It is the wound you have that never goes away. A tattoo you wanted to move, but could not. Overwhelming thoughts that can shatter your mind to pieces. An impression you have of an incident or a devastating event that changed your life and reshaped your thinking.
I know. You are thinking about that specific experience you had at that specific time. That experience you never got over and keep thinking about.
You keep ruminating and playing different scenes from that same episode. You cannot manage to keep your mind busy nor control that door that keeps letting negative thoughts, ideas, and feelings in.
This disturbing state of mind is called Trauma.
Trauma is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as the emotional response someone has to an extremely negative event.
“Trauma causes us to have an internal experience that is frightening, angry, and shameful” – Peter A. Levine
After the incident, a lot of traumatized people start acting differently. Indeed, it is not up to them. The trauma makes its way into their mind and controls it. A thunderous voice keeps playing a dark poisonous music in their head. Anxiety, anger, fear, guilt, blame, and doubt are the tunes that take the lead, leaving the person in a cell.
The sufferer becomes a prisoner of his own mind. He racks his brain trying to find a solution, but it is all in vain. How can he solve a problem without facing it? It is impossible.
Whatever the event is, the body and the mind’s reaction is always the same. It can be physical as it can affect the mind. Therefore, the person loses the way and could even resort to self-destruction behaviors as a way of making up for the guilt he is feeling.
Drugs, alcohol, suicide, isolation, and self-harm are ways, among others, that people seem to turn to in such a situation.
Instead of looking after themselves, people turn the other way and accuse themselves of things they did not do or could not control.
A survivor from an accident is a good case in point. He starts blaming himself for not saving or helping the other person, even if it was impossible to do so.
“Trauma is a fact of life. It does not, however, have to be a life sentence” – Peter A. Levine
This is what people cannot seem to understand.
It is normal to feel that way after a devastating event. What is not normal is not coping with it and letting go. Do not punish yourself, you are not a criminal.
Embrace yourself and love every part of it. What happened is a fact, and what you can do about it is a choice.
Take your time in processing those negative thoughts. You have to live that experience and feel that pain if you ever want to move on and start a new chapter. Grieve, mourn, whine, cry your eyes out, scream… but make sure that this funeral comes to an end.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel, right?
“The paradox of trauma is that it has both the power to destroy and the power to transform and resurrect” – Peter A. Levine
What are you going to choose?
I recommend the transformation part, because you definitely deserve it and will not regret it.
After a traumatic and noxious event, you will look at things differently. Life becomes more valued and you will be paying attention to details you have never noticed.
Stop waiting for the right time and start… but wait, do not fake it until you make it.
Be as real as possible and as honest as you can with yourself, because it is the only way to get through this mayhem.
As a first step, try to meditate. Clear your mind from the chaos and pull yourself together. You will feel free and out of this world. You cannot start something unless your mind is ready because it is playing the main role.
Remember who you were before the incident. How did you behave, laugh, talk, think. You feel nostalgic, right? It is never too late to bring that person back again, you just need to give your mind and body the green light, and they will follow.
Think about the event, and try to process that. This step is important, so do not forget to accept what happened, and most importantly yourself.
You will always have flashbacks, but you can choose to move on despite that. The trick is to be the one who takes the wheel, instead of letting memories control you. Memories have no power over you unless you give it to them. You cannot change the past but you can change how you see it.
Trauma is to the mind what fever is to the body. If you think of it this way, you will never be afraid of being traumatized, and you will start thinking about starting action.
The darkness is tempting when you are hurt and suffering, when you feel alone and on the edge of losing it and falling apart. Make sure you are brave enough to resist.
Dance, sing, shop, exercise… you have plenty of things to do even if you do not feel like it. Make room for positivity, and trust the process.
Trauma is something you could never forget, but healing is possible.
“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once” – Paulo Coelho