Trauma and how it has affected my life


I came across an article today about trauma and although it might be obvious to some people what trauma is, for others maybe not so obvious. Other people, like myself, years ago may second guess themselves as to what trauma really is and just plain think like I did and say to themself “oh I’m just over-reacting” it also did not help that people said the same thing to me, I guess if you hear it enough from others you begin to believe it too.

I am taking this article about trauma and writing about it here and to tell my story as well.

One in ten Canadians are living with the impacts of trauma I am one of them.These events cause terror, intense fear, horror, helplessness and physical stress reactions I continue to experience physical stress reactors to this day and when I get upset and stressed out I actually feel very sick.The impact of these events does not simply go away when they are over.Instead traumatic events are profound experiences that change the way children, adolescents and adults see themselves, the traumatic events that I have experienced in my life some of them still haunt me to this very day. I will talk of those at a later date.

A traumatic event involves a single experience, or enduring or repeated events,that completely overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope or integrate the ideas and emotions involved in that experience, traumatic events are beyond a persons control. It is not the event that determines whether something is traumatic to someone but the persons experience of the event.

Events that cause trauma

Homelessness, which I have experienced, when you have experienced this I can assure you it will change the way you look at a homeless person you will not treat them the same.

Sexual abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, financial abuse and lastly psychological abuse which unfortunately I have also been on the receiving end this one is really hard to deal with.

Rape from a person I did not know and honestly I thought my life was over.

Neglect,In my case I was on the receiving end of this when I became pregnant twenty-six years ago from my now former husband It was like I was just a maid he never cared about me looking back in retrospect.Long story, this subject will be on a different blog.

These are just some events that cause trauma with lingering effects that I, myself, have experienced.

Many people, like myself, have survived these types of events and still feel the impact and sometimes compromising my way of life. Because the traumatic experience was so terrible, it is normal for people to block experiences from memory I have done this, or try to avoid any reminders of the trauma like I have done with my father’s death,and to this day I still do not remember what happened after the church service and with my first newborn baby, to this very day if I hear one cry I get very upset and have to leave the room as this is a reminder of one of the children that I did have but died. Consequences of these survival mechanisms are a lack of integration of the traumatic experience, such that it becomes the experience in a person’s life. The lack of processing of the trauma means that it is ever-present for the survivor, and they feel as if the trauma happened yesterday when it could have been months or many years later in my case twenty-six.

The impact of traumatic events

The impact of traumatic events is felt physically, emotionally, behavioral, cognitively and spiritually I am living proof of that. Tthis is normal, and is the body’s way of coping with very difficult emotions. Talking about traumatic experiences is very hard and takes courage to speak up about.It has taken me years to open up and talk about what has happened to me I am now finally able to open up about things to hopefully help others who may have or are in the same situation remember this:

  • It is not your fault
  • You have survived I am living proof
  • Healing is possible look for resources in your neighborhood talk to friends and family that you can trust go to a counsellor/psychiatrist anything, the help is there to overcome these issues please use them as I have

Experiencing trauma changes people it did me, you may worry that you will never feel normal again that’s what I thought.Healing is the road to feeling normal and grounded. This journey is different for everyone,but the result is still the same being able to feel whole again.

Here are some myths and truths about Trauma which you may have already heard

Myth one

It happened a long time ago, time heals all wounds, you need to get over it.

The truth is I have had this said to me so many times and quite honestly so sick and tired of hearing it. It’s not that easy to do and I never exaggerate. The fact is trauma survivors rarely exaggerate their feelings and experiences. Just finding the courage to talk  about it can take years like it has taken me.I was afraid of being disbelieved and blamed  for the terrible experiences that we are powerless to prevent like I have.

Myth two 

You are exaggerating how bad it was to get attention and blame other people for your problems.

The truth is I don’t exaggerate and blame others for my problems many times people told me “you bring it on yourself” that is garbage plain and simple I have since realized that people I have before reached out to that said that well I no longer associate with any of them to me they are “toxic people” to my mental health. The fact is the impacts of traumatic events are often delayed  because people banish the memories from their consciousness like I have as this is a way to survive. By the time  people actually feel the full impact it could be many years since the trauma occurred which happened here in my case.

Myth three

You will never really be normal again.

The truth is If you hear  that very thing you may start to belive it I was starting to wonder what normal really was I could not see the forest for the trees meaning when you are in the moment  you don’t see things from an outsiders point of view. The fact is  trauma survivors may become stronger  and more resilient as a result of surviving and healing from their experiences. For me, this is the case, many years ago I never thought I would be writing like this not to mention trying to get through a day I am now so glad that I am able to write about these issues, not cry anymore and be able to reach out to others who might be going through this type of thing now or have before perhaps even saving ones life.

 Myth four

Once you get on the right medication you will be fine.

The truth is at least in my case, medication was not the only thing that I needed. I needed the counselling which is what I received when I finally arrived at Alpha House in Winnipeg four days a week intense counselling for almost an entire year along with medication to help me sleep at night which I still have to take to this very day otherwise I will not sleep and not be able to work the next day. The fact is medication is only one option for people in healing from the impacts of trauma. Healing is the process that involves time, and happens in partnership with supportive and understanding friends, family, community and helping professionals which luckily after years of searching and moving to a different province I was able to find through Alpha House and Nova House in Selkirk Manitoba. I will be forever grateful to them.

