1. Trauma permanently changes us.
This is the big, scary truth about trauma: there is no such thing as “getting over it.” The five stages of grief model marks universal stages in learning to accept loss, but the reality is in fact much bigger: a major life disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no “back to the old me.” You are different now, full stop.
This is not a wholly negative thing. Healing from trauma can also mean finding new strength and joy. The goal of healing is not a papering-over of changes in an effort to preserve or present things as normal. It is to acknowledge and wear your new life — warts, wisdom, and all — with courage.
2. Presence is always better than distance.
There is a curious illusion that in times of crisis people “need space.” I don’t know where this assumption originated, but in my experience it is almost always false. Trauma is a disfiguring, lonely time even when surrounded in love; to suffer through trauma alone is unbearable. Do not assume others are reaching out, showing up, or covering all the bases.
It is a much lighter burden to say, “Thanks for your love, but please go away,” than to say, “I was hurting and no one cared for me.” If someone says they need space, respect that. Otherwise, err on the side of presence.
3. Healing is seasonal, not linear.
It is true that healing happens with time. But in the recovery wilderness, emotional healing looks less like a line and more like a wobbly figure-8. It’s perfectly common to get stuck in one stage for months, only to jump to another end entirely … only to find yourself back in the same old mud again next year.
Recovery lasts a long, long time. Expect seasons.
4. Surviving trauma takes “firefighters” and “builders.” Very few people are both.
This is a tough one. In times of crisis, we want our family, partner, or dearest friends to be everything for us. But surviving trauma requires at least two types of people: the crisis team — those friends who can drop everything and jump into the fray by your side, and the reconstruction crew — those whose calm, steady care will help nudge you out the door into regaining your footing in the world. In my experience, it is extremely rare for any individual to be both a firefighter and a builder. This is one reason why trauma is a lonely experience. Even if you share suffering with others, no one else will be able to fully walk the road with you the whole way.
A hard lesson of trauma is learning to forgive and love your partner, best friend, or family even when they fail at one of these roles. Conversely, one of the deepest joys is finding both kinds of companions beside you on the journey.
5. Grieving is social, and so is healing.
For as private a pain as trauma is, for all the healing that time and self-work will bring, we are wired for contact. Just as relationships can hurt us most deeply, it is only through relationship that we can be most fully healed.
It’s not easy to know what this looks like — can I trust casual acquaintances with my hurt? If my family is the source of trauma, can they also be the source of healing? How long until this friend walks away? Does communal prayer help or trivialize?
Seeking out shelter in one another requires tremendous courage, but it is a matter of life or paralysis. One way to start is to practice giving shelter to others.
6. Do not offer platitudes or comparisons. Do not, do not, do not.
“I’m so sorry you lost your son, we lost our dog last year … ” “At least it’s not as bad as … ” “You’ll be stronger when this is over.” “God works in all things for good!”
When a loved one is suffering, we want to comfort them. We offer assurances like the ones above when we don’t know what else to say. But from the inside, these often sting as clueless, careless, or just plain false.
Trauma is terrible. What we need in the aftermath is a friend who can swallow her own discomfort and fear, sit beside us, and just let it be terrible for a while.
7. Allow those suffering to tell their own stories.
Of course, someone who has suffered trauma may say, “This made me stronger,” or “I’m lucky it’s only (x) and not (z).” That is their prerogative. There is an enormous gulf between having someone else thrust his unsolicited or misapplied silver linings onto you, and discovering hope for one’s self. The story may ultimately sound very much like “God works in all things for good,” but there will be a galaxy of disfigurement and longing and disorientation in that confession. Give the person struggling through trauma the dignity of discovering and owning for himself where, and if, hope endures.
8. Love shows up in unexpected ways.
This is a mystifying pattern after trauma, particularly for those in broad community: some near-strangers reach out, some close friends fumble to express care. It’s natural for us to weight expressions of love differently: a Hallmark card, while unsatisfying if received from a dear friend, can be deeply touching coming from an old acquaintance.
Ultimately every gesture of love, regardless of the sender, becomes a step along the way to healing. If there are beatitudes for trauma, I’d say the first is, “Blessed are those who give love to anyone in times of hurt, regardless of how recently they’ve talked or awkwardly reconnected or visited cross-country or ignored each other on the metro.” It may not look like what you’d request or expect, but there will be days when surprise love will be the sweetest.
9. Whatever doesn’t kill you …
In 2011, after a publically humiliating year, comedian Conan O’Brien gave students at Dartmouth College the following warning:
"Nietzsche famously said, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ … What he failed to stress is that it almost kills you.”
Odd things show up after a serious loss and creep into every corner of life: insatiable anxiety in places that used to bring you joy, detachment or frustration towards your closest companions, a deep distrust of love or presence or vulnerability.
There will be days when you feel like a quivering, cowardly shell of yourself, when despair yawns as a terrible chasm, when fear paralyzes any chance for pleasure. This is just a fight that has to be won, over and over and over again.
10. … Doesn’t kill you.
