3 Ways to Conquer Emotional Hurdles...13 years later

13 years later and I am now realizing the impact this has had on my life. As I sat in the therapy session and listened as the therapist put words to what I had done with my feelings, I realized that I never really dealt with the trauma of it. I felt like so many good things had come out of the situation, it led me to God, helped to pay for my college education, changed my outlook on materialism, and shaped my perspective on humanitarianism. I never once considered how it negatively impacted me.

August 29, 2018, it has been 13 years since Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and I am just now talking to a therapist about it. Not necessarily because I wanted to get therapy for it. I actually went to the therapist to have a conversation about work and if you've ever had therapy (now that I've had one session), you know that other stuff that you weren't planning to talk about sought of "come up". I work in a high trauma environment (serve individuals with lots of trauma), but also a trauma informed environment (we understand and considers the effects of trauma). Due to the nature of the work, our company brought in a therapist to help support the staff. Our conversation about work led to a conversation about my personal trauma.  

Afterwards, I realized that I never dealt with the impact of Katrina. Instead, as a 16 year old girl, I unintentionally pushed it back into my subconscious. And It had been there until about a year ago when I was experiencing a new, but similar experience. This experience wasn't nearly as catastrophic, but my emotions didn't care about the difference between the two. This situation triggered the same instability, loss, and change in my life, that I guess Hurricane Katrina did. Metaphorically speaking, my emotions started to come up like vomit.

This got me thinking about how many of us just go on with life after traumatic experiences and see them begin to show up in unexpected new experiences because we haven't dealt with them. They become emotional hurdles to us; things we must overcome before we can flourish in life, purpose, and even relationships. Here are three ways that have helped me conquer emotional hurdles, both big and small:

  1. Therapy: I understand that therapy can be somewhat taboo amongst believers, but I am an advocate for therapy (ignore that I just started attending). Some of my friends are therapists so I feel like I have been vicariously "therapized" in my conversations with them. I have also seen the benefit of it in my line of work with the women that have survived trafficking  and exploitation.

  2. Coping skills: Practices that help you deal with stressful situations and life's disappointments. Cooking has become a real love of mine, but it is also a coping skill for me. It helps me to relax and be creative. I believe unleashing creativity can bring healing, hence art therapy and cooking therapy programs. Other healthy coping skills can be writing, playing music, meditating, exercising, talking to a friend, hanging with friends, deep breathing exercises, etc.
  3. Spirituality: Last but not least, I believe an intimate and personal relationship with God can definitely help you conquer emotional hurdles in your life. Prayer, scripture, and worship with God can minister to your soul in a way that a coping skill and therapy can not, but I do believe in many cases spirituality along with therapy and coping skills is a great combo. While I believe God can do anything and I mean anything, I also believe He has gifted people and works through them to help us through therapy and will also give us strategy in the form of a coping skill. 

I hope you found this information helpful. May it inspire you to conquer any emotional hurdle standing in your way to freedom and greatness. If you're struggling and can't seem to get over a hurdle, I pray that God will create an avenue for you to receive the support you need. Emotional wellness is important!