Talking About Trauma
I have experienced quite a bit of trauma in my life. Some I talk about, some I do not. A friend asked me why I would write about growing up in abuse. My answer is first, it is healing to me. Second, maybe it will help someone know they are not alone. Third, I lived so much of my life afraid and I don't want to continue to do that.
What was I afraid of? Well, the list was long. I was afraid of people finding out. Afraid of it happening to those I love. I was afraid of telling my truth and others saying I was lying. Afraid of who I had become inside as a result of the trauma I experienced. Afraid I would never be enough. Afraid if I let any of what I was feeling out I would fall apart and never find wholeness.
In society, especially in the church, I think we underestimate the effects of trauma. I believe this is true for both children and adults. From The Body Keeps Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D., states the following, "Trauma results in a fundamental reorganization of the way the mind and brain manage perceptions." This is no small statement. He goes on to discuss how it changes how we think and even our capacity to think. I see this in my own life. For years I thought I was crazy. Now I know I was traumatized.
So why do we underestimate the effects of trauma? My working theory is because we too often choose to look away from hard things. It feels easier in the moment. The unresolved issues we bury never die, they just decay. We should instead be staring what we buried in the face. Do you remember as a child playing stare down with others? You stared at each other until one of you broke. I have chosen, over time and with a lot of help, to keep staring my trauma in the face until it breaks. I refuse to continue to react to things that have affected me. The way I approach this is by learning and educating myself. By talking, writing, sharing, growing and refusing to give in. I will continue as long as it takes. I am thinking that might be a while yet, but at the same time, I acknowledge I have journeyed past the point I started at. Many of my blog posts coming up will further address the effects of trauma. What I am learning. How I have seen them play out in my life and how I am learning to heal. My prayer? If even one person gains a greater measure of peace by joining me on this journey, that will be more than enough.