Trauma often precedes introspection.
It’s normal, if not imperative, to take quiet time to heal yourself after trauma occurs.
You may need to get to know yourself again. You may need to naval-gaze. Regardless of your methodology, you will need to come to some conclusion about how your trauma affected you (knowing that, in time, that conclusion could change).
Trauma can be awful. But, it can hand you the ingredients you need to create the next chapter of your life. But, you may have no idea how to move forward after trauma, how to make lemonade out of lemons, or even what your next step should be.
Nobody tells you, “Go make sense of what happened to you.” At least, nobody said that to me.
Here’s what I wish somebody had said to me when life turned on its head 6 years ago and I was terrified of seeing myself, my pain, and my own heart.
Trauma may ruin you. It may destroy everything you think you know about yourself. It can strip you down to your very core, take over your internal world, and make it very hard for you to build new relationships. It may strain your current relationships. It may reveal where some of your relationships are toxic. You may lose many relationships. You may gain unexpected relationships.
Trauma is like a demanding houseguest, and you are its host. Trauma has many needs. Luckily, Trauma is pretty vocal. And, if you start listening, you can begin to give this houseguest of yours everything it needs to continue on its journey, leaving you to return to your peaceful home.
Most days, all Trauma needs is to sleep. So, take rest. Another day, Trauma may need community. So, reach out to your loved ones. Then, Trauma may need physical activity. So, get moving. Trauma’s needs are often simple and easy to acquire.
You will rebuild your brain after trauma. You will also rebuild parts of your personality, your spirit, and your energy. You likely cannot do this alone. Seek guidance.
Trauma may need months or years to heal. So, take your time. Trauma may need quiet. So, you give yourself space.
Then, one day, when you least expect it, Trauma will need you to let it go. Your houseguest is ready to leave you. But, you must be the one to excuse it.
I never expected Trauma to tell me that it was time to “get back out there.” I had grown so accustomed to my bubble, my cocoon, my shell, that when Trauma began to tell me that it was time to expand, to open, and to share myself with others again, I resisted.
Now, Trauma may need you to open, to reach out to others, and risk vulnerability once again. So, take a chance. Dust yourself off, give yourself credit for all you’ve achieved, and begin again.
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