By: Isabella Vargas
Editor: Esthefany Castillo
TW: This doesn’t give details about trauma, but references the many forms of trauma people may deal with and what one could feel if they have not coped with it.
Whether or not we want to acknowledge this statement, the truth is, most of us have experienced trauma at some point in our lives. Trauma is an emotional response that emerges after a life-altering event occurs, such as an accident, assault, or rape. In a nutshell, trauma can come in many forms. After a traumatic event shock and denial are common, but the aftershock can escalate to flashbacks, and develop into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
If you believe that you’re experiencing trauma from a past event, it is important that you take the time to confront the underlying pain you’re feeling and find new ways to heal from it. Overcoming our suffering is a goal we’d all like to accomplish. However, the amount of work needed to effectively heal can seem overwhelming, leaving us confused on where or how to begin.
Do you remember feeling disconnected from your friends or family during childhood? Did these feelings of numbness surface throughout your adulthood, possibly after a break up or unexpected life change? Once you understand why you are feeling this way, you will be able to begin your journey towards healing.
The first step towards healing is awareness. If you have ever experienced depression, resentment, flashbacks or intense anxiety, then you should consider asking yourself if you have unhealed trauma. You need to reflect and navigate where your pain stems from because when we ignore our pain, we are self-sabotaging. You’ll find yourself feeling bitter, confused, and most of all fearful. Our pain is always trying to tell us something, so listen to the messages you are receiving from within.
If I’m being honest, I experienced a lot of abuse in my childhood. As a child, I coped by ignoring it. As I got older, I chose to never think about it. I was subconsciously suppressing those memories in order to be able to go about my life because the reality of it was debilitating. Now I know that this is an extremely common survival tactic amongst survivors of abuse. It’s a natural reaction towards trauma because we’re trying to block the negative thoughts out of our mind as to forget they even happened at all. Although doing so allowed me to keep living, I repressed so much of my trauma for such a long time, that it took years to realize how much it took from me, including my identity.
Running from the past won’t take you far on your healing journey. It took me eight long years to understand why I held onto this pessimistic attitude towards the future. Once I decided to look within and search for the root of the problem, I was able to grow as a human being. I encourage you to spend time with your inner child, or even the person you were a few years ago before the trauma started. Rebuilding your identity from the ground up is the only way you can become whole again.
Part of the pain experienced in healing, is getting rid of the idea that somebody else will rescue you. Don’t expect your partner or a friend to save you; nobody can fill the void that lives inside you. It’s important to remain hopeful and understand that trauma buries many emotions inside of you. Remember that healing is not a linear process.
You will have low points and high points, and days that throw you in a loop. There will be times where you might feel like you’re regressing and other times you’re feeling great. This is a healing journey that you can experience with others, but nobody can do the work for you. Your mind is powerful and you will overcome the fear of your past. Growth happens when you finally realize that letting go, hurts less than holding on.