You Are Not Your Trauma

Trauma invades areas of our lives we never thought possible. It leaves physical scars. It leaves mental scars. It leaves emotional scars. It halts you in your tracks at the smallest of memories. Your body tenses in response and you are suddenly alert, acutely aware of every noise and movement around you.

The effects of trauma don’t always show on the outside. Someone walking past you may not even know that your heart is racing, that your throat is dry. They may not see your clenched fists or tight jaw. Your physical scars may be hidden beneath clothes. You may not have physical scars, just those etched into your mind, onto your soul.

Trauma can be an extremely lonely experience. How do you find someone who understands when you don’t know how to explain it? How do you find someone who will understand why you are quiet for long periods? Who will understand why you are fidgeting and looking nervously around at nothing? How will they understand how real the nightmares are? Who will understand why you want to stay in bed today?

Recovery from trauma is hard. Being a survivor doesn’t mean you forget. Living your everyday life doesn’t mean you’re healed. Being able to laugh all night with friends doesn’t mean you won’t be crying on the way home. It’s not something that goes away. It stays with you for life. It burrows deep inside of you.

Trauma is like your shadow. It follows you everywhere even when you are completely unconscious of it. The memories, the feelings, the emotions…they can be as easy to trigger as a light switch. It’s frustrating and painful. It’s agonizing and stressful. It’s paralyzing. It’s impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it. It’s lonely. It can’t be erased. It will never be forgotten.

Yet, as a survivor, you take that step forward. You get up in the morning. You shower. You get dressed. You go outside. You go for a walk. You go for a drive. You head to work. You hang out with friends. You grab a coffee. You go to lunch. You keep up with the news. You read your favorite books and watch your favorite movies. You do everything that is “normal”. 

You are a fighter. You carry the weight, but in silence. You know you will have lapses and you know you will have bad days, but you don’t let it stop you because you are stronger than your trauma. You are stronger than the memories, than the scars, than the triggers. You are not your trauma and your trauma is not you.

You have dark days when all you see are the images playing in your head. You hear every sound that takes you back to that place. You smell those familiar and hateful scents. Those dark days do not define you. You know they don’t. You will let them run their course and then get up and carry on.

You will carry on with your life because you are strong enough to know that you can continue on one more day. You are strong enough to take another step. You can live a normal life. You are not your trauma and your trauma is not you. 

You are strong. You are brave. You can hold your head high. You can be proud of every small step you take. You don’t have to explain anything to anyone. You can carry on because you are not your trauma and your trauma is not you.

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Jackson – A Fleeting Inspiration

“For the love of Christ! What are you doing?” Jackson yells as Allen’s foot tries to slam a hole through the car’s carpeted metal floor. Allen says nothing, but a smile slowly creeps into his cheeks. Jackson is holding onto the “oh shit” handle and braces himself against the leather back of his seat.

“If you want to die, that’s on you, but you don’t have to drag me with you.” Jackson’s Brooklyn accent is not something he has been able to completely drop. When he’s calm, he can tuck it away neatly. But when stress put the pressure on him or when he was heated, he didn’t even realize how much it was changing his words.

He had come to Ohio to get away from the city and the noise. That’s what people did, right? They grew up in the city and would either love it or try like hell to leave. Jackson had tried like hell and had succeeded. He had found a little backwoods home in the middle of nowhere. When he told people the name of the town he now lived in, they gave him confused looks so he started using other towns to describe it.

“It’s about 20 minutes north of Juliette. You ever heard of Ross?” They would nod vaguely aware that it sounds familiar. “Yeah, it’s just before that.” It was true that the town was nothing more than fields and trees with a few houses or parishes scattered here and there. Sometimes the quiet would keep Jackson up at night. He missed the city sounds at times, but also smiled when he thought about how infrequently he heard sirens. His town didn’t even have a police station. Every two months or so you may see a state trooper cruise through, but that’s really all he did; he cruised through and didn’t pay any attention.

He was wishing this was one of those days that the trooper may cruise by, see the speeding car, and do something about it. Allen’s foot wasn’t letting up. That smile was still eerily plastered on his face. Jackson turned to face the road. He could feel the car slipping on the loose gravel.

~~~~~~~~

I’m looking for inspiration. I had it in one brief moment during a ten minute break almost two weeks ago. Before I got a chance to finish what was sure to be at the very least interesting, my break was over. I have opened this post a few times since then and could never find the same fire that started the first paragraph. I wrote the last paragraph this morning and something just feels off about it. I also have no idea where to go from there.

It’s heartbreaking to have lost the words that only a couple months ago came so easily. I don’t know why I can’t summon words with the same ease as I did before this wretched concussion gripped my brain. I feel like the words are all jumbled and I have no idea how to unscrambled them.

I want to write again. I miss it. It’s like a part of me is in a coma and I don’t know how to wake it up. It’s lying there, I can see it. I see it’s even breathing on its own so why won’t that part wake up? I feel like it’s trying to fight the condition; a brief moment here or there where movement is detected. Yet in the end, that part of me is still sleeping. 

I want my writer self back! She needs to wake up! I can’t feel the release my soul needs without her. I feel couped up and like the words are building up inside me. I fear the pressure will build too high. I fear she will be lost forever if that pressure should finally cause an explosion.

I try to use prompts, but end up deleting the post because it doesn’t make sense. I can’t do it without my writer self. Without her inside my brain feeding me the lines deep from within my soul, I am nothing but a shell. My soul is resting inside her body and I fear it may just disappear.