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Learning to love and accept myself helped me overcome fear

 

Last updated 1/16/2016 at 12:32pm

Helen Worm

Helen Worm was sent to residential school as were her parents before her. "We weren't taught self-awareness and we battled emotions and feelings of abandonment, neglect and abuse. Many residential school students who came out of these situations don't understand themselves or what happened to them or why they are the way they are. It is only through prayer that I have overcome these issues and dealt with managing my anger. Prayer has helped me to get through all this.

i'm Cree and I was born on the Kawacatoose First Nation near Quentin, Saskatchewan. My dad was born in 1923 and my mother in 1930. My parents went to Residential School for eight years. I also went to a residential school for three years, just 15 miles east of where I lived.

My parents didn't learn much at the school as they had to work most of the time. Their job was to keep the school clean. The school was run by the Roman Catholic Church and it was very strict.

As so many Indigenous children of their generation, they didn't learn how to be parents so my childhood was a very dysfunctional one. There was a lot of drinking in the home.

I never went very far in school. When I was 12, I was put in Grade 4 and I stayed there for four years. That's all the education I got.

Many baby boomers were affected by those schools, either through their parents' influence or their own school experience. We weren't taught self-awareness and we battled emotions our feelings of abandonment, neglect and abuse. Many students who came out of these situations don't understand themselves or what happened to them or why they are the way they are.

It is only through prayer that I have overcome these issues and dealt with managing my anger. Prayer has helped me to get through all this.

At first, I thought I didn't need it. There was a time when we residential school survivors felt we were all okay, but we weren't.

I didn't want to talk about those things and neither did most people at that time. We didn't want to ask questions so for many years I never asked questions. In time, I was diagnosed as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It wasn't until that time that I realized the seriousness of my situation.

The only place I got help was from God. He used many different organizations whose goal is to help people dealing with issues such as drug and alcohol addiction, PTSD, issues of abandonment and loss, to get me through and find my way through the maze. Issues that I didn't even recognize that I had. Habitual patterns that become part of survival skills. I drowned out a lot of worry and fear through drinking and drugs. These addictions and lifestyle patterns helped me cope.

Jesus became my hope and the One who brought me through. I am so grateful that I finally surrendered to Him.

I did not understand what blaming and complaining can do to a person. Now I understand that it is very crucial to look at ourselves and understand our own selves and what we do with our thoughts and how they affect us.

I've been working with my own thoughts and it has taken me a lot of time and concentration to look and listen to my thoughts and to understand the dysfunctional thoughts and patterns that I picked up. This confused me and I did not know how to get out of that state of mind-where I had developed an addictive personality.

I did not understand that I needed to love and forgive myself in order to understand myself. All my childhood I just lived with misunderstanding and confusion, not understanding who I was and why I was the way I was or what had happened to cause me to have these addictive behaviors. I kept telling myself that I wasn't worthy and that I wasn't able to overcome this.

I understand now how this affected our First Nations people because we didn't know how to accept ourselves. We didn't know how to love and forgive ourselves. Until I was able to accept myself and forgive myself, I wasn't able to deal with my fears and anxieties.

As I grew older, I tried different ways to deal with these issues. I tried school but school didn't work. I tried working but that didn't work.

Until I got rid of all the oppression, fear and anxieties, I couldn't forgive. I had controlling issues because of fears.

I wanted to love and care for others including my children but I couldn't. I needed to first look at myself. I needed to look at my thoughts and how I dealt with people, places, and things. I needed to do this to accept, love and forgive.

In order to have love, joy, and peace, I had to get rid of all those fears, anxieties, and anger. I had to trust myself, to believe in myself that I could, with God's help, quit drinking, quite drugging and smoking. There was nobody I could trust except God and Jesus.

Now I can understand myself because I've repented and forgiven myself and others and turned to Him. I can love and accept others because I now love and accept myself as Jesus loves and accepts me.

Editor's Note: Now as an elder, Helen has gone back to school and is studying at Full Gospel Indian Bible School in Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan. Helen is a mother and grandmother.

 
 

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