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Shame is not the name of the game.

by Teria Westerviller 2 months ago in ptsd

There is no shame in the world, worth your joy.

As the first month of 2021 comes to a close, I feel as if I'm no closer to my new years resolutions than I was two months ago. I can feel this year in my soul though, the deepest parts of it. 2021 will be a wonderful year! Not because I have spoken it into existence, not because I'm somehow owed a good year after a series of bad ones. This will be a wonderful year, because my soul feels it.

Not to make this more of a journal, than a glimpse into the future but in September of 2019 I witnessed a double murder. A man checked himself out of the psych ward against doctors orders, was escorted out of the hospital through the emergency room entrance, where he returned at high speeds inside of a large truck. Moments after I was told to have a seat, the woman who had been in line behind me and the gentleman who checked me in, were ran over by said truck.

The series of events that followed haunt my nightmares but are also difficult to remember, the adrenaline and anxiety jumbles everything up during moments of trauma. I had suffered multiple traumas as a child, which of course returned to haunt me with the new trauma, this is common in those who suffer from CPTSD. However, the months that follow are very clear. I suffered from extreme agoraphobia and was unable to leave my home for quite a long time. Over the past year and a half I have learned the demon that haunted me was merely shame.

Shame is such a common emotion that holds so many people back in the world. Shame that we look a certain way, sound a certain way. Shame that we survived when others didn't, that we were raped, or that our skin colors don't match others. Shame that we have anxiety or had suicidal ideations the night prior, that we don't deserve attention or even just human interactions. Shame can lead to horrendous spirals of self sabotage, leaving trauma survivors lost in a dark, dark sea of emotions.

Those moments are hard to pull yourself away from, it's nearly impossible to stop the nightmares and emotional flashbacks from coming and going. The anxiety and fear of death are almost as suffocating as the need to die. But pulling yourself away from this is possible, it is possible to feel hope and joy in your soul again. I promise this.

I'm not exactly sure when my healing process ended, or if it even has. I can't tell you that a switch flipped or that some miracle happened. I have worked so hard through 2020, with so many odds against me - just as the ENTIRE world has this year. I have searched deep within my self, in search of peace. I don't believe I found peace for eternity, only peace with my shame.

In my search for peace, I have lost loved ones. I have spoken my truth so loud and so fiercely, that I went from a family favorite to a black sheep. I have confronted demons that I forgot I had. I have revisited my childhood in my dreams to hold the younger version of me, to comfort the person I could have been and inflate those dreams of my inner child again.

That sounds crazy? Yes, yes it does...but it works.

For 2021 I do not have a new years resolution, I feel my only goal is to reach those drowning in shame. To challenge them with this:

Next time you see a child anywhere, and I mean anywhere, even on TV - I want you to look at that child and ask yourself these questions:

If that child felt unloved, would they truly have a reason to be unloved?

If that child was sexually assaulted, would it be there fault in anyway?

If that child was the only survivor of a tragic event, would you want it to suffer from survivors guilt?

If that child was being teased because their ancestors were slaves, should they feel shame in their skin color?

If that child was fat, should they be ashamed?

If that child made a mistake, should it define their lives?

The shame you feel is pushed onto you by societies standards, not your own. Standards that the elite can't even live up to. If all you can do today is check your mail, then check it with joy. There is no shame in feeling emotions, or suffering through recoveries. There is no shame in the world, worth your joy. Don't let it overtake you, let it drive you.

Teria Westerviller
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Teria Westerviller
See all posts by Teria Westerviller

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