Repairing the manipulated, damaged, and warped connection to our bodies after abuse is long term work. It does not and simply cannot happen overnight. It is akin to recovery; where relapse is absolutely apart of the process, absolutely to be expected and allowed. Without victimisation. Without questioning why the survivor gets sick, chooses potentially harmful patterns, returns to the harmful environment, or discards their own needs when they have the option to not. The truth of abuse is lodged into the body’s cellular structure, and it does not know the linear construct of human time. When these truths are shaken awake, we surge with flares in our stress responses and immediately gravitate towards survival mechanism. This is okay. It is valid. It is not crazy. It is very fucking real.

I’ve had Lupus and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy for coming on 12 years. Throughout this time I have been both bedridden for over a year, hospitalised, and in a wheelchair, and a daily runner, a dancer/dance teacher, and an active yogi. Today I move slower than most elderly people with canes. My daily pain levels are constantly piqued and often leave me breathless and sobbing. My feet look dead and are constantly freezing. My hands cramp up to the point where I cannot use them. I am going on day 20 of a migraine that causes nausea, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, vertigo, earaches, an inability to talk, heart palpitations, and more. My veins in my arms and legs enlarge to the point it looks like I am on steroids. My nerve and joint pain are full-bodied and agonising. I can barely walk without bone pain shooting up my body. I get sick and dizzy easily, have major fatigue, and rashes appear across my chest, face, and stomach. Coughing, wheezing and clutching my chest as my heart and lungs feel like they’re being stabbed. This is the bare minimum of my daily existence, and listening to my body is the only fucking way I will get through it.

During the past six months, I retreated. I shut down a lot of my natural intuitiveness, became completely void of spirituality, and simply let my body and soul do the work of breaking. With eighteen years of horrific abuse, the breaking the needs to occur in my lifetime is mighty. It’s why I break in my sleep, too. Reclaiming nightmares as healing work that my soul does even when my body rests. No longer overcome with stress about them, I simply allow this work to manifest as it needs to. The external world is a bit different, and this past relapse into Lupus/RSD has taken me to my knees in victimhood. Not in action, but in grief. Oceanic, mountainous, delirious grief. The grief that ensures I no longer hide my sensitivity, and have yet to see a day in the past few months that didn’t hold tears within it. Out of purity, I weep for the little girls in me screaming. For the body breaking down, declining, in majestic truth.

Three days ago I listened. Maybe for the first time in these past six months, I extended my hand out and touched the intuitive truth that rests right alongside the grief. She told me to revamp my entire diet. To no longer follow what I was told before would heal me, but instead, listen to how my body wanted to heal. To invite in stretches, strength work, and very slow walks. To rebuild, because it was time to press pause on breaking.

It’s not done. I weep in this sentence because I don’t know if it ever will be. I choose to heal not to be healed, but to be free. To be wild. To be allowed to be broken and strong. To be human and vulnerable. To be the mistress and the child. The slut and the innocent. The victim and the overcomer. The sick and the well. The hurting and the breath. The silent agonising relapse and the one who speaks. The one who learns. The one who, not for herself but for the sake of restoration, refuses to let the abuse have the last word.

I believe her.

I believe them.

I believe him.

I believe they.

I believe you.