From Discovery To Integration Of A Postnatal Trauma

Both my parents come from a Western European country, but with my family, because of my father’s job, we spent many years abroad in different continents, far, far away from my parents’ home country, geographically, socioeconomically, and culturally. We were living as expatriates.

And it turns out that I was conceived, and was born, in one of them, in the hot moist of some tropical latitudes.

From chronic disease to inner self-exploration

I came back to my parents’ home country in my early teenage years. And from high school, I started to feel early symptoms of what would be a chronic disease that would plague me for the rest of my life.

My dear inner friend, chronic fatigue.

At the beginning, I didn’t really suspect anything wrong, it took me years to eventually start realizing that my levels of tiredness were too frequently out of norm. And since at that time I was not taking responsibility of my needs, I didn’t take concrete actions.

It is only when several years ago, after new chronic symptoms appeared and that I couldn’t function anymore during my bad days, that I had to finally take actions. Since mainstream medicine had more questions than answers to my health issues, I was completely on my own. And as I am writing this post today, I am now asking myself this fun, yet legit, question: would it be possible that as of today, my personal health project on which I have been investing tremendous time and energy in the last 8 years actually became a bigger endeavour than my PhD in computer science? 

Because, yeah, I started looking in all possible directions. My explorer archetype geared up for what would become the overall most challenging journey of my life. All the leads I followed and weird experiments I went through would definitely deserve a post on its own. Just one example for illustrating moments of (kind of blind) dedication to the cause though. During more than a year, I spent several hours every single day to detox my body with a home-made infrared light sauna, and provide support to my liver with multiple coffee enemas that I pushed and kept in my colon via some sexy tubes through my ass. Not to mention the complete avoidance of all veggies that were “too yang”, whatever that meant, and the crazy regimen of supplements ordered from an obscure US brand. I was actually following a bit too blindly advices from an online doc who said he had cracked once and for all the plague of all chronic diseases using hair mineral analysis and specific holistic protocols.

That’s how desperate I was. But people who haven’t experienced the long-term adversity stemming from chronic illness unsolvable by mainstream healthcare can’t really comprehend. Not to mention the depression triggered by the isolation and the negative believes that I would get stuck with it forever.

At a point I put all the options on the table. And of course, potential psychological root causes were at the top of my list. Indeed, it has been clearly identified that chronic triggers of “fight/flight“, or “dissociation” body responses, which are very necessary reactions of our autonomic nervous system when our survival is at stake, can become very unhealthy when activated chronically.

Indeed, in the moment of a death threat, the body triggers either this fight/flight mobilisation response for which tremendous amount of bodily resources will be made available to fight or run away from predators, or the dissociation will be triggered, which is an immobilisation response to numb the pain potentially coming from an imminent death. And during these moments, there is of course no need for digestion, libido and reproduction, well-functioning immune system, or growth and healing.

And usually, the root cause of these chronic dysfunctional autonomic responses are found in unconscious material, in particular from unresolved past emotional traumas.

And then I ended up looking at these pictures again

It was maybe four years ago. I was visiting my parents. In their living room was this frame with many pictures from my childhood from these distant continents we lived in.

And it hit me right away.

I actually realized that the nanny I grew up with in these hot tropical latitudes was actually a very strong mother figure of my very first years. My mother was around for sure, but one has to understand that nannys working for expatriates in these countries were basically part of the family. Ours was living by our house, and was around 24/7. On these pictures, I saw her everywhere. Teaching me how to walk, laughing with me, or carrying me on her belly with a big sheet coiled around her body, the local way to carry babies there.

But then, how the very dependent infant I still was at 2.5 years old might have experienced the move out to another country from one day to another, I asked myself? And I realized that since I couldn’t have understood these facts rationally at that time, it was very likely that I could have misinterpreted them as an abandonment of one of my main caregivers.

Wow.

But interestingly, when I talked about these new findings to my therapist, he got very emotional and felt sad for me. And I thought he was very cute, but it wasn’t the way I felt at all. For me it was a done deal and not really a lead to explore for potential self-healing.

So, I closed the case and moved on.

For at least 2 more years.

Until I got interested in psychedelics

Psychedelics in peak experiences have the quality to lower the threshold of our consciousness, mainly by deactivating the most rational and logical parts of our brains. In consequence, we reach an embodied state in which subconscious material becomes accessible to our conscious mind. But the insights and knowledge we get from such altered states of consciousness come from a much deeper place within our being than mere conceptual ideas produced by our higher-level rational brain. In altered states, our body-mind connection is strengthen, and insights are not only perceived rationally, but also deeply felt in our bodies. And it might come as complete new insights, or as deeper understanding of previous inputs we had previously rationalized during normal waking consciousness. And the latter case is exactly what happened to me on LSD.

