Many people think that in order to have been traumatized emotionally that you must have been through a war, killed someone, been the victim of physical or sexual abuse. Kidnapping is another horrible event that would leave any person traumatized.
Maybe you have never been through any of those events but you can still be traumatized. First off I am not a Dr. So please don’t get all scientific on me right away. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have plenty of experience with traumatic events. Well I have been traumatized many times during my life. Too many to really count all of the times. And I was never in a war or killed anyone. But I experienced traumatic events daily at work as a Peace Officer. Not all of them were physical. Many of them were something I read about. Reading about crimes repeatedly can do damage to your psyche. Your brain does not realize that it did not happen to you. It just knows that it’s processing it.
Let’s also just say right away that many people are in denial about their trauma. There is a real stigma to being traumatized. You are damaged goods, crazy, something is wrong with you etc. These are all of the stereotypes about people who have been traumatized.
So perhaps you did not work at a prison and just have a relatively peaceful life. But maybe someone died in your family or you lost a pet. A relationship ends suddenly. All of these events even though they are routine such as death, are all traumatic events. So people have to learn how to process the grief that they have been through.
People think it’s so easy to just leave it in the past, let it go, move on, keep going, shut up and just get over it. Well grief doesn’t work that way. It needs to go through a process. You know the 5 stages of grief: denial,depression, anger, bargaining and finally acceptance.
I tell you what going through the grief process is very difficult. You really need a strong support system and kind, loving people who will be supportive of what you are going through. But sometimes people act out and then they don’t get help and self medicate. They end up rude alcoholics, drug addicts, rage monsters, assholes, sex addicts and porn addicts. Yikes that’s a lot.
Well I do have some good news and actually it’s kind of a short cut to the healing process. I always like to figure out the fastest way to do something. And the easiest way to get through this is to just accept what happened. Get to the point where you can just say yes it happened, I am sorry it happened, I accept that it happened but now it’s time to rise above that. What is the lesson and what can I do to get better? Also the hardest part is forgiving the person or institution that harmed you.
Then that’s where the real work starts. Support groups, self-reflection, counseling, crying, feeling your feelings. Nobody wants to do it because it’s difficult. But once you get to the other side, you’re like that wasn’t so bad. And you get really strong. But you must have a support system. If you are estranged from your family, go to a church and start making positive connections with people.
Also remember, everyone is dealing with some bull shit. So don’t think you are the only one. You are so not alone and people want to help you. You might have to turn off the TV and the phone. Just reach out to someone. A friend, pastor, cop, hospital, teacher, nurse, Dr. Find out what is available to you and also there are a ton of resources on-line. You don’t have to stay stuck dear one. But you must begin the work to heal. And I am sorry it’s not beautiful at first. But it is so worth it.
Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and yoga Instructor. She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy. Learn how Valerie is coping here.