In life, at some point or another, we all will endure a traumatic episode, whether it be the loss of a parent, child, pet, dissolution of a marriage, etc. We are all destined to go down a dark road or two. For some of us, the trauma never goes away. The pain never soothed. The inability to recover after experiencing (or witnessing) a traumatic event can cause life long struggles. Leading to what I call episodes of “reoccurring trauma.” Although I am only in my 30’s, my relationship with trauma has been quite stable. I can always count on it to be there when I don’t need it at all! This post is sincerely the only way I can cope with the current “major pain that’s weighing on my brain” (Kendrick Lamar lyric). I dedicate this open letter to those who beg to feel the sun instead of the rain.
Happiness is not a destination; it’s a state of being.
Happiness is not a destination; it’s a state of being. They say if you seek happiness, you will find it. That if you allow yourself to be happy, you, in turn, will be. I feel like trauma is much more significant than both happiness and sadness. It’s almost as if you have to get through the ordeal first, to be able to experience one or the other. So how do you move beyond trauma? How do you move beyond the paralyzation from fear of its reoccurrence? Sometimes when I talk to other people, they say things like, “It could always be worse.” Like that makes it better. Knowing that my experience is “nothing” in comparison to someone else’s, doesn’t make me feel any better.
The recent passing of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old Daughter Gianna Bryant
Empathy is my superpower and kryptonite. Trauma forces me to experience the energy, emotions, and physical sensations around me, in profound ways. The recent passing of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old Daughter Gianna was an unexpected gut punch. A punch that sent me spiraling into the abyss of sadness, but mostly confusion. Over the past years, I’ve experienced the deaths of several iconic celebrities, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, Maya Angelou, Dick Gregory, and Toni Morrison, to name a few.
So what’s so different about this one?
For me, the ever-present reality that life is fleeting was yet again confirmed. Feeling the pain of all those I’ve personally lost, came flooding back. Thinking about the heartbreak, my mom must have suffered following my father’s tragic death. Remembering the pain in my cousin’s voice as she frantically yelled and sobbed into the phone that my aunt (her mother) was no longer with us. Or the unexpected greeting by mom during a sleepover at a friend’s house with the news of my grandmother’s passing.
One mighty thrust, and here I am back in that painful space. Unbridled emotion. Unable to shake this luminous cloud of desolation. Hello Trauma. Nice to see you again.
We are fighting for stability in an unstable world!
Despite the pain, I must keep moving. The world doesn’t stop turning, and time waits for no man.
The judgment and stigma associated with therapy may be what caused me to question its effectiveness. Therapy is viewed as a “sore thumb” in the black community. Some think it’s only for “crazy” people, or by speaking with a therapist, you are somehow “telling all your business.” Well, I am here to share that I am crazy and spent a recent evening telling all my business to a stranger, lol.
For years my husband and I have talked about the importance of self-care. It’s a reoccurring topic now that we’re parents. Enlisting the assistance of an unbiased third party is the method I’ve chosen. Although I’ve only had one therapy session, the hour spent just talking, was very helpful.
I look forward to seeing how retraining the way I think and even view the world affects my relationship with trauma. Although I may never be completely free from the fear of reoccurring trauma, I can take my power back by learning how to cope.
What are your methods of self-care? Let’s talk about this!