I’ve Got Your Back

“I’ve got your back” were the most important and powerful words I had ever heard seven years ago. I was panicked, wondering how was I ever going to have the strength to get through the next moment, let alone the next day. To risk facing the unknown of my repressed past, while breaking the code of silence that was deeply ingrained in my psyche. In those early days of word vomiting memories that were coming fast and furious, going into one crisis after another, dissociating, and having no sense of safety.

At that point, I had already realized that the hard work happened when you got home, between therapy sessions. The processing of what was talked about during our sessions, trying to incorporate the tools he was teaching me for distress tolerance and trying to feel safe enough to just-sit with it all. At the same time learning ways to manage all the other terrible, awful PTSD symptoms that already had an unrelenting grip on my life.

One evening, as I stood up to leave my therapist’s office, a sense of panic overwhelmed me. Not only panic of what I was facing but the panic of attachment. I knew I would be too much for him, he would bail, he would himself panic and become as frightened by what he was hearing, as I was in telling him. But something happened when I turned around to walk out of his door. He said to me, “I’ve got your back.”

Those four little words hit me with the softness of the kindest hug, and the safety of the bravest shield. I believed him the moment he said those words to me. Even though I knew I had to still fight for my life, my mental health, my freedom from the skeleton hands of the past that kept trying to pull me down each time I made any progress, those words landed through the layers.

That night, I was able to trust that I could handle my journey. I could walk with my head up, eyes forward. Those words made me feel that I would be able to face the past and the resulting effects of my trauma head on. I knew that if I stumble, fall, trip, panic, see monsters, fight programming that my therapist would help me stand back up, dust off, and keep moving forward.

The other night, I had a huge breakthrough. In fact, the leap forward in healing was astounding to me. I could feel it happening, but then it all clicked and I was propelled even further down my path. Wonderful? Yes!  Hard-fought and earned? Yes! Frightening because I am now understanding and learning to look through a different lens? Yes? Healing can be wonderful, hard-fought, and frightening. Not because I don’t want to heal, it’s because it is unfamiliar to look at things Not just through the lens of survival.

I understood (which was just a small part of my leap forward) that just because I will come to the end of therapy, that didn’t mean my PTSD symptoms would be gone. In my mind, I  had really counted on therapy equaled cured. In my case, it isn’t going to work that way. I will have to manage my symptoms for years and years to come. The effects of my trauma. But that’s okay, it really is okay, because I have the tools to work within those deficits.

When I was expressing the panic, the unsettledness of what was happening to me and how I was going to walk in this new light, this turn in my journey, my therapist without any thought said, “it’s okay, you’re safe, I’ve got your back.” Those four little words again. Just like that evening seven years ago, they again, had a profound effect on me. The most powerful, healing words I have ever heard.

front-cover-biz-card-final

 

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

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37 thoughts on “I’ve Got Your Back

  1. bodyelectricweb May 15, 2016 / 6:37 am

    You don’t need to thank me- you are the inspirer! as you have lived your life and written the book! I hope you got “survivor” slogan tee-shirts printed when that book was published!!! I look forward to reading more of your blog and your book when I have some quiet time while the kids are at school. Big hugs xxx 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. atribeuntangled May 14, 2016 / 11:20 pm

    Thank you so much for reblogging this and your comment. Im right there with you wishing you BIG luck! ❤️ Alexis

    Like

  3. bodyelectricweb May 14, 2016 / 9:43 pm

    Reblogged xxx you’re an inspiration x 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bodyelectricweb May 14, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    Reblogged this on I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC and commented:
    This post borrowed from a wonderful writer, who already has a published book (my dream) perfectly explains PTSD and the therapeutic process. I would love to be told “I’ve got your back” and other reassuring empowering phrases. Battling PTSD and facing traumatic memories has to be one of the hardest things anyone will ever do. Wish me luck Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. atribeuntangled April 29, 2016 / 5:08 pm

    Yes, I know I have been one of the lucky ones. I try to never take that for granted. Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jacquelineobyikocha April 29, 2016 / 4:49 pm