I deeply understood that I had indeed felt abandoned by my nanny. I could feel it. I embodied the knowledge of my past emotional trauma. Very exact same rational content than what popped up in my mind 2 years before in front of my pictures. But much deeper understanding and acknowledgment of the impact these events actually had on me as a child.

During that very peak experience, it just appeared as a clear insight and I moved on. But I knew that I had to process this new insight further later on.

And oh boy, it hit me super hard the day after.

I started to get in touch for the first time with repressed emotions that were unconsciously anchored to this past story of mine. It was a deep, deep, sadness that caught me totally by surprise. And I started to release it. I cried for several hours in a row. I knew that my adult self had the resources to deal with such a heavy release, so I pushed for it, and it went on and on.

Trauma is just fascinating

Indeed, as an infant at that time, I was completely dependent on my adult caregivers for my survival, and completely out of the blue, one of the most important ones just disappeared. And of course, I didn’t have the rational contextual perspective of these events since my rational brain wasn’t developed at all, so it felt like a violent abandonment from my infant’s perspective.

And since I didn’t have the internal resources either at that time to process the emotional shock of the loss, I didn’t have any choice but to repress the emotional pain associated to these events. Just mere evolutionary mechanisms put on place to increase chance of survival of our species.

Actually very smart from mother nature.

Indeed, the time it takes for human beings to reach emotional and psychological maturity is absolutely crazy long compared to any other mammals. That’s the price we pay for our highly developed brains. And during such a long time frame, as infants, and then even later as teenagers, we are very vulnerable towards life adversity (intentionally or inadvertently provoked within our environment), and very dependent on external emotional, psychological and material resources from our caregivers and providers. 

It is fascinating to note that traumas can also leave imprints much before we are able to make clear memories, e.g., during the whole birth process. Indeed, in some cases, toxicity of the womb during pregnency created by external factors, the uterine contractions constricting the featus when the cervix is not yet open, and its propulsion through the birth canal into the pelvis can be experienced as violent physical struggles, where imprints of fighting, being stuck, or suffocation can remain unresolved in the body memory. This is serious shit to be considered by anybody serious about deep self-healing. Stanislas Grof even states the following: “The amount of physical stress involved in childbirth clearly surpasses that of any postnatal trauma in infancy and childhood discussed in psychodynamic literature, with the possible exception of extreme forms of physical abuse. Various forms of experiential psychotherapy have amassed convincing evidence that biological birth is the most profound trauma of our life and an event of paramount psychospiritual importance. It is recorded in our memory in minuscule details down to cellular level and it has a profound effect on our psychological development“.

Traumas can also get initiated in adulthood but the external stress needed to leave an unresolved imprint on the body and the mind as somatic and psychic charges has to be usually higher and/or over prolonged periods of time, e.g., acute stress caused by war zone exposure, violent sexual assaults, or results of natural disasters.

As introduced in her book “Trauma and Recovery”, Judith Herman mentions studies conducted during the Second World War, which have been recognised for the first time that “any man could break down under fire, and that psychiatric causalities could be predicted in direct proportion to the severity of combat exposure“.

Bottom line, it shows that our body and mind, when crossing a threshold of too intense exposure to stress or life threatening events, survival instincts are triggered, consisting in repressing the emotional pain caused by these events deep inside our psyche.

The problem becomes obvious. Duly repressed in our unconscious, the repressed pain from these traumatic events remain unprocessed. And the defence mechanisms put on place in our psyche to avoid feeling the old pain keep getting triggered again and again in the present, when our brain detects stimuli interpreted as being closed from the real past threat.

If fight/flight mobilisation response from the autonomous nervous system is triggered, then we feel anxiety associated with shallow breathing, and our mind start racing with intrusive and obsessive thoughts.

On the contrary, if the dissociative immobilisation response is triggered, then the brain shuts down our sensitivity to body feelings and we feel completely numb.

And since neither the mobilisation nor the dissociation responses allow for the integration of the traumatic event, the body oscillates between these two extreme states, which might be understood as an attempt to find a balance between the two. But balance is exactly what a traumatized person lacks.

