When I was a little girl, I had a best friend. He called me “Little Princess.” His hugs were protective. His smile was warm. He adored me and I adored him. We loved each other, and we both knew it. There was pure delight between us when we interacted. Then, one day, he moved away. Far away. I went from seeing him daily to seeing him twice per year. My world fell apart.
My best friend, my daddy, was now an occasional acquaintance. How could I survive without him nearby? Who would protect me now? How could I ever adore someone or be adored like that again? Migraines and stomach pain became the norm, as well as poor school performance, and I carried that pain silently, all by myself. Dad had pain too. I sensed it when we talked on the phone.
The days turned into months, and months turned into years. And even though I tried my hardest to make things better, nothing changed. The visits from Dad never became more frequent. The pain was never resolved. Sometimes life is like that. Sometimes life is like that. Things don’t get better, and they don’t turn out the way we want.
And sometimes after one hard life event, things can get even worse. My dad was gone, which I thought was my worst nightmare until someone started sexually molesting me. Repeatedly. And there was no escaping it. I held that pain silently too. And with that came shame. I thought it was my fault and that I would get into trouble if I told. I didn’t know how to get help.
With that new burden, the stomach pain increased, the migraines worsened, and the school grades lowered. Excruciating emotional pain, shame, and embarrassment were part of everyday life. Yet life went on.
I grew up and got on with life…or did I?
What happened to that stored pain and past trauma? I was now an adult, but I held the trauma in my mind, which caused emotional distress. I held it in my body, where it manifested in different types of physical ailments. It was trauma that was not processed, and it turned into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Since my very first trauma, parts of me became frozen in time. I reacted to events in the current day as if I was still in the traumatic situation. I suffered from self-hatred, anxiety, depression, shame, and fear. Life was so confusing.
For years, I searched for solutions, but nothing really helped because I wasn’t addressing the underlying stuck trauma. As the song says, “I was looking for love in all the wrong places.” Then, one day the Lord rescued me. In 2005, I started following Jesus, and everything changed. On a September day, I realized my deep need for a Savior. I was tired of doing life my way because it wasn’t working, so I finally surrendered to His call.
Nine years after I surrendered my life to Christ, the Lord helped me understand the deep emotional pain that I was holding, and I knew it was time to break the silence. My first step was into a counseling office, and from there, God provided many tools for my healing journey that have blessed me beyond measure.
I continued attending church and Bible studies, praying, reading the Bible, and listening to God in the quiet, still moments. I engaged in twelve-step recovery, read numerous books about trauma, allowed myself to grieve, and shared my story. I also found immense help through neurofeedback, The Healing Codes, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), and EFT (emotional freedom technique).
By the grace of God, I went from a traumatized individual who was hurting deeply to a healed person, fully functional, no longer stuck in the past, and fully able to love myself and love others.
To continue to love myself and others, I continue to seek God and surrender to His call. Giving my life to Him wasn’t a one-time decision; it is a daily decision. The Bible says He will never leave me nor forsake me, which is true security. He is the Daddy that I need now. Only God can give me all that I need, and the biggest blessing He gives me is eternal salvation; a forever home with Him.
Audrey Ann is a joyful Christian woman who loves to laugh. Her life mission is found in mothering and teaching her delightfully fun and curious child. She also works a full-time job, volunteers at church, and manages her household. During moments of free time, she can be caught out in nature, writing, or exercising. Audrey Ann remains anonymous so she can protect family and friends that are a part of her story.
Your story reminds me how our bodies hold the trauma and even through we may think life is going on, we are really stuck in our body trauma–until something shakes it loose.