Here’s some answers to common questions I receive!
How does writing & reading fiction help to heal trauma?
When I am lost in writing my stories, what I imagine in my mind, gives me a framework to process all of my trauma symptoms and grief – giving my characters a resolution – even when I myself have not found any resolution. It allows me to enter my past at a different angle and linger inside the memories and emotions and create my characters from this and the best part is, I can create whatever antidote for them I want: love, connection, community, family. In other words, I can enter and exit the rotation of trauma symptoms through stories that are not exactly the same as mine. It brings me to a level of healing I haven’t been to before, each character and story that I write. Reading fiction can create this same effect as you read the storyline.
What is the biggest myth that trauma presents?
That trauma is only after a life-altering experience. No – that can’t possibly be farthest from the truth. Trauma is any experience that is so overwhelming that you cannot find ways to cope. This can look different for each person.
How were you able to write about a personal and painful event in memoir?
Writing my first book, my memoir, Just Be is something that I will never forget, no matter how many other novels I write and publish. I am currently working on my first fiction novel and I have already forgotten the experience of writing each chapter. It was completely different with my memoir. It was the most healing journey I have ever been on and is what created the platform to choose forward each day. Some days that choice entailed tears and other days all smiles. Every day presents new challenges and experiences, but writing my memoir is what has provided me with the ability to face those challenges. I unlocked my past and brought those painful memories of what happened to my present mind so I could finally process it and heal. As a Complex Trauma Survivor, there were many memories I had to write in my memoir and this is why it took me over two years to write it – I had to learn to just be with each one.
I took each scene that I chose to put in and wrote various versions before I put the final version in my manuscript. I wrote an “angry” version first, where I dumped out all my emotions. Sometimes I even wrote a fictional version, giving me a new name and character. This helped me to get my feelings to surface that were bubbling up in my heart. By writing various versions, I could write the final one from a place of love and not hate.
How does natural mental health alternatives help heal mind and body?
Trauma healing is not just a mental healing, but it is also a physical healing. When I really started to connect my mind and body together in my journey forward, that is when everything shifted. I started to address all the underlying issues that my body was struggling with and understood how stress and trauma symptoms can wreak havoc in your body. I sought out a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in trauma and worked on myself…layer by layer. Natural healing takes time and patience because it goes to the root of the issue to create long-lasting healing versus masking it. It also takes a holistic approach, which seeks to restore balance to the whole person, which includes body, mind and spirit. As my body began to heal from various issues, my mental state began to relax from anxiety, I started to sleep better and my depression began to lift. The overwhelmed feeling in my head and body slowly faded away. I was able to cope with my past with more strength and ease.
How does trauma affect motherhood? What do you do to balance yourself?
Motherhood brings on significant psychological and neurobiological changes, right from conception. These natural changes are there to help prepare the mother to care for her new child. Although rewarding, motherhood is also an inherently stressful period, more so for mothers with unresolved trauma. As your child grows, there will be triggers that can set you back, such as the age that you experienced trauma and your child turning that age and the ability to bond and attach with your baby as a result of unresolved trauma. For me personally, breastfeeding was always so much harder because of my history with sexual assault. Anyone near me, even my own child, could bring me right back to that time in my life.
As a mother to three girls, I have had to dig really deep, to find my balance and be the strong woman that my daughters need. I am leading this pack of girls and my only desire is that they grow up happy, secure and unafraid to face the world with their dreams. To balance myself, I have learned to put myself first before them. If I don’t, then they won’t receive what they need from this mama. I need to be strong first, so they can be too. This includes taking care of my mental, emotional and physical needs, reaching out for help and not being afraid to speak up when I feel overwhelmed.
Motherhood is a beautiful, breathtaking, deep dive into life. It requires all of me and I am grateful that trauma became my teacher to be the best mom I can be.
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