I have been writing this blog since 2009. I was 37 years-old when I posted my first article, and I just turned 50. I can scarcely believe that. My first post was really just an experiment in processing therapy sessions, life experiences, and past trauma. I was a would-be writer with a French degree, four young daughters, and a paucity of free time.
For thirteen years, my life has played out here along with many struggles to overcome the messiness inherent in it. My mother’s borderline personality disorder (BPD), the fault lines in my now former marriage, my struggles to overcome a past riddled with sexual trauma and religious neo-conservatism, health problems, and the underlying and relentless drive to heal are all unapologetically here within these posts in no particular order. Sometimes I go back and read what I wrote and feel embarrassed. I wouldn’t write some of these things today because I don’t feel that way now. But, I did then. Some emotions were intensely raw ten years ago. I used writing to process my thoughts. In many ways, I’m not the same person anymore, and that’s good.
Trigger warning: Domestic violence is discussed on the blog as is sexual violence. I was a victim of human trafficking when I was18 years-old. I grew up in a very emotionally, spiritually, and physically violent home. Both my parents have personality disorders. The road has been very long in terms of trauma recovery, but it has not been endless and full of despair. I have experienced a great deal of healing.
And, I think that is why I felt so compelled to write. I wanted to write something down while I was in the thick of doing the work. What does it look like to try and heal from Complex PTSD (C+PTSD) while you’re doing it? So, I published blog posts while I was really in it. You know, when you feel hopeless, emotionally exhausted, almost despairing, and empty. When you truly believe that you will never recover from what has happened to you. There was a period of time when I believed that there were some things that can happen to a person from which they can never recover or heal. In fact, I believed that for a long time. Some therapists may even tell you that. They may tell you that you need to be satisfied with coping, and, frankly, I thought that was a terrible thing to say to a client. Why? Because I desperately wanted to throw off the emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual, and ontological constraints of trauma, and, if it was not possible to heal from my trauma, then how was I supposed to do that? So, I have stubbornly persisted in my decades long pursuit of healing.
I have neglected to post here largely because my life has been consumed by a doctoral program, but I’ll be finished with that in 2023. What I really want anyone who finds themselves here to come away with is hope. That is what one of life’s greatest takeaways has been for me.
In 1991, I was abducted by a human trafficker and taken across the continental United States to be sold at an auction to other human traffickers. It was, by all accounts, one of the most terrifying and traumatizing experiences of my life. I never thought I would recover from that. There was a moment when I was with the man who abducted me, and I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror. A wave of dread washed over me, and I felt certain that I would die. I didn’t. I survived, but I am not the same person today that I was before I was abducted. An abduction is definitely a Before/After experience. It leaves a scar on the timeline of your life. That one event caused me to spend years of my life just surviving and going through the motions of living, and I never felt joy. Today, I feel joy. It’s taken great effort and intention to get here. It is, however, possible.
That is my wish for you. That you would know hope and joy. That they would accompany you as you continue onward down whatever path you choose. There is so much more to our lives than our traumas.
So, be tenacious. Fight for the life you want. And never give up.
Shalom to you, MJ