Today is World Mental Health Day. I have been asked to write something about this day to help raise awareness. I didn’t think I had anything to add to this conversation until I made my coffee this morning.
My morning coffee ritual reminded me of how mental health is with us 24/7, it becomes a part of us so embedded that we don’t realize it until we shine a light on it… So, I am shining a light on my morning coffee and visit with the Jackass (aka my alcoholic, pedophile father)
Like many adults in this society, my morning begins with a cup of coffee. I enjoy my coffee black with two sugars. As I pour my coffee in to my favorite mug and add the sugar, I have to brace myself. I pray that today will be different, I won’t think about him. I pray that little voice in my head won’t offer the daily reminder. And every day, it happens no matter what. As I pour the coffee in to the mug and add the sugar, my mind returns to my childhood kitchen in Florida where I would prepare coffee for the Jackass, the way he liked it, black with two sugars. At the same time of this flash back, my inner dialogue reminds me… “you are a part of him, you even take your coffee the same way he did, his DNA is part of you” In the seconds it takes to prepare my own coffee, I am reminded of where I come from – a drunk pedophile. While I drink my coffee, I gently, silently remind myself; “I am not him. I choose to embrace and live in to all the best parts of me.”
This may seem a bit dramatic to those who don’t know my story. In a nutshell, my father sold me into childhood sex trafficking when I was around the age of 11. I blocked it out until I was in my 30’s. That said, I’ve been on a 16 year plus healing journey.
Through a combination of therapy, yoga, meditation and journal writing, I have learned how to manage flashbacks, triggers and anxiety attacks.
(Learn more about how I healed my trauma in my memoir, A Girl Raised By Wolves.)
For the most part, I have unraveled the thoughts and beliefs I created about myself and my world view as an abused adolescent and carried in to my adult life. But this little morning conflict is a daily reminder to myself that no matter how things look on the outside, there may be an internal struggle that no one knows about. It is for this reason, I try to empathize with the folks I encounter throughout my day.
Take it from someone who has fought, resisted, surrendered and found peace inside their own healing journey – it ain’t easy. Sometimes, just a kind word is all it takes to remind someone they matter.
If you would like to join me in a coversation about unraveling your own limiting thoughts and beliefs, join me at the Let It Go Workshop.