Our Trauma Lies to Us

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When you pour hot wax on your skin, you tend to anticipate the feeling. It’s similar to getting hit by someone you can’t avoid. Your muscles tense, and you brace for impact.

At that moment, you are as vulnerable as a spider’s web. Open to the elements and ready to be torn down given a chance. But unlike a spider’s web, the human body has a harder time rebuilding its defenses once destroyed.

We don’t truly forgive ourselves for getting hit; our mind wonders if it was all our fault. A child who cannot defend themselves against abuse becomes an adult waiting for the shoe to drop. You hold your breath in open spaces, letting it out only when you deem it safe.

The walls we build around our hearts become impenetrable. And though others may try to navigate our defenses, it is often far more challenging than anticipated.

We can close our eyes as the world ends around us or breathe in the smoke-filled room. The anticipation of the pain we are about to experience fills our minds with the need for lies. Lies protect us from others and ourselves, but they ultimately leave us worse than we started.

Of all the lies I’ve told myself, these three are the worst ones.

I can’t love because I don’t know love.

I look into the mirror and scowl; my reflection is disjointed with pieces of who I thought myself to be. I thought the world would teach me how to heal from trauma, that a stranger would take my hands and guide me.

I was wrong.

So what do I do now? It’s a question we all tend to ask ourselves.

How do we heal from the moments in our past that have begun to dictate our future?

What are the first steps?

I have asked myself these questions repeatedly for the last few years. At first, I didn’t know that I was hurting, but I didn’t realize that I had high walls around my heart.

It surprised me when I couldn’t feel the depth of love I once did. Maybe it was a moment of anger, I would think to myself. You know how anger clouds your heart. Yeah, that’s it.

I am angry; thus, I can not love.

I am bitter; thus, I build walls.

I am scared; thus, I hide.

These are the lies I found within the truth.

The truth is that we have always been surrounded by people who love us and who will love us if we take the time to look out in the world. The realization hits you hard when you begin to take the steps you need to heal.

Love comes to you in different areas of your life; it’s up to you to hold it close.

You are loved, needed, and important. Remember these words when the dark thoughts come to plague at night. You have always been worth it.

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I am fine

When our trauma begins to eat at our minds, it can show up differently. It starts with a lack of sleep and irritation; for others, it manifests itself as pain. The unbearable pain that eats at our sanity and self-worth can be deadly.

But you’re fine, right?

I go through pages and pages of my writing that I can’t finish because I have panic attacks in the middle of writing them. My insecurities pile up, breaking down any routine I could have found.

I am not okay. And that’s okay. When I decide to take down my walls and acknowledge the pain in my mind, I begin to heal.

It is not the disregard for my trauma that will bring healing, but an intentional approach to processing in a loving environment that gives me strength.

It takes so much to realize that you need help, but millions of people learn this truth daily. You are not alone on this journey towards self-recovery.

Getting Help Would Cost Too Much

I stared at my bank account for a long time before I decided to go to therapy. It must have been months of contemplation and regretting having to deal with the monsters in my head.

I would sit and cry. You would think that these moments of severe depression would have taught me the importance of sharing my burden. But the truth is, I want to keep my problems to myself most days.

The cost of not getting the help I needed was almost my life — It was too high of a price to pay.

But what if the help you need is too costly? Where do you begin?

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What comes next?

Journaling has helped me tremendously in the last few months and dancing to my favorite songs. I would sit on the edge of a panic attack and just dance. My foot would slide across the floor, moving in every direction because I didn’t have to dance on beat. No one was watching me save myself from drowning as NF talked about his mom.

I remember crying as I moved around the kitchen. I was wailing at all the hurt that had found its way into my heart. I wept and let myself feel the weight of my heart.

But I am still not better. I still have years of therapy to sign up for. I try to tell myself that the young child who did not understand the world began to grow up. It brings me comfort to see my growth.

And maybe, in time, it will bring me joy, just like the name my parents gave me.

I hope it does.

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