Monika is a 31 year old bisexual, female-identifying to-be counselling graduate, with a background in arts. She is originally from Sweden and now resides in Vancouver. She's crazy about cats, nature and motorcycles!
Describe yourself in three words.
Adventurer. Motherly. Quirky
How would those you love and respect you describe you?
Probably as a very caring and compassionate person whom wants to solve everyone's issues if I can. Also possibly a clean freak and very proud cat owner. Also someone who's mostly a busy bee and and on the brink of exhaustion all the time haha!
What helps you feel safe and grounded?
Nature has always been extremely grounding for me. Lots of my time is spent in front of screens due to school and work, and so I get extremely tired at the end of the day, yet restless at the same time, therefore walking home from work or standing in my balcony just to feel the breeze and"fresh" city air can be extremely satisfying. Being held by someone I care for who also cares for me, or playing with or cuddling my cats makes me feel pretty grounded and needed as well.
How would you define trauma?
Oh wow I think there are so many levels of trauma, and many of those are unconscious to ourselves. But I guess I would describe it as an event, singular or plural (ongoing) that is so shocking to our system that it changes our natural rhythm and the very core of being. It leaves an emotional charge so heavy it seeps into our DNA and affects everything we do going forward, especially if not healed and cared for properly. Humans are magnificent in what we can endure, however, enduring doesn't equal enjoying life, and everyone deserves to be able to enjoy life. Healing from trauma takes work, often work were we need assistance and support. Actually, I'd say that your support network is crucial in recovering from trauma!
How has trauma contributed to your suffering?
It impacted how I used to act with authority figures; I would obey everything without questioning my own needs and rights. I would question my own ability to embark on new adventures or complete things, and I would link this directly to my own worth as a human being, which then affected my will and confidence to approach people and build new relationships. It definitely added to my rage and my inability to emotionally regulate or ground myself, which – when I think about it – really ruled my outlook on life in general. It had this grab on my ability to find and see hope.
How has suffering contributed to your personal awakening or evolution?
Ah. Well, I suppose I matured fast. I had to learn how to do a lot by myself early on. When I realized that it was actually okay to ask for and receive support, compassion and love, it fuelled my will to continue and also to"pay it forward." I have reached a new chapter of life at this point really.I'm less angry. I still feel rage and know that it's a valid emotional reaction, but it doesn't control me or dictate my entire outlook on life anymore. My goal was never to "get rid" of my "bad emotions" – the anger, rage and despair – but to not be consumed by this feeling of doom wherever I turned. I'd say I've gotten very far. I see possibilities, pay attention to when I'm grateful and truly let it reach my heart, because that – if anything – ignites the fire of hope again. And without hope I would not see purpose in anything.
What words of wisdom would you offer to those who are stuck in suffering that is similar to what you have been through in the past?
Choose to believe you're worth it. You're worth peoples’ time, effort and love. Choose to believe this moment of immense pain isn’t forever. It's a tricky spot when all seems bleak, but somehow we can nurture our brain and heart to believe again. It takes effort to see things differently, to hope for things to be different – but it worked for me. When I started to choose minute differences in my way of viewing, listening, interpreting, reacting and processing, it also opened up a world of new people to me. This answer won't fit all, it's just what I have found.