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Jess Journals: Questioning my trauma beliefs and inner critic

You know, one of the most important parts of my trauma recovery journey has been realizing that I’m a fucking liar.

Well… to be exact, the things I naturally tell myself are almost always total bullshit.


Trauma brain is pervasive. Inner critics are sneaky bitches. Fucked up core beliefs know how to slip right back into your daily mantra.


If you’ve had a lifetime of traumatized living, you can’t accept that the voices in your head are telling the truth. When it comes to mindset management with mental illness… Motherfucker, you must question everything.


If you’ve had a lifetime of traumatized living, you can’t accept that the voices in your head are telling the truth. When it comes to mindset management with mental illness… Motherfucker, you must question everything.

When I let myself listen too closely to the trash talk in my brain, I quickly lose sight of my personal accountability, direction, and power to control my circumstances. I get down and I stay there, waiting for the sweet relief of death instead of forging ahead like the gritty Motherfucker I am.


The hard part is recognizing when there’s some negative garbage going on and putting a stop to it. Because, well, it is MY voice that I’m hearing. And these thoughts are based on my lifelong personal beliefs, born from personal experiences.


The hard part is recognizing when there’s some negative garbage going on and putting a stop to it. Because, well, it is MY voice that I’m hearing. And these thoughts are based on my lifelong personal beliefs, born from personal experiences.

It’s not unusual for my mindset to get all kinds of fucked up without me noticing that the story has shifted back towards a dark, traumatized thinking pattern.


Noticing, correcting and re-directing it... now that's a trauma-recovery key.


Every once in a while, when I feel this heavy, pissy feeling filling my body on repeat, I need to stop and ask myself what’s going on. What thoughts am I operating on? Why have I suddenly stopped feeling optimistic and future-directed, and slipped back into my old, defeatist way of thinking? Is it real, or is it all based in trauma?


This sounds lame, but TBH...

It helps for me to sit down and work through my shitty thoughts from time to time. To question what’s real and what’s me being a depressed, self-hating asshole. Just to re-orient back towards the truth instead of wallowing in the self-determined pits for too long.


It helps for me to sit down and work through my shitty thoughts from time to time. To question what’s real and what’s me being a depressed, self-hating asshole. Just to re-orient back towards the truth instead of wallowing in the self-determined pits for too long.

Lord knows, it’s a slippery slope from having a negative mental landscape to giving up on my whole life.

Here’s my examination of the things I’m telling myself to create a personal crisis on 6/25/2020, copied straight from my journal.



Negative thought: “I’m unlucky/Everything is always so hard”


You’re incredibly lucky, in so many ways. You’re not impoverished or abused anymore. You’re FREE. You’re not out there everyday, working at-risk. YOU ARE FINANCIALLY STABLE. You’re healthy, smart, and physically capable. You’re loved. Good things come to you all the time. Friends, homes, jobs, money, opportunities. Sometimes you feel like you have to fight to get things, but you’d suck if you weren’t gritty. You focus on the hard thins rather than the easy ones. You take your luck for granted. You pay attention to the wrong events. You curse your own luck by proclaiming that it’s bad.


Re-directed thought: “I’m incredibly fortunate. I have everything I need. I focus on what I don’t.”


Negative thought: “I work so hard for nothing.”


Holy shit. You work so hard for great reasons. 1) To put your experience eout there to help lonely and lost friends. 2) To connect people and bring new support to their lives through each other. 3) To change how “outsiders” perceive mental illness and understand their peers. 4) Bitch, you do this because you ENJOY it. You write, you create, you connect. You always have an outlet. When you say you work hard for nothing, you MEAN that you’re dissatisfied with the results so far. That doesn’t mean it’s worthless. You just aren’t ready for it to take off yet. You’re learning. You’re building it and yourself.


Re-directed thought: “I work so hard for others and for myself… in the best ways for me and my journey.”


Negative thought: “I’m disconnected. No one loves or cares for me.”


Tons of folks love you and want the best for you. You don’t have to be in constant contact to hold love and fondness for someone. Life demands attention and personal problems take precedent. You disconnect YOURSELF when you’re overwhelmed or distracted. YOU see connections as heavy and stressful. YOU push them away. And then you wonder where everyone’s at. Deep down, you want a vibrant social life SO BAD, but you struggle to be you with others. You prefer retreating, hiding, having solace and control. YOU developed bad social habits (drinking, smoking, snacking, etc) that now YOU try to avoid. YOUR anxiety and self-criticism and escapist tendencies did this. You CHOOSE those patterns every day. YOU turns away from connection or “get it over with.” Think people don’t pick up on that heavy, unenthused energy? Think you don’t have to reach out and forge personal, present connections? Who does that work for?


Re-directed thought: “I’m loved. I estrange myself because I developed negative social patterns and let my anxiety rule.”


Negative thought: “I’m just not good at this.”


You’re good at a lot of things… but not all at once. You’re a writer and an artist. A student. An emotional guide, for some. You’re not inherently a marketer or a web expert. You don’t even use it, yourself. You aren’t a businesswoman. You’re just you. You’re only capable of wearing so many hats. You know what you WANT to do; what feels natural and inspired. But then you weigh yourself down with “the rest of it.” You work out of obligation, fear, and a sense of inferiority compared to what other people have accomplished… rather than leaning into your own powers. Scrambling with half-efforts in areas you DESPISE feels bad and the audience can probably tell. If you could do LESS and have the heavy shit take care of itself… you skills would shine.


Re-directed thought: “You’re great at creative, soulful endeavors. You FORCE everything else and it’s obvious when your passion drops off.”


Negative thought: “I’m not in control and I’m doomed to live this way.”


You’re always in control, if you choose to be. You feel out of control because you’re letting emotions and fucked up core beliefs run the show, “NOT ENOUGH” is your secret mantra. You look around and feel inferior – because that’s the story you tell yourself. Then, you panic-act as you try to be someone else and do what has worked FOR OTHERS. There isn’t a set way of doing things. You aren’t a failure for taking a while to figure shit out or for finding another way to get to the end destination. You only “doom” yourself to keep living the way you’re living… by waking up and LIVING that way. Drop your regimented fear. Stop asking “what do I NEED to do.” Ask, what’s BEST for me and others. Yelling into the void, like 500 million others, is only going to stress your vocal chords and make you lose your voice.


Re-directed thought: “You’re always in control, if YOU’RE ACTUALLY MAKING DECISIONS.”




Did this activity work for me this morning, you ask? It did. Reflecting on these thoughts truly helped me to reframe what I was doing, feeling, and where I’m headed next.


Forcing myself to write out and absorb the words that you see here doesn’t let me off the hook. I can’t wallow in my self-pity when there’s evidence on the page, arguing against all the nonsense I’m spinning in my head.


If you struggle with negative thinking, I can’t recommend this sort of activity highly enough. Even if it feels lame when you're doing it.


Get real with yourself about what you’re seeing, ruminating on, and neglecting to acknowledge. Figure out what’s real. And put your trauma brain back in the timeout corner (let’s be honest, he’ll be back in a few days or weeks). Repeat repeat repeat.



Traumatized Motherfxckers

Not doomed. Not damaged.

Not dead yet.

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