Yesterday was a day after a night when my sleep wasn’t enough. As I’ve said here, I really feel that. It f—s with me physically, mentally, emotionally, psychically…you name it-ally.

I reached out to a few friends, because one of the mentally effects was that I can blame myself for my sleep challenges. Rationally, I pretty much know that’s not true (I’m being honest), but when the lack of sleep messes with my ability to function and be rational, I get caught in it and somehow think it’s because of something I’ve done or haven’t done or haven’t done well enough. Or some life lesson I have to learn, that I haven’t learned yet.

I would never blame you if you weren’t sleeping well enough. I wouldn’t wonder what you hadn’t done right. Or what issue or old challenge/fear you hadn’t worked through yet. What you were ignoring or repressing.

But when I’m not well, I can do it with me.

I asked my friends for help. I knew – I remembered – that my sleep challenges weren’t my “fault” and that the shame I was feeling was mis-felt. Based on misassumptions. Based on old lies and tapes in my head. And very very harsh to me.

What do you know, they all reminded me of what I knew. They all pulled me back to my self-compassion. My self-love. My new truth.

They all offered a few tools and tips and ideas for when I got caught in this. (Ping me if you want me to share a few with you.)

And they all called out my tendency to minimize.

Again, one of my survival coping mechanisms was (is) my ability to push through and do whatever needs to be done pretty much no matter what. And wrapped into that mechanism – which saved my life, which can still serve me, and which I no longer need or want in the same way – is my tendency to minimize what I’m experiencing, or dealing with, or going through.

I can still minimize the complex trauma of my childhood. I can still brush it off when people are a bit knocked over when they first hear my story. I am working on that, and it’s still my first impulse.

I also can – and do – minimize what I’ve just gone through and am going through now.

My friends pointed out to me that any one of the tough situations alone would be enough to take someone down…and definitely enough to challenge their sleep.

It is a gift to have this coping mechanism when I really need it. I’m sure it’s what helped me move through everything in the last year as “well’ as I did. And it’s a learning to realize I don’t need it all the time.

I can ask for (even more) help. (I am getting pretty good at this actually.)

I can be (even more) gentle with myself. I can give myself (even more) permission to feel joy, even when joy is harder to find and feel when I’m affected by the sleep.

I can acknowledge how hard it was. How hard it’s been. How hard it is now. I can hold this duality and be mindful and present and caring with myself.

I can say NO to minimizing and YES to love and self-compassion. I can practice this every single day.

Even more.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

If you have been in ANY high control group or religion, share your story with the hashtag #IGotOut. Share on your own platform OR if you need to be anonymous and/or would like support, there are resources at the @igotout_org website.

When you see a survivor share their story, let them know they have been heard. This is such a meaningful part of the movement. We all need to know we’re not alone.

If you know someone who has been harmed by a high demand group, share #igotout posts or stories you think would help them.

Together we can bring awareness to how many of us have been harmed by high control organizations and end the shame or stigma we might feel about our experiences.

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