It’s OK to NOT be OK

The Beginning of Trauma RecoveryThe Sacred Journey Through Trauma

I help people recover from trauma. I help people realize it is OK to not be OK.

I sit across from men and women on a daily basis. They come in looking for answers. At times, they do not know what the questions are they want or need to ask.

All they know is life is not working at the moment. Not like they want it to work – or not like it used to – or not like it ever did.

And they are tired.

The awareness I have of the shame in the room is sometimes palpable. I do not mention I see the shame however, because they are simply not ready to be seen.

Their desire is to be heard. -To be listened to -To find some relief.

Whether the person sitting across from me is a woman, man, teen or child, or perhaps even a couple or family – they want to get out. -Out of the pain and on to the life they think just might be possible.

The UnveilingJourney Through Trauma

Sometimes the unveiling of what has happened in their lives is slow. The person will allow me in layer by layer -Deeper into their current pain, and the story no one but they knew happened to them.

They have no words when they begin to speak of the things they have never spoken of before. The shame begins to loosen with each word they find to utter about what happened. The silence is broken.

Their story begins to unfold for me – as well as for them. The shame and confusion continues to loosen with each unfolding. There is no longer a secret only they know. I begin to help them sort through the pain.

Most times the Wounded Souls will not have the ability to connect the dots of the “then and there” to the “here and now.” Those are the times when the shame is palpable -Thick like a dark, heavy wet blanket they have had to carry for years. They are doubtful and unaware of the freedom they will experience at the end of our journey together.

The shame is a lie. But at first, my clients do not know this. They will slowly discover this for themselves. The judgement will begin to be contradicted. They will begin to accept where they are in this brave journey.

Recovering from trauma is often confusing. It can be oh, so frustrating for an individual.

One person may come in never having been able to say that what they have experienced was terrifying or hauntingly painful. The messages in their heads condemn them for feeling the pain. Or the messages in their heads condemn them for having the symptoms of unresolved trauma, such as anxiety, depression or addiction.

The Sacred Journey Through TraumaOne person may come in with the knowledge they had been violated, but have been told by well-meaning people, “forget the past and move forward.”

  • “Forget the past.”
  • “Just put it behind you.”
  • “You’re always bringing up things you cannot change.”
  • “Let it go.”

These are the words people in pain have often been told. These words pile shame on them.

They are now not only carrying the trauma of what happened, but they also carry “false shame” of the trauma still affecting them.

It isn’t easy when you have been traumatized. Try as you might, the pain continues. The confusion continues. The depression, anxiety, anger and perhaps, secret addictions continue.

Until one day.

One day someone hears.

One day someone listens to the pain.

One day someone says, “It makes sense. All of your symptoms make sense with the story of your life. You’re not crazy. You are sane. You would actually have to be somewhat insane to not be feeling depressed and anxious due to what you have been through.”

The days I am honored to be the person who says these words to Wounded Souls are some of the most sacred times of my career. Perhaps because I am a Wounded Healer who has had the balm of grace given to me. Perhaps because I get to “comfort with the comfort I have been comforted with.”

Each story is different, but the same.The Sacred Journey Through Trauma

Each journey is different, but similar.

The “Me, too” of recovering from trauma or pain is a sacred journey for anyone.

It is OK to pause and connect the dots.

It is OK to learn the coping skills needed to stay in the present even when the past memories sometimes flood into the here and now.

It is OK to acknowledge the depression, anxiety, anger, and addiction you have been feeling.

There is a way out.

It may take some time to sift and sort through the pain.

It may take some time to feel the feelings suppressed for a very long, long time.

Healing begins when we can say, “I am not OK. I am hurting and I need help.”

Be kind to yourself, my friend. This journey needs to be A Brave and Compassionate Journey.


Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 10.24.09 AMThe above is meant to be encouragement. It is not professional therapy, but good sound advice from someone who has walked countless individuals through trauma-From surviving to thriving through A Brave Compassionate Journey.

If you are interested in meeting with me professionally, feel free to contact me at kate@katepieperlmft.com or 530-268-3558. We will see if I am a good fit for you.

If you would are interested in a resource for Self-Care, I co-authored a book with Steve Austin. You can order Self-Care for the Wounded Soul: 21 Days of Messy Grace.

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10 thoughts on “It’s OK to NOT be OK

  1. What you wrote about shame is so true. As I went through therapy, I learned more and more about myself and why I was the way I was. This helped me accept myself and took the shame away. And yes, other people can pile on the shame by criticism. I feel good with my life now, and I don’t care if other people don’t understand me as long as I do.

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