Not for the faint of heart

I look back on…February (my last blog post)… and here we are in September. Oh well.

I feel I need to at least acknowledge that I had plans to ‘write’ and those plans haven’t happened. I like to ‘plan’ but often if I don’t feel I can execute something perfectly, I never start.

What’s been happening since February? I worked a lot in the spring and came into the summer feeling tired and weary. My summer vacation was spent doing a lot of resting, and that was good. And now I have more energy, though I understand the need to pace myself. That’s why I’m sitting in this coffee shop, by myself, sipping a lovely Persian Chai tea, and introverting (yes, introverting is a verb in my world).

Over the summer I finished a book I had been reading for the last year and a half: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. It’s a book about trauma and I highly recommend it for anyone who has experienced trauma or lives or works with those who have experienced it. It’s packed full of information and stories and the science behind trauma and treatment options. It was very good but also not easy to read at times. Often, I would read a few pages (not even a chapter) and see so much of myself – it was uncomfortable and I felt a little bit like I was in the Matrix, not realizing I’ve been living a life significantly impacted by trauma, not knowing how far down the rabbit hole trauma led.

By the way, did you know that when a person has been traumatized and they’re ‘triggered’, the Brocha’s Area (part of the brain responsible for speech – the ability to speak) shuts down? This explains a lot. When I am triggered, there is a moment where I’m unable to speak – I feel like a deer in the headlights. It takes a moment before I can actually get words out. Weird, eh?

Trying to process trauma’s ramifications in my life has not been an easy thing. There are moments when I feel incredibly ‘raw’ and vulnerable. There are moments when I feel helpless and trapped in a body that reacts when I don’t want it to react. I feel frustrated. I feel anger…towards myself, towards my ‘issues’. I find myself wondering what kind of person I would be if I hadn’t experienced trauma – would the nasty voices in my head be quieter, would I not be constantly scanning my world for danger, would I not be braced and apprehensive, would I be more free, less serious, more light-hearted? Would I be a better wife, a better mom, a better friend? Oh, how I wish I could be better! I see my deficits, the psychological handicaps I bring with me and I want to be rid of them!

I find myself feeling sad. Sad for what I’ve lost, sad for the pain I’ve experienced. This is actually progress – I’m feeling compassion for myself. I see this as a result of emotionally ‘thawing’. In the past, I didn’t consciously feel anything for myself – my emotions were numb. Thawing is good… and thawing is painful. It means I’m starting to ‘feel’ and that can be very overwhelming at times.

Processing trauma is not for the faint of heart. I understand why people avoid going there, and turn to other ways, unhealthy ways, of coping…because it hurts a lot! If it weren’t for the loving, caring, gentle people in my life, I wouldn’t be in this place, trying to work my way through a seeming wilderness, holding onto hope that I am getting better, that I will continue to get better, and that this journey is and will be, worth it.

One Reply to “Not for the faint of heart”

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Carol. It shows a lot of courage to share something so personal with your readership, and I appreciate that so much.

Comments are closed.