They say that you grow through trauma. They say that you become stronger from going through trauma.
But I find fault in these statements, because they are incomplete.
Yes, going through traumatic experiences may have “strengthened” all of us in many ways. It has taught us to be more cautious. It has taught us to say no or leave situations we are uncomfortable with. It has taught us to draw out our boundaries. It has taught us to be more aware of what is going on around us. It has taught us how to better care for ourselves and the people we love. It has taught us about the many aspects of healing—a variety not just involving pictures of bath bombs and scented candles on our feeds.
The truth is that we should not have to go through this trauma in the first place.
We do not deserve to go through trauma.
Stop telling us that we went through what we did so that we could become stronger as people.
Trauma has broken parts of so many of us. The effects of trauma are beyond physical—it messes with our heart, our mind, and our soul. It digs deep into the crevasses of our fears and our insecurities, exposing them all out in the open. Trauma impacts the physical, emotional, cognitive, social/interpersonal, and developmental.
Our emotions of fear, sadness, anger, and shame are triggered. Stress caused by trauma either has us feeling too much (being overwhelmed) or too little (numb). Some of us may turn to substances, things, or people to try to fill the cracks that trauma has left behind. We do all these in the name of trying to numb the disgust and hopelessness we may feel about ourselves.
When you go through a traumatic event, your body goes on the defence. It creates a stress response, which may make you feel a flurry of physical symptoms, behave differently, and experience more intense emotions. You may be questioning what you know, what you think you remembered, or subconsciously gaslighting yourself for what you could have or could not have done. You could be sifting through so much of denial. Some common effects of trauma include flashbacks, panic attacks, self-blame, and sleep problems.
If you ever needed a reminder, please know that trauma is not your fault. Whatever you may have gone through or are going through is not your fault. This should not have happened to you in the first place.
You may have been blindsided and were made to believe that you deserved it. I assure you, you do not. I promise you, you do not deserve it.
Healing work from trauma takes time and effort. You are strong as a person, not because of the trauma you have been or are going through.
Trauma may have changed us, but with the love and support of those we trust, we will be able to face it head on. Take your time to heal through the ups and downs. You are not your trauma. You are much more than that. Healing work is worth it. It is always worth it to take care of you.