04 October 2015

regarding trauma

What is trauma?  If you're like me, your mind quickly jumps to terrible events and grisly scenes.  However, you may be surprised to realize that "trauma" doesn't necessarily have to mean "over the top."

When I first began to experience trauma memory recovery, I had a very difficult time reconciling what I remembered of my childhood with general pictures that the word "trauma" conjured.  In fact, I spent too much time on the way, denying the existence of trauma in my life, because I could point to so much worse in the lives of many others.  I didn't feel justified in saying that I had experienced trauma.  Looming large in my mind was the question, "how do some people come through much worse experiences than I and fare better?"  It took time for me to understand that "trauma" can be a relative concept, dependent on the person experiencing it.

So, I've really learned not to compare.  Every person is unique, and everyone experiences life through their own grid of genetics, nature, nurture, personality...however you want to look at it.  For one young child, a simple surgery might be a breaking point because she thinks she's going to die.  One child may be traumatized by a death of a family member, while another child may manage the loss more easily.  Some children come through traumatic experiences with no lasting effects; others grow up coping with mental health issues:  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, to name a few.

Through my journey, I've come to understand that I was a gentle, timid, sensitive, creative child.  Was my trauma experience one of the more horrific stories you'll ever read about?  No, but it was unlivable for my spirit, and because of that, my brain found the best way to help me cope until I would reach a point in life when I could come to healing.

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