This I Believe

 A less traveled path of humble conditions involuntarily chose me. By mistake, I longed to be anywhere else, rejecting all that I am. Not until I learned to embrace my journey, would turmoil release me as its slave. 

     Years of preparation helped mold my tender heart. Now the fierce capacity for empathy flows through my veins. This one conviction remains steadfast. With unyielding insight, I know to give up life would be to abandon every effort I’ve resolved to endure.

     Immeasurable are the days of wrestling my mind under a weighted blanket, threatening to squeeze out hope, the very essence I seek for stability. The body count rises of mortals lost before their time, dragging my grieving heart with them. Yet, I will stand before the week is done.             

     This fight I refuse to surrender. No hour is darker than the value of my purpose here is light. Isn’t this thorn in my flesh the precise thing that keeps me inspired, and draws the broken to me? Like the moon, I shine to illuminate the dark. 

     Compelled in self-awareness of the children I labored, this call to nurture remains apparent. I will not forsake them, for they are my heart. They are deeply rooted here as the mightiest of pillars. 

     Something larger still pulsates through me, the broken hearts, the bleeding in hidden corners, the minority of neglected souls. Who will advocate for them? Again, I remember I am significant.

     I ask myself, what do I need for this hour–this day? My fingers glide over the words on a page, soaking in power through stories of survival and redemption. Darkness is not a permanent fixture. Nothing stays the same.

     To a society of cliched misrepresentations, God made no such promise to limit the troubles I face. When did He vow to measure my tolerance prior to an assignment? Yes, He carries my burdens so the weight no longer exceeds me. I must only believe that I’m not alone here.

     Flawed translations of scripture haunt me. Ask my therapist. Circumstances have broken me but I am still here. Strength comes in the mourning. Tears do fall. Poured-out vessels may look empty, but the darkest night ends to welcome the day. 

     God’s face, I seek to find the greater meaning for difficult things. Days come to question my faith, that sacred space I rely on. Intrusive thoughts indeed come, and to them, I ride the wave, remembering if there is a God–then every mountain-top view is worthy of committed pursuit. 

     So, I dig my bare feet into the awe-inspiring earth to be grounded in my senses. The foundation underneath does not waiver or quiver in fear. My eyes lift their gaze against a baby blue sky of majestic proportions, calling out the names of my God. My ears hear the inquisitive child digging for worms, his mother giggling joyously over in delight. Cars cruise by in the near distance. 

     Light fragrances of California Spring on the horizon mix with the faint scent of lavender body scrub. Warmth against my lips, I savor the first sips of deliciousness as my morning coffee dances on my tongue before it comforts my grateful belly. 

     It’s not without reason that I choose every day to stand my ground. My namesake, the brave Joan of Arc once said, I am not afraid… I was born to do this, not as some feeble attempt. Courage comes by faith, so I reach down to my deepest parts for strength. With a purpose far beyond my human capacity of understanding, I continue to press on.


False Clichés

God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. If you sat in one of my therapy sessions, you’d know this cliche has a way of clawing under my skin. Every time someone says this to me, I want to crawl into my shell to never come out again. I want to share war stories as my ego gets ignited by the need to over-explain. It drives me crazy. If you ask my therapist, its one of those things he listens to me rant about, nodding and half-smiling at me as though he has a secret he’s waiting for me to discover. What could be more annoying than that? 😂 He graciously manages to annoy me and endear himself to me at the same time. 

He is so patient with me. I am no further along than Episode 2 of the running list of arduous events that God has omnipotently overseen [insert sarcasm here], probably explaining how I felt being painfully aware of the  worsening symptoms that afflicted me, ultimately leading to the moment I felt my brain break. Before I get completely carried away, he says his famous line, Let’s break that down into its simplest form. Did I mention he makes me laugh?

1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Does this sound familiar? What I’m coming to accept is the crucial difference between the words handle and endure or bear. God doesn’t give me more than I can bear means something different to me.

When I think of endurance, the power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way, perseverance comes to mind. The scripture doesn’t clarify whether it’s explicitly referring to worldly temptations, or if trials are included. It doesn’t explain whether beyond what you can bear means something different from merely staying alive. But then again, people die every day from things that their bodies cannot endure. Just ask the young man, newly married to the love of his life who, in one short year, is now a widower and single father. I realize this is morbid, but please bear with me because it gets better.

