It’s not secret that I have had my struggles.
It’s also no secret that I had a very difficult childhood. In fact, people who have heard the story have said I should make it into a film. It is a bit ridiculous!
Cognitive Hypnotherapy has been the thing that freed me up.
Even though the actual number of sessions of therapy I’ve had is relatively low (8 in total over the last 7 years), I have been able to find an amazing level of peace, happiness and contentment with my life. But it’s not been a short journey. Every day has been about learning.
Recently I was getting very frustrated with myself.
I still hated myself. I couldn’t look in the mirror without sneering. I wanted to be someone else. I found it impossible when people said nice things. It was actually upsetting. How could they be so cruel as to say something that was so obviously untrue? It wasn’t fair.
I knew this wasn’t right. It was frustrating. How could so much else have changed but not this?
I also knew I had some behaviours that weren’t right. I would never ask a question in a meeting or at Uni, because I assumed that nobody would pay any attention to what I said. When courses didn’t sell, and videos didn’t get many views I would think “Of course, why would anyone listen to me?”. When someone disagreed with something I said in a forum I would back off and not argue my point. I physically would shake and dwell on what I said and what they said.
I know enough to know that isn’t right, and, more importantly, I don’t have to accept it.
And then I got help from a fellow therapist. And we changed the hurt child girl so she was happy.
And things began to change.
I went to my daughter’s school to talk to them about an issue. I could have avoided it but I didn’t. I felt calm when I was there.
I started engaging in discussions on forums.
I went to the doctors about a lump above my stomach. I’d done this before and they dismissed it but I knew it was not right. I had been putting off going but I made the appointment and stuck to my guns to get a scan.
I went to the hairdressers and closed my eyes and relaxed while I was having my hair washed. Something I have never done before.
To many these may seem like small things, but to me they were huge signs of change.
And then I had an opportunity to do a talk to our local ACES group (Adverse Childhood Experiences). I want to become the sort of public speaker that talks at large events. Ultimately, I would love to do Tony Robbins style conferences (obvious they will be Dawn Style by then). I know that I need to share my personal story – what brought me to this point – if I really want to connect with people. I know I have a hell of a story.
In the past, when I’ve tried to talk, my subconscious has shut me down. I lose the ability to speak or move. So I’ve avoided telling my story.
On Tuesday I went along to this group event with a plan to talk through my story. ACES is all about resilience, and the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences on our physical and mental well-being. I know that my story shows how it is possible to be happy no matter what. I know I am a better therapist because what I’ve been through shows that it is possible to overcome anything. This was a good audience to start with.
My passion is to help everyone realise that we can all find happiness, no matter what has happened in our childhood. I have never made it so personal before.
I have never told my life story to anyone out loud, from start to finish before, let alone a room of strangers. I spoke to about 15 people. I told them everything from when I was 6 right up until I took my abuser to court. I told the whole story. I explained how if I’m ok, then anybody can be, if you just have the right help.
It was liberating. I felt so free afterwards. I had told my story and I was fine. That’s all it was – a story. Something that I could use to help other people. It did not leave me shaking (although I was a little nervous when I started talking!). It did not stir up nightmares. I did not go into the ‘no-speaking’ state. I was absolutely fine.
I felt exhilarated and I feel so lucky to have been given that chance.
So now I’m working towards a new TED talk next year. A talk that will draw on my experiences both from childhood, and from working with over 600 clients.
“Our past creates us but doesn’t define us – lessons from over 600 clients”
(if anyone can think of a better click-bait style title please let me know!)
This is my next step and I can’t wait.