“You don’t know what you’re missing, until you noticed something is missing”-BJD
Last week my son was sick, so I had to stay home and cared for him. I had such a great joy spending that time with him, watching him enjoying life, and teaching him. The times I’ve spent with him has really opened my eyes on so many things about parenting. I never knew how much I enjoyed spending time with my children. I also never knew how much it meant for them for me to be mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually present for them. I never knew I how much I was missing and in my heart and I believed I was the best mother and until last week. You see, I lost my parents very early in life and was never taught certain parental skills, nor did I ever experience the emotional connection a mother and a child feels towards each. Don’t get me wrong I was adopted by a great couple who did everything they knew to do to raise and love me, as much as they could. However, I never knew what I was missing because I didn’t know it existed.
From a very young age as long as I could remember, I cannot say I had a connection with my mother. I remember her being mean and mad most of the time. I remember her smoking cigarettes and I had to go buy them for her. I remember she wasn’t there to protect me when on my way to get her cigs I was molested by the next door neighbors. I don’t remember loving her, I don’t remember much about my mother that’s why I’m in this journey of giving birth to myself because I want to believe we shared laughter’s, goodnight kisses, hugs, daily talks. Through my childhood I’ve learned when we suffer a loss or trauma our hearts can literally feel like they have been shattered into a million pieces. Or we feel that our heart has broken open and we are bleeding metaphorically. At times it can even be difficult to breathe.
This is understandable, but the longer you avoid your pain and attempt to push it away, the more difficult it will be to break out of the paralysis. Trust me I know, it took me 17 years to acknowledge that I had a problem and 5 more years after that to accept help from family, friends and professionals.
That was a very hard time in my life. Not knowing the warmth of my mother’s love plus the regular feminine hormones kicked things up a notch. I can proudly say today that I honestly went through some very dark times dealing with depression. I took the following steps to healing my brokenness.
Step 1: Struggling With Denial
Denial is the first round of defense that we immediately enter into, like the first chamber in the heart that breaks. In this inner chamber we face the demons trying every which way to not accept our reality. It’s as if a visitor with bad news has entered our home, and we try to push him/her back outside so we don’t have to face the painful image of the woman in the mirror.
Step 2: Acknowledging Your Brokenness
You must start to acknowledge to yourself that that something is wrong. Step into the experience of attempting to tolerate the unbearable quality of this truth that your normal is abnormal. I say “attempt” to deal with the brokenness, as you must acknowledge the truth in order so over time you can learn to manage, handle, and heal it.
Step 3: Surrender
The song by Hillsong I Surrender, says “Here I am down on my knees again, Surrendering all, Surrendering all. Find me here. Lord as You draw me near. Desperate for You, Desperate for You, I surrender.” This song reminds me of the many times I had to surrender to God asking him to take control of my life and save my. So many times I was close to giving up but glory be to God he never left my side. My friends remember that the step of entering into the chamber of surrender is an essential stage in order to allow yourself to begin the strenuous process of mending a broken heart and healing from depression. When we surrender, we enter the state of not knowing and not doing. Since we do not know just how long the journey will take, allow God to have his way in you.
Step Four: Acceptance
It takes great courage to pull yourself up off the floor, bed, or couch and get back into the world when all you see is sadness within and around you. Acceptance gives us the first few steps we need to begin to slowly scratch and claw our way back into the land of the living. Join a church, and other positive local groups that will help you be around positive people and activities. You must get out and get active.
Step 5: Embrace the Now
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 We tend to live in the past, reliving the trauma or memories of the one or things we’ve lost. Now, memories are important to maintain, but within reason. In order to take the next step we must embrace the present to manifest the future. One of the easiest and most effective techniques that I recommend to everyone is reading the Bible. What does God says about our future? What promises he has for us? What do you have to look forward to? It can be hard to let go of the pain and eventually release and transform it into vitality, acceptance and equanimity. Other methods to help one become more present are exercising, long drives, walks in nature, or visiting museums.
Step 6: Giving Birth to your Future
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6: 31–33
There is a field of thinking within positive psychology that says the way through pain includes becoming your own architect and actively engaging and involving yourself in the planning of a new future. The victim in us will want to remain on the floor curled up in agony, wishing to avoid any future painful experiences that life may present to us. One who is engaged and empowered realizes and accepts that the past is the past and all we have now is the present moment and the future. It’s all in the next breath in and the next breath out and creating in your mind’s eye a future storyline for yourself. Dare to dream and be wild with your imagination. Have the courage to dream any positive, loving, creative future with no bounds. Remember, after death comes rebirth!
It’s your storyline you are creating, like writing the next chapter of your life in a novel. But in your story I challenge you to JUMP into the water, catch the next wave and maybe you will just be surprised and delighted to experience yourself riding that new wave with confidence, joy and possibility!
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Originally published at medium.com