The titanium plate

When a person breaks a bone, sometimes they put a rod to hold that bone in place. My husband shattered his wrist and he had metal rods holding that bone together while it healed. He then had the rods removed when the bone healed. They unscrewed those rods while he was awake. He said it was excruciating . He also broke his other arm and had to have a permanent titanium plate put in which is still there. That plate is a reminder that he was broken, but he healed. Just like the scar on his wrist is a reminder of what was, but healed.

I have been broken. I have been shattered. I have felt completely alone. I wish I had a titanium plate. Something to hold together the pieces forever so they never feel broken again. But I don’t, at least not one like my husband has.. And I do sometimes feel broken even 30 years later. It usually happens when I feel no control over a situation, and that loss of control makes me feel vulnerable, which makes me feel alone, which then makes me feel broken. I know, long sentence.  I feel like as soon as I think I am  healed someone comes and unscrews the rod from what I thought was healed and it was still broken. At least when my husband had the rod removed the bone was healed. He had to go through pain of that removal but in the end he came away with a fully healed bone. In the past I have felt like I have certainly gone through the pain but not come out the other end with an x-ray that says “Yes, she is healed.”

I’m not sure how to put it any other way… You don’t know broken until you have been broken. It is the ultimate alone. The vast emptiness in yourself is just unimaginable.

I was broken for so many years I didn’t know how it felt to be whole. I was just wandering around, floating through life, in pieces. Really just fragments of me. I was shattered. When I say shattered I really mean that every part of my being was not whole anymore. It took years and years and years to bring back this part and that. The joy had to be put back. Then I had to grab on to the here and now. Then I had to grab onto the laughter. I had to pull back all the pieces that were shattered to make myself whole again. It has taken a long time.

Being broken feels like a loss of all control.  I was lost. My body had been controlled, used, abused. My mind was abused, confused, sad. So I started down a self destructive path. Once you start on that path it is very hard to come back from. You tell yourself that if you can control certain things then it will fix the lack of control you had in the past. It is just a bandaid really. It makes you THINK that you are OK because controlling things gives your mind this sense of purpose and it stops focusing on the broken. It starts focusing on the control. But you have to focus on the broken or even just acknowledge and validate it so that you can heal in a healthy way.

When you start down a path of control it can end in self harm, self destruction, and ultimately prolonged pain. Because while you are focusing on controlling things,your mind and heart and soul are still sitting there shattered. But you THINK you are fixing things because now you are in control. The real healing gets put on a back shelf while you create this world where you are now able to make your own control.

There are many forms of control and they are all directly related to the loss of control our bodies felt during abuse. We feel if we can control our body NOW then we can regain what we have lost. We had the control taken away so we will now take the control back. The way we SHOULD be taking the control back is by nourishing and healing what was broken to begin with, but I for one had no idea how to do that at the time.

So I did many unhealthy self destructive things. . Which I am sure many can relate to.I am sharing this about myself because I don’t want another woman to think they are the only one. I know of women who feel if they overeat and look unappealing to men then their chances of being raped again are diminished. I have known women who are bulimic, anorexic, and who are cutters. All ways we think we are controlling our bodies. All negative ways that do not lead to the path of healing.

I get it. The pain is so bad on the inside and no one sees it. So you want to cut, and hurt the outside. Maybe you want someone to see it. Maybe it is just your own way to get the pain from the inside to the outside. The pain trapped on the inside is unbearable so if you cut your arm then you have successfully brought the pain out. But that is just an illusion. It is only temporary. That broken is still in there.

I have done it all. So you are not alone. I have starved myself. I have had nothing but slimfast shakes all day while waterskiing 40 hours a week. I felt if I controlled how I looked then I was fixing the problem of feeling out of control. I have also eaten and gorged myself JUST TO FEEL CONTROL. I have self harmed. I have attempted suicide multiple times. I have tried all of these things as ways to control my body.

I can now tell you this. That was the wrong path. It didn’t fix the broken feeling. It just lead to self loathing. And that is an entirely new emotion to have to contend with. I would feel out of control, so I starve, then I eat, then I hurt, then I hate the way I look, then I hate myself. It is a cycle, a circle that will just keep spinning and spinning until you CHOOSE to get off!!!

.I  remember the day I started thinking…. Who has done any of these things and found lasting strength? Who has found lasting healing from starving them self? Have you found a lasting feeling of control over your life because you cut yourself? I never did. All temporary. And all an illusion. None of that was real. Those were the broken pieces trying to fit back together in an unhealthy way.

You cannot fix the shattered feelings from the past by starving yourself, cutting yourself, or any other self harm. I tried all these things and found myself getting my stomach pumped in the hospital. Because  these things don’t work. But since I went down that path that so many of us have, it is a constant  battle to not go there again. It is so easy to slip back in to that you don’t even realize you are doing it!

Part of pulling the pieces of yourself back together is truly being aware. Aware of why you are feeling what you are feeling and why you are doing what you are doing. And having the strength to stop it if it is unhealthy. Let me tell you, if you endured abuse, you have the strength to stop doing unhealthy things to yourself. You are very very strong. You just have to be very self aware.

You have to find a titanium plate.

Something that holds together the pieces so that you can fully and completely heal. You need a titanium plate to hold you together when you are feeling weak.Something that will stay with you to keep you strong for the rest of your life. My husband’s arm needs that plate in it forever for that bone to stay strong. You need it to remind you that even though you may have been shattered, you are now whole. You are OK. You survived.

My titanium plate varies. Sometimes it is the love I feel for my daughter. That love gives me strength. Sometimes it is just sitting outside feeling the breeze and watching the trees.That freedom gives me strength. Sometimes it is watching the owl in my front yard. He is so majestic and beautiful. Looking into his eyes gives me strength. Sometimes it is calling my friend and having her just say “I know”. Because knowing she knows gives me strength. Sometimes it is holding my husband’s hand.That constant, gives me strength.  Some days it is God. It is whatever you need it to be to be able to keep yourself whole, keep yourself aware, keep yourself loved, and continue down the right path.

I know what it feels like to be broken and shattered and alone. But I also know that the path I am on now, and the pure love I have now chosen to surrounded myself with is sometimes all the titanium plate I need.

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