On Trauma

I have been researching childhood trauma with a vengeance lately.  I have spent years researching and learning about addictions, mental health, self care, and a variety of other holistic health practices, but in all of my searching and obsessing I never once put together the pieces; how the way that I handle situations and emotions connects to the symptoms of someone who has struggled through major childhood trauma.  Yikes!  How did I miss that?  Well, I suppose if you aren’t looking in that particular area and you don’t know the symptoms, it makes sense that it might be overlooked.  Needless to say, I was extremely surprised to find myself synchronizing with the symptoms of childhood trauma when I originally was researching it to better understand others. But once I had uncovered the knowledge, everything finally began to make sense…and wow, I finally feel like I am starting to really understand what I went through.  

A few months ago, I decided to really dive into self care.  For the last year (and understandably so) I have been taking care of a newborn and for the last few years, I have been either pregnant or nursing or chasing a toddler and while those moments were SO good and beautiful and I am so thankful for my littles, it does get hard to prioritize self care.  I was also going through a lot of change without time to actually process what was happening inside of me and to me.  And unfortunately, I spiraled into some long term depression, knowing what I was feeling and why…but not understanding my reactions to those feelings.

I stopped writing for a few years, unable to put my thoughts into words and unable to face myself.  Trying to write was so painful!  I would pick up my journal or open pages on my computer and then just sit there, staring blankly.  I couldn’t believe how hard it was to do something I have always been so good at; getting my emotions and feelings out through writing.  I felt like a failure and instead of pushing through, I closed up even more.  My emotional outlet was gone and I entered into an extended state of survival mode.

But, in February I told myself that I was just going to start writing, even if it was only a few words at a time, because I knew it had to get easier if I could just keep going and practicing and feeling.  So I started a journey of learning to not only feel again, but to write again and to let my walls down again, because I have been guarding my heart from…everything.  As a child, I learned to not feel because my feelings weren’t acknowledged.  I learned to hide my emotions, because my emotions could be used against me.  I learned to hide from love and friendship and I learned to never ask for help…because help meant you were just trying to get attention.  For years I wrestled with my depression, feeling shame any time I tried to ask for help while simultaneously drowning in my own feelings.  

But I am twenty eight now and I am finally seeing the bigger picture.

I suffered major childhood trauma.

I witnessed a lot of really scary things.

I deserve to feel all of my feelings and to be loved despite my failings.

I can control who I let into my life.

I do deserve self compassion, love, and grace.

I am not weak.

I hope to talk a lot more about trauma and the affects it has had on me, and maybe even on you.  There’s a lot to be learned and so much room to grow.  This is only the beginning and I’m putting it on paper because I know I am not alone in this and maybe my journey can help someone else feel less alone on their journey.

So, cheers to learning to feel again and love deeper and grow stronger.  Cheers to understanding that I’m not crazy or weak or worthless.  And cheers to moving forward, to places of healing and growth and crazy amounts of love.

All the vibes,

Sarah

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