You Are Not Alone

You are not alone.  I know that, you know that, but do we really feel it?  I see clients as a counselor and I tell them that they are not alone.  It makes them feel good and I hope that it sends the message that I am there for them.  I have issues of my own, however.  I think that it started when I moved from England when I was five.  I broke my nose and got the chicken pox all in one year and it left me feeling weird and lonely.  I spent recess in the office playing with paper dolls while my nose was healing.  On top of the nose break and the itchy chicken pox, I was a foreigner.  I’m not going to pretend I understand what it is like to be forced to move to another country because of poverty or war.  Those times of having to move because of disastrous circumstances must be extremely horrible and painful for people.  I moved because my dad got a job offer, it was a step up for us as a family and we got to live where it was sunny.  My mom did her best to frame the move as a positive adventure for us all.  I had a lot of feelings about it.  Feelings of loss and sadness.  These feelings literally were not expressed until last September.  It surprised me that they were in there because how can you not know that you have an experience stored inside of you, I mean, you were there!  I learned through this that our bodies often store trauma in a private place until we are in a safe enough space to express our feelings about it.  Meanwhile, the trauma affected me in ways that were seemingly unrelated, but upon closer investigation completely connected.  For example, I repeated my trauma repeatedly.  After eighth grade, I went to high school and practically cut off friendships with the people I had journeyed with for eight years in grade school.  When I moved from high school to college I did the same thing.  I just stopped talking to people.  I didn’t email them, or call them, nothing.  When I was back home for the summer, I’d visit with people and go out at night, but it was similar to the times I returned to England for a vacation.  When it was time to get back on the airplane again it was time to fasten my seat belt, swallow my tears and try to forget about my English family.  When I returned to college I was unable to carry my home friends inside of me.  I was an expert cutter-off-er.  Once I finally processed the feelings which felt like a month of grief where I cried every time I mentioned it, I was able to see that I have a really hard time during transitional times.  Well, this freaked me out.  Transitions are going to happen again.  No amount of control can keep them from coming.  People die, babies are born, jobs are earned, people move, I might move, everything changes.  When I met with my therapist this week we changed my schema (my belief system) about transitions.  Using EMDR, I looked at the collage I made of friends who love me and I changed my thought from “when transitions happen I am left alone” to “when I have a transition, these people will be there for me.”  It looks so simple as I type it, but it turned my upcoming graduation in December into something positive instead of terrifying.  This makes me wonder what other belief systems I have about the way life works that need changing. 

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