The Reality of Trauma for Sensitives

I had a fantastic day yesterday. I found myself working with some existing clients as well as new ones. My day was packed to the brim with readings, healing work, and being super challenged in my dance class. I don’t understand where that dream came from. Why now? But wait, that was 2 days ago. Yesterday was a yoga class, an afternoon with another intuitive friend of mine, then more super challenging dance class. Or was it the Reiki class yesterday? I remember….no wait, I don’t. That hasn’t happened yet. Those classes are this weekend. When am I? 

I almost backspaced right through that paragraph to start this piece off a little more cogently, but I decided to leave it there. Why? Because it is an example of what I’m here to talk about in this piece. This is part of the reality of being an intuitive (or psychic, or medium, or empath, or ‘highly sensitive person’ – take your pick for the label, and I’ll be using them interchangeably through the article). This is an especially punctuated part of the reality when it comes to us dealing with trauma.

Last night, for the first time in a long time, I dreamed of my rape. I dreamt it in full color, fully gore detail. I woke up sobbing this morning, my body remembering the pain as if it had just happened. I was scared to look for blood or bruising, and it took me nearly an hour to convince/remind myself that it hadn’t just happened.  This isn’t just a reality for those that understand themselves as being ‘highly sensitive’.  This is the reality of most people who experience trauma, and who get the label PTSD slapped across their forehead, like naming it is actually healing the wound caused by the trauma. (Don’t get me wrong, there is power in naming and understanding PTSD, but too often the healing gets halted once the label is applied, at least in my opinion. But more on this in a moment.)

If this is a commonality for those warriors who survive trauma, then why am I making a distinction between the whole group and the intuitives among them? Well, for one thing, most of us with psychic leanings recognize that time isn’t a firmly well oiled steely machine that only runs in one direction.  Time is more like jello – kind of solid, bouncy, still sort of fluid, and really hard to describe in terms of texture or experience. The more into the intuitive depths you reach, the more ‘timey wimey’ things get, or another way to put it is the more the jello consistency becomes liquidy.

Back to today though. I woke up, and after taking an hour to rise, I sat in a chair staring at my computer thinking of all of the work I still need to get done. All of the writing projects, prepping for class, my own seminary classwork, not to mention needing to mow the grass and do the dishes…. But I was frozen. I was still locked in the fallout of my dream, and any time I would start to move, I would find myself crying. It took me a full four hours to actually come together enough to put on clothes, walk up to the store to get some terrible chicken to eat for lunch as well as few other comfort foods, then I came back. I ate and I decided that I would push through.

I made kala (a cleansing rite) and aligned myself. I then sat. I sat in prayer, then in meditation. Today (as is the case often after such an episode) I found no solace in my prayer. My words weren’t empty, but my heart feels to heavy to hear, so my prayer was a one sided conversation. Meditation brought me no peace, even though I could find the silence within. I saged my space, and I forged ahead to do the unthinking tasks of washing dishes and was going to mow the lawn, only it had just begun to rain. But then I realized, I was still sitting in my chair with my coffee in hand.

I look outside (actually moving my body this time, instead of just my awareness) at the looming overcast sky, so I rearranged the order of things so that I could get the lawn mowed before raindrops began to fall.  A few raindrops fell on my head as I walked up to the grocery store, but not the downpour that I’d seen earlier. Things had shifted, things had changed.

This experience of walking through time is something I’ve discussed with a few psychic friends before, but it seems to be more notably associated with those that are healing from trauma. I personally recognize it as a form of dissociation, a term that sends red flags up for a lot of mental health practitioners, and this is part of why I feel the need to write this little article.

As a sensitive, we often find ourselves embroiled in other people’s junk. We hate drama, yet, we find ourselves covered it in (and frequently in the middle of it).  What allows us to survive while being able to utilize our heightened sensitivity is a certain level of dissociation. Though we dissociate with the world around us – whether that’s the physical world, time, or just the hat that we typically wear in a situation – we then associate with another space, a different space, an altered perspective. As a psychic medium, I do this very on purpose, dissociating from the world of the fleshy living and associating more with the world of spirit. Empaths often accidentally dissociate from their own emotions and associate with the world of the emotions/sensations of others.

The trouble comes when we don’t re-associate with ourselves, with consensus reality. It can also be a problem to rectify the experiences we have when we dissociate and re-associate. When we’re experiencing trauma (whether the experience is currently being enacted in the consensus physical reality or just brushing up against us from the past through the liquidity of time), the knee jerk reaction for many sensitives is to dissociate. That is what our psyches are built to do. It is a coping mechanism. This is survival.

