Stemming from a chronically dysregulated nervous system due to severe childhood trauma.
I was born to teenage parents; seventeen and nineteen. My parents divorced when I was about two. Each household was full of chaos, abuse, and neglect.
Throughout my childhood, I was kidnapped by one parent multiple times. Each time I disappeared, I was isolated from family and friends. My name was changed. I was homeless frequently. We stayed in cockroach-infested motels in the most dangerous areas of town and slept on the floor of friends' apartments. Sometimes we were placed in foster homes.
I was unable to attend school regularly, which left me with a seventh-grade education.
I became a mom the month after my seventeenth birthday.
I moved and was homeless frequently. Understandably, I had several mental health issues like ADHD (since early childhood), panic disorder, PTSD, OCD, general anxiety, depression, etc.
I knew that I wanted a better life for my daughter.
For myself, too, but I became brave in order to give her a better life than the one that I knew.
When I was eighteen, my daughter and I entered foster care (my third time) as I attended a vocational school and awaited a spot to open up for subsidized housing.
I began counseling, received mentorship, and slowly made choices that brought stability and a better life for my daughter and me.
In 2003, I got married and in 2007 I had another daughter.
I worked diligently to improve myself and my life but it never felt like enough to feel safe and secure.
Wired for constant fight or flight (aka survival mode), I kept pushing until I couldn't push anymore.
My chronically dysregulated nervous system left me weak.
My adrenal glands were on the verge of failure.
My life force was diminished.
On August 30, 2013, I walked into my insurance agency for the last time.
Bedridden and suicidal. I felt defeated. Hopeless. Broken.
Another failure to add to the list. Seemingly incapable of accomplishing my goals.
Plagued with mental illness, I felt trapped underwater, drowning in constant overwhelm.
It felt impossible to successfully navigate life with panic disorder/PTSD/anxiety/depression/insomnia/ADHD/etc.
It was like trying to stay afloat with concrete fins.
I felt trapped by the shadow and the shame of the things I’d experienced.
Terrified that if I revealed the depths of the trauma and my mental struggles, I would be labeled and treated as broken as I believed I was.
The mental illness led to chronic physical illness.
Rampant inflammation matched the intensity of a blazing fire racing through my body.
Incessant throbbing migrated from joint to muscle to skin.
Migraines, which lasted for weeks at a time, were debilitating.
Exhaustion crippled me.
The incompatibility in my marriage created additional stress.
It seemed that the only way out of the pain and suffering was to end my life.
I didn’t want to die. But I could no longer endure the pain of living.
To spare my children a trauma at my hand, I held on by a thread.
It was touch and go for a while. It required more than fourteen months of bed rest to move beyond the adrenal crisis.
But I returned to hope as frequently as possible that someday I would experience the healing I diligently prayed for.
“Please help me,” became my mantra.
Little by little, I learned to surrender what I couldn’t change and identify what I could.
I began to see how I contributed to my pain and suffering (through my thought and behavioral patterns) and became willing to do things differently.
As much as I wanted to create change, I fought it constantly.
Change is uncomfortable, elective or not.
In an exhausted state, it seemed impossible to embrace further discomfort.
Over time, I expanded my awareness of the healing power of the body and the mind.
Slowly, I began to lean in the direction of healing and develop the patterns of behavior that support my wellness, well-being, and success.
I've used multiple modalities (such as breathwork, EFT/Tapping, hypnotherapy, sound/vibration therapy, EFT/Tapping, and more) to process and move beyond unresolved trauma.
I’ve learned to embrace the discomfort of change by regulating my central nervous system, gaining top-down executive mental function, and aligning my patterns with my wellness.
I’ve learned what it means to step into my power. I’ve gained awareness of my patterns and have taken responsibility for the actions to shift them.
I’ve learned to embrace ebb and flow, honor each season of life, focus on appreciation, and express more gratitude daily.
The more changes I've created, the better my mind, body, and life have become.
If I had ended my life, I would have missed my recovery.
I would have missed traveling the world with my daughters.
I would have missed building the life of my dreams.
I focus on progress and not perfection.
I practice self-love through self-care.
Life gets hard sometimes. It’s easy to believe that it will be like that forever.
As I reflect on my life and my journey to wellness, I’m grateful for the awareness that the pain and suffering provided.
I’m grateful for the compassion and understanding that I’ve gained.
I’m grateful to be empowered and to own responsibility for my life and the outcome of my efforts.
In 2015, I honored my need for a divorce, even though it felt like another failure.
I understand now that failure is a part of the learning process and that it’s human nature to fail forward. Trial and error/success is how we learn.
I continue to reflect on this time of my life with appreciation and gratitude for all that it taught me and the path that led me to my wellness and well-being.
My mission is to turn my pain into purpose and trauma into triumph. To be a part of the solution. #BellaSOULMission
I aim to instill hope and inspire others to keep going, even when it feels hard.