Living through trauma may teach you resilience. It may help sustain you and others in times of crisis down the road. It may prompt humility. It may make for deeper seasons of joy. It may even make you stronger.
It also may not.
In the end, the hope of life after trauma is simply that you have life after trauma. The days, in their weird and varied richness, go on. So will you.
Catherine Woodiwiss, “A New Normal: Ten Things I’ve Learned About Trauma” (via lepetitmortpourmoi)
I find some of this useful. It also makes me want to point out that for some of us there is no “before trauma”. For those of us with complex trauma / complex PTSD, when the trauma happened continuously through childhood, it is all we know.
This may get 2 notes this may get 1000. I don’t really mind, even if it helps one person i’m happy.
I just want you to know that everything will be okay. I know you’re in a hard place right now where you think that maybe harming yourself or killing yourself is the only solution. But I promise you, there are other ways you can cope and there are reasons for you to stay on this earth.
Self harming isn’t going to solve the problem/s nor will it make you feel any better. I know you get a sense of release/punishment but it’s not going to help in the long run.
Remind yourself that every time you feel the urge to self-harm that it’s just a thought. You DO NOT have to act upon it.
Self-harming will affect you emotionally, physically and mentally. It will only help for about 5 minutes. Then something else can happen to trigger the feeling again.
Alternatives without harming yourself:
- Holding/squeezing ice.
- Splashing your face with water.
- Getting a rubber band and snapping it against your skin (this could hurt, though it’s better than other ways that people usually choose to self-harm).
- Take a hot shower or bath.
- Eat something sour. It will take your mind of the urge. (Lemon, sour lollies)
- Massage where you want to self-harm.
- Get a red pen or red paint and draw/paint over where you usually self-harm.
- Remind yourself as to why you shouldn’t do it. (Scars, harms organs, blood lose, leave memories etc…)
- Describe what you are feeling. (Is the urge/pain in your chest, fists, legs, arms, head).
Killing yourself will not help. It is not a solution.For whatever reason you are thinking about killing yourself, it is temporary and you can get help.
I know you probably think no one cares, you think you can’t handle the situation you are in or you feel helpless and alone.
But I want to remind you everything is temporary
You have your whole life ahead of you. You have so many more years that you can accomplish things in.
- Having a family.
- Getting married.
- To watch the sun rise.
- To watch the sun set.
- To save someone else’s life.
- Finish school.
- Get your dream job.
- To laugh.
- To smile.
- To go camping.
- Travel to new places.
- To wake up every morning to the person you love.
- To keep that promise you made.
- To accomplish a goal.
- To meet your idle.
- To listen to new music.
- Theme parks.
- Video games.
- To be able to look back and say “I made it”.
Just a reminder; what you are going through is temporary.
In case you need to hear this:
- You are loved.
- You are wanted.
- You are needed.
- You are beautiful.
- You are handsome.
- You are important.
- You are not alone.
- You are okay.
- You are strong.
- You are worth it.
- You are smart.
- You are not a failure.
- You are useful.
- You are going to be okay.
I’m always here for you. I’ll try my best to help and make you smile.
You deserve to be happy and you deserve to know that you are not alone and there are people that can help.
reblog and make a wish!
this was removed from tumbrl due to “violating one or more of Tumblr’s Community Guidelines”, but since my wish came true the first time, I’m putting it back. :)
OH MY FUCKING GOD, IT’S BACK ON MY DASH.
THIS SHIT WORKS OKAY, I AM DEAD SERIOUS.
The last time I saw this on my dash, I didn’t think it would happen, so jokingly I wished I could go to a fun. concert.
AND GUESS WHAT, I WENT TO A FUCKING FUN. CONCERT.
THIS SHIT WORKS, TRY IT.
I SAW THIS ON MY DASH THE OTHER DAY AND THOUGHT “ITS WORTH A TRY” SO I WISHED I COULD GET A 3DS
LITERALLY LIKE 4 DAYS LATER MY DAD SENT ME A PICTURE OF THE 3DS XL HE BOUGHT FOR ME WHILE I WAS AT SCHOOL
IM STILL FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS
holy fuck, I didn’t expect this to work, I was like psh, whatever it’s just a quick reblog, but I wished my Dad would actually respond back to me AND HE FUCKING DID A FEW DAYS LATER, I GOT A FUCKING TEXT FROM MY DAD TODAY WHO HASN’T SPOKEN OR RESPONDED TO ME IN MONTHS HOLY FUCK WHAT IS THIS MAGIC IT WORKS.
