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September 29, 2021

A Letter to Trauma Survivors: You’re not Alone.

 

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“Even in times of trauma, we try to maintain a sense of normality until we no longer can. That, my friends, is called surviving. Not healing. We never become whole again—we are survivors. If you are here today, you are a survivor. But those of us who have made it through hell and are still standing? We bear a different name: warriors.” ~ Lori Goodwin

~

Hey Sweet Soul,

I see the thick vines of dread, strangling your once bright and free-flowing spirit.

That beautiful head swirling under the weight of shame, fear, betrayal, and disbelief. That exceptional brain that was previously used to discover ideas for the greater good, now being crushed under thick spines of anxiety that play the terror on repeat. Those vines squeezing out droplets of sweat and salty tears, leaving wet imprints of your body on the sheets as you thrash in sleepless nights full of nightmares.

The mornings bringing what was once light of a new and exciting opportunity to share the love of life with the world, now offer the disappointment of having to survive another day. Days spent avoiding the people you love for worry of upsetting them. I know your cell is already on silent and you’re home even though the curtains and windows are sealed shut. Your bed is pushed up against the door barricaded in case the monster finds you again.

Food no longer holds its appeal and the numbing effects of alcohol and drugs are not an option as the thought of being helpless ever again is too scary. Days pass in a grey haze of dread, nausea, fear of someone knocking on the door as you hide away in the blankets. The only thing to look forward to is the dead of night when you can finally relax knowing everyone will be sleeping and there is no chance of visitors.

You’re not okay. You know this, but you’re not ready to face the world nor the reality of having to meet who this person is that you have now become. You don’t want to see the holes in yourself that weren’t there before.

You’re not alone.

This place you’re in, lonely as it is, you’re not alone. I have been here and a part of me is still here with you. I am that tiny place in your mind that continues to remind you that when you survive this, although life will forever be different, it will display brighter colours and you will find yourself in soulful nourishing spaces more than ever.

Dear being, I ask that I may share some of my heart with you. Please accept this to use until you find the glue that sticks the pieces of yours back together.

The one lesson I could find that was positive when recovering from being brutalized was that if I survived, I would be able to light the path for another—as there is always going to be darkness when there is light.

You’re not okay, but please know that that is okay. You are allowed and encouraged to let your grief flow. Take your time, mourn the loss of the person you once were. Hide if you need to. Pour out your rage when you need to.

When the time comes that you feel strong enough to reach out, know that you are not “what happened.” You are whoever you want to be, having experienced the dark cruelty that lives in this world. You did not “ask for” this.

Your truth is exactly that. Truth. Not something that people have the right to question or quarrel.

You may find through healing that the people in your circle aren’t ones that you connect with in the same way. Like the tides, they may move away, but others will flow in.

You have every right to feel upset, angry, betrayed, and fearful of strangers and the people who resemble the monster who took from you.

If you ever feel brave enough to share your pain, you should be believed without judgment, without questions. Simply wrapped up in safe arms and reminded how important your feeling safe, loved, and valued is.

The only shame is that there is a sickness in our world like this and we weren’t there to protect you when you needed. For that, I am so, so sorry. If I could take the pain of what was done to you, God knows I would.

I hope with all of my being that you find the path back to living.

Until then, one breath, one step, one hour at a time.

See you on the other side, Warrior.

~

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