Gratitude, Appreciation and Letting go

The Logical Heart Knows Best

I’ve had a nice vacation from writing, yay! Today I had the urge to share, so here I am at it again. I thought after a year of daily blogging I wouldn’t want to write for quite some time. I guess sixteen days is long enough and I confess, I’ve been writing (in my journal), just not blogging.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had to revisit some past traumatic issues. I didn’t want to; I had to, through circumstances beyond my control. I was dreading it. There was a cloud hanging over me and I felt weighed down. I became despondent, flat, and lifeless.

Every time a fearful, intrusive thought about the past trauma and the upcoming meeting surrounding it bubbled up, I quickly told myself to let it go. There was nothing I could do to change it. I practiced acceptance. It was no use getting upset and revisiting it all, so I put it out of my mind as much as possible and sank into myself. The anxiety was there just beneath the surface, manifesting as insomnia, decreased appetite, and dourness. 

I went through the motions to respond to the unwelcome issues it forced me to revisit. I didn’t dig too deep and tried not to think about the traumatic situations too much in responding to the inquiry from outside forces. It was bringing back the trauma, and I’d become upset and tearful when recalling it all.

I was more traumatized than I realized. I had put it behind me. It was in the past, over two years ago. I tried to forget it and vowed to never subject myself to those kinds of situations again if I could help it.

If I would have continued in such a traumatic environment, I would have to barricade myself by forming an internal shield, compartmentalizing, and disconnecting from my compassion to function in such an environment. I’d have to view people as objects, as pawns, and be okay with not keeping others or myself safe. I’d have to ignore my conscience. There was no way I could make that leap. 

I left all of those memories locked up far away in me because I wanted to let go, move on, and never have to feel that way again. Something blurred all the names of the people involved, leaving only the traumatic scenes flashing in my mind along with the panic and helplessness.

I’m transported back there in recollection, and remember praying, pleading, please, don’t let anyone get hurt! There was so much happening at once and I rushed from one situation to another, trying to keep everyone safe. There were too many people needing help and not enough people to help them. 

I had to type out a written response surrounding the trauma. I had everything done and was waiting anxiously, (doing deep breathing and meditating to keep calm though I was still shaking) for the phone call where I had to talk to people about these issues. The phone call never came, and I believed that I hadn’t followed the instructions correctly, so I called them and they said they canceled the phone meeting because the outside forces didn’t show. They’d neglected to notify me. I was so relieved and hoped that was the end.

Well, it wasn’t. I received notice that they rescheduled the meeting, and I had to resubmit everything. This time I dared to recover more details, and it triggered me again. I wanted to contact other people who went through the experience with me, but their names would not register in my brain. I could see their faces, the people who helped alongside me then, but their names eluded me.

I’d spent the years trying to forget. I succeeded in that aspect with the names. I wished I could forget the trauma as well. Every day I would think about it since having to revisit it because of the scheduled meeting. I shoved it out of my awareness and told myself that I would address it right before the meeting. I would wait to type it all up right before I had to submit it so I wouldn’t be dragging it out over time, so I wouldn’t have to revisit the trauma repeatedly. I wanted to avoid it as much as I could. I would get panicky thinking about it all. 

After two months of this looming over me, the phone meeting finally happened. I was calmer this time. I didn’t know what to expect though. The outside forces had three people, plus an impartial party, then me on the phone. The impartial person was warm and cordial. What a relief.

I had to recount my traumatic experiences and was caught off guard by how upsetting it was for me. I had to choke back tears while speaking. I struggled to remember all the details from years ago while being questioned, being put on the spot, and re-traumatized by it. I didn’t want to remember. It was too painful. I’m tearing up now as I write.

After I finished, one of the other people relayed their opposing perspectives, and their responses stunned me. I was being gaslit. Two of the people were not present during the traumatic situation and had nothing to add. The third person was not there either and only caught the tail end of the traumatic situation.

I never expected people to lie and minimize like that. I in response doubted and questioned what I experienced and wished I had remembered the other people who were alongside helping me during the trauma so I could verify and validate what happened. 