In a sense, trauma’s defence mechanisms, when activated, prevent us to live anchored in the present moment. We cannot deal smoothly with the current flow of life anymore since our body keeps reacting to past events long time over. 

And our natural flow of body feelings and emotions, that normally gives us tremendous information on how to interact with ease in the present moment with our environment, and aligned with our core self, are completely hijacked by life threatening reactions. And directly impacting our behaviour and relationships. You cannot fully trust your inner intuition and thoughts, since some of them come from your past, and have nothing to do with the context of the very present moment.

When trauma is anchored to childhood events, your adult self operates partly and unconsciously from our past child consciousness, preventing you to grow up and live up to your full potential.

Thanks to mindfulness practises, I identified in the last years many of these hyper of hypo reactions from my nervous system to external stimuli. Just two examples here.

I ended up realizing that I was used to get super anxious when someone I wanted to connect with didn’t reply right away to my text messages. I believe that unconsciously, not getting an answer right away meant abandonment, and it triggered dissociation responses in order to numb the pain.

A much more pervasive example that I put a finger on only very recently actually! My struggle with social anxiety. I am a very social guy, e.g., I don’t have any issue to initiate and sustain with ease conversations with total strangers. But in some specific context and for some reasons, it’s been very common for me to feel anxious when talking to people, sometimes even after meeting them several times. In these situations, I could say something that I thought the person I am talking to would think is stupid, or because I would not manage to say anything smart enough at a point of our conversation.

And when I finally started to mindfully tap into my body feelings during these interactions, I started to witness this strong back and forth oscillation between these mobilization and immobilization responses from my nervous system. I noticed that when mobilisation was triggered, I started to say super shallow and dry mind stuff like if I had to run away from the potential depth of a deeper human connection (which I unconsciously considered too scary). And when immobilization was triggered, I would feel numb and completely withdrawn from the interaction, another technique to avoid the danger of connecting.

So, basically, talking about shallow stuff in a very lightweight social context with strangers, and showing off with my bold and humoristic persona was super easy. But meeting another human being at a deeper level, with the risk to really be seen and show openly my vulnerability and weaknesses was just not an option. Indeed, the risk of being “abandoned” after showing my real self, and therefore reinforcing again and again the core dysfunctional belief that something was wrong with me, was unconsciously too much to bear.

I am giving here these examples just to illustrate how unconscious defence mechanisms can actually have tremendous pernicious impact in the reality of our daily life.

And the very first step for me has been to practise awareness, the topic of the very first post of this blog actually. It has been about committing to practise present moment awareness as my daily practise, i.e., coming back again, and again, and again, (and again), to a meta-cognitive state of observing my thoughts and body feelings. This practise made me actually pull a single tiny string that eventually brought to my consciousness a network of subtle and tiny dysfunctional patterns of mine, and in turn shedding lights on its big knots of repressed traumas.

If you are not aware about what’s going on in your mind in the first place, then there is no way you will be able to fix it. This might be the quote from Einstein that I have seen the most in so many different websites, so I guess it doesn’t hurt to upload it once more here on our Digital Cloud of collective knowledge:

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Yes brother, that’s why meta-awareness is so important to develop. It is easy, but not a simple practise to implement. And not negotiable for integration.

I might need to repeat this one. Developing meta-awareness is not negotiable if you want to become an integrated man.

And as far as I know, there is no available shortcut, you have to commit to it as your daily spiritual practice, even though I believe some specific tools might be useful to speed up the learning process.

So, once I had put the finger on some of my potential unconscious traumas which were holding me back, it was time for me to take full responsibility to address and integrate them. And it helped me to deeply realize that until these traumatic psychic and somatic charges would not be finally solved, I would potentially spend my entire life with a dysfunctional personal and sense of self.

And this would be unfulfilled potential, and it was unacceptable.

Deep self-healing starts with surrender

But before we come back on track to my initial self-healing story, just a quick note for the most curious and analytical readers here. From many psychoanalytical schools, research in various disciplines, and tremendous amount of anecdotical evidences from clinical and underground psychedelics therapy practises, clear causality links have been established between dysfunctional behaviours or symptoms of one’s present life with events related to past traumas.

And the most advanced model of such causality link I have found so far is certainly Stanislas Grof’s concepts of the COEX Systems (or Systems of Condensed Experience). This is just fascinating, and would certainly deserve its own post on this blog. Grof basically offers a view of a “multi-layered dynamic constellations of memories and events lodged in the deep psyche, rooted in biographical, perinatal, foetal, ancestral, historical, phylogenetic and other transpersonal levels”. COEXs have positive or negative impacts on our daily lives. And basically, the more momentum a negative COEX would get from our past by accumulation over time of interrelated negative events and the way one coped with it, the more negative impact it would have on our daily life.

