I AM good enough
I start a new part time job tomorrow. I am beyond excited. Great, you say, but people start new jobs all the time, what’s the big deal?
I’ve been offered new jobs in the past. And I’ve been grateful. But this time, for me, it IS a big deal.
I’ve never felt good enough. I’ve never felt like I fit in. I’ve always felt like an outsider. I don’t have many friends, and no-one who I can say is my best mate. I doubt myself and despite being self employed for many years now I have barely survived. But still I persevere.
All signs of trauma.
My parents damaged me.
There, I’ve said it.
It’s hard to admit that, I don’t want to speak badly of my mum.
But they did. They didn’t mean to. They were damaged as children themselves. I know some of what they experienced so I understand.
My mum did the best she could. She did what she thought was the best for her children. She did what she had been taught. She used parenting practices that were ‘normal’ at the time, like spanking. I used to think it 'never did me any harm' but I have realised lately how much damage was done.
It wasn’t the best for me. It wasn’t good for optimal brain development. I know I have experienced proximal abandonment.
My father wasn’t able to be the dad I needed him to be. He wasn’t there, even when he was in my life I have very few memories of him doing anything with us. I don’t have any memory of him playing with me. And sadly that means I have repeated that in my own relationships. There, I’ve said that now too!
When I was in my teens he completely abandoned me and then came back a few times fleetingly. Opening the wound again.
When I left school I went to Art College. But failed my end of year assessment in 3rd year. It broke my heart.
my birth trauma
I found jobs to make ends meet. Nothing felt right. I got married, and had a child. The birth was traumatic. My marriage didn’t survive. I went back to college, got an HNC in Digital Media and worked in the print trade.
Then I had another child. Preparing for that birth taught me how I’d been let down by everyone during my first birth. So I became a doula. I wanted to prevent that happening to other women.
During the years I spent as a doula and childbirth educator I learned the importance of birth and early parenting. I read so many books and went to workshops and conferences that taught me about pregnancy, birth, infant feeding and how that impacted on the child. I knew that informed decision making, bodily autonomy and feeling cared for meant that mothers’ mental health was protected. Which protects her ability to parent optimally.
Then I added massage therapy which taught me about the human need for touch. Due to an old wrist injury I use the NO HANDS Massage approach to bodywork, in order to protect myself. I read so many books and signed up for Continued Professional Development trainings and conferences that built on the knowledge I already had about informed decision making, bodily autonomy and feeling cared for.
My speciality was trauma. I have experienced birth trauma, I have experienced childhood trauma. I learned how this affects brain development and behaviour. It was important to me to try to help others avoid birth trauma and bodywork gave me the ability to provide nurturing, safe touch to those who came to me for massage.
I kept learning. And searching for more knowledge. Development within NO HANDS Massage was becoming very trauma informed which delighted me. There was a connection now between my birthwork and my bodywork.
But still I had this feeling that I was never good enough. And like an outsider. I always doubted myself, even when my peers said I was good at what I did. As soon as a client left my therapy room I imagined they were thinking how much better I could have done.
Then the pandemic hit.
I couldn’t work for five months in 2020. Then we weren’t allowed close contact work for another five months in 2021 too. This badly affected business.
I threw myself into learning. I signed up for Quantum Energy Coaching (QEC). It’s not bodywork and not birthwork. But still trauma. And, as with everything else I have done, it was an experiential learning. So I’ve been working on my own trauma.
Which is just as well because the last two years have really brought my childhood limiting beliefs to the surface. It feels hard to admit. I feel like a failure. I have struggled to function. I have struggled to communicate. I let people down because of that. I procrastinated a lot which doesn’t help. I froze. It’s a trauma response.
I continued going for regular NH Massage when we were allowed to offer close contact services. I mostly opted for Trauma Discharge, a new thing within NH Massage. I kept myself from crisis.
I am so thankful that in the years before the pandemic we had been bringing the emerging neuroscience to our bodywork training. Gerry Pyves created NH at first, over 30 years ago, to protect therapists from injury but was also a qualified Psychotherapist. He read The Biology of Belief by Dr Bruce H Lipton, a cell biologist, and the Polyvagal Theory by Dr Stephen Porges, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, and everything changed!
Gerry's knowledge as a psychotherapist had already informed his massage work. But now he developed Trauma Discharge and also NeuroTouch. He offered these to us and I signed up immediately. As we learned, we evolved and improved both of these wonderful modalities. They allow the body to let go of ambient trauma safely. And these last 2 years have really increased the level of ambient trauma we’re living with!
QEC gave me a non-touch way of working which I felt was important if there was any likelihood I would not be able to offer massage for long periods of time. I wanted to future proof my ability to earn a living. It has allowed me to start peeling back the layers of my trauma, like layers of an onion. Each time I work on something it then allows something else to come to the surface. Once I recognise it I can then work on that too. So slowly but surely I am releasing, forgiving, re-programming… and healing. When I think about how much I might still have to do I remind myself of how far I’ve come.
I was invited to join a 12 hour workshop to learn about Emotional CPR in November 2021. I was sceptical at first. I wasn’t sure it would teach me anything I didn’t already know about trauma. I mean, I already had some wonderful tools to offer that I really trust and know work. I’m glad I went and didn’t dismiss it. As soon as I completed that workshop as a Participant I resolved to join the apprenticeship pathway to become an eCPR Trainer. In February I gained my eCPR Educator certificate and I am continuing towards becoming a trainer.
Each time I co-facilitate a 12 hour eCPR workshop I learn from my co-facilitators and from the participants. I discovered some participants were attending in their role as peer support workers. I had always thought peer support was a voluntary role. I had been a breastfeeding peer support worker in the past. So I knew, right?
I AM good enough
There ARE paid peer support roles. Game changer! I started looking for something I could apply for as I was miserable in the call centre job I’d taken on because of the pandemic. The call centre left me so drained by negativity that I wasn’t able to focus well on my business and attract new clients. It was so frustrating to have these wonderful modalities that I believe in wholeheartedly, know can make a huge difference to people and yet not have a full diary. I just didn’t have it in me to create content and market my services. I didn’t feel good enough.
I knew I had to get out of the call centre. I heard about one charity, Support in Mind Scotland (SiMS) from a participant on an eCPR workshop and applied for a job. I applied for a few others with another charity too. I was given an interview for one and it was a disaster. But I reminded myself that I could learn from that.
Thankfully I was also invited to interview with SiMS and was offered a job!
They wanted me. Me! They wanted my knowledge, experience and skills. They want to benefit from what I can bring to their organisation.
This. Is. Huge.
I left the call centre on Friday, after 18 months, on a high, with best wishes and genuine kindness from my team which made me feel so good. I hated the job but it kept me afloat and I learned a lot from it too.
Having done work on my limiting beliefs from childhood I am now in a place where I actually feel good enough. I will be an asset to SiMS. I don’t feel a sense of Imposter Syndrome. I am not doubting myself. I feel confident and self assured. I wouldn’t have got that from antidepressants.
I am looking forward to starting my new job tomorrow. I know it will be a wonderful balance to my therapy work. I will continue to work on my own healing because I know there’s some more to do.
I feel a sense of peace now. I’m where I’m meant to be.
Thank you for reading my story. This is a story of my continuing transformation.
Please get in touch if you’d like me to help you with yours.