When you’re in the thick of your human rawness, it seems impossible that life could be another way, that you could be a version of yourself that you are familiar with again.
I remember this all too clearly. And then I think about how far I’ve come, personally, and how I’ve been instrumental in helping so many others rebuild their lives. In hindsight, all doesn’t seem so lost.
Whatever your trauma, be it abuse, rape, illness, injury, or even watching someone else be harmed, it can be completely devastating. The safety you once felt in the world is pulled out from under you, like a carpet you didn’t even know you were standing on. The world changes in an instant – the colour in it, the things you notice, the parts you stop seeing and the scary ones you begin to see. How could life ever feel livible again?
One of my favourite mantra’s is, “only good will come from this.”
Don’t for one minute think I actually believed any of this when I was crawling at a snail’s pace through the darkness and emptiness that had become my life. But, I kept on with it, I’d just gotten myself into the power of positive thinking because I just didn’t know what else to do, and I literally would have clung to anything that offered me a reprieve from the hollowness. Sure enough, over some time I started to awake from my zombie-like-state and thought, “hmmm maybe some good can come from this.” A little further down the line I began to sit up and take notice of what good was starting to come from this. I looked at my clients, I was a social worker in those days, and I began to see that there was good for them too, even though they couldn’t see it until I pointed it out.
What I realised is that when I gave myself an opportunity for something positive to come from what I’d been through, the colour slowly seeped back into the world, I began to relax a little and most importantly I began to grow. Once that little treasure chest of growth opened, there was no shutting it.
My treasure chest of change and growth certainly did not ‘undo’ what happened nor did it erase it from my memory, but for the first time I opened myself up to embracing the experience, surrendering myself to it, allowing it to be a part of me rather than something I was resisting and in conflict with. I was finally in a relationship with myself, all of the parts of myself – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Here are some treasures I uncovered on my eventful road to recovery…
A difficult experience deepens our bonds with the positive people in our lives. Be it friends or family, our experience gives us the opportunity to see how deeply we are loved and cared for by our people. We appreciate the relationships we have and realise that we can rely on and trust others to listen and support us when we need it. We also become more open to new relationships that are uplifting and different from what we’ve known previously. Remember, that we have changed and what we need back from the world has too..
Expressing myself and using creativity as a way to process thoughts and emotions, is also a helpful tool. Following on from a challenging time, you may find yourself suddenly interested in new hobbies, a different lifestyle or new relationships that make life more meaningful and satisfying for you. A part of this may be giving back in some way, for example being a mentor to someone who has been through a similar experience to you. Suddenly what you went through has value to the world. Someone out there needs to hear you and realise that they are not alone. Without even realising it you are beginning to feel stronger within yourself, more whole and connected to the world around you. You have found a flow of channelling your pain into something meaningful.
The most obvious thing we know to be true of trauma is that it destroys our self-esteem; either because of the injuries we sustain or because we feel we did something wrong to deserve something terrible happening to us. Part of our healing journey is realising that we are not responsible for what happened, no matter the situation we may have found ourselves in.
The treasure of strength is a powerful one. Did you ever imagine what you could get through, what you could survive? I learnt that I am stronger than I could have ever imagined, and what’s more, I did it on my own. Having the courage to face your experiences head-on, brings with it a toleration of old, hurtful memories, especially when you are driven by a goal that inspires you
For many of us who have gone through a life altering experience, we choose to see what happened to us as part of a bigger plan. Maybe even one that changes our direction completely. I know of many people who have made drastic changes to their lives after surviving an ordeal. Some have given up alcohol and drugs, others have given up ‘punishing’ their bodies with unhealthy foods and have started taking their wellness seriously by committing to a healthier lifestyle.
In times of struggle, we may not feel that we can cope alone, so it’s not uncommon to deepen your faith, asking a spiritual force to guide and support you. Praying or meditating can help create new perspectives such as accepting your present moment and hope for the future.
Appreciation of Life
The things you took for granted somehow don’t seem as irrelevant and you may find yourself appreciating the smallest of blessings. Connecting with simple pleasures, like nature, can be profoundly healing. You may even feel that you’ve been given a second chance at life, an opportunity to recreate and rebuild yourself in a truer more congruent way. How do you become more congruent? By learning from what you’ve been through.
Living through a traumatic event or a difficult childhood, can keep you ‘there’ in that space. You have the power to move beyond it, simply by choosing to think differently. Think about the personal strength that you’ve shown to survive what you’ve been through. Even if you made mistakes or have regrets, you did what you thought you had to, to survive, and that is something to be very proud of. Remember the parts of your life that have become meaningful, big and small. Find your happiness in the life you have now. You have learnt so much. Your journey is not always smooth sailing, so expect to have ‘up’ days and ‘down’ days. Simply by acknowledging this you will be able to anticipate when those days may be, so go gently and forgive yourself quickly. This time will pass, the sun will come out and your rainbow will reflect that good has come of this
Dealing with trauma is not something anyone should have to go through alone. Not only am I qualified to assist in trauma counselling, childhood trauma counselling and post-traumatic stress counselling, but I have personally been affected by own trauma and through my experience I can offer a safe, accepting and supporting environment so that you can come to terms with what you’ve been through and move forward with your life. By moving forward, I do not mean existing through each day, I mean living fully, joyfully and comfortable with who you are. Becoming the strength of your experience is a truly beautiful thing and walking with me, you will find this space inside of you.
We’re not so different, you and me,
join my soul tribe and become more of who
you were meant to be