Muthoni Njogu, a former victim of domestic abuse, is a vibrant 43-year-old therapist who chose her own path towards happiness and now offers recovery sessions to women undergoing any form of trauma. She is still healing from the trauma she suffered and continues to live a healthy, happy life, growing each day.
Q: How are you doing currently?
I’m a myriad of emotions. It’s great to be middle aged at this time. I think it’s an exciting time to be a woman. There’s a lot more space to explore what one’s life is a lot more than even maybe ten, fifteen or twenty years ago.
Q: Having gone through a traumatic experience [of being abused], have you experienced any triggers since then?
Yes. One day at the masjid, I was walking and it was after prayers and men were leaving the mosque, and that reminded me of a very traumatic experience. That then brought in a panic attack which is super scary; yes, even therapists do get panic attacks
Q:How did you deal with the panic attack?
I knew what it is and I knew what the catalyst was. I was breathing, I was counting my breaths and I was reminding myself that I’m here, I’m safe, I’m okay, I’m free. What happens is your body’s response takes you back to that scary moment and so, even though you’re physically here, your mind and your body are back to where it happened. So that means you have to get back to here, where you really are.
Q: Where are you in your journey of healing?
I believe that things that scare you and shake you, they stick in your mind. Doesn’t go away from you, it’s still there because it’s a significant experience. What changes is how one responds to it. You learn to deal with it, you learn to be kinder to yourself. You learn to find things that center you. It informs my work as a therapist because when a client comes in, I engage from a space of understanding. As a human being, I understand that we are wounded and our work is to be okay with our wounded-ness but not identify from that.
Q. What do you do when you have nobody to talk to and you are experiencing trauma?
I’ve learned to give myself permission to cry. I also draw strength from nature, being able to hear birds, being able to stand outside and feel the rain when it drops on my skin, music and sleep.
Q. What would you suggest to someone who is going through a panic attack?
What I can say is just breathe. Just breathe. Just breathe.
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