By “memories” here, we are mainly referring to deep unconscious and body imprints. Therefore, believing that past traumas can be exclusively solved by logical thinking and analysis is deadly wrong.

Psychoanalysis (even if combined with archetypal psychology I believe) can contribute to healing by making conscious causality links between past biographical stories of your childhood with your current dysfunctional behaviour and thought patterns for sure. But such insights will always address a small – and thus very incomplete – part of the big picture.

Indeed, a lot of these traumatic events from our past have no rational stories attached to them, and there is absolute no point in trying to make them up and rationalise them. On the very contrary, I believe that it is integral part of the self-healing process to fully embrace that there are many events from our past traumas that we don’t know anything about from a rational perspective.

And a self-healing journey has to start with the full acceptance that we cannot rationally understand neither control all deep inner processes that have to be activated for triggering self-healing. Then, it is also about fully trusting the fact that a tremendous wisdom has been accumulated in our bodies thanks to millions of years of evolution in nature.

You don’t need to rationally understand everything since your body knows.

And I had to stay with the discomfort of not knowing for a while before I fully internalised this idea.

Nurturing and finally internalizing completely this truth took me a lot of “work” throughout these last years. Indeed, I come from an ultra-rational scientific background. I have been studying and accumulating hyper specialized knowledge for years. I hold a PhD in computer science. Not to mention that over thinking and over analysis stuff was also certainly intensified by my chronic fight/flight mobilisation responses triggered by my “traumatised” autonomic nervous system. Indeed, overthinking is a great defence mechanism, since while your rational brain is busy burning tremendous amounts of calories for overanalysing useless and endless inputs over and over again, this energy cannot be used to finally feel too scary and old emotional pain from your past traumas (binging on food, or addictions are also very “useful self-medication” for such purposes).

So, indeed, I had to “work” to open myself up to new possibilities and belief systems. Even though when I was younger I always had the intuition that my body could heal anything by itself (e.g., I was against taking medicines to heal my colds), the real exploration started after reading this old book “Love Your Disease – It’s keeping you healthy”. I also went through an online self-inquiry program developed later on by its author called m3health. It brought me a lot of awareness on this idea to trust possibility of self-healing by relieving past repressed emotions.

I had to learn to finally let go and surrender. To trust processes outside of my control zone. This was tough somehow, and still an on-going process towards deeper inner trust of my body’s wisdom and intuition.

And it is also the bliss of trauma. The old pains and their associated symptoms becoming so unbearable that you have no choice but to challenge your most ingrained limiting believes. You must step out from your comfort zone.

Trauma and its induced suffering becoming the way towards self-realization and spiritual awakening.

This is beautiful. And powerful.

And how to dive deeper then?

So, luckily, I finally had a glimpse of the repressed pain that was dormant deep within my body and psyche. I had also started to release some of it via strong catharsis thanks to LSD. However, I knew that I had more to process and that it would certainly take a lot more time and commitment.

Moreover, I was convinced that getting rid of my past trauma’s imprints meant that I had to completely release the old repressed feelings attached to it.

If you want to heal it, you have to feel it.

I asked myself how to proceed, since:

  • When the effects of LSD wore off, I came back to my normal waking consciousness, and my old defence mechanisms were back online preventing me to feel again the leftovers of repressed sadness,
  • I managed several times without substances at all to trigger these cathartic releases of repressed sadness thanks to techniques from a therapy called PRI (Past Reality Integration), combined with very emotional music, but it didn’t happen many times when I really succeeded in reaching the emotional regressive stage behind my childhood’s sadness.

So, I decided to invest further in the combination of two approaches.

First, I felt I still had to rely on a tool to voluntarily switch off my old unconscious defense mechanisms and get direct access to my repressed feelings. It turns out that a lot of tools are available for taping voluntarily in altered state of consciousness via cathartic peak experiences, e.g., water fasting, sleep deprivation, pain infliction, tantric sex, use of drums, cold water exposure, or intense breath work, just to name a few. But for me, I strongly felt the call to rely on psychedelics which appeared more powerful and reliable for what I needed, and in particular I put my focus on ayahuasca.

