I have been in therapy for almost three decades, and have gained a lot of insight into the arduous work involved in recovering from childhood trauma. One evening, I sat down and wrote an outline of what I had gone through myself in the therapeutic process. The outcome was a list of ten stages that I could clearly identify that I myself had gone through to get where I am today.
I would ask, and I will remind you in later installments, that you remember these are only explanations of what I have observed. Your therapy may or may not follow this format, and these stages will never be followed one right after the other. Sometimes you will, like me, go in and out of a stage or stages over and over, revisiting them before moving on. This is totally normal. This post and those that follow are only meant to give hope through a glimpse of what I have gone through to gain the peace of mind I enjoy today.
Please also remember, I am not a mental health professional. I am sharing the knowledge I have gained through personal experience only. If you disagree with something I am writing, please feel free to write me and say so. Do not ever take someone else’s word as gospel of how you must act or feel to recover.
In future posts, I am going to expound on each stage further, giving examples from my personal recovery story. I hope to help others to understand that no matter where you are on your issues, there is hope. If I can make it, you can too. I am not special, I am just an ordinary citizen of the world who was fortunate to have found the help I needed to gain insight into myself enough to finally burst out of the other side of the hell I have lived in all my life.
Good luck to all of you!
Now, may I present the ten stages that I have identified from my own recovery.
The Ten Stages of Recovery from Childhood Trauma
Stage One: Suspicion—I began to suspect that the way I saw things and lived wasn’t “normal” and that something in my past had caused the lack of peace I felt.
Stage Two: Discovery—Memories of what happened to me began to surface with force.
Stage Three: Chaos—The chaos of living with such memories begun. I needed to seek professional help.
Stage Four: Grief—I Grieved over the loss of what I had always thought I did not experience a joyous childhood.
Stage Five: Learning to Cope: had to learn new ways to cope with the memories and flashbacks of what happened so long ago.
Stage Six: Reaching Out—I reached out to others like myself who had been victims of childhood trauma to end the isolation.
Stage Seven: Dependence—I experienced dependence on my therapist for a while for my emotional support.
Stage Eight: Acceptance—Finally I entered the stage where I could accept my life in both the past and present as part of who I am.
Stage Nine: Resolution—I came to a point where I was able to accept that I had remembered all that was necessary, and cried all the tears that were needed.
Stage Ten: Moving on—I moved into a life full of peace and acceptance of who I am with all my faults and promise.
“Your health does not define you. Your strength and courage does.” Health Place