Over the last six months, I started going to therapy again. I have over two years sober, yet I have yet to fully deal with the emotional trauma I experienced as a child. I remember being in treatment and being warned that If I didn't start to identify and cope with my emotions, it would come back to haunt me later in sobriety.
Once again, the professionals were right.
Three months before celebrating my second year sober, I started experiencing these intense depressive episodes. Although they would only last for a day or two, it began to immensely affect my quality of life. During those days, I would struggle to get out of bed. I didn't want to talk to people. I wanted to isolate and be alone. I wanted to sulk in my self-pity but I didn't want to talk to anyone about it. When I wasn't having a depressive episode, I was anxious. I was anxious about what I was doing wrong in my program of recovery and about when my next episode would hit.
The whole time I've worked at my job, there has been a therapist right next door. In addition, I was struggling, and she accepted my insurance. I literally had no excuse now of why I couldn't revisit this emotional trauma that I ignored for so long and start therapy again. So, I did it.
Well, it turns out, I'm a codependent person who avoids her emotions and all of that stems from the emotional trauma I experienced as a child. When I was younger, I was taught that showing my emotions was a sign of weakness. Instead, I was to sit still, smile, and act like everything was okay. This instilled within me a persistent fear of what other people thought about me. In turn, I have carried that fear and that thinking with me my entire life.
When I get upset with the way other people treat me, I don't stand up for myself. I let them walk all over me, I let resentment pile up, and then I complain about it and play the victim. I don't stand up for myself because I'm afraid that my feelings will be invalidated just like they were when I was younger. I let people walk all over me because I'm afraid of conflict and I like to avoid. As a result, I get resentful and blame others for the way I think and feel.
Needless to say, this is a paramount thing that I'm working on in therapy. Thank god my therapist is a recovering co-dependent herself - I need someone like that to guide me.
Aside from working on being more assertive, I'm also working on stopping myself from catastrophizing every little situation through practicing more mindful meditation. After doing some research, after the suggestion from my therapist, I learned what mindful meditation can really do for someone like me. Mindfulness is an alternative therapy that creates a space where I can listen to my thoughts and identify my emotions without judging them. This practice creates self-awareness and prevents my mind from running on autopilot.
When I take a little time to meditate each morning, I can see which thoughts of mine are irrational, and I can begin to think more clearly. On the other hand, I can recognize my fears, where they stem from, and whether or not they are real or just a reflection of my inner child and emotional trauma.
Through meditation and work in inner child therapy, I'm learning to deal with emotional trauma. I'm learning how to be more assertive and how to stop being the doormat I have always been. However difficult it may be, I know that there is peace of mind and happiness on the other side. I'm still a work in progress, but, one day at a time, right?