A week ago I sat in my therapist office expressing my concern about the nightmares that had picked up since Thanksgiving. Her reply was that "my journey in life has been an extraordinary one that has been filled with trauma throughout". Extraordinary isn't how I would describe this journey. In fact, I would quickly go to minimize all of it by using a statement like "well other's have been through so much more, I should not be complaining".
But truly the honest statement that I have to accept– is that trauma has made my life extraordinary. And due to the last traumatic event, it's sent me into a season that is bravely exploring the wilderness as Brené Brown states in her book. In hopes of becoming more open about how trauma has affected me and what I have learned I want to share with you a few things, I have learned while living with trauma.
Owning My Story
Owning my story outside of the walls of therapy or my home has been the hardest. Hard in the essence that you have to find the "right" time and the right person to be open with. For example, I share a lot of my journey with Loss, PTSD, and Anxiety on Instagram, and not on Facebook. The difference is the people. I've found others like me and those willing to cheer me on, and those who are possibly reading my posts like it's the never-ending telenovela (this doesn't bother me). Your story may not be something that you "like". You may not want to accept it, but owning it will allow you to live authentically with yourself without your pain coming out in odd ways.
TRAUMA IS GNARLY
Your brain and your body remember everything. If you're someone who is like that's great, I want to introduce you the dark side. There have been moments in my journey where my mind has taken me back to the moment where I was standing barefoot in Trauma Room 19 as softball size clots fell out of me while blood trickled down my legs. In that moment I was unable to move or move quick enough to stop it. It is horrifying to have the same sensations and lack of movement because you are frozen as your body is reliving one of the most horrific moments of your experience of Trauma.
INVEST IN HEALING
When I walked into a Psychiatrist's office I was at my wits end. I was experiencing panic attacks multiple times a day while my husband was on assignment and while raising 3 kids after I spent 5 days in the hospital and had two invasive abdominal surgeries. How I even made it two weeks without my husband there is beyond me. But I walked in and said, "I just need something to make these things that make me stop breathing go away, now." She then sat and did a full psychiatric evaluation on me. We talked about my childhood if I was ever sexually abused or assaulted, what it was like growing up, who I was raised by... basically everything. She sat there and said, "I believe that you should talk to someone because you have been through a lot of traumatic things and think in your own words are "small peas" and they are not, by any means." That is when I realized that maybe just maybe that something wasn't right with how I grew up and it was okay to feel that way. After a few sessions with her, I decided that I was going to invest in healing. It has been hard each time I've met a counselor or I've had to find a new one because of insurance reasons, but each one of them has helped me mend myself.
Your Rose Colored Glasses Are Gone
I call this sober living, meaning what you're willing to put up with goes way down and you're willing to have hard conversations at the drop of a hat. People who push their opinions fall to the waist side, people who are flaky fall away, people who say one thing and do another fall away, those who try to manipulate situations vanish. And not because you want them to, but naturally on their own, they go away. You also tend to look at situations with facts first and then emotions.
You Will Feel Defeated – for moments at a time, and it's okay.
There will be moments of wanting your old life back, but that desire is more of wanting to gain control of your life again. Trauma has it's up's and down's – one day you're stable and everything feels "normal then that evening you're triggered into a panic attack. Defeat is the only word I have found to explain this. But when the side effects of trauma arise I know that there is still more healing to do. The feeling of defeat is momentary, in the overall journey of healing. Healing is sometimes an hour by hour, day by day thing and you have to cling to that and be compassionate to yourself.
The wife to a traveling Airman, Mom to 3 rambunctious girls and 3 baby angels. She often writes about faith, trauma, womanhood, motherhood, and her journey through therapy after a near death experience. She believes in purpose, mediation, and that yoga can fix anything. After striving for the #perfectlife she finds her self believing that the curated life can lead to false happiness, lack of authenticity and false sense of security.