God didn’t say that life is going to be without troubles. He didn’t tell us, for reasons bigger than ourselves, that some of us would face hardships others only see in movies or read in books. The way I’m seeing it now is that God says He’s with me and He’s faithful no matter what I’m facing. [I] can rejoice, too, when [I] run into problems and trials, for [I] know that they help [me] develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens [my] confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For [I] know how dearly God loves [me], because He has given [me] the Holy Spirit to fill [my] heart with His love. (Romans 5:3-5)

Life has been full of traumatic events that have forever changed me. I have a slew of PTSD symptoms I face daily. My brain has changed. My nervous system is deeply dysregulated. [In enters faith.] I can’t possibly have all the answers. Perhaps, the greatest thing my mom taught me as a child is that our human brains can’t ever thoroughly comprehend God. Not even close. I imagine we’d explode into a million particles of dust if we somehow had that knowledge. Our brains aren’t made to hold it all, so He gives us bite-size pieces, a little at a time. I like the quote “He gives me just enough light for the step I’m on.”

Sometimes, in a bittersweet, emotionally polar-opposite way that only happens after the trial is over [insert laughter here], I’m thankful for who I’ve become. It means everything for me to be someone people feel safe with. I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s alright. I’m learning to be okay with that because the ones who need me to exist are the same ones that my heart is drawn to anyway, the often overlooked ones. We understand each other and I hope by this common thread, that my faith might inspire a tiny seed to grow.

On the days when I wake up to a world that seems to have lost all of its color, or the sky could fall at any moment, or a crisis lurks behind the door I need to open, I hope I’ll remember that God is right there with me, loving me dearly. He is faithfully giving me the tools to heal. In the quiet moments, He shows me what He sees in me. Its in these spaces that the noise of the world doesn’t sound so loud and I rejoice in these gifts of sweet, sweet clarity.

The Unrecognized Diagnosis

This morning, in my Healing from CPTSD group, someone posted this question. This is probably the #1 hardest thing for me to accept and it comes in waves. It is a decision that I have to keep on making. This was my response:

YES BIG TIME!! Thank you for opening the conversation about this. When I had my daughter 20 years ago, through a torturous postpartum when all of my trauma made it’s grand entrance all at once, I was desperate to find healing. It was the thing I obsessed over the most in my life, to heal all my stuff so my kids would grow up with “the amazing healed version of me.” That healing never even started until about 2 years ago, but by then I was 18 years more traumatized, and add the trauma of spinning around in circles between therapists for 20 years with this CPTSD (the diagnosis with no name that caused people to look at me like a deer in headlights). I had beaten myself up incessantly and had zero confidence in my own motherly abilities and intuitions. I became mentally/ emotionally paralyzed and physically disabled from the stress.
I am just now, like 1 week ago, having healing revelations that I literally did the best I can with the crap tools I had. It wasn’t fair that I didn’t find the help I needed, but I can make the intentional choice to finally accept that this happened rather than spend the next 20 years sabotaging my healing. I apologize to my kids for the ways that I wasn’t better and I am here for them to work through things anytime they need me. We are making history and writing the books on CPTSD that will change the course of lives to come. It sucks that we (and our kids) didn’t get all of the benefits of that; we were/are the foragers. Basically, I’m having to choose every day whether I will stay stuck in how unfair life is, or I will embrace my path here and let the healing come.
♥️ It’s really freaking hard.

Moonshine 🌙

April 21, 2021 Someone dear to me has called me a sunshine person many times. But, come to think of it, I feel like I am definitely more of a moonshine person myself. I’m not a naturally bubbling over with sunshine and birds singing type, but more like a searching for rainbows and the promising glow of light at the end of the tunnel type.
I don’t see myself as the social 🦋, but I am the quiet nurturer of humans and animals. You won’t find me in large crowds or loud spaces, BUT YOU CAN always find me and my door is Always Open.

