Finding Self-Acceptance through Persistent Triggers

The Honeyed Quill has been both reservoir and oasis for me as I launched myself. I have always written. Writing is my one true constant. Even when I am not putting the words down, I still compose them. There have been long stretches where I thought I wasn’t writing only to discover I had been all along (and often gems I later publish after discovering them within my grocery lists). I find this amusing, this idea that I would ever NOT be writing, even when writing hurts or scares me.

And I have been very fearful lately. Even before the U.S. election endorsed open violence against people like me, I was in the middle of a deep, persistent trigger. I am only just finding air for all the viscous pain. It’s amazing how we can so completely and not see we are submerged.

Working to stay afloat

For years, I have been working to resolve trigger after trigger related to my childhood. What I have learned is that my brain is primed for trauma. I suspect I was born this way, that it is a facet of autism and co-morbid anxiety. I have tried to heal this over and over with every therapeutic and natural method available. I have had successes, but they are only in managing the triggers, not stopping them. Not creating the space I need prior to the trigger settling in on my heart.

Do you know what I am talking about?

Some of you know. What I love about the readers here, friends in #LinkYourLife Connection, and my followings on various other platforms is that you get what it’s like to be triggered, for that trigger to not just sustain itself on your past trauma, but to nest and breed a new trauma you must now heal.

The truth is, I live in a hostile environment. Parenting has proven a trigger-hole for me. I struggle to be constant and present with my children. I am frequently overwhelmed trying to manage the needs of more than one, and three are at home for summer. When school begins, two will attend full-time. My eldest will continue with homeschool. My brain will be able to sort needs and feelings because there will be fewer external stimuli at the ready, and my stressors will ease. But they will still exist. And I will still be easily triggered by others’ anxieties, needs and actions.

For now

Today, I am setting aside an expectation; I will no longer force myself to believe that my brain can be healed. Instead, I will accept that depression, anxiety, PTSD and autism are part of my brain’s geography. I have done incredibly deep, healing work, especially over the last year, only to find myself submerged repeatedly. At my lowest low, breathing was a chore. While I was not suicidal and have never lost hope of recovery, I wished I could simply stop for a time.

I am honoring that impulse by stepping largely away from Facebook until my children are back in school. The amazing team of moderators in #LinkYourLife Connection will remain and facilitate the group as we have all done for each other at times.

I don’t know that I will be away from this blog. As I call time out, I will be writing extensively. I am in transition, trying new methods of support and symptom management for the depression that has grown in spite of joy, the anxiety that has flourished in spite of trust, and the radiant trauma that piggybacks off both. I think I will write here sometimes, because the connections here are beautiful. I will be on Instagram as both @shawnamawna and @surviveyourstory. And I will be on Facebook Messenger. If we are connected there or by email, feel free to ask about other places you can find me writing and teaching or to just say hello.


What I am saying may seem vague, but it is actually concrete: I am taking time for self-care for the sake of my mental health. I am not ashamed.

Please, if you do comment or connect, do not offer me advice. While I love hearing about your personal success with X product or medication or therapy/modality, what works for one does not work for another. I have tried many medications, natural supplements, essential oils, therapeutic methods including energy work and EMDR, among other things. I continue to have great success with many and am pursuing others. I know how to do my research and self-advocate. So, please, share your successes without trying to make them mine.

I say this because I created THQ as a safe space, just as I have curated other safe spaces for myself and others. It is important to have a place to go where you can look at and accept yourself just as you are without outside interference. My writing is that place. My self-care is that place. And it may seem strange that I want to keep it safe in a public forum, but the sharing of my healing journey is a piece of that healing, and not just for me.

I hear from so many of you who are courting your own self-acceptances, making that leap from victim to survivor. You are amazing. I write to support you as much as myself. I hold myself accountable to do so because of the depth of what you’ve shared. I want to keep that communication open.

So, tell me how you are hurting and healing. Let’s honor each other’s paths and celebrate what we choose to do to care for ourselves. Let’s be quiet when it serves us, and speak up when it feels right. Let’s share of ourselves with love and consideration for our own journeys and those journeys we witness.

A writing prompt: What new or surprising way have you found unexpected healing?


Discussion about this post

  1. Rachel says:

    Shawna, you are always an amazing example to me. I am so glad you are taking time for yourself <3.

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