So you’ve experienced a trauma, and now you’re trying to put the pieces of your life back where they belong, but you feel so broken that you don’t even know where to start.
Well, speaking from experience as someone who’s also been through a trauma of their own, the first and foremost thing that you have to remember above everything else is that you survived. It may not feel like you did, but I promise you, you did.
If you choose to tell the people in your life what you endured, you’re going to have people in your life that tell you that it will get better, and sometimes you’ll thank them for that, but you’ll also have moments where you will want to scream at them how do you know? You’ll want to look at them and just tell them you don’t know, you didn’t go through it, I did. But in those moments you have to remember that they are just trying to help, but they don’t fully understand because they never had to walk in your shoes.
If you don’t choose to tell, then you’re like me. Then you’ll go down an even darker road. You’re going to feel like the weight of the world is upon your shoulders, and you’ll carry this secret inside you until it tears you apart, like it did me before I told. There were days I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff with nowhere to go, but down. The several months of dealing with what happened on my own were the absolute worst of my life, I still don’t know how I managed to overcome it, but I did.
At the end of the day though, trauma is still exactly that, trauma and it hurts all the same. You think that the worst part is over, I can handle the rest on my own, but it’s not that simple.
You never expected the nightmares that made you so terrified to sleep that you stayed awake for days. You didn’t expect the depression that made you feel like your life wasn’t worth living. You didn’t expect the guilt, or the shame, but it tears you up inside, so you take it out on yourself. Or the fact that now, you don’t feel worthy of anything. You feel alone. You feel broken. You feel damaged. You feel ruined. But mostly you feel worthless and dirty. It wasn’t enough that it affected your body and tore your apart, but your most trusted place, your head was invaded by the tragedy of the memories, and you were forced to live it over and over, and all you wanted, needed even was to escape it.
You’re going to have days when you want to quit. You’re going to have days when you don’t think you will make. You’ll have days when you will probably not want to escape, I know I did. You have to fight through that with everything you have; it’s the only way you can get better. The memories, the trauma, it will always be there, it won’t ever completely go away, but you can get to a point where you can live with what happened to you, you deserve that much. There are probably going to be days when you can’t escape the memories and you’ll question everything about yourself. Why did this happen? What did I do to deserve it? Was it my fault? The answer is No. You did nothing to deserve what happened to you. Nothing you did, nothing you wore, or how much alcohol you had could ever make something so callous your fault, I promise you that, so please I beg of you, do not ever blame yourself for the ruthlessness of someone who violated you in the most heartbreaking way.
There are some ways in which you won’t ever be the same, some ways that the trauma you experienced has changed you forever. It could be any number of things. I know for me it was being touched or grabbed from behind, to this day I cannot bear it, not for a single moment. Those things are manageable though, even if it doesn’t feel like it, remember what I said earlier. YOU ARE A SURVIVOR.
You’ll probably have days when the silence feels so deafening. You’ll have days when you feel paranoid, as if maybe someone is watching you. That is okay, it is normal. You are going to be a mixed of emotions for however long it takes, and it is perfectly normal. Getting through what you went through is going to take time, so please don’t rush it. Whether it’s a six months, a year, two years, you will heal in your own time.
So to the person who went through a trauma, please don’t let it ruin your life. You can survive, and learn to accept and live with what happened. What happened to you does not in any way have to define you. You can get through this, just don’t give up. Your life is worth living, so put one foot in front of the other, and claim back everything you thought was taken from you! You deserve that much.
You survived. That was the hardest part.