Healing Yourself through Trauma and Negativity

5 min readJan 18, 2021


My story

I have been through bouts and bursts of self-hatred and self-loathing, but none so fierce as when I lost my best friend. That was a battle I felt I was losing. I could feel nothing but negativity for myself and therefore assumed everyone who knew me felt the same. Doubt became a chasm that I wallowed and wrestled the monstrous thoughts, ideas, and beliefs I had started to form about myself. I was in a world of pain and nothing was soothing me.

I got tired of feeling this way and decided to find a therapist. I knew the fierce self-loathing and self-hatred was not something I regularly felt or dealt with and I did not desire feeling this way for the rest of my life. I wanted to feel good about myself and feel good while in another person’s company.

I found a business that offered Brain Paint. More information about Brain Paint in the link. For me, I wanted to try something different. Talking to a therapist had been helpful to me before. However, the volatility of self-hatred I was carrying around was not something I wanted to talk to anyone about. For awhile this is how I felt. Eventually, I got to where I would do talk therapy for some sessions and Brain Paint for others.

I went on like this for six months. Six months of therapy helped to reopen neural pathways that had been closed off after the loss and trauma of a broken friendship. I had been “stuck in a rut” that is I kept cycling through the same, singular pathway and therapy helped me utilize and reignite the pathways that were previously shut off.

When I started Brain Paint, my brain made some disturbing and creepy noises. I did not like listening to the noises that emitted from the monitor. By the end of the treatment, I began to notice that the noises were light and jaunty. It became easier and not as tiring to go through the brainwave exercises.

Sunrise in the background with a pond and ducks swimming in the foreground.

Helping Ourselves

What does sharing this experience mean? It means that at some point, we all have a low point – valley, ravine, tomb. Most of us feel alone and/or alienate ourselves, but it does not have to be this way. Nor is it the truth.

The best thing we can do for ourselves when dealing with trauma and negativity is to listen. Listen to our guts and intuition. Mine was telling me it was not right to continue to feel the way I did and I needed to do something about it.

In going to therapy, I reinforced honoring myself, respecting myself, taking care of myself, speaking and standing up for myself, and also acknowledging my responsibility and part in the dissolution of the friendship. These pieces were integral in my moving forward, but also were bolstered by the movement I had in the last year, read my story Resisting Settling to understand the progression to this point in my story.

Why share this experience? I hope that for the people who read this, they take the first step in helping themselves and/or help their friends and family who are struggling.

The story does not end here. I recognize that therapy is not a choice or an option everyone wants to take or is willing to choose. So, I have a list of ideas I am sharing to kickstart a new path; whether that be a life path, a neural path, or a major decision to be made. The list of ideas vary in level of ease and all can begin the healing.

  1. Ask a person you know — what is one good thing about me? Record their answer (by writing it down, audio recording, or typing it into a device), with their permission. Keep that answer with you and be reminded daily. The repetition of seeing/hearing this will eventually have you believing in this good thing about yourself and can be the foundation for you to build your confidence, trust, and seeing the goodness in yourself.
  2. If you are a writer or enjoy writing, write a positive affirmation for yourself each day, each week, each month, or each year. The affirmation does not have to be something you create, but can be a quote or idea from someone else that resonates with you. Run on this affirmation for however long it suits you and if it runs its course, find a new one. The affirmation can be a belief, a goal, a memory, a piece of art, a lyric, a quote, a thought, an idea that helps you center and focus on something positive.
  3. Have a favorite book, movie, food, band, song, art, hobby, etc…? Pick one favorite and indulge. Listen, watch, read, and do. Remind yourself of what you enjoy and how it feels to enjoy moments.
  4. Have a bucket list? Maybe you have always been interested in woodworking, but never took the time to learn? Pick one thing that feels right now and dedicate yourself to doing that thing, learning that thing, and crafting it into existence, even if only for a moment. Start with a book, YouTube video, documentary, or audio that provides basic instructions and organization to dip your toes in the water of that bucket (list).
  5. Struggle with doing things for yourself or by yourself? Make a list of these things. Then, figure out what one you can start doing on your own in that moment. Maybe it’s making a meal, cleaning the house, paying a bill? Whatever it is, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and self-respect for attempting to do something for yourself. It will also help you build a habit out of trusting yourself to take care of you.

Final Thoughts

This list of five ideas will hopefully inspire, motivate, and/or fill you with your own idea(s) on how to begin your healing journey. Completing this list and/or attempting to complete one idea from the list does not guarantee being healed nor does it guarantee that you will feel good or stay feeling good indefinitely. It is only a start. Healing comes with starts, stops, setbacks, reconfigurations, leaps, and falls. It is important to know and be aware of the imperfections of healing and to remember that you are not alone. Do not forget. No one can do this for you. The reward for persevering and for learning to honor yourself is something no one can take from you.




Librarian and Information Specialist by day. Queer writer of poetry, sensuality, personal experience, and health by night. Instagram @tolbert_on_medium #BLM✊🏿