Healing Whispers: How One Survivor Found Community, Courage, and a Voice

elissa swihart healing intuition mindfulness Oct 02, 2023

For years I let myself believe that I was completely alone in all the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that arise in domestic violence survivorship. I told myself lies like, "I'm the only one that is this messed up" and I was way too embarrassed to admit that I needed help. I had convinced myself that since years had passed since I left abuse that I shouldn't feel any of what I was feeling at the time. That I should be completely healed.

I felt that too much time had passed and yet I still carried the weight of my shame in a big imaginary burlap sack over my shoulder like Santa on Christmas.

Except I wasn't holly and jolly. I was terrified, alone, and depressed.

I was so scared that I'd be, "found out." That other people could see all of my pain and shame when I walked into the room even though I'd show up to social situations with a smile on my face and a compliment for everyone.

But something finally shifted one random fall morning when I was walking my dog and listening to a podcast for creatives called Magic Lessons. Within that 30-minute interview I heard the words that forever changed the trajectory of my healing journey.

"Listen to your inner whisper."

I knew that meant I had to do the very thing that I was most scared of doing at the time. Find a community, tell my story, and ask for help. But I didn't know how.

I had met Lisa a year prior (pictured) who recommended I join the board of the YWCA. She sent me an application and I enthusiastically let it sit in my inbox for a year.

That application took up brain space. An entire dark cobwebbed corner of my mind that nagged and pleaded with me to fill it out. I wasn't ready. My shame helped me take my sweet time second guessing myself and my inner whisper.

I switched therapists, thinking my CPTSD was just holding me back. I was struggling with panic attacks and flashbacks and needed something to blame my stagnation on. Instead my brand new therapist, a straight shooter(thank goodness) told me, "Elissa you need to get outta your house. No wonder you're depressed."

She asked me what I could do to break my mental cycle? I have zero idea why but I blurted out, "take a dance class!"

So that was that.. my homework for the week: a freaking dance class by myself.

I was NERVOUS girl. But I did it. A Christmas themed twerk class filled with women and even men who I'd never met before. I showed up for MYSELF, I fell on my butt a few times, but most importantly, I had FUN!

It's crazy to me that something as simple as a holly jolly ass shaking session could awaken the inner Christmas bad ass in me but something forever changed in me that evening. I began to grasp the idea that I could do hard things and sometimes fear, could be a good thing.


I began to constantly hear the whisper, a literal voice in my head obnoxiously repeating the YWCA was where I needed to be. It got louder and louder until I had no other choice than to finally do something with that application in my inbox.

I began my journey with the YWCA in January of this year and since then I have been celebrated, I have been heard, and I have been seen for the first time as a valued voice and survivor.

I found my community.

Listening to that whisper, and doing it scared? Means that I have been able to build relationships with other survivors, like Brandie who you'll hear me talk with on this Friday's podcast episode of It's Your Story to Tell. It means that I had my thoughts, feelings, and experiences validated for the first time since experiencing my abuse. And it means that I was finally able to see that I was not alone in everything I was carrying around in that big imaginary burlap sack.

Finding community helped me finally find the light in the dark room that can be dv survivorship. It's helped me to give myself grace. To understand my experiences and to grant myself the permission to take back control of my life.

Which is why I have created a support group community within the It's Your Story to Tell collective and my personal social media page @thedvsurivorsisterhood
My goal is to create a ripple effect of healed survivors who want to aid in the support of others' healing journeys. And I know it starts with me, and the person reading this post.

I'd love for you to join us and reclaim your power by gaining knowledge of what the cycle looks like, patterns that make you vulnerable, and sharing resources - it can be a way to prevent and protect domestic abuse from hurting the next person.

Get Signed Up for the Support Group Starting October 3!
Time: Tuesdays at 08:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Mondays are for Mindfulness!

The guided meditation for healing and community support offers a powerful mindfulness practice that combines deep breathing, visualization, and affirmations to bring about several key benefits:

1. Stress Reduction: By initiating relaxation and releasing physical tension, this meditation helps reduce stress.

2. Emotional Release: It provides a safe and empathetic space for individuals to share their emotions, facilitating emotional healing.

3. Empowerment: Participants are empowered to take control of their healing journey, progressing at their own pace.

4. Sense of Belonging: The meditation fosters a strong sense of belonging and connection with a supportive healing community.

5. Affirmation Reinforcement: Affirmations reinforce beliefs in personal strength, openness to support, and the safety of sharing one's story.

6. Visualization for Relaxation: Visualization techniques create a serene and secure mental space, promoting relaxation.

7. Letting Go of Burdens: It encourages the symbolic release of burdens and doubts, leaving individuals feeling lighter and freer.

8. Continuous Support: The meditation assures participants that they are never alone on their healing journey and can return to this supportive mental space whenever needed.

Overall, this mindfulness practice serves as a holistic tool for relaxation, emotional healing, empowerment, and connection with a supportive community on the path to healing and well-being.

Listen Now!

So much love,
Elissa & the Coach Collective


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