Walking the fine line of Breakdown vs Breakthrough.

If you ever struggle with the feeling that your recovery journey is like walking a fine line or tightrope, I’m here to validate you 100%. It can feel like much like a balancing act between a total breakdown and a breakthrough in healing.

Staying focused, knowing that the work you are doing is life changing, is something you can cling too during the trials of recovery. You know that you are doing right by yourself, and even when the rope gets shaky you can feel confident in knowing that you will be able to regain your balance and keep walking forward with eyes fixated ahead.

In fact, the more you walk this healing rope, if you will, you begin to feel empowered over time. So much so that you begin to embrace the fact that you are on the verge of serious breakthroughs. Amazing, positive, results begin to show themselves little by little, and good things in your life seem more attainable with each passing step.

Your life begins to come into focus in a positive way, with your career, with family and friends, with your hobbies, everything. You start to see the world, and yourself, in a whole new way, perhaps for the very first time. So many things that at one time seemed like only a dream, now start to look like a reality.

But what happens if we start to look down?

You look down on one side, and there’s a grand canyon full of traumatic memories. It’s a scary place that seems endless; a past filled with all types of abuse, neglect, perhaps trafficking, starvation, being bullied, any number of different traumas.

On the other side is the chasm of self-doubt, invalidation, and self-shame. It’s a place that our thoughts can gravitate towards when the going gets tough because our default response has been groomed to be one of helplessness and despair. These feelings can come not only from abuse but also from other past struggles in life, driving us to try and live up to our own or someone else’s expectations.

A couple other reasons why it can be easy to look down in either direction rather than fixate on the tightrope of healing.

  1. They are familiar places. Even if it’s not a healthy place to be, and it’s definitely a place that you are trying to avoid, it’s still familiar and safe, so it’s very easy to default to what we know.
  2. Old habits die-hard. Chances you if you are a survivor or suffered any type of trauma, you have spent a lot of time in the world of self-doubt, invalidation, and self-shame. We’ve resorted to feelings of self-invalidation for so long that it’s hard to let go.

So what is there to do? Is there a safety net below to catch you if you slip up? If so, do you trust that net to keep you from falling back into old habits and mindsets?

The answer is Yes, and it’s two-fold.

First, the more you walk this healing journey, you also begin to surround yourself with people who can help steady you when you get wobbly. They can be your safety net, or your balancing pole. If you feel yourself wanting to look down, or you actually do look down, these people will be there to help you keep your balance. They will also be there to catch you and lift you back up onto the rope.

Even if it’s just one person in your support system, that’s one more person than you may have had before. One person can then turn into two, and then three, and as you continue healing you can find yourself with more support than you ever dreamed. But you know what, even if you live for years with only 1 or 2 people in your corner, and those people are solid and reliable, there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s not the number of validating people in your life, it’s the quality of those people in your life.

The 2nd part is, in time you may not need as much support to help you keep you balanced as you do now, because you continually gain confidence in your own abilities. The more healing work you put in, the more self-love you show yourself, and self-care that you do, you’ll find yourself taking more and more steps without feeling the need to look down, or needing to use that safety net.

That being said, even if your confidence is sky-high and, you’ve been rockin your healing journey for a long time, there will inevitably be times where self-doubt will creep in and trials will present themselves to you. These can be in the forms of triggers, problems at home or at work, or just a general rough patch in life. These can cause you to feel a bit wobbly again, because, well it’s just part of life as a human being.

The good news is, that you will feel stronger knowing that you can regain your balance both of your own accord and with the helping hand of your support system.

-Matt

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