May is Mental Health Awareness Month! As a licensed professional clinical counselor, I
thought it would be beneficial to be transparent this month! I'm going to tell you the condensed version of my journey in therapy!
Yes, you read that right! Going back to counseling was the hardest decision that I had to make, even as a therapist. I realized that even with the degree, the special training in trauma, and my years of counseling before going to my Master's Program, I needed help.
I was raped in 2017 and that rocked me to my core. I was practicing celibacy, doing well in my career, had a beautiful home, and decided that I was ready to start dating. It was one night that changed my life and started a downward spiral for me.
I grieved. I felt disgusted. I felt ashamed. More shame than I did before because I was supposed to have known better. After all, I had counseled so many women on trauma and their past experiences with rape. I had helped and advocated for so many women in who were in the middle of intimate partner violence. I even had counseling for myself for the years of childhood sexual abuse and being sexually assaulted in high school and college.
At that point, I started to believe that I was a walking billboard for perverts. How could I keep attracting men who only abused me? Was it what I wore-no. Was I being too flirtatious-no. I barely knew how to flirt. And if I'm honest, it wasn't until more recently that I recognized when men were flirting with me. I thought of every excuse I could that would warrant the sexual abuse, traumatic shame, and guilt that I was enveloped in.
It wasn't until I was in supervision with my clinical director that opened my eyes. We were discussing one of my clients and I just broke. I told her- everything! I was tired. I was tired of having to be this independent woman who could hold it all together. I needed to depend on someone for once! I needed someone to help me! I needed help!
She began to gently talk to me and discussed a plan for me to engage in counseling. Not because I wasn't able to counsel my clients. Through all my years of trauma, I learned to dissociate and compartmentalize (keep things separate) very well. However, it was because I needed it! I needed someone to help the helper. Counsel the counselor.
I started EMDR therapy- eye movement desentization and reprocessing. It's a therapy that I am also trained to perform. That decision freed me! I saw the freedom for my clients, but really experiencing it for myself was a game changer! My journey was not an easy one. I had to find a counselor who understood cultural ethics and differences, who was established as an EMDR therapist and was also equipped to handle another clinician as a client. I had to really realize that I was in fact- a client. There were many days when I left angry, pissed, and enraged with myself, others, and the system! Even on my angriest days, I realized I was angry as a result of the revelation and insight I gained in the session! Therapy really changed my life!
Years of unhealthy beliefs that I thought I had dealt with were undone and replaced. I went from feeling disgraced and ashamed to believing that I was powerful enough to make a choice. I may have been powerless in many of those experiences, but my inherent and innate power was still there!
So I decided to flex my power, make a choice, and live! I started living for Tahkyra! I lived for everyone else. Today, I am still living for me. I realized that not making a choice was still allowing my trauma to make a choice for me! I realized that making a choice was more about my voice and power than it was about what happened in my past!
What am I going to say now by how I'm living my life? What legacy am I going to leave? I'm not leaving the legacy of a victim stuck in traumatic time loops, cycles, and pain. I decided to move in momentum in my life! I flex my power with every decision that I make to take care of myself and live my truth.
That is a power flex! Here is what I discovered about the flex:
Focus on YOUR path of healing. It's not going to look the same as everyone else.
Language is important. What I say and how I live communicates messages whether I like it or not. It's about my alignment to my values and beliefs.
Evolution is essential. Understanding and flowing in my power also means that there are changes that are inevitable. Embrace the change and surrender the outcomes.
Xecution is critical! I am not just referencing the ability to complete a task with efficiency and well. I am also referencing cutting off, killing off, and separating yourself from everything that is not consistent with your truth.
Here's a bonus point: You are responsible for identifying your truth. Not anyone else. This is how you start to show up in your own life!
Now go ahead and FLEX Your POWER to heal.
If you want more information, visit www.mindingmyvisionllc.com for services and support so that you can flex in this way. Also, my newest E-Book "Power FLEX: 4 Principles for Growth After Trauma" will go more into these 4 points. They will be released soon on Shopify and on my website.
As I always say, Live Your Truth and Not Your Trauma!
-Coach Tahkyra TK Terrell