featured, Written while Stoned

Healing Ain’t Easy…But It Can Be Done

IF No One Wants To Hug ME, I’ll Hug Myself And YOU won’t Make Me Feel ASHAMED for LOVING myself!

Yeah, I said it. I was thirty-fucking-three when I discovered how much shit I went through, and yeah sometimes? I talk to myself in baby talk. Sometimes I curl up in bed, I suck my thumb, and I pretend I’m five years old, because my adult brain has too much trauma for me to contain it, and being “Little” gives me a release.

It’s not a sexual thing – I don’t need or want a “Daddy”, I want security, I want sanctuary, I want stability. I want to be free of the confines of being an adult, so while I’m curled in bed with my eyes closed I can pretend I’m a little girl, and the shadows behind the lids of my eyes dance with light as I drift off to sleep feeling all the things I spent a lifetime not receiving.

I don’t go into “Little mode” lightly, it’s not an accident, it’s a choice, and it’s difficult for me to sit here and say this without being ashamed, but the moment that I start to get ashamed that sometimes I need to pretend I’m little and the world is safe, pisses me off.

I shouldn’t be ashamed of needing security, sanctuary, and stability. I shouldn’t have to feel ashamed of needing to feel someone wrap me in their arms and tell me that everything is going to be okay, especially because I don’t get that enough. I’m one of the many people who doesn’t get enough hugs, who hasn’t been loved enough, who hasn’t been respected enough, and yeah I’m thirsty for it.

I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today and the only reason I am where I am is that I went through Hell to get here. It might not be glamorous or pretty to some, but it’s all I have and I’ll take it over ever being abused or raped again.

I don’t cut myself, and I don’t cover my body in scars, but I used to. I can hear my old doctor now, “normal people don’t pretend to be five.”

Yeah, asshole? Well, normal people don’t have to survive the same rapists for the better part of thirty years, with bruises and scars as a proof of the abuse, WHILE being told that it’s not happening.

I’m tired. Spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, I am tired of “Mental Health Experts” and professionals who swear they have all the answers while admitting they don’t even know what questions to ask.

“So what can we do Devon? Please educate us for free, so that we can help.”

I will, but only because some survivors might need this information too.

I can only do SO much on my OWN. If I Can’t Get HELP, then what am I SUPPOSED to do? Whatever It TAKES to survive Isn’t ENOUGH anymore. I NEED to THRIVE. I Need to BLOOM. – Devon J Hall

Make A List of Your Triggers and Share Them With Your Family

One of the things that I have constantly rolling around in my head, is a list of my triggers. If you don’t know what your triggers are, you can’t battle against them when they hit you over the head, you can’t defend yourself from being hit over the head in the first place.

Knowing your triggers is absolutely half the battle, and while there will always be new and inventive triggers, finding ways to neutralize them can really help you feel like you’ve regained some power. Some people call this Behavioral Modification, sure whatever if you need a term. At its core, it’s about retraining your brain to not be afraid of the things you’re currently terrified of.

Sharing them with your family only makes sense if you are in a safe position to do so, this will help them, help you, with your triggers, and give them the opportunity to watch out for you in case you end up being overly triggered and breaking down. If you practice beforehand, they and you will be better prepared for when a trigger really sneaks up on you.

Create Positive Coping Mechanisms

If things get too stressful or I need a moment of “child time” I guess you could call it, I suck my thumb. This is a childhood reminder that I am safe and that nothing bad is going to happen. This helps to desensitize the triggers that I am dealing with and calms my breathing so that I can relax and readjust to the situation.

For me a positive coping mechanism is writing, or going into “Little Mode,” sometimes it’s painting, or crafting a love letter that I will one day hand out to a random stranger.

Either way, these things take me away from my triggers and point my brain toward thinking about more positive things. Sometimes I randomly get up and gather my things before going for a walk, whatever it takes to get me away from the trigger or issue that I am facing so that I can come back to it relaxed and fresh.

And sometimes? It means screaming at the top of my lungs, which is what I did yesterday when I wrote: “Why Couldn’t You Be Better Men?” That was a really hard post to write because I didn’t know that I was holding onto so much anger still, but writing about it helped me to focus my energy on controlling the trigger and doing something great with it, instead of just crying because I’d been triggered by bad memory.

