Trauma is all around us


If you’ve seen Love Actually, you might get the reference for my title …

When you speak up about trauma, you tend to get responses like ‘that must have been awful’… ‘you did not deserve that’… ‘I bet that’s not nice to think about’… all of which are true.

B u t

What people don’t realise is that the effects of trauma aren’t in the past. The effects of trauma cannot be reduced to a ‘few’ flashbacks. At least in my case, what happened to me in my past dictates and defines my entire life and almost every one of my decisions (or lack of…) to date.

My life up until now has consisted of intense hyper vigilance in an attempt to protect myself, hide myself, reduce myself.

We have focused historically on ‘trauma’ as being only the actual event in the woods with the bears. But we are traumatised not by the bear attack itself, but by not being able to get back to safety afterwards: the lack of a supportive tribe, who tend to our wounds, hear our story, and take action with us. The trauma is not in the event. It’s in the lack of resolution. It’s in the lack of human connection where we are able to process what has happened to us and we feel supported in staying safe in the future. So much of our trauma is in the aloneness, not just during the event itself but in its immediate and ongoing aftermath.

Carolyn Spring

The past couple of years in my life have really challenged me to my core. I am going to call these my mountain challenges.  These particular difficulties, the mountains, lead me to question everything I have ever thought I believed.  So much so that I questioned my sanity, my own truth, my morality, my everything. These mountains very often left me, literally, breathless (panic attacks). These mountains have led me to upset my family and closest friends, and lose years of my life.

Shockingly, the mountains did not kill me, but it often feels like the darkness is going to kill me, and that feeling is a powerful force.

What happened in my past led me to damage my body, silence my voice, alter my opinions, change my hair, dissociate from my childhood, question my identity, sacrifice my values, invalidate my self-worth. What happened in my past fundamentally changed me as a person. What happened to me still impacts me, on a daily basis.

I am 23.

I don’t know what I want.

I don’t know what my identity is.

I can’t tell what are MY choices and those that I’ve been forced into.

And that is sad. And it’s okay to recognise that. It’s okay to grieve for my childhood. It’s okay to grieve my teenage years. It’s okay to grieve early adulthood. It’s okay but it doesn’t stop it hurting.

What happened was and still is awful. I did not and do not deserve it. It is not nice to live with what has happened. It is still very much present. Trauma doesn’t end with the act itself.

Trauma fundamentally changes you.

Love E x

The Village, Wrabel

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