The title doesn’t sound right does it? Healing in trauma? Healing does happen after, but lots of times the trauma is in the after too. In the constant reminders throughout the day, the well-meaning friend asking how you are just as you were forgetting for the day, the ill-timed details that need to be handled of which you’ve no idea where to begin. But I’m here to tell you, as a person who healed during and after trauma, that it can and will happen if you’re a willing participant.
Most often trauma is a single event, but it can also be long-term through experiences after the “event”. My pastor said something profound recently: “You’re either just coming out of a storm or you better batten down the hatches because a storm is coming.” I’ve always said that you cannot go through life without experiencing some sort of catastrophe. Right now if you’re reading this and your mind isn’t immediately brought to a trauma you’ve experienced, then in my pastor’s words, “you better batten down the hatches”. Now I’m not generally a throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater-type, but when it comes to trauma, I fully believe at some point in life we all experience trauma. The world is chock full of sin which further confirms that hurt will happen, it’s inevitable. The question is how will it? Health? Financial? Divorce? Loss? Addiction? We’re all touched by trauma, but how do we heal throughout and after?
The short answer is that there is no short answer. Just like trauma effects us all differently, we also all heal differently. We mourn differently. We find different things funny. We are all different. That is a fact that you’ll have to accept first. Just because someone who’s experienced something similar than you appears happier or as you perceive handling it better than you are doesn’t mean they are. Full stop. Don’t do that to yourself. Recognize the feelings you’re having and know that they are VALID. You can’t have wrong feelings. There’s a reason why you feel the way you do. Accept that it’s okay, then try to honestly understand why you feel the way you do. Something may remind you of someone you lost, or a hurtful experience that ties to how you feel in the present. Search deep into why you’re having specific feelings.
All of our experiences frame who we are and the feelings we have, so dismissing them isn’t the way to go. Let’s also talk about hanging out and not moving on in our feelings. I think this is the HARDEST part of healing. Either we can’t move on because we’re afraid of what’s on the other side of healing or it’s part of our identity and what do we have if we don’t have our hurt? Or what if not crying today means I don’t love the person I lost? We must healthily move on so we can enjoy life again and the people that are here doing life with you, which brings me to my final point.
Look around at your support system and use them! If someone has reached out and said, “Let me know what I can do,” I honestly believe if you asked them to do “xyz” they would. This is just something most everyone says because they don’t know how to help. Let them help you! We are not meant to shoulder it all. Which is why I’d also like to mention to pray. Even if you don’t even know what to say, simply saying, “Jesus” is a prayer. He hears your every word. He wants to help, you need only ask.
It’s heavy to talk about and even more heavy to experience and then later heal from, but if you put in the work, you can heal from trauma. I’m not saying there won’t be reminders, but how you deal with them each time you meet them will frame how and if you heal.
I love you all.