There are options available to begin the healing process please use them

  • Your nearest mental health association they can give you many resources
  • Talk about it like I have here, Trauma must be talked about  and brought out into the open. This is one of the most important steps  on the road to healing. It is also one of the hardest things to do belive me I know. Talking to someone you trust and feel comfortable with is a way to let some of the difficult  feelings out. Talking to someone who has experienced trauma  is a great way to get support and will give you a safe place to learn that you are not alone like I was. Other people are living with the same difficulties and its normal.
  • Get counselling find yourself a good counsellor check online for reviews. Counsellors are there to give you a safe place to begin or continue  your healing process. You deserve a space where you will be heard, not judged and accepted for who you are  despite what you’ve been through. Counselling is a place  where you can start to work on issues that are keeping you stuck.
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The five stages of grief


Hello everyone:

Today I would like to talk about the stages of grief, when I was in Alpha House we talked about this subject on many occasions here is one of the articles that we were given to read.

Denial

  • Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality etc. on the situation concerned . It is a defense mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic event or change that we ignore.
  • This was me for twenty-five years and it was not until I got to Alpha House that it was staring me in the face realizing that denial was hindering my progress in life I had to face the music and start dealing with all this denial that I have held on to for so many years.

Anger

  • Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset are angry with themselves and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached  and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.
  • This was me many years ago always angry kept myself detached from everyone and everything never wanting to go out kept myself isolated all the time hardly ate slept here and there and so much emotional upset that I did not know how to deal with it I went into major depression and was at the lowest point in my life.

Bargaining

  • People facing serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution especially if it’s a matter of life or death.
  • I never did any of that I was just trying as best I could to get through the days.

Depression

  • Depression is also called preparatory grieving, although this stage means different things depending on who it involves. It is a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It’s natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.
  • This was me back then and there are still days when I still struggle with depression.

Acceptance

  • This stage varies according to the persons situation, although broadly it is an sign that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity.
  • I have made some big improvements in  my life now that I have been able to accept a number of things but have to admit there are some other things that I have not been able to accept yet stemming back to when I was married which I may talk about in future blog entries.

Working through depression


When we live through traumatic experiences sometimes we have a tendency to become depressed, depression can take Its toll on a person It could be short-term or like for me It has become long-term and have suffered for many years with It and until I came to Alpha House had no Idea what to do about It, we were given a handout on ways to work through depression which I would like to share here with you and perhaps yourself might one day want to use for reference purposes:

  • Write your thoughts and feelings In a journal….I had previously done this In the past writing It down on paper but It would seem that I could not write fast enough and forgot half of what I was going to write In the process so now as you can see I have an online journal Instead, this works better for me because I am able to type as fast as I think of my thoughts and seems to help me heal from my past experiences faster.
  • Try and be aware of your negative thoughts and replace with positive ones….although I do admit this Is a very hard one to do It takes perseverance and determination with the staff at Alpha House helping me and after months of reading my same affirmations I am becoming a more positive person and although I still get depressed sometimes I find that the affirmations really do help me.
  • Make a weekly list of your positive accomplishments and focus on your positive experiences and successes…..If your like me you may really have to rattle your brain for this one It took me a while to figure this one out.
  • Build a support network of healthy people, and talk to them when you are feeling down….trust me on this one your support network and best friends will be your saving grace I have no Idea where I would have been without all of them today more than likely In the nearest psych ward.
  • Have something to look forward to for example activities, barbeques, a night out for dinner and perhaps a movie afterward or just a night chilling with your friends.
  • How about doing a good deed for someone, who knows you might make their day and put a smile on their face.
  • Self care…. go ahead do something nice for yourself anything that makes you happy however I would not suggest drugs and/or alcohol as they are mood altering.
  • Try volunteer work,  have a cause why not promote It.
  • Do you have any goals If so list them It does not matter If they are family, recreation, personal growth or whatever.
  • Eat healthy and get plenty of rest I have found with my own experiences If you don’t eat properly and lack of sleep or lack of rest you will get sick run down and become even more depressed than you were to begin with.
  • Be assertive to maintain your boundaries use “I feel” statements this one was a struggle for me so It took me a while since most of my life I have been a people pleaser but now I finally have my boundaries In place.

My thinking tank is the bathtub


Well, It Is Saturday today and as the title says yes indeed I do have many thoughts going through my head when I relax in the bathtub, and today I came up with some startling revelations it’s almost like a lightbulb when on in my head let your mind be free anyways, someone once told me that my life was not a book but rather, a dictionary so i have now come up with the idea of writing a book named “Life’s trials and tribulations a true life story” I now feel that because of my life’s experiences I will be able to help others in similar situations and perhaps be an inspiration to others as well which I have been told several times in my life.
There will be many chapters and some of the chapters that I will touch on and talk about are:
1 Marriage.. and yes it can be a blessing however it can also be a nightmare
2 Life in low-income housing
3 I was a miracle child
4 In laws..my mother once told me “when you get married you don’t just marry that person you marry “the entire family”
5 Abuse.. yes the subject that women don’t like to talk about because they feel ashamed to and the effects as well as the types of abuse
6.The struggle to be accepted by others
7. The struggle for survival living from shelter to shelter
11 Inspirational quotes and some of the ways to keep yourself sane
12 My 2 sets of twins.. yes was pregnant 2x with 4 children
13 Homelessness and being judged
14 My passion for animals and their impact on me
As I will be remembering traumatic events in my life which will entail emotional turmoil and becoming very tired which really is nothing new to me but all the same emotional as I progress through my big project I am sure I will be adding new chapters.

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