As the second plane went into the twin towers on 9-11-2001, I was on the phone with my sister. She had asked if it was World War III. I told her there was not yet information. The next five words I heard from her changed my life forever. “At least I’ll die happy.” There had been many days I felt too sick to move as stress was manifesting in my body. Often times, I even felt “near death”. I exclaimed to myself with tears streaming down my face, “NO MORE! NO MORE! If I have to live in a cardboard box, I will be happier than this! NO MORE!”
I had left my marriage with a mild case of PTSD and a promise from my husband that he would see me “penniless and living on the street.” My eating disorder was out of control and I had gained about eighty pounds. My self-esteem couldn’t have been any lower after withstanding years of emotional abuse, while trying to make the marriage work for the sake of the children.
My career in broadcast engineering was obsolete, because I had left my career to stay home raising my children for ten years. After going through a contentious divorce, I had to support myself and soon. I went into this marriage as a strong, confident, and independent woman, and came out “a shred of a woman,” as my friend described me. I didn’t think I was capable of making it through graduate school and was terrified of life as a single mother with little support. Fear had become my best friend.
But, I did it anyway…..
The Journey to the Heart
The truth is I began to overcompensate. No longer allowing myself to be a victim, I went into overdrive and became an overachiever. I went to graduate school which was necessary as I needed a new career, but I nearly killed myself to graduate Summa Cum Laude. I worked two jobs to pay the bills and built a coaching business at the same time. Empowerment was the name of the game. As I got into recovery with the eating disorder, overworking took its place. Although I thought it was necessary financially, it was another form of medication indeed. I had lost myself in the marriage, but little did I know I was taking myself further away from my authentic self.
The Journey Inward
“You don’t have a wall, it’s a thick brick wall with barbed wire around it. I don’t know you, not really” she said. I had no idea what my friend Sherry meant at that point. I thought I was the most authentic person around, but in truth I wasn’t. Extrovert isn’t synonymous with authentic.
If only I had known then, that the barbed wire fence I had around my heart kept me not only from others, but from myself and from my wildest dreams, desires and goals. I had to find my heart and heal from the shock and trauma that had accumulated over a lifetime.
In therapy, I learned to release victim consciousness and accept accountability for my part in the demise of the marriage. I worked hard and with help healed the core issues that lead to a high tolerance for inappropriate behavior from others. I eventually forgave him for all, and most importantly forgave myself. The most profound work I have experienced in my healing journey has been that of Heart Centered Hypnotherapy, which I later studied and continue to enhance my skills with advanced study. It was with this form of depth psychotherapy that I was able to shed the layers that had covered my heart and recover my authentic self. Today, I live a heart centered life, love every day of my work, have connected relationships and see life as the adventure and gift that it is.