Updated: Dec 14, 2022
I felt claustrophobic by the challenges of becoming a mother.
Suffocated by the responsibilities I had.
Overwhelmed by the needs of everyone around me which seemed to consume my being.
A feeling of being trapped.
Trapped in my own head.
Trapped in patterns that were continuously repeating themselves but I couldn’t escape from.
Panic from the constant bombardment of demands from everyone and everything.
On the precipice of tears.
I was suffering in silence.
I thought I was the only one. That everyone else was getting on with enjoying life and I was doing a spectacular job… at failing. I could say it was social media and watching everyone living a great life. Or the impossible expectations from the media on women.
But it was none of those things. It was my inability to stop the constant chatter in my head. Everything and everyone seemed to point to my self-fulfilling of stories of ‘not being good enough’, ‘not deserving of the life I want’, the constant comparison and let downs from people in my life. Not living up to my own expectations of what I needed them to be. For me.
And I know you read this, maybe with tears in your eyes. With a dull ache in your heart. A tightness in your throat. Because you recognise it too. You’re either living it or starting to come out of it. And you know the loneliness. The feeling of being on the outside watching in. The sensation of treading water just barely keeping your head above the surface while everyone watches from the sidelines saying to each other ‘she’s doing ok, she isn’t drowning’.
But I was.
I very nearly did.
I spent much of my life feeling quite disconnected to women. I couldn’t trust them and felt that there was always an element of competition and mistrust which prevented me from fully embracing female friendship. I longed to be able to speak with full vulnerability to other women, but every time I did I seemed to get let down in one way or another. The last to be invited. Forgotten off the list. Not really important enough to check in to see how I was.
The thing was I knew my patterns. Where I needed support. I knew what the childhood and social conditioning was that I had, but I just couldn’t break free from it. I knew I had low self-esteem, low self-worth, feeling unsafe in relationships, etc. I just didn’t know how to get out of the cycles.
Then back in September 2019 I happened upon a retreat. It was going to be held by an old college friend in mystical Morocco. My original intention was to get a break. I wanted to escape from the stress and anxiety which was overwhelming my life. For a short time at least.
What I got was so unexpected. I sat there completely vulnerable as everyone watched me.
And I cried.
I cried all the tears I had been holding onto.
Cried for what I was.
Cried for what I wasn’t.
Cried for what I needed.
Cried for what I wanted.
Cried for the lack.
And as the tears flowed the healing began. I was being held by those other women. My vulnerability was met with love. They supported me and I supported them. In my messiness. In their messiness. I was sharing without judgement. No one was trying to ‘fix’ me.
Over that weekend I was introduced to the beginnings of starting afresh. There seemed to be a way out. We were encouraged to evaluate our lives, explore what we needed deep inside and most importantly, what we needed to let go.
When I came back from that retreat, people saw the beginning of my transformation. A lot of people put it down to 'the break’. Instead, friends who I spoke to about my experience looked at me longingly in the face. They wanted it too. What I had experienced. They wanted to be seen. They wanted to be heard and held and loved. They wanted to know how to get out of the cycles which were keeping them stuck. They wanted to be held by other women and have a ‘plan’ to move forward.
So the following year I spent it gaining all the tools I could. I started learning about the ego, the inner-child, polarities, holding space, developmental trauma, boundaries, breath work, forgiveness, attachment patterns, meditation, mindfulness, somatic (body trauma) work, sitting with my emotions and so much more. Having learnt these tools and put them into practice in my own life, I wanted to facilitate the self-healing process for other women. Because that is what this journey is. Self-healing. Recognising patterns keeping you stuck. Observing your thoughts. Being aware of your triggers. Knowing what to keep in your life and what to let go. To step into a life which is more fulfilling. Becoming your authentic self.
Then as part of that journey I decided to take my ability to hold space one step further and learn and embody the skills of a trauma-informed coach. To support not just women, but also men.
So if you are barely treading water, struggling to keep your head above the surface, then I’m throwing you a lifejacket. That you can put on yourself and swim to the side. Because you have the strength in you. It’s just that sometimes you need to be supported along the way.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at email@example.com.