Healing from Trauma
Trauma, when we hear this word, our hearts shrink at the mere thought of it.
What is trauma? If we look up in the dictionary, it comes up with a short line "a deeply distressing or disturbing experience" or in medicine "a personal physical injury."
It almost feels unfair that such a short explanation and meaning is given to the word, considering that trauma changes life at deep levels. There should be pages and pages explaining trauma; there aren't because each trauma is so personal that an entire encyclopedia cannot describe it.
Trauma varies for each one of us; no one can say that their trauma is worse than the others’. We need to remember that emotional traumas create triggers that work differently for each of us.
To heal from trauma, we need to identify the pain and remove those triggers because, unfortunately, if we continue to carry bricks from our past, we will end up building the same house.
At the same time, we need to understand that we cannot heal a lifetime of pain overnight; we need to be patient with ourselves, knowing and accepting it takes as long as it takes to rebuild.
It includes understanding that it isn't about what's wrong with us; it's about what happened to us. Unlike simple stress, trauma changes our view of our lives and ourselves. Sometimes trauma was brought with us from the moment we were born, handed down from our ancestors.
Bad things happen to everyone in life; how we react to them defines our character and the quality of our life.
We can sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of our loss, or we can choose to rise from the pain and treasure my most precious gift – life itself.
Once we identify the why, we can start resolving it. Help might require external professional assistance; it might require opening up to our loved ones, friends, or family; it requires us to acknowledge the damage to know where to start the repairs.
Talking openly about our trauma and asking questions is not seeking attention; it's seeking help.
I have felt un-rootedness in my whole life. I started to travel “like a gypsy” at age 25 and I am 45 now. I am from Hungary, but I do not feel that after seeing the World and not living home 20+ years, that I belong there anymore. I lived in California for 20+ years, yet I am not from here… It took me digging in my family’s history to understand this feeling did not start with me. My relatives on my father’s side were born in Guta, what was still Hungary. That is, until after the war it wasn’t. It is now Slovakia. My grandparents and great-grandparents were “re-located” as a result of loosing the war. And they lived a very bitter life, leaving a beautiful and bountiful farm home and starting from scratch with a bag holding everything they could take to a far away place they were sent to. They did not talk much about it, until after reading the book (Inherited Faith) I started to ask questions.
Recovery is progression, not perfection. Healing is understanding that we are not the trauma, and it does not define us. It doesn't mean that the damage never existed; it means it no longer controls us.
One day we will tell our story of how we overcame what we went through, and it will be someone else's survival guide.
I want to leave you with this beautiful quote.
“Now, whenever I witness a strong person, I want to know: What darkness did you conquer in your story? Mountains don't rise without earthquakes.” – Katherine Mackenett