Set Your Boundaries And Stick To Them

Here’s the thing about boundaries when we’re dealing with mental health issues: They may literally be the thing that saves our lives. Deciding we want better lives, we want to be better people, deciding that we want to be healthy, means that we have to make some tough choices about what we’re willing to accept from now on.

Breaking old patterns means reminding yourself that you no longer handle things the way that you used to. “No, we don’t do that anymore Devon, we do it this way,” it’s difficult to change our patterned behavior because those patterns are comfortable, they bring us a sense of security, but they aren’t healthy and we’re not living in the unhealthy version of our lives anymore.

If being healthy is the “Goal” then you have to think about the 100s of steps it’s going to take to get there, but you can only take 1 step at a time. Today you get up and you do five minutes of cleaning. Tomorrow you get up and take a shower. On the third day, you do five minutes of cleaning AND you take a shower. And every day you build on it one action at a time.

Put The Bags Down, THEN Open The Door

A few months ago I was carrying groceries in, trying to open the door while my hands were filled with grocery bags, and it literally didn’t occur to me to put the bags down until they almost fell out of my hands. My body was overwhelmed but my brain couldn’t compute. Take a breath. Calm your heart, relax. Yes, I know it’s hard, yes I know you feel like you can’t, just stop thinking.

One.

Breath.

At.

A.

Time.

If that’s what you have to do, and before you know it you’ll be taking hundreds of breaths at a time without even thinking about it. And yes you’ll have moments where you’re overwhelmed and you can’t do anything or everything, but the moment will pass. Everything does.

Live Without Shame

If you are disabled, if you are traumatized, if you struggle, if you feel challenged by everyday life, you are not alone. Millions of people are suffering and struggling every single day, and like you, they wonder why the hell they’re doing whatever they’re doing, and like you, they keep going.

I know it’s hard, believe me, some days all I do is sit and stare at Twitter, because I live with PTSD and some days I am just trauma shocked, all day and I can’t snap out of it. Other days I force myself to get up and move, to go to the store, go for a walk, to get out of the house for five or ten minutes just because I need to break up the monotony, but I don’t have the strength to do that every day. Physically I mean.

Find A Reason To Keep Going

As I was writing this, I learned that 109 children died in Ukraine since the war began. That is 109 lives that don’t get to be lived, and something about that feeds the feeling of responsibility I feel to keep going.

I can’t give up, because if I do, then that means the girl who needs to know I didn’t give up, won’t see me succeed, and “I” need her, to see me succeed so she won’t give up, so she won’t lose hope. So I don’t need to carry shame, guilt, or depression every single moment of the day. I deserve to live a happy, beautiful, musical, and majickal life, not because I survived, but because I exist.

I validate my own experience by living in my truth, as often ugly and sad as it might be, because I know that my truth is all that I have at the end of the day.

I know you think there’s no reason you’re alive, but that’s not true at all.

Find Your Passions

When you’re dealing with mental health issues, it’s hard to find anything that you love to keep you going, but that’s exactly what you have to do, to keep going.

You have to find something that inspires you, challenges you, makes your bones hurt in all the right places. This time when you’re healing – especially if you’re at home and on disability like myself – are great times to get to know yourself, to spend time discovering what you love and don’t love.

It’s the egg scene from Runaway Bride, try as many different eggs as you can in as many different versions of cooked eggs that you can, because you may not actually like what you think you like. You may have been conditioned to love scrambled eggs, but you might discover you really like the way you fry eggs.

Try painting, dancing, yoga, find something that makes your heart sing and see where it leads you. Mental health can be a bitch, and the people around us can get tired of us moping around the house, but discovering our passions can help unfold some of the damage that trauma causes. Each of these suggestions takes work, and a lot of it, but you can do this because I believe in you.

Remember Nothing Lasts Forever

Pain, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, none of it lasts forever. There are people who have successfully overcome their issues to go on and live beautiful and amazing lives without the pull of depression yanking them back into the darkness.

All of these things come with this lie that tells you that you’re never going to be happy again, that you don’t deserve to be happy, or healthy, that you don’t deserve to be loved, but none of that is true. It’s all lies your abusers and trauma inducers caused you to believe through deep psychological trauma.

You deserve to be happy, healthy, and you are beautiful. You are strong, You are amazing and powerful, the lie is designed to destroy your best self. You deserve to bloom.

What’s stopping you?

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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