From a Trauma Survivor to Trauma Survivors
Hey, friend. I’m glad you’re here. You may have clicked on this blog because you saw something you can relate to. Maybe you clicked on this blog because you have been through something terrible. Or maybe you clicked on this blog because something interested you. Regardless of how you ended up here - I’m glad you did! Trauma is something that changes everything. It can be very isolating. It can bring on just about any emotion, such as fear, anger, sadness, or just about any other feeling you can think of. It can affect just about every part of your life. Trauma can be defined as any disturbing event that causes someone distress. Trauma is a terrible thing - but there is hope, you can overcome it, and it may even transform you for the better.
In 2013, I experienced something that changed just about everything about me. In the blink of an eye, that way I saw the world, other people, my God, and myself changed forever. I was in a situation that scared me, humbled me, and hurt me. My mind still goes back to that moment, my heart still races thinking about it. But it’s different now. The trauma still comes back but I’m not as hurt, I’m not as scared, I’m not as angry. I’ve learned a lot over the past 9 years. These are things I learned through my trauma that you can learn too.
You are strong.
Trauma can be a humbling experience. For a lot of people, it makes them feel small, insignificant, mistreated, or weak. I learned that holding the weight of a trauma - day in and day out - means you are strong. You are carrying a heavy load - it can weigh you down. Some days can be harder than others but everyday you are STRONG and getting stronger. If you are here because someone you know experienced something traumatic, it could be helpful to remind them of how strong and resilient they are.
You are not alone.
Many people feel a sense of loneliness or isolation in their trauma. There might be a sense that nobody understands what happened or maybe nobody knows what happened. Either way, it can be helpful to know that, although there might be people around you who may not understand, there are still people in the world who want to support and be there for you, including me - writing this blog so that other trauma survivors know that there are people out there who do want to understand and want to help them.
You may change.
Trauma often changes the way people think about themselves, other people, or the world. Following something traumatic, you may believe something different or know something that you did not before. As a result, parts of you may be influenced. Some things may scare you or make you upset or anxious that never did in the past. Learning how to cope with new thoughts, feelings, and behaviors also might influence you. You might find your own specific ways to deal with your trauma. Sometimes they are helpful but sometimes they are not. Although it might be difficult, it could be helpful to reflect on any positive changes you have seen in yourself as a result of trauma. Do not worry if this is too difficult for you right now, this could be something that comes with time.
You have a right to feel any emotion coming to you.
Trauma and its aftermath can bring a bundle of different, sometimes confusing, emotions. It may be difficult to untangle or process emotions when they seem to be competing or contradicting or if there seems to be too many to feel at one time. In addition to this, it may be possible to feel like the people around have certain expectations for how to cope with or show emotions related to trauma. This can add pressure and unnecessary stress when it comes to processing emotions related to trauma. However, I want to take a moment to validate anything that you are feeling and any way that you express that. You have been through a life changing event and the way that you process that and express the feelings that event provoked is completely understandable. Even if the people around you also experienced the event, you have a right to express your emotions any way you need to, even if that does not “match” the way other people seem to be coping. You are valid in your thoughts and emotions.
There are things you can do.
Trauma can feel hopeless. It can feel like there is nothing that can change what happened and that it will forever cause fear, anxiety, or any other emotions in your life. But, although you can’t change the past, you can change the future and what you do with the trauma. You can get help for the negative emotions or thoughts you are having, maybe through individual therapy. The idea of going to therapy may bring on negative or positive emotions. No matter what your reaction may be, I strongly encourage you to give it a try. Therapy can provide a private, helpful, supportive space to process and gain the tools to effectively cope with and grow from trauma. I definitely recommend it. Additional ideas include finding an encouraging social circle, maybe in a support group. You may be able to learn to appreciate life, the people around you, and yourself again through self-growth books or gratitude journals. You can explore creative ways of expressing your emotions, through art, music, physical activity, writing, or anything else you can think of. The possibilities are endless when it comes to overcoming this trauma. I said it before and I will say it again, you are STRONG, and you can do it.
I appreciate you for taking a moment to read this blog, I’m glad you’re still here. I hope that this is helpful for you. I have a lot of hope for you, friend.