Have you ever felt like you’ve moved past something, and then suddenly you’re blindsided? Pain, past memories, or fears hit you again and again like relentless waves. Trauma takes a strong grip on multiple layers of our lives. If we are not careful, it can suffocate us.
If you’ve been caught off guard, you’re not alone.
I am someone who thought their PTSD was under control, but in reality I was just avoiding the painful process of healing.
I am currently learning to delight in pregnancy, much like a child learns to ride a bike. I am wobbly, constantly falling, and I have to go at my own slow pace. It is not a matter of wanting this precious baby. It is a matter of fighting past demons.
When traumatic events occur that completely flip your entire world upside down, they tend to result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). To read more about ways to cope with PTSD, you can click here.
I wrote about some of the events that have caused my PTSD for KinBox Magazine. It cost SO much of me to write.
I sent the article to my editor, and told her I would never read it again. She graciously handled any needed revisions for me. It was brutal, but healing.
After I hit “send,” I felt so accomplished. I didn’t feel completely over things, but that I was closer to being in a peaceful place.
Hit by a Bus
Yesterday, I saw some baby toys on sale while I was doing my grocery shopping.
As I reached out to grab one, my hand started shaking. That’s super weird, what is going on? I tried to ignore it, but I started feeling silly and embarassed for buying a baby toy.
At 16 weeks pregnant, I am still convinced that something is going to go wrong.
Every time I try to guard my own heart, I am not fully allowing myself to love the heart beating right below mine. I need to come to terms with my preterm labor. How could I go this long without recognizing trauma’s grasp?
Something had to change.
I needed the amount I celebrate this life to far outweigh the fears that crept in.
I needed to stop feeling guilting for taking bump pictures, even though I still cannot look at mine with the twins.
While nearly breaking down at Fred Meyer wasn’t my favorite, it was a catalyst of change.
Work in Progress
Does change happen overnight? NO. Commiting to fighting for joy can happen right here and right now though.
After spending a lot of time thinking and praying about feeling stuck, here are a few things I have learned:
- Recognize the presence of trauma, don’t avoid it.
- Ask yourself what or who you are fighting for?
- Ask yourself who is fighting WITH you? Who can you let in that is trustworthy?
- Do not get stuck when you don’t measure up to your final goal. Healing takes TIME. Being triggered again doesn’t mean your taking steps backward.
- And most importantly…
It is okay to not be the same person that you were.
Trauma isolates you from others by disconnecting you from your former self.
Everyone expects the same old you, and that person is now a distant stranger.
Richard and I have lost some friends and family along the way. That was never the intention, but intention is the KEY word.
The people who have stuck by us have intentionally and actively tried to understand what we have been through, and continue to go through.
They have asked for glimpses of our past nightmares, and helped carry the burden of trauma.
They haven’t asked us to put on our old selves to make them feel comfortable, they have embraced us as we are.
Please reach out if you have gone through trauma. Do not let trauma take away everything you have, including your identity.