Little Girl with Big Dreams

May 13, 2021 Since I was 12, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to change the world. 😆 Big dreams for a kid. God could have said, “You sure about that, little girl?” I had no idea what I had gotten myself into, what I signed up for when I made that pact with Him that He could ” do with me as He pleased, IF….” All I knew was that my heart ached to be for someone else who I always needed for myself. The hands and feet of Jesus.
I can’t take credit for this person you see today. Seriously, not for any of it. I would have wallowed in my sadness and the darkness could have consumed me so so many times. The only thing I did was keep getting up. But even that seems insignificant, when He was the one who kept waking me up.
I am so glad He kept waking me up, especially when I didn’t care if He did or not.
If you reading this, are still in the dark place, please keep getting up.
If you reading this, are cringing at my mention of God, I feel you, I get this soo much. I hope that you will hear me when I say: God isn’t the One who fails us, people do. If you ever want to talk with someone from a place of empathy and not judgment, I’m here.
-Emily’s Insights 🌙

Shut down the Inner Critic

June 7, 2021 I’ve been at war with myself over continuing to be transparent on social media. I made a list of the taunting messages that keep repeating themselves in my own mind, trying to silence my voice, my joy, and suck me back down into the pit. I have to face each fearful message of self-doubt, “supposed to” theories, and labels. I am owning & processing these messages to take back my power.
My page has grown into a blog of sorts. This is my intention. My hope has been to use it as a platform to share my healing journey and discoveries in an authentic way. Keeping it REAL and brave is my heart’s song. It is part therapy, part humor, part strength, part terrifying, part faith & hope & freedom. It gives me purpose and has brought me joy that I can’t define. This. This is my lifelong dream.
This is your opportunity to really speak your mind to me. LOVINGLY. I need to hear it. I want nothing more than to do this in the most effective, encompassing of all, so loving way. If I’m doing it all wrong and you know a better way, please message me.

If you see my vulnerability as a twisted ploy of a damsel in distress, I give you all my blessings to unfollow me and go in peace. I don’t have the energy. Love to all.

Heart to Heart

June 14, 2021 I need to have a heart-to-heart with you all. Recently I was befriended by a stranger, a mental health professional who was drawn to my page. He was new to the area in which I lived, and soon after, began following several of my friends. At 1st, I saw red flags and I was hesitant to interact with him, but he patiently planted little seeds. When he explained that he was a safe person, I believed him, which made way for some deeper conversations. He showed concern over my healing journey. Because of his patience, the seeds he planted, and his damn credentials, I was too trusting. It felt like the moment I let my guard down, he began to break me apart and break me down from all the work that I put in this past year. He criticised my entire essence and integrity and calling. In the meantime, he was also getting close with a long time dear friend of mine. ‘Dear friend’ hardly does justice to how much she has meant to me over the years. In order to protect my friend, I was not going to share this story, but since both she and he have unfriended me, here it is. It is no longer my responsibility to protect those who do not protect me.
The ‘mental health professional’ began to have such a huge, unknown, personal issue with me that he turned ‘my friend’ against me and I didn’t/don’t have a voice to ask “why?” or to defend myself. I have been a hot mess. My number one trigger in life is to not have a voice. What makes it even worse is that he calls himself a “voice for the voiceless.” He stole my line, he lied, and stole my friend. No explanation from either.
I felt like I couldn’t begin to process if I wanted to because I don’t understand what happened. Excuse my language here but as I told my therapist, this was the ultimate cluster-mind-*#@*. It was the perfect storm to derail me and end my beautiful, productive, transparent, healing reign of personal testimony.
Mental illness, trauma, etc., can happen to any one of us at any time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been overlooked, brushed off, ignored, picked apart, bullied, and let’s face it, unloved, simply because I struggle with symptoms of complex trauma. I believe that my saving grace is Jesus, but many would correct me to say that had I been fearless enough to dabble in drugs, even Jesus may not have been in a place to stop me. I know I would be dead. I wouldn’t be here to write this and plead with you all to be kinder, be gentler to others, ESPECIALLY those who you don’t understand. My kids would be without a mom. With all my heart, I’m writing this.
I am sensitive to the fact that my personal blog of sorts here on social media is going to make some people uncomfortable. My hope is that we, you and me, push through that discomfort and listen. “When a survivor speaks up, they are speaking from a place that has altered their nervous system. They are speaking from a place that has changed the lens on how they see the world and those in it. They are speaking from a place of extreme vulnerability and pain. Believe them. ” -Nate Postlethwait
If the conversation is awkward for you, ask God to help make it less awkward. If you have stigma, do the research, sit with the feelings that come up, and fight back against that conditioning. Just because I have Jesus and I’ve said many times that I will keep fighting for my own life, does not mean that I’m always OK, that I’m not terrified. When someone is actively suicidal, they usually have the dark thought patterns and a method in mind. The crisis is that most of these people have already gone through all of the pain and the shame and are now disassociated by numbness. Do you honestly think that they skipped 2 steps and the ending action was for lack of searching for a way out? I assure you, it was not.
To be honest with you, I don’t know all of the things that have kept me alive. But I do know that the pain, the shame I carry over the stigma and judgement from people like everyone here, is enough to drown me into a passively suicidal state at times (no plan of action, but same feelings and same darkness.) I am putting in the work to overcome all of the trauma that others did to me. This may just be the hardest thing for people to hear, I am responsible for my healing, but in no way was I responsible for the things I am forced to heal from. IT IS ROYALLY SCREWED UP THAT I SHOULD FEEL SO ASHAMED TO REACH OUT FOR HELP.
I am begging you, please do not hear all of this as a cry to feel sorry for me. I am just one out of the 5 people you know. This crisis is hurting most of us here. Our hearts break each time we lose someone we love to this horrific disease. We can prevent that tragedy, but only if we put in the effort to break the cycle.
Since I began my healing journey last year, I can testify that VALIDATION of my pain and suffering, and being “allowed” to sit in that with my therapist, which I had never before in 40 years felt safe to do, was the 1st step in being able to heal anything! I am asking you personally to stop shushing, judging, rolling eyes, avoiding the conversations, gossiping about the people you care about.
Not one of us has walked in anyone else’s shoes, but our own. I just need us, me and all of my people, to do better. Please do better. 💓🙏
P.S. please feel free to comment with the name of someone you love and lost to mental illness. Say their name.

