Written by Ashley Haseotes, Author of The Unspoken: A Soul’s Reflection on Healing from Abuse, Neglect, and Chronic Pain
1. Fear is the fuel that keeps both physical and spiritual pain alive. Your fear is real, and it won’t go away on its own despite how hard you try to ignore it. Many trauma survivors are stuck in a fear pain cycle that can be difficult to get out of. Fear is your brain’s perception about a future event, based on events and experiences of the past. When a trauma brain feels stress; daily life stress or stress from physical injury the part of the brain called the amygdala goes into overdrive; sending signals of fight or flight. The glitch in this system is the brain cannot decipher a real threat in the present moment from a past experience of trauma. This means that present-day triggers that are indeed not life-threatening will register to the brain and thus the body as such. Learning to live in the present moment rather than in the past or spending time trying to predict the future, is how we stop fear in its tracks. Learning to be in presence may feel overwhelming to you at first, it did for me. In the beginning, trying to be in the present moment felt like trying to run a marathon with scuba flippers on. With a dedication to my meditation practice, I was able to break my pain fear cycle, and I have trained my brain to not be afraid.
2. Sharing your story shines the figurative light on what happened. When we remain silent the events of our past will gain control over our present moments, stealing joy and happiness from our lives. We must feel in order to heal, telling others about what happened is the first step in being present with our feelings, the first step toward healing. By sharing our story, we gain control of the narrative. What previously felt like a situation in which we were out of control now becomes a platform for our voice. For example, if we share our feelings of shame or guilt, then our guilty and ashamed inner child no longer will try to control our every decision in life. Hiding or repressing our stories sends signals to our brain of emergency thus creating a feedback loop of terror each time we feel “uncomfortable feelings”. Telling our stories helps us to make connections between our feelings and our triggers and in time we learn to release the fear attached to the feeling. It is possible to not be afraid of what we feel. We are not the first person to feel this way. We didn’t invent or conjure up our intense feelings; someone somewhere has felt the same way at one time or another. We are not alone, ever. When we hide in isolation we suffer when we share in vulnerability we heal.
3. Sometimes labels are good. For most of my adult life, I hated labels, in fact, I was so worried about how others perceived and labeled me that I worked overtime to be happy, to be seen as successful, and to help as many people as I possibly could. I spent so many years of my life trying to be perfect, trying to move on from my past, trying to be a good person. All the while ignoring how I truly felt on the inside, which was scared and angry. I am so grateful that I was introduced to the A.C.E test (Adverse Childhood Experience) finally finding my label gave me permission to unpack my childhood in a deep and therapeutic way. I didn’t wear my label of a neglected and abused child like a hero cape, rather I used it as an acknowledgment of the events in my life. Events that were largely ignored by the many adults around me. Because I was abused and neglected in the shadows and nobody ever spoke up to protect me, my nervous system got the message- what happened didn’t matter. I thought I didn’t matter. As I grew into adulthood, I pulled up my bootstraps and carried on, this worked until it didn’t. When I was at rock bottom, I finally had to come to grips with my reality. My mother neglected and abused me. I used my label for good, to heal, and eventually to share my story in my new memoir, The Unspoken. I have moved on from my past and forgiven my mother; only after I acknowledged the severity of what happened.
4. What we resist persists. The more I said I didn’t want chronic migraines, the more I cried in the morning after waking up with yet another splitting headache cluster, the worse they got. I would beat myself up, get downright angry with myself with each passing day. I wanted a cure; I wanted my old life back. I felt like a failure, I didn’t want to live with chronic pain, and I didn’t want to be that woman. I struggled with daily headaches for almost two years before I learned to love myself just as I was; chronic migraines and all. The day I accepted and loved myself and stopped fighting what was, was the day I finally got my life back! Acceptance isn’t a failure, it is freedom.
5. Believe. Healing is our divine right, and it is possible for all of us. While this is true, healing won’t just happen for you. You must take the initiative in your own healing journey; you must be an active participant. When you first begin a fitness regime you don’t wake up the next day with a six-pack. Healing trauma and chronic anxiety are kind of like that- it takes effort and persistence. Don’t give up, even when you are scared. In fact, when you are scared lean in and talk to that child part of you. Journal- Dear I am scared, sit back take a deep breath and let the scared little child inside you tell her story.
Ashley Haseotes is an intuitive energy healer and Chopra Center certified meditation coach, as well as the author of The Unspoken. After collapsing into chronic pain from both excessive overworking and suppressed childhood trauma, Ashley underwent transformative spiritual healing. In recounting this experience, her memoir emerged.
Drawing upon her own experience, Ashley is devoted to helping others work through difficult experiences and deep trauma. As a personal coach, Ashley helps clients who are feeling stuck, struggling or undergoing any major life shift. And through the charity she founded, One Mission, Ashley helps children and families navigate pediatric cancer and heal after treatment.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: www.theunspokenbook.com