November 1, 2022

What Trauma Looks Like to Me.


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To me, trauma feels hard to accept as part of life.

Trauma always sounded like a word that was too big for me to use. It took me years to understand that what I was suffering was Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from rape, physical and mental abuse, and losing a child. I guess when we experience these things, trauma can become normalised.  As a human, trauma can become our frame of reference for normal and our normal becomes skewed.

At 38, I am learning I need to accept this and also take steps toward healing. I don’t believe we will ever truly be healed, but I feel we can become aware of our trauma and healing—this is a beautiful place to be because our trauma can no longer hold us captive when we become aware.

We can witness these experiences for what they were and know they are no longer here with us, even when our bodies, emotions, and thoughts try to make us relive them. That, to me, is healing.

It is difficult to talk about what happened in words but it has been therapeutic for me and freeing for me to start doing exercises like the one below.

I suggest you give it a go:

Picture the word trauma and close your eyes for one minute. Breathe and picture what trauma looks like for you.  If you need longer, take your time. If this triggers you, come back and do it at another time when you can find healing (and not more trauma) in it.

This took me years to do. Some of my experiences happened more than 20 years ago. I am only just doing this exercise today, at 38.

Once you have pictured it, draw what trauma looks like to you. What did you see when you closed your eyes?

Once you have drawn it, write down words or phrases that jump out at you when you look at the picture. Set a timer for five minutes and allow yourself to write anything that springs to mind.

From this writing, pull four words/phrases that really hold your attention. Now, begins the free writing. The only guideline is to write four paragraphs. Paragraph one will have the first word/phrase, paragraph two will have the second word/phrase, and so on.

My four words were:

1. Pause

2. Expression

3. Beauty

4. Mute

This is my free writing:

The crack in the existence I once knew.

It is like a pause between light and dark.

Where nobody can see or hear me, not even myself.

It is the yearning for the hiding to end so I can live again.

Yet I do not understand this or know this.

It is simply a black hole that has swallowed me.

My expression-filled existence is dimmed.

Like the lights when you sit in the cinemas.

Yet there is no movie playing.

Only emptiness within me and in front of me.

I know there is beauty within me and in this life.

But I cannot see, feel, taste, hear, or touch it.

It is out of my reach and feels like I will never reach it again.

I feel like my life will always be buried in the darkness.

Of ugly, not worthy, not enough, too much, suffering.

The muted silence of all my senses makes life not exist.

Makes the world full of chaos and feel like I cannot find myself within it.

Like a tsunami that crashes on the shores burying what I once knew.

A life I will never know again without scars that will hold me captive forevermore.

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