P.S. Feel free to share all or part of this message

Taking Up Space

August 28, 2020 Some of you may be wondering why I’m so transparent on social media. Some of you may feel slightly uncomfortable with my reallness. If so, then maybe it isn’t for you. For the first time in my life, I know in my heart that I don’t owe anybody an explanation, and that peace in my heart feels freaking amazing. But if you are still reading, than maybe this is for you too.

Up until only a few short weeks ago, I would have crumbled at backlash, especially after allowing myself to be so vulnerable. I would have gone silent and dark. But I am healing and for as long as I’ve been here in this earth, my purpose is to share my light with as many as I can. In order to do this, I believe it is important to share my story. If I don’t shy away from sharing the raw pain and my struggles, I am allowing someone to identify with me and am reaching out my hand to them to say “I know it hurts. I see you. Have some of my strength today. We can heal together.”

My story is not to make you feel sad for me any more, but to share in my joy and my freedom from all that had me feeling so confused and hopeless for so long. My story is not an excuse for myself to remain a victim. But I am willing to admit that I have been a victim of many painful things that weren’t my fault, I am finally allowing myself to really look at those things and feel compassion, empathy for that child, that girl, that young woman, that mother, that friend. For me, I needed to be allowed to admit my heart breaks, my traumas, in order to heal. I was not allowed to do that for a long time, and didn’t know how to do that because I got so good at stuffing it all down to “keep on truckin'”. Well, ” big girl panties” have never been my thing and I really wasn’t very good “sucking it up”. 😝 I was so damn sad and beat myself up constantly because I couldn’t seem to conform to the expectations that others had of me.

Many of my followers are my family, my dear friends throughout the years. Many of you have loved me, cried with me and for me, prayed with me and for me. Many of you have counseled me and worried about me and hoped and dreamed for me to find healing. This is for you.

My stories and testimony are for anyone who feels stuck, who feels hopeless, worthless, like they can’t hold on another day, like God doesn’t see them, that they will never be able to climb out of the darkness, that they are pathetic, too much, not enough, stupid, ugly, or any other heartbreaking message that we tell ourselves.

My story is for myself, to acknowledge my pain and share in my healing.

My story is for my precious children to know in their hearts just how deeply they are loved and how worthy they are of fighting for.

So much love to you all as we all do the very best we can at this crazy thing called life. ❤

Never Forgotten

September 29, 2022 To me, little kids are the closest beings to God. 💓💓 He even says, “Let the children come to me.” They are so precious. I’ve always believed that even babies can speak the language of angels. (You know how they will just babble and smile while seemingly looking into the air?)
This brings me a lot of joy and comfort. I only wish little children could keep themselves clean like kittens do. 😹
My intuition about babies and little children, although beautiful enough to make my heart swell, also makes me feel a sense of great sadness that, as a child, I wasn’t thought of in this way. I am so grateful that I knew God’s comfort though. As long as i can remember, I had safe places to go to in my mind, in my heart. My sensitivity, my strength gave me the ability to tap into that. He was right there the whole time and there isn’t a doubt in my mind of that. I was so loved.

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

-Isaiah 49:15-16