After a powerful period of awakening when I was around 24 years old, I decided to make it my mission to be sure that Survivors knew, really believed, in the possibility of healing.
I had no idea how I was going to achieve it, but I knew it had to happen.
Up until that time I believed my life…the struggles, pain, and hopelessness were just who I was and what my life was meant to be.
I began my healing journey after a particularly bad day when I became self-destructive. After my husband called 911 out of fear for my safety.
At the time, I didn’t know I was working towards healing. I thought I was working on becoming a better person...a more deserving person.
I had no concept of healing. The idea that I struggled because of everything I had experienced…and I could be and feel differently…well, it was truly unimaginable.
Since becoming a Social Worker, Advocate, Psychotherapist, and now Mentor, I have devoted my life to making sure all Survivors know Healing is possible and The Shame Is Not Ours!
~in the healing power of connection.
~you are much stronger than you think and more powerful than you know.
~you cannot heal what you deny is wounded.
~everybody is capable of healing. Yes, even you. You are never too old, damaged, alone.
~it is impossible to heal on your own.
~YOU are worthy of healing.
~it takes much more strength to address the pain than it does to deny or minimize it.
~the process of healing is far less painful than the pain you already endured.
~while your body has been violated, your SOUL is pure.
~we are all imperfect, and recognizing our imperfections makes us perfectly imperfect.
~in the healing power of gratitude.
~that gratitude breeds worthiness.
~ shame is the most destructive human experience.
~ isolation breeds shame.
~THE SHAME IS NOT OURS!
The details of everybody’s story are a little different, yet there are almost always many similarities.
The following are the experiences that significantly shaped my life…my belief in my worthiness, my future.
I share this with you for two reasons. The first, to help you see the parts of me you might connect with and let you know you are not alone. The second, if I want people to speak their truth, I think it’s fair I speak mine.
~My step-father began sexually abusing me at the age of 5. He abused me until I was 13, when he left my mother.
~Around the age of 7 a friend’s family member began abusing me. This was proof that I was the reason these things were happening.
~My brother sexually assaulted me when I was 15. I know it happened once…it may have happened twice, but I will never know because I don’t remember anything after he got into my bed the second time. This was absolute, irrefutable proof it was all my fault.
~I quit high school @ the age of 16 when I was three months pregnant. Four months later I got married. Just over a year later my second child was born. Three years later my husband and I separated.
~Throughout my childhood, my mom struggled with ongoing medical issues as well as depression, though it was undiagnosed. As a result, my emotional, and to some degree, physical needs were not met. Like many children in these situations, I became my mother’s primary caretaker. Her medical issues made it difficult for her to stay employed. Much of my childhood was spent living on public assistance. We were evicted too many times to count. I changed schools at least 5 times by 5th grade. Until I was able to understand what depression was and the impact it has on parenting, I believed she didn’t love or care about me. My mom died at the age of 49 when I was 23 years old.
~My parents divorced when I was about 4. I spent weekends with my father until I was 13. Though I didn’t really spend time with him. My time was spent with my stepmother, who I am grateful for. She created opportunities for me to experience things other children experienced; amusement parks, games, and horseback riding. However, I always believed she didn’t like me and considered me a nuisance. My father died at the age of 52 when I was 24 years old.
~I held on to the secrecy and shame until I was 24 years old when I first started my healing process. (Though it took years to let go of the shame)
I married my second husband when I was 23 and we’re living happily ever after (at least that’s the plan :). In the beginning of our relationship I wasn’t sure we’d stay together long enough to get married, let alone be together for over 20 years. The early years of our relationship were nothing like they are now. But, with patience, commitment, hard work, and a willingness to be vulnerable (for both of us), we have created an amazing relationship. A relationship I never imagined could be possible for me.
It was through my relationship with my husband, learning everything I did through my educational/professional process, and experiencing a few amazing guides on my own journey, I have become the person I was meant to be.
~I have allowed myself to love fully and truly accept and feel love from my husband and others.
~I have had experiences I thought only happened for other people. People who were better, smarter, more deserving.
~I have become the confident, outspoken person I envied. I can and do speak my truth...whatever the truth may be. An opinion, desire, thoughts, and feelings.
~I have a willingness to try new things without a fear of failure. While it may feel safer to stay in our comfort zone, you end up missing out on some amazing things in life. I could never do what I do now if I hadn't experienced my own Courageous Journey.
With every challenge, risk, and new adventure that comes my way, I continue to become even more of the person I was meant to be.
~Clinically trained and formerly licensed* trauma therapist with 18 years experience helping survivors heal through individual and group therapy. (*"Formerly licensed" due to not renewing my clinical license (LCSW) when it was set to expire as I did not intend to build another private practice)
~3rd degree Reiki Practitioner
~Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) and Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Sociology with a minor in Psychology.
~200+ hours of additional clinical training primarily related to issues around childhood abuse and trauma.