I WANTED TO SEE MY BOYFRIEND AND I DIDN’T THINK I’D GET DAYS OFF BUT THIS WEEKEND I’M HEADING UP THERE??? THIS IS CRAZY SHIT
SO LIKE I JOKINGLY WISHED FOR MY OWN LEN KAGAMINE AND THEN LIKE A WEEK LATER I GOT A LEN NENDOROID??? H ELP
WTF OKAY SO THIS SHOT ACTUALLY WORKS BECAUSE WHEN I WISHED, I HAD WISHED MY CRUSH WOULD LIKE ME BACK AND GUESS WHAT? I HAVE A BOYFRIEND NOW. WHAT THE HELLLLL?????
ok I’ve said this before but IM DOING IT AGAIN THE FIRST TIME I SAW THIS, MY WISH DID COME TRUE SO I REBLOGED AGAIN AND SAID IT IN THE TAGS BUT THEN I WISHED FOR SMTH ELSE AND IT LITERALLY LITERALLY HAPPENED LIKE A COUPLE DAYS LATER WHAT THE HELL SO NOW IM WRITING THIS HERE FOR YOU BC I DONT BELIEVE IN THIS CRAP BUT STILL IT’S AN AWFULLY BIG COINCIDENCE
THE BOY I FELL I LOVE WITH LEFT TO TRAVEL THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD AND HAS BEEN GONE NOW FOR 3 MONTHS. WE HAVENT SPOKEN SINCE BECAUSE I DIDNT WANT TO MAKE HIM FEEL TRAPPED TO ME AND NOT ENJOY HIS TIME SO I WAITED FOR HIM TO CONTACT ME FIRST. I SAW THIS ON A PARTICULARLY LOW DAY WHEN I WAS MISSING HIM SO MUCH I CRIED FROM THE PAIN, GUYS I REALLY LOVE HIM, SO I THOUGHT MEH WHAT THE FUCK, AND WISHED HE WOULD JUST LET ME KNOW HE WAS OKAY.
HE FUCKING CALLED ME 20 MINUTES LATER
20 FUCKNG. MINUTES. LATER.
GOOD THINGS DO HAPPEN. AND ITS IN THIS POST.
I wish for someone to leave something in my ask.
OKAY SO I ASKED FOR A HEDGEHOG AND NOW GUESS WHO HAS A PET HEDGEHOG
reblogging again because it’s absolutely incredible
important as fuck
can i put this on my refrigerator
I’m tapping this inside my locker and my room and looking at it everyday, this needs to be seen.
never make fun of someones anxiety never make fun of someones anxiety never make fun of someones anxiety never make fun of someones anxiety never make fun of someones anxiety never make fun of someones anxiety never make fun of someones anxiety never make fun of someones anxiety never make fun of someones anxiety never make fun of someones anxiety never make fun of someones anxiety
This is absolutely terrifying. Just look at it, it is so real and astonishing. You need to reblog this. I don’t care if you’re used to reblogging orange, teenage girls with vans on. I don’t care if you’re used to reblogging vintage or photography. This is real. You can even see the fury in his eyes. The tense muscles in between his fingers. The heavy breathing. reblog this. NOW.in all seriousness thoughM..my heart just stopped… ;~;Guys, you’ve got to reblog this. It’s reality and it needs to be brought to everyone’s attention.I lost a friend to this kind of harassment. I really don’t want to remind myself of everything that happened so I won’t say a word about it. All I will say is, he was one of my best friends and the kindest person I had ever known. The pain I went through after his death was indescribable. I want you all to know that it’s not easing knowing that someone you love had such thoughts that they didn’t deserve living anymore. I’m not good with words at all so please excuse this lousy paragraph I have attempted to write to move you. I am serious though. Don’t ignore this.i’m going to reblog forever.This kills me, please stop this.it seriously hurts to know people say thishow the fuck could you possibly send someone hate, or make rude comments when you know all to well that this could be the outcome, makes me sick. somebody please stop this from happening.
ALRIGHT STOP SCROLLING RIGHT NOW. REBLOG THIS. I DON’T CARE IF YOU ARE A HIPSTER, SUMMER, PHOTOGRAPHY, BOHO, SURF, WHATEVER BLOG. REBLOG THIS.
Oh my god
THIS MOVED ME SO MUCH GUYS REBLOG ;__; ;;;n;;;
((I DONT CARE WHAT KIND OF BLOG YOU ARE
This doesn’t fit my blog type, but I had to reblog this. It’s so powerful.
She’s sunny one minute then she’s pouring down rain.
Please take a moment of your day to help this family get a amber alert going for these two little ones. If you see them call police or crime stoppers at 1-800-speakup.
So, this is happening!! Shea Moisture is expanding into makeup for Black women. I wanna try everything here.
ETA: The line will be available at Target. Look out for it Spring/Summer of 2014. I cannot wait.
For all my followers who are ladies of color
I am SICK and TIRED of people objecting to seeing women using their breasts for what they are actually for. BREASTFEEDING IS NOT VULGAR OR OBSCENE.
I support breastfeeding all the way, even if it is in public.
And the award winning one:
THIS. THIS. THIS/
"I know exactly what she’s gonna say next, which is: ‘Brian, I’m never ever having sex with you."
I feel like this is important, not just for asexuals, but for everyone, because the moment someone says they aren’t interested in sex, or “don’t want it” the other person gets defensive and upset. The reason that THAT is a problem is because anyone who is defensive over YOUR lack of sexual interest, means they feel they have a right to YOUR body which is UNACCEPTABLE
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