    That fosters a real sense of wellbeing especially when the person backs it up with true support. It can pull you through so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. atribeuntangled April 23, 2016 / 1:45 pm

    It’s so comforting, isn’t it? I’m glad you have that experience too! 🙂 Alexis

    Like

  8. Bipolarbrainiac April 23, 2016 / 12:37 pm

    I have this psychiatrist for 17 years because I have faith in his collaborative work, rather than ‘top down’ telling me what to do. He has said “I’ve got your back” several times.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. atribeuntangled April 23, 2016 / 2:07 am

    Thank you so, so much for reading and your feedback. It is very much appreciated. Have a beautiful evening. Alexis

    Like

  10. mikemattice April 23, 2016 / 12:31 am

    Yes, those are powerful words. I wanted to say how moved I was by your transparency. The best writers have to be willing to lay ourselves completely bare like that. It makes us vulnerable. But it makes us effective communicators. You are courageous my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. kameamoonmaiden April 22, 2016 / 10:36 pm

    Wow. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

    I can relate, so it’s so good to meet you in this realm.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. atribeuntangled April 22, 2016 / 9:37 pm

    Thank You for reading and your feedback. 😀 Alexis

    Like

  13. annwjwhite April 22, 2016 / 8:30 pm

    A long journey with friends and companions is short when you look back. Glad that you have someone at your back. It makes the journey more bearable.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. atribeuntangled April 22, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    Thank You very much for your feedback and support. It really does mean a lot to me! Alexis

    Like

  15. TT April 22, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    Very powerful words indeed….

    Liked by 1 person

  16. atribeuntangled April 22, 2016 / 3:46 pm

    Thank You! Yes, I agree. There is tremendous comfort in those 4 words. 💖 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Opinionated Man April 22, 2016 / 3:09 pm

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    What are the “most powerful, healing words” you have heard in your life? -OM
    Note: Comments disabled here. Please visit their blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. SpiritualJourney17 April 22, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    When someone says “I got your back” implies the person steps up when he/she is needed, no questions
    asked. And you let that person support you. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. oneta hayes April 22, 2016 / 3:34 am

    So happy for your progress. And there is magic in words. I’m reminded of a scripture in Proverbs that says, “A word fitly spoken is as apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Your story is a classic example of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. spearfruit April 21, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    This is a great post and it is amazing how 4 words can bring strength and comfort to someone. Thanks Alexis for sharing this, I found comfort in reading it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Jacqueline Zeigler April 21, 2016 / 6:19 pm

    You go girl!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Rayne April 21, 2016 / 6:16 pm

    I can imagine how good it must have felt to hear those words.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. atribeuntangled April 21, 2016 / 3:37 pm

    Thank You so much for your comment. I love how you describe its like an angel keeping an eye out. The trick for me was that I accepted it at face value without mistrust. Have a beautiful day. Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  24. atribeuntangled April 21, 2016 / 3:33 pm

    Oh thank you! That means the world to me. This was another one of those, here I go being all vulnerable again. I so appreciate your feedback. Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  25. atribeuntangled April 21, 2016 / 3:32 pm

    Thank You!! Thank You so much Tamara. Alexis

    Like

  26. thelonelyauthorblog April 21, 2016 / 3:24 pm

    Knowing someone truly has your back can be so uplifting. To know one is not alone on a difficult path makes a big difference. I like this post. You left us with a feeling of hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. ellenbest24 April 21, 2016 / 3:07 pm

    It is always a surprise when someone… whoever it may be, gets it and you. ‘I’ve got your back’ Must be when you expel that breath, the one you have been holding in. For someone to offer help and you taking it, is like taking a leap of faith, a crutch to lean on. But someone having your back must feel like an angel keeping an eye out. Beautiful.

    Like

  28. Tamara Kulish April 21, 2016 / 3:04 pm

    Those are the most powerful words! “I’ve got your back!” To show support in a way that it got you through your darkest moments! Yay!

    Peace,
    Tamara

    Liked by 1 person

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