Six years ago, something within me stopped. There was no desire for anything. It was an emptiness I had never experienced before. My only thought was, “I want to go Home.” There was not one thing or person that was worth continuing to live for here on Earth. I wasn’t suicidal because I had no intention or plan for taking my life. All I could do was lie in bed, alternating between sleeping and asking God to please take me Home. After the second day of this, my cousin/sister Coralee, called to see how I was doing because I had been on her mind. Everything started pouring out in sobs and unintelligible words. When I was finally able to stop, she said she thought this had to do with my childhood. Roland suggested I find some professional help. The Lord led my search to the therapist I needed, Danielle Austin. I was in such a state of despair that first visit, but she wasn’t surprised by any of it. She offered the understanding and compassion I so desperately needed. And so, began my journey of healing. Healing from damage and pain that no one had ever been able to help me address before.
The faith I had learned to practice was a form of separating the spiritual, the emotional, and the physical. I believed that emotions are not to be trusted because they are corrupted by sin. As I learned about how emotions affect the body, I began questioning the “quick and easy” answers that had been enough for the anger, fear, guilt, and shame that I often felt before I entered this “valley of the shadow of death.” My question became, “Why can’t I trust my emotions in the same way I trust my body to tell me when something is right or wrong with me? If I get hit by a car, I expect to have damage to my body that needs to be addressed. Doesn’t it make sense that if I suffer emotional trauma I would feel the emotional damage and need to address it?
The first step in addressing the damage that was done to my soul (my whole self) was to acknowledge it. For many years I believed that my feelings of fear and anger that led to sinful actions was because of a lack of faith or some sin I must unknowingly be hiding in my wicked heart. I lost count of how many times I confessed, repented, and tried to obey. Well-meaning people tried to help, but they didn’t understand about the effects of trauma; that as a child my inner self and my body were repeatedly violated with no resolution. Yes, I was always confident that I had Life in my spirit, but that didn’t automatically heal the damage in my soul any more that it would automatically heal paralysis.