I took a break from writing this to sit outside for a moment. I watched the clouds, heavy and pregnant with moisture, pass overhead, spilling a few minute droplets onto the sidewalk. I felt the shift of the air drop pulling a cool breeze past my head, which is throbbing with a migraine – one of the many points I look forward to after an occurence such as the nightmare. I’m reminded of a question I used to get frequently – “If you’re so psychic, why didn’t you see that coming?”.

First off, I’m not a party trick psychic. I’m not a mentalist, nor am I a dog-and-pony show. I stopped associating with “friends” that treated me as such a long time ago, and I’m much happier for it. (If asked for a reading in a social setting, eventually I may relent, but it’s less of a psychic reading, and more like a sharp tongued drag queen tearing you apart with quips that will probably fly over your head for about 3 minutes before you realize you’ve just been dished….because ‘Reading is Fundamental’.) But to address the unasked (or maybe it’s more self posed) question, things change. Nothing is set in stone. Intuitives, sensitives and artists see things other people don’t; we see potentials when we peer into the future, potentials based upon the current circumstance. Looking at the sky, I can understand why I saw what I did, even though it didn’t manifest exactly in the way that I thought it would. Either way, it got the grass mowed and I got to stay dry.

I liken this line of thinking to another impulse I had earlier. I pulled out my astrological program to start searching for some transit point that I may have missed that would have given me warning about such an experience I had as I slept last night. I also started thinking about the Reiki classes that I’m teaching over the weekend, and how I frequently get a ‘boost’ in my energetic experiences just before I teach a class where I pass energetic attunements. I reached for my lenormand deck to pull some cards for understanding….Then I stopped myself because I realized something.

In the spiritual and metaphysical communities, we often look to find some energetic justification or rationalization for what we experience. This can be a helpful tool, under the right circumstances. Too often, though, these ‘insights’ become crutches, excuses, and justifications. Instead of seeking divination, I chose to do my spiritual work. I prayed, I did kala, I aligned, I journaled. I did the things to help myself instead of wallowing in how the astrological aspects screwed me over.

As a spiritual community, we suffer from this affliction of thinking that once something has a name or label, the work is (at least mostly) done. But it isn’t. It’s frequently just the beginning at that point. Fast food spirituality is as nourishing to the spirit as fast food is to the body. (And trust me, I’m not hating on fast food at the moment. I’m really thinking about that fruit loop flurry that my best friend was telling me about, and that may end up being dinner.) When we train ourselves to go to the places others can’t go or to see what others don’t see (which is exactly what we do when we develop as psychics), then we are forced to deal with our own shit. Our shittiest shit. The shittiest of shitty shit that fucks us up to nearly unrecognizable proportions. And guess what folks – this healing work is ongoing. It doesn’t stop. Growth is not always easy, especially when that involves facing our demons and trying to claim them as allies so that we can be the ‘best me that I can be’.

I’m not writing this piece to talk about ways to deal with our trauma, even though I did share a few of the ways I decided to handle my own today. I wrote this because I’m not the only one out there that goes through this. I wrote this because trauma makes you feel like you’re alone. I wrote this because I feel alone, even though I know that I’m not, and it’s okay. I wrote this because someone out there may need to hear the validation – whatever you’re feeling, it’s okay. You’re allowed to feel it, even if it doesn’t reflect the reality around you, your feelings are valid. Your experiences are valid. You are valued, and it’s okay that sometimes you’re not okay.

You don’t have to justify what you’re feeling. Nobody gets to tell you what your timeline for healing is. And sometimes, shit just happens. Sometimes you may feel more or differently than others feel. Sometimes it’s okay to just cope. Sometimes living is just coping. And today is one of those days for me.

There is help for us though. There are resources available if you need help, or just need to be heard. If you’re struggling I am begging you, reach out.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) has a number you can call for help.  1-800-656-4673

The Suicide Prevention Hotline is another resource that you can reach out to. 1-800-273-8255

If you’re local to the Mid-Michigan Area, or if this is just the best number for you to call, The Listening Ear offers a crisis intervention line. (517) 337-1717

All of these lines operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Reach out if you need the help. I’ve called, and they’ve helped. I’ve been there, and while I’m not there today, maybe you are.

Not everyone is highly sensitive, or intuitive, or what have you. We troll through dark parts of ourselves, mining the shadow for the shards of wisdom and light that it holds. Know Thyself, which is conveyed in my favorite prayer ‘Who is this flower above me? And what is the purpose of this god? That I know myself in all my parts.” (Victor Anderson, Flower Prayer, Anderson Feri/Faery Tradition.) We do this to be of highest service to our godselves and to others. This sensitivity is a calling, and it calls us through some really scary places, but we can shine through. Use every tool at your disposal. Know that you are not the first person who has been standing in your shoes, and know that what you feel is yours to feel, and no positive self talk may change that. Own this space that you are in when you find yourself here, because then you can actually begin to move through it instead of just hiding it.

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