Let me start by telling you this: this post is very different from the one I sat down to write.
I sat down to write a rah-rah inspirational post about breaking through and the power of facing your fears head on. I wanted you to be inspired to do something new, maybe something that's always scared you, like scuba diving.
But in the past twenty four hours, I have confronted some of my darkest moments, relived some of my worst memories, and opened up some heavily bandaged wounds...and I no longer want to talk about facing our fears, but rather living with our nightmares.
An online forum I am an active member of decided to dedicate a full 24 hours to sexual assault and domestic violence, allowing no other posts for the full 24 hours. I agreed to do a live-stream about a very important topic: "Why didn't you just leave?"
The response was amazing; I felt nothing but love and support. And yet I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night.
The demons that haunt our dreams have a weird way of sustaining themselves. They lay dormant for years, and then one synapse fires, makes a tenuous connection, and you have fully grown demons wandering around inside your brain for days, making a huge mess in there.
How do we keep the demons at bay?
Long before I began "doing yoga" I was using meditation as coping mechanism. Meditation regulates your nervous system, helps you transcend, and is a damn good substitute for sleep when that's impossible to achieve.
But I'm not naive enough to believe meditation cures us. I'm proof that owning your trauma doesn't heal it. I'm living in the middle of an old nightmare with nothing but good vibes and love to help me through.
I spent literal months lying awake at night, jumping at every noise, imagining every horrible possibility, reliving every moment of those last few days. I tried alcohol. I tried Valium. I tried meditation. I tried exercise. Nothing helped for long.
It turns out all I needed was time, that gift from the Universe, and the one thing I couldn't give myself. Learning to cope with all that had happened just took time, it's such a simple answer, and yet....
During the live-stream someone asked me to "describe the moment...when you felt your life was normal after being free." When the voice in my head ceased being his.
My demons may still be wandering around in there, but they won't ever be in control again, because I am free. When they begin closing in, I use my breath to vanquish them, gain experience points, level up...and wait for the next time.
It's my story and I have control of it.