Lindsay is a mother of two (soon to be three) girls and one son in heaven – who shines his light on us everyday. She is a wife to her Irish husband (yes, brogue and all!) Jason, who still makes her blush everyday. the author of, “Just Be: How My Stillborn Son Taught Me to Surrender” and “Just Be Guide: Steps to Healing Trauma.,” Motivational Speaker, Birth Psychology and Maternity Health Specialist. She has a deep love for teaching and speaking, so she has created a variety of online services in many areas with one intention – to lead them to love, strength and empowerment. She has been featured in many places including, Elephant Journal and Self Magazine and Blog Talk Radio breaking the silence and spreading hope through her story.
In all the areas that she works with, her mission is helping to bring light back into women that promotes inner healing. Whether it is through coaching/teaching, speaking or blogging on all things for trauma healing or natural living– spreading hope, love and joy is her ultimate goal.
You can connect with her via her Website, Instagram, and Facebook!
Dinner is done, my girls are bathed and snuggling upstairs, watching a movie and I am downstairs sipping on my tea with my feet up. As I hold my mug, the delicious smells pour into my nose and I pause. The quietness from my girls is replaced with crickets. It is August and those crickets certainly define late summer, hiding all around as they sing together. For me, they used to represent something much more, however I have learned to now listen in harmony with them. Eighteen years has gone by and I still go still when I hear them chirp.
Eighteen years ago, on a hot and muggy August evening, I was only sixteen years old. It was just my mom and I together, my brothers were in college. Despite a very troubled upbringing with a father who emotionally neglected me, I was just a young girl getting ready to complete my final years of high school and spread my wings out into the world. Like most teenagers, I had a side to me that wanted to be rebellious and in many ways, I was – going to the occasional party that my mom didn’t know about or sneaking off to meet friends. Yet, my grades were good, I was active in sports and my mom and I were honest with each other on most things. I was just your average teenager moving through life at a normal pace – until that one fateful night – when I found myself locked in a strange man’s apartment, fighting for my life and losing my teenage innocence.
“I felt myself floating; the moment my rapist took my body, as I was strangely separated from myself. He had his way with me, the pain of my virginity ripping away and bleeding out the aftermath.” – Lindsay Gibson, Just Be: How My Stillborn Son Taught Me to Surrender
The rape was brutal, but the hours after as I tried to escape and fight for my life stayed with me for years.
My Healing Journey
For so long, the entire night completely slipped from my conscious memory. I had used every ounce of willpower to get out of that apartment and save my life and the intensity of my body’s “fight or flight” stayed turned on. I spent thirteen years locked within Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and in order to move through my days, I kept that night locked away in my mind – hoping it would never emerge. Despite all effort to forget and move on, it finally spilled out of me when my husband and I lost our son Joseph, who was born still – thirteen years later.
The healing that my mind and body had been desperately trying to do for those thirteen years had begun and no matter what I did, I couldn’t deny it any longer. In a recent interview for Self Magazine – we discussed how integration of the mind and body was vital for healing. It is something I never understood for a long time.
Talk therapy was the only thing I knew to do to cope with all of the PTSD symptoms. I never was able to tell my therapists what had happened that night, but I was also never asked. I was taught instead, to become aware of the symptoms that I was experiencing and how to get through them. That only took me so far.
Losing my son, opened the door for me to healing like I never thought possible. Another tragedy, the loss of my precious baby turned into triumph. The love I have for my son opened my heart to what healing should be and what I needed to do. Compounded grief finally gave way to love…a love that showed me that it was safe to feel. I needed to feel my feelings fully. I realized, that merely coping does not open emotions and the need to feel.
My mind began to “talk” to my heart and body and the memory of that night at sixteen came pouring out. Every single detail. For the first time in years, I wasn’t afraid. I knew the night was over and I knew right then, that my body needed to know this too. This is what happens when you align your body, mind and spirit. It freed me.
I began to explore body healing through writing and trauma yoga. I poured my heart onto paper through my pen and my memoir was born. Writing my entire story showed me parts of myself I didn’t know before from the lost years of PTSD.
“The writer’s pen became the tool of God’s grace for me.” – Lindsay Gibson, Just Be Guide: Steps to Healing Trauma
Yoga became a powerful tool and made a major difference for me as a trauma survivor. Yoga has the ability to touch us on every level of our being—physical mental, emotional, and spiritual – integrating our experiences fully, bringing us to a level of wholeness. I used to be terrified of the sensations that the rape had brought on and while my mind fought over and over to “make sense” of it all with coping techniques – my body needed to release it too.
I became certified in yoga through my healing, include Trauma Sensitive Yoga which is a special yoga technique just for trauma survivors to reconnect. As I moved through each asana movement, I was able to notice my body and where I felt the trauma the most. My body was able to tell a story through my yoga practice and express the pain that it was still holding onto from that night. Science has come to prove through neuropsychology that the “imprints” from trauma gets left behind within the cells of our body and therefore, we have to move them out. Yoga and other body therapy help us to move those “issues in our tissues” through body awareness and connection with movement. Otherwise, they get stuck – which can manifest into physical symptoms like: heart disease, diabetes, panic attacks, ADHD in children, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and a host of autoimmune disorders.
Most importantly, moving the trauma through not just my mind, but through my body helped me to take my power back. I needed to regain a sense of control over my body and I was able to restore what was once lost. Only then was I able to entertain the possibility of forgiveness. Once I let go of the tight grip that my attacker still had on me all those years, I was able to soften. Forgiving him, forgiving fate and forgiving myself was what truly set me free. Within my healing heart, I surrendered to what was and leaned into what is, learning to just be.
“Right now, you need to know that despite the turmoil you are feeling inside – you are the bravest girl I will ever know. You may not feel that courage within you yet, but I promise you, one day you will.“
Your story is truly inspirational and you wrote it so beautifully! I understand that you must have felt so much pain but your ability to come out the other side with such a beautiful story of hope is breathtaking. Thank you for sharing and thank you for your story.