Christine "Cissy" White – Childhood Trauma
I discovered guided imagery decades ago, when they were still cassettes.
Guided imagery helped me so much in my personal journey dealing with traumatic stress from an abusive childhood
I thought I had a life sentence. It's now two decades later and I'm a happy, successful and independent woman, lover, writer and mother. Guided imagery helped me learn to soothe, educate, re-parent and calm myself.
It is the tool that has been the cheapest and helped me the most with my symptoms, which, honestly, in the beginning made me suspicious. If this worked, wouldn't everyone be doing it and all of the time?
So I used it on the side with my talk therapy and medication. I thought all trauma therapists would use this in therapy if it was really that beneficial or useful.
It wasn't until talk therapy didn't help me alleviate symptoms (though it helped me understand why I had them) that I started experimenting on my own and in private.
I was a little nervous about trying the imagery at first. I wasn't a meditator and wasn't all that comfortable with feelings. I was afraid guided imagery might be like mind control or hypnosis and I didn't want anyone getting in my head.
I had trust issues for good reasons. My mother was a teenager when she became pregnant. My biological father was a violent drunk before he left our family. Three members of my step-family were sexually abusive. Abuse and neglect were the peanut butter and jelly of my childhood.
Learning to identify, tolerate, respect, respond to or soothe my emotions did not come easily. I was motivated by the pain of anxiety, numbness and depression, which talk therapy helped me understand but not alleviate. I was being treated for post-traumatic stress when I tried guided imagery.
I've used it to learn how to cry, to help me feel less cloudy, cluttered and negative. Guided imagery has helped me go from mechanical to emotional, and it let me do it in private, which was essential, especially in the beginning.
Now, I see guided imagery as essential as water or food. It's nurturing, nutritious and good for my health. I don't care if some think it's wacky anymore, because I know it works and how I feel when I use it and when I don't
I go from numb to emotional, depleted to resourced and tight and tense to opened up and patient. Honestly, it makes me less of grump to myself and everyone else. I discovered it decades ago to help with PTS but I use it now all of the time.
I just got a new puppy and the stress and sleeplessness and not wanting to leave the dog alone too long has prevented me from going to the gym or a movie. So, finding myself short with my daughter, I realized I can't wait 'til the puppy is grown to do self-care. I can do guided imagery while in a parking lot waiting for my daughter to get out of dance or every night before bed. I know it's good for me and it can't hurt my daughter or puppy to overhear it.
Nurturing myself makes me a better mother to my daughter, myself, my creativity and my puppy. It helps me break out of ruminating and obsessing and shift gears and remember the fun, light and good parts of life when they feel out of my reach.
And it's practically free and doesn't require an appointment or a co-pay and I can share it with others. That's my kind of trauma symptom recovery and prevention.