I got through the two-hour meeting, then I really cried. I don’t like to cry and avoid it if I can. I can usually stay stoic and calm through the most stressful situations. People have often remarked on it. I hold it all in and let it out in private when needed.

The only time when I cannot keep it fully under control is when it triggers my past trauma. So this recent experience was an excellent learning opportunity to cope with trauma. I was so relieved to have gotten through the meeting, but my mind was reeling from the disparate recollection by the other person. Then I got fired up and wanted to know the truth from another person who was actually there with me because I was questioning my reality. 

I really didn’t want to get anyone else involved because I didn’t want to re-traumatize them too, so I hadn’t attempted to play detective. I just wanted it over and done with minimal effort because I didn’t want to stir it all up again within me. The more superficial I was, the better.

Since I was now all upset, I looked in my journal from around that time, but there was only one entry from then describing how I dreaded going to the place where the trauma occurred and I would cry a little before and after. That time was stressful for me. We were dealing with moving because of neighbors who refused to adhere to the no-smoking rules and we were also navigating bankruptcy. I didn’t have time to journal.

I then dug in my papers from the trauma place and found a list with names. I could pick out the people that were with me! The familiar names popped out, and I remembered more. I then tracked them down online. I wanted to know if their versions of the trauma matched up with mine because they were just as traumatized as I. We were all shaking our heads and were reeling from what happened after the dust settled. Then more details started coming back to me, of course, after the meeting was done. I fully realized just how much they had lied, and that was infuriating. 

I stayed awake all night after that. I kept being overcome with intrusive thoughts along with tears. Whenever I would quit reading and try to sleep, thoughts would intrude about the meeting. Things I wished I’d said, or could have remembered then, now that the details came back to me.

I fell asleep for a few hours in the morning, then I was up early ruminating again and intermittently crying. That kept up all day. I kept wanting to call and ask what I could do because they lied. I kept toying with contacting the people who were there in the traumatic experience and asking them what they remembered for my peace of mind. But deep down, I just wanted it to be over and put it behind me. Only it’s not done, I have to wait and see what happens, but at least I completed the hardest part. 

I slept better the next night and mulled everything over. I didn’t want to upset anyone else. I was feeling thankful for the people who were helpful during the trauma. Then I had an idea and everything felt better and it unburdened me. I tracked the people down, all that I could find, and reached out to them online. I thanked them for their help in the past without mentioning the trauma and told them Happy New Year. After that, everything felt back to normal again. Whew! 

I still get tearful with some intrusive thoughts, but it’s fading. In a few days, it will pass. I’ve accepted that to remain true to love and compassion there will be heart-wrenching painful times and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I choose to keep my heart open so I can be loving, caring, and kind. I choose to listen to my conscience and remain empathetic and respectful of myself and others equally. 

I will not become callous and minimize or ridicule the suffering of others. I believe we all deserve the utmost care, honor, and loving-kindness as possible. That means keeping one another safe and preventing trauma, especially if we’re in the business of helping others. People over money, always. Instead of using people as objects to profit off of while allowing or inflicting trauma and harm through neglect or exploitation.

There is now closure for me. I am no longer doubting my experience and am at peace with whatever may be. I’ve listened to and followed my logical heart and know that I can rest easy as long as I do that. I mostly feel extremely grateful now and am glad to close the chapter on that eye-opening period of my life.

I’ve also made firm decisions about my future as well. This recent experience has cemented it in place. I’m no longer hanging onto things I know I need to let go of as a backup plan. Full steam ahead, nothing weighing me down or holding me back anymore. 

Above all, I am thankful for the kind souls who have been so helpful in my journey. I may look up more people from my past and send them messages of gratitude. It’s therapeutic and healing for us to show appreciation. It helps us to not take anything for granted. Sure, I could choose to be in turmoil, and try to get validation, but it makes little sense to cling to the drama. This gratitude, appreciation, and letting go is so much better! I feel light and free again, yay!

Michelle Miyagi
Hi! I was an RN, BSN in mental/behavioral health for 27 years. Now I'm helping empower caring people like me to prioritize themselves by maintaining healthier boundaries for more freedom, peace, and joy. I am also active in Long Covid advocacy.

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