My Own Healing Journey
I practically grew up in the mental healthcare system, having been sent to my first psychiatrist at age 11 or 12. I forget the exact age. I really probably should have seen one before that; I suspect I had all the diagnosable signs of an eating disorder by age 8, but at the time no one recognized it for what it was. I certainly didn’t understand – at 8 – what I was doing, or why. So only when I became severely depressed, started self-harming, and began to mention suicidal thoughts later at around age 11 or 12 was I sent to my first shrink, and shortly thereafter, underwent my first psychiatric hospitalization.
What followed was what seemed like an endless revolving door of psychiatrists, counselors, therapists, social workers, and psychologists trying to deduce why someone so young would be so intent on self-destruction.
Folks, they never figured it out, and neither did I. But I found more clues in adulthood, finally, and without the direct involvement of a shrink.
Quite early on in the process, at 13, 14,15, I became excruciatingly sick of talking in circles about myself, as there just didn’t seem to be anything noteworthy to say, and they didn’t seem to have anything helpful to say back. I’d been sent (intentionally passive terminology) to them to talk, but for the most part, I hated them all and resented their intrusion into the particulars of my life and my thoughts. When you’ve blocked out your entire life – other than a few key events – there’s precious little to “work through,” as they say, in therapy. I had no idea why I thought what I thought or felt what I felt, and I was utterly disinterested in figuring it out. At the time, what I really wanted was for everyone to leave me alone, and let me deal with things the way I wanted – by cutting, starving, puking, and overdosing – until I died young and left it all behind. Life seemed too long.
Back then, therapy was all about self-esteem, self-empowerment, self-care, self-regulation, self-discipline, self-soothing, self self self self self. There didn’t seem to be any therapy for a person who was so sick of themselves that they wanted to annihilate that self and start over.
Then, one day, despite my own misery and the misery I caused many others, despite quite a few close calls and run-ins with death, I made it to young adulthood, and I had an experience wherein I felt that I had met God. What I felt at that time was that I found in Him a promise of a new self, which was exactly what I felt I needed at the time. I didn’t feel the need to improve upon the old, because popular psychology seemed to deny or overlook the fact that the old self was where the problems all originated – I needed a new one. This part of the Christian religion, I embraced wholeheartedly. I’ve been on a healing journey ever since. Interestingly, for most of my adult life I would have centered that healing journey around God and Jesus. But the last few years, my theology and spirituality has been undergoing massive changes. So I’m not 100% comfortable defining things the way I used to anymore.
Let’s just say this: God and Jesus have been central in my story for many years, and I related to them and about them the best I could at that time. Now that I’m older and have experienced much much more of life, I’m not as quick to point to a certain faith as having all the answers. Honestly, if you go strictly by evangelical/fundamentalist theology, Christianity creates far more problems than it solves. However, if I can still call myself a Christian at all, it is only with the stipulation that I reject most evangelical/fundie tenets of the faith at this point. I have essentially dropped most traditional theology, but kept the belief in Jesus and God. I don’t know what that makes me. (Ask me what that means in a PM if you’re curious. I don’t think it’s the time or place to write it out, right here.)
The real story is very much more complicated than the whole journey metaphor, but since I don’t have time to write (and you don’t have time to read) a book about myself right this moment, that will have to do. The thing is, I had never really suspected Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) in my history. I also never realized I had Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.) either, because many systems are very invested in hiding it until a time comes when they don’t feel like they have to, anymore. Only in adulthood did I begin to discover those things. I knew when I did, that the “help” I’d been subjected to as a child and young adult was not the kind of help I wanted to pursue any further.
To be perfectly honest I still question the SRA aspect. There is absolutely no doubt I have D.I.D. But the SRA factor is un-provable and problematic. But it’s also problematic that I would know the information and not be an SRA survivor.
At any rate, I’ve never gone back to working with mental health professionals since that time. I do not at all look down on people who choose that route; people have asked me if I’m pro- or anti- medication, therapy, ministry, and various other healing methodologies and the truth is, I’m pro- “whatever works.” Above all, I feel there is an urgent need for trauma survivors and those who help them to have information at their fingertips about things that can help them heal. I have read quite a few books on trauma – even self-help books – and they just don’t always offer practical advice or a personal glimpse at what the recovery process might look like. This, more than anything, is my purpose for writing this blog.
As far as my own healing journey, I have had people ask me what it is that I do, myself, to help facilitate healing. In keeping with my experiences, desires, and personal beliefs, I do not have a “therapist,” per se. I have many people in my life who help me learn about myself and heal from past wounds. I saw someone in a ministry setting for several years, and that was hugely valuable to me at that time for what it was. But it also had its limitations. Currently I am taking a break from seeing anyone because I’ve done the work and found myself in a very healthy and stable place. But I would not hesitate to seek out additional support if I needed it.
Another question I get sometimes is how long I’ve been in the healing process. I self-diagnosed as having Dissociative Identity Disorder (I do think it's written in my file somewhere but I'm not sure) about 15 years ago and began working with a different minister at that time. They used something called theophostic prayer ministry, which – while challenging – seemed to work well for me. I worked with them for approximately 2 years, and then took a 6-year sabbatical from that particular type of healing method. I struggled quite a bit during that sabbatical but unfortunate and uncontrollable circumstances made pursuing healing impossible at that time. In 2013 I contacted the person I worked with most recently (who had acquired a ministry partner in the interim) and began having regular appointments again. I stopped mid-year in 2017. We started off using an individualized combination of the aforementioned theophostic prayer, along with some Immanuel Approach, and Sozo prayer, and my prayer ministers went on to learn and use HeartSync. I have varying thoughts about all of the above methodologies, but that is another conversation for another time.
So that’s where I come from, in a nutshell, and where I am today. That’s what I’ve done in the past, and what I’m doing right now. I’m always open to questions. Cheers. ~J8