Second, I also felt that a softer and integrative approach to be used on a regular basis between my psychedelics peak experiences was key. And since present moment awareness was already integral part of my daily spiritual practice as discussed above, I decided to explore Somatic Experiencing with a therapist online as well. I already talked about these two practices in this post. But basically, Somatic Experiencing is an alternative therapy consisting in increasing self-awareness of subtle change of body feelings related to the autonomic responses of your nervous system, and find out on the way more balance to deal with them.

This idea of combining the schedule of regular peak experiences with daily practice of body-mind mindfulness for integration might become a cornerstone principle of what I could be advocating on this blog towards integration. We will see how this idea might be elaborated further then.

Deep diving in the realm of ayahuasca within a powerful co-healing container

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew that has been used for hundreds of years as a traditional spiritual medicine in ceremonies among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. I got interested by drinking it the first time maybe two years earlier. But ayahuasca can be tough, and during these two years, I diligently followed an advice from a friend of mine who told me “you will know when you will be ready for it”. And I actually still believe that it was indeed the best advice, since it doesn’t make sense to push anybody to drink it if he doesn’t feel it is the right time.

But I had reached maturity for ayahuasca, it seemed clear to me that I had to strongly follow this lead. I felt enthusiastic about this next exciting step to be taken on my journey, even though I was far away from realising that the universe had put me on what might have become one of the most important milestones of my very self-healing journey.

And then I drunk it.

But you know what? When it comes to self-healing, there is no single magic pill that will instantly solve your issues, neither in any other aspects of life I believe by the way. Thinking the opposite comes from the myth put in our brainwashed minds from consumerism, making us believe that short-term gratification via credit cards is the way towards self-fulfillment and peace of mind. It also comes from the big pharma industry which started in 1928 with the outstanding discovery of penicillin, leading to the introduction of antibiotics, that almost by magic at that time greatly reduced the number of deaths in our species from infection.

But nope, on my own ayahuasca path, it took me time I guess to build up trust in the process, in the substance, in the people involved, in the setting. I am far from knowing what was happening in these months of exploration. But what I know for sure is that I had to be patient, open, trustful, and let go of expected outcomes while following my intuitions.

So, I had many ceremonies, several travels abroad. From all of these ceremonies, I got to learn a lot about many aspects of myself. About the bright sides. But also about the dark ones. Some scary dark shit. Saw important things much more clearly. Contemplated insights that I finally integrated and implemented in my reality. This was absolutely on track. But surprisingly, nothing really related to this deep sadness I thought about tapping into.

Until this very moment.

I was laying down on my mattress in this big room with the 35 other participants around, in this chaotic container of deeply altered consciousness. I was suffering. I was under the heavy pressure of some inner body pain. And I saw one of my brother, who was standing on the other side of the room. I had just met him first time a couple of days before, but felt the need to hug him. He was tall. He was smiling. But he was also far away and I was kind of nailed on my mattress. Moving my body along these 15 meters, even by crawling like a lizard at death’s door on the floor seemed just infeasible. But I had to do it. I knew it, deeply from within. I knew I had the inner resources to deal with the challenge to get what I needed, even if it was tough, even if it was scary. He barely knew me. And what if he would reject me? And why was I asking myself this very question in the first place by the way? Where did it come from, where, deep inside my body? Why I asked myself that question so many times in the past, preventing to create deep and authentic bonding with my brothers? I didn’t know. But I had to hug him, I had to breakthrough this shadow of mine.

We have tremendous amount of inner resources available. In our mind. In our body. We are strong, powerful, and resilient to adversity like fucking crazy. We can travel far, far away, in the darkness, in the unknown without breaking. But most of the time we don’t know, or we forget. We don’t trust enough.

Fuck yeah.

I could handle it. I knew it. Thanks to the momentum of my now empowered mindset, I built up my inner warrior energy. Crossing the room and hug this man was needed, meaningful to my core self. I just had to adapt to the context, focus, gather my resources and my motricity. I eventually stood up, and crossed the room. Now facing my brother, I hugged him. Like if I was melting in his big warm, and loving, body.

And at this very instant, the sadness came up and hit me. Hard. My body started to shake, my belly was burning, my throat got completely taken by the emotions. Sadness violently started to come out in burst of sounds and tears.

And it went on and on, during maybe two hours. I was processing a lot, releasing like hell. The gates were open. I could finally feel the pain and let it get out of my body. When I was releasing, I didn’t have really an anchoring to the story of my nanny though. But it didn’t matter, repressed emotions can be released without explicit content or stories attached, it can just be raw emotions and sensations. I was fully trusting the process and my body.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I also released some potential perinatal traumas at the same time since I felt very strong sensations on very specific parts of my body that I had definitely never felt before. And a lot of spontaneous shaking from now and then. Sometimes it was a tiny too much though and my body resisted. Some tiny parts of my defences mechanisms were also sometimes back online for short instants, telling me not to go there. But my process continued thanks to people’s contributions.

Indeed, many participants were also touched by, and resonated with my process. I had a lot of support. I felt a bit guilty at the beginning for taking too much of their attention, until I realized that they were also taking what they needed. At deep level, a dynamic co-healing dance took place between the resolution of my past traumas and theirs. All our postnatal traumas have been created by interacting with human beings, that is therefore also the only way forward. Co-healing. For me, in this very process I went through, it was about being cared of, about feeling love around, and feeling loveable. It was about feeling the strong hugs, the soft and loving touch from all. The affection.

It was also about realizing that my adult self could take care of the needs from my inner child. I had visions of my mother and nanny, the three of us, taking care of my inner toddler in our reunited arms and presence.

It was about diving into the strong healing of the feminine, and fully embracing her beaming motherly energies. It was also for these women to give me their gifts of unconditional love. Of care and nurture. I also learnt from the feminine that along all these years, when I was repressing sadness, I was also repressing other feelings, like joy. And that it also had to be part of my healing process now to feel more joy in my life.

It was finally about receiving the conditional love from my brothers that I was craving since I was a kid, and feel their support. Conditional love because they saw me. Deeply. They told me how fucking strong and tough I was. In my open vulnerability, they also saw my strong warrior energy, daring to dive deep into my shadows. Some got inspired by my strengths to go deeper in their own inner processes. I was told that I could now relax, that I got the support from my brothers.

So meaningful. So healing. So powerful.

With deep consciousness and love all over the place.

And finally integrating my trauma recovery in my reality

An interesting insight that I also got from one of my previous ayahuasca ceremonies was that I had to go back to the country where I was born. And of course, I thought it was a great idea. However, I never make impulsive decisions just after a psychedelic peak experience. Indeed, I prefer to let the insights maturing from within. If it is really important indeed, I would be trusting the fact that the thought of going there would be brought up to my consciousness again and again anyhow.

And that’s what happened for several months. The insight being confirmed, I finally booked some time and flight tickets for my pilgrimage.

And it turns out I just recently came back from this trip. I am so glad I made it. I was very happy to reconnect with smells, colours, food, local lifestyle, the local mess, or the tropical weather of my childhood. Being there as a grown-up made me feel that I was definitely somehow emotionally connected to this country.

And since my parents never lost touch with my nanny, I spent some time with her, in her house, and around her extended family. Seeing her didn’t have any strong cathartic effect on me for sure, but I felt from within that I was reconnecting with a strong mother figure from my childhood. We visited together the hospital where I was born, nothing had changed apparently! Something I hadn’t thought about was how I felt her strong emotional connection to me as well. Indeed, she had finally also spent herself a tremendous amount of time with me, and it was before she gave birth of her first child, so the imprints were definitely there as well. I stayed open and curious about interacting with her and her people throughout my stay. I had great moments discussing with one of her sons, my half adopted brother!

And so far, that’s how I am now closing the loop of this integration of trauma. A complete process, from local self-discovery to deep understanding, from taking empowered responsibility for my self-healing to strong cathartic releases, until daily integration in my body and psyche. And finally, by creating new life opportunities in my own reality by connecting back with my people there.

Interestingly, I also realised that the phases I went through on my path were exactly the same that traumatised people typically go through via more conventional therapies. As Judith Herman says in her book already mentioned above:

  • The first principle of recovery is the empowerment of the survivor. She must be the author and arbiter of her own recovery”,
  • Recovery unfolds in three stages. The first stage is establishment of safety. The second stage is remembrance and mourning. The third stage is reconnection with ordinary life”,
  • And interestingly, she also talks about a significant minority of people who feel the call to engage in a wider world after the resolution of their traumatic experiences, implementing a new life mission based on insights and meanings gathered along their self-healing journeys. Something I can relate to as well.

As I am writing this post now, I still feel that my work consisting in releasing repressed emotions is not over. And I will continue to explore and go deeper, you can count on that. But I know that I have all the tools I need at my disposal now, and also the good intentions, the love, the human connections, to finally release and integrate this chaos from my shadows, and get ready to take my next empowered moves.

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