I was born and raised in Maryland. My parents were divorced and completely dysfunctional which resulted in me being a bit of a wild child. I was not taught any type of emotional wellness. When it came to difficult situations, all I knew is what I saw at home and this was not healthy. Music was an escape for me and I spent hours alone in my room listening to records. When I was 13 I received as a birthday gift Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance album. I was hooked. As I got older, I spent a lot of my time going to see live, local bands. This led me to meeting my husband, Brad Divens of Wrathchild America. Brad and I started dating in 1992 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Around the same time, I had started to get into self-care. I read books on healing, paganism, psychology, shamanism, Buddhism, spirituality, etc. I was reading about all the positive ways to deal with the constant mind chatter, childhood trauma, and stressful situations. The problem was, I was not implementing these new found tools in my life. Looking back, I think I was too caught up in trying to drink or smoke away my problems. Trust me when I say – This does not work!
I lived like this for close to 30 years. Then, 6 months ago I decided to go sober. For me, this was the best decision I could have ever made. I was aware that I was just self-medicating and avoiding the real work. Everything began to fall into
The biggest piece of advice I can give anyone who is dealing with a difficult time is to learn to LET GO. I really struggle with this. Something happens, I get that uncomfortable feeling inside, and I immediately either want to fix it or run from it. I am learning that I might not be able to “fix” the situation, but I can definitely recognize my feelings regarding the situation. After recognizing my feelings I need to relax and leave them alone – release them. I may not always be able to deal with what happens on the outside, but I can deal with what is happening on the inside. Recognize, relax and release. With all of this being said, there are times when music helps me the most. When I am REALLY pissed or frustrated, I will put on some Rollins (extra loud) and rock out for a bit. Afterwards, I am able to breath and let go of that negative energy. In Buddhism, one is taught to stay in the moment. The past has already happened and we can not change it and we have no idea what is going to happen in the future. That idea is comforting to me. I am right here, right now and nothing else matters.
place. I started to implement the tools I had learned and read about years earlier.
First of all, I knew I had to add exercise to my daily routine. I needed to burn away that excess nervous energy. I chose yoga because it was not only physical exercise but it includes mind and breath work. Which brings me to breathing….. I can not explain how mindful breathing has helped with my anxiety and stress. I tend to take shallow breaths or even hold my breath when I am experiencing a difficult situation. I now pause, take a deep breath in and exhale out that bullshit.
Then, I incorporated mediation after my physical exercise. I was a bit hesitant of meditation because my mind is filled with constant thoughts. I mean, how the hell do you make that stop?? I have learned all I have to know is that I am not my thoughts. When meditating and my mind begins to wonder off, I just have to sit back and observe my thoughts. That is when awareness has kicked in and the power of knowing I AM NOT MY THOUGHTS.
I am currently working on my childhood trauma. Some call this shadow work, but I call it facing the deep, dark uglies. Boy does this one suck! I mostly use journaling techniques for this work. I also use some guided meditation and Shamanistic soul retrieval videos that I have found on YouTube. The release of this pain is exhausting for me, but it sure showed me all that I have shoved deep down in there.