story so we can work together to make changes.
It starts with our voices.
To learn more about the Flash technique for treating trauma, please see the video below: