If you are new to my blog, and to my business, you don’t know that I have been through things that most people can’t even imagine. When I look at my personal trauma, I see that it could have been a lot worse and that there are many people out there who have suffered a lot more than I have. It’s all about perspective. Everyone experiences and deals with trauma in a way that is completely personal to them. We never know how much a person has been through, and we can’t predict what tiny – or unimaginable – event that will send someone into a tailspin of PTSD and mental health issues. When someone experiences trauma, many times they are too numb to have any reaction at all, and may experience guilt at having no harsh feelings. The people around us have no idea how to react and often say things that are detrimental to our healing. They may not see how much we are suffering in silence and take that as a sign that we are ‘over it’.
I was blessed this morning to be able to chat with a young lady that is coming up on the anniversary of her rape. She contacted me because she didn’t know how to feel, and was worried that all of the horrible nightmarish feelings would flood back to her. I had never really stopped to think about this before – that we could have times where we aren’t sure of how to feel about our own traumas. I thought back to when I was 15 years old and had just been raped, and I realized that even though I had plenty of support around me, I still ended up on that path of self-medication. Alcohol numbed a lot of the feelings that I had at the time. So much so, that I can’t remember now what exact feelings I did have. I can remember guilt, shame, self-loathing – I know that I thought about dying. But to try and drum up my true emotions – I just couldn’t. I realized that I did not know how I was supposed to feel either.
The wonderful thing about being in the place that I am now, is that I have the experience to know how you are ‘supposed to feel’; but I also have the wisdom and knowledge to know how you can change that! I gave this young lady some advice that I would love to go back and give my 15 year old self. I told her that she didn’t have to feel the negative feelings. I encouraged her to have a party for herself on that day and celebrate the fact that she is a survivor, and not a victim. It takes a lot of courage to move forward on your path after you have experienced trauma, specifically sexual assault. Celebrate the infinite you that can kick that trauma to the curb, and go forward knowing that you have the knowledge to help someone else that needs to hear some advice. Go ahead and feel what you need to feel, but try not to dwell in it.
You are supposed to feel whatever it is that you are feeling. You are unique – celebrate that!