A Chat About My Blog
If you drink coffee or tea, go pour a cup and sit down with me as I chat.
A little over two months ago, I posted my very first ‘new me’ blog and launched my website, Janyne.org. I remember saying, “What on earth Janyne? What are you thinking?”
Remembering that day still makes me a tad uncomfortable. I mean really, who just posts a blog and announces they have suffered from mental illness? Now I am laughing because that is just the most ridiculous thing to do. Seriously.
Maybe if I hadn’t really been in control of my actions and I did it because I wasn’t well and just needed to puke my soul to the world in hopes I would feel better—maybe that would be more understandable. But no, I waited until I knew I was well. Very few had a clue what I had been working through for the past two and a half years. I could have lived out my life without many ever knowing; but I have never been more ‘in my right mind’ as I was the day I hit the ‘Post’ button. Never.
My path to telling my story was very intentional. First I was terrified and only trusted Scott and my therapist. Then I trusted my children and my closest friends, and a year later some other family members and a wider circle of friends. In another year, I began to tell some who I thought wouldn’t know what to do—they didn’t. I needed to work through their silence and not care any more. I don’t. Finally, I hit ‘post; and accepted the fact that anyone in the world could potentially know my story. The first few posts alluded to my story but it took a couple weeks before I posted I Went to Therapy. It is now my most read blog post—not viral in any sense of the word, but in my world, for over 200 people to have read this introduction to my story is huge!
Soon I will take the next step and share my story in a self-published book. Once again, this is very intentional. Up to this point, my blogs have told my story from the place of healing. My book tells the story as I wrote it during therapy. It is not a tell-all. I have very deliberately chosen not to tell several parts of my story. It simply is not necessary. What I do tell builds the case for how inadequate attachment and subsequent early childhood sexual abuse damages the psyche—and how children manage to survive. It also shares my therapy journey and how crucial it was to focus on healing my inner child(ren).
When I wrote the book, I had a cursory understanding of the complexities of attachment and trauma, but not to the degree I do now. My decision to do limited research while healing was also intentional. I knew I had survived with cognitive coping strategies and needed to focus on my emotions—which were a huge tangled web.
What my cognitive abilities and writing did accomplish while healing provided a snapshot of the inner landscape of my psyche. At times I want to go back and ‘sanitize’ it—make it more palatable and less ‘crazy,’ but that would certainly reduce the value of the writing in understanding the effects of abuse and the power of therapy.
It fascinates me as I go back and look at what I wrote. It also both saddens and amazes me that I lived with so much trauma and pain hidden inside my mind and body. In many ways it would be easier to distance myself from the pain of that two-and-a-half year journey. There really is no possible way for anyone to fully understand how difficult it was or how terrified I was that I might never coming out on the other side. I lived my life convincing everyone that I was absolutely ‘normal’ and continued to present that image on Facebook. I even completed my first six months of intensive therapy (up to seven hours in a week sometimes) while still working. No one knew.
I could have just pulled through to the other side and never told anyone—except for the fact that I was so tired of hiding. Hiding was what kept me from healing for so many years and I no longer wanted to live that way. Living out my life being the same person on the inside that I am on the outside is really awesome. Sometimes I forget I didn’t always live this way. Beyond the need to stop hiding, it would have been a waste to not use all the wisdom I have gained.
When I was ten, I prayed for wisdom. You know how they say, “Watch what you pray for?” I probably should have listened, but what did I know at ten? I certainly didn’t know why there was always an internal struggle with what I came to know as the dark cloud. Fifty plus years later, the prayer is answered. While there are many valuable book on the subjects I blog about, my inner knowing through my story connects the truths and research in a way that is uniquely mine.
One day, near the beginning of therapy, when I was completely drowning in surfacing memories and pain, I begged God to help me. God was helping me, but it didn’t feel like it! The words I received were, “Your story will not be wasted.” I have already seen the truth of this as many have contacted me for encouragement as they begin or continue to seek help for healing. Pursuing and sticking with therapy is not easy. I have been down that road. I can give hope.
Beyond hope, my story, as told through my writing, provides the opportunity to share what I have learned about trauma and attachment. I didn’t just go to therapy for two and a half years I devoted myself to understanding my story at the very deepest levels. I gave up my life for this purpose. Scott and I know I worked hard enough to complete a second Ph.D. during the process of my healing. There was no corner of my very complicated psyche that I did not explore. My therapist who is retiring this summer would vouch for this. I am forever grateful for her dedication and care.
The result of my tenacious quest is an unprecedented level of healing in such a short time (you will understand if you read the book), and a depth of understanding and knowledge that will occupy me the remainder of my life as I communicate what I have learned. Along with this is a continuing desire to increase my knowledge and understanding and present what I learn in ways that will help all who read.
My blogging and the responses I have received are helping me to focus on three general topics that I will be working into a regular three-day schedule. Sundays will focus on faith, ministry, and mental health in the church. Tuesday will focus on my story and mental health (attachment, trauma, dissociation, and therapy). Thursday will reflect topics focused toward parents or educators. This will not be limited to, but will include insights for parents or teachers working with children who have suffered trauma. (This applies to all teachers whether you are aware of the trauma or not!)
For those who enjoy my less professional side, be sure to go to the RVHomeYet? Blog/website, and Facebook page. The RV Park where we live has been a major part of my healing journey and our life here is always an adventure.
While my immediate goal (in the fall) is to self-publish my story; my future goals include publishing in more traditional venues. While I am perfectly content for my progress to be limited to my present audience, this will not help me with my future goals. Every once in awhile someone will ask me what I need or what they can do to help me. LOL Does anyone have a money tree I can access to recoup the money I spent on therapy? Probably not.
So, what I will ask is for will help me in accomplishing my goal of publishing. The reason I have never published is tied to my story and I want to stomp that stronghold into the ground. Today, for any publisher to look at a writer, they need to know the writer has a following. The only way for that to happen is if my page (Janyne McConnaughey) is Liked and my blogs are shared. I know not everyone feels comfortable with all of the topics, but I will try to diversify and if you find one you can share—please do so! (And if you have a speaking venue, you know I can engage an audience!)
There it is—my chat with my Facebook friends and family. Thank you for being the encouragement I needed to reach this point. I am on a mission that should have begun many years ago, but it is never too late! I appreciate your help!
(By the way, do you see the irony in my asking you to share my story when three years ago, I didn’t even know what it was and not much past that I was terrified for anyone except for Scott and my therapist to know. Now that is some amazing healing!)