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Healing Through Decluttering: A Journey From Trauma to Triumph

Greetings, beautiful souls! Today, we embark on a transformative journey of 'The Shift'. You’ll be joining Valerie as she steps back in time, delving into the raw and revealing depths of her past.

You can Listen to the podcast episode, or read below:



The truth she unveils is harrowing, but her journey towards recovery is a testament to human resilience. So, strap yourselves in and prepare to delve deep into this remarkable life story.

Valerie's Past: The Perfect Facade

Thirty years ago, Valerie was a joyful and spirited student at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal. She had it all - volunteering, working, and seemingly thriving in her academic life. But, during a family Christmas gathering, her deepest secret, guarded for over 15 years, was divulged by someone she trusted. Everyone learned of the horrifying abuse she endured from her grandfather. The revelation initiated a domino effect, culminating in a heart-rending division within her family.

These aftershocks brought Valerie’s seemingly perfect life to a screeching halt. She left school and descended into a pit of self-condemnation. You can probably empathize with the immense weight of such a predicament. The stark reality is that trauma wears many faces, and Valerie’s ordeal was just beginning.

Fast forward a few years. Valerie found herself as a mother to two wonderful adopted children with special needs, devoting more than 50 hours weekly to volunteering. Outwardly, she seemed to have regained her stride. But behind closed doors, a terrifying battle was unfolding. The darkness in her mind threatened to consume her, belittling her efforts to create a happy and normal life.

Her bustling schedule left her feeling numb, her relentless pursuit of normalcy was draining, and she found herself unable to express or connect with her emotions. This posed a dilemma - how could she teach her children to understand their emotions when her own were shrouded in fear and anxiety?

Valerie turned to therapy, searching for an escape from her spiraling nightmare. Yet, she found little solace in her doctor’s prognosis, who claimed her condition was a lifelong sentence, alleviated only slightly by medication. She tried EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), but it ended up with suicidal thoughts just a few days later.

The Turning Point: Decluttering Begins

An unexpected life change initiated her journey to healing. When Valerie's husband joined the military, she was confronted with the mammoth task of downsizing their belongings before moving to his boot camp. That night, Valerie found herself alone with two children, and an overwhelming mountain of possessions. It was then that she decided something needed to change. She needed to liberate herself from the shackles of her trauma.

Breaking away from her habitual scavenging for discarded treasures was a tough process. Every discarded piece of furniture, every thrown away tool felt like a missed opportunity. However, Valerie was quick to realize the disastrous impact this obsession had on her life. The weight of her possessions was anchoring her to her past and amplifying her trauma.

As she began the process of decluttering, she was surprised to find that her belongings evoked vivid memories and emotions. This forced her to confront her fears, understand them, and manage them. She questioned why she had hoarded so many things, and with each passing day, she found decluttering her space was helping declutter her mind.

However, the journey wasn't smooth. She had relapses, falling back into the trap of compulsive buying and hoarding. The more she accumulated, the more her trauma symptoms resurfaced - depression, nightmares, flashbacks, overeating. She recognized this pattern – her need for instant gratification was a cry for help from her suffering soul.

The Journey Continues: Decluttering as a Tool for Healing

Valerie's family moved about 2400 kilometers from home. In this new environment, she was determined to keep her space clutter-free and to continue working on her emotional wellbeing. She wanted to make her husband proud, but most importantly, she wanted to please herself. She craved normalcy, peace, and happiness.

Through this journey, Valerie discovered an astonishing revelation - her physical space was a reflection of her mental state. The clutter in her home was a manifestation of her chaotic mind. Thus, she realized decluttering was not only about creating a physically pleasant environment but also about nurturing a tranquil mind.

She also recognized the importance of addressing her internal mindset, prompting her to embark on a personal development journey. This exploration enabled her to connect with amazing individuals around the globe, and most importantly, herself.

Years later, after much research, Valerie and her husband discovered that clutter was physically and psychologically linked to past stress. This revelation validated her experiences and gave her a sense of relief. It was heartening to know she wasn't alone in her struggles.

From Trauma to Triumph: The Final Transformation

Valerie's decluttering journey eventually led her to recover from her trauma. She achieved a sense of calm and clarity that she had only dreamed of. Her home was inviting and her family was content. She was finally free from the grip of her past and able to relish in her present.

More so, she could now assist others on their journeys towards recovery. Seeing these individuals reclaim their lives was fulfilling, and it became her mission to help others improve their quality of life.

Valerie’s husband, JM, vouches for the power of decluttering, emphasizing the importance of the order in which life areas are decluttered. According to him, with the right technique, you can accelerate the process significantly.

This narrative isn't just Valerie's story - it's an offering of hope to all those grappling with their past. A gentle reminder that there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you've resonated with any part of this, remember - change is possible. Read the next blog to really explore this possibility further.

Remember, it's not your fault - it's the trauma, and decluttering might be your first step towards healing.