How To Handle Trauma

My ego is freaking out as I am typing this. You cannot talk about this. This is nothing people need to know. You should keep it a secret. You should keep quiet. Hide this. Don’t speak up.

It breaks my heart that I am feeling this way. It breaks my heart that so many women are feeling this way about far worse things then what happened to me. It breaks my heart and it makes me so angry. And I am sick of listening to my ego. I am sick of that. So I am sitting here at my desk, typing this and convincing my ego that everything is gonna be fine, that all is well. I am tempted to sing a lullaby to him, just to help me find calm. You are exaggerating. Your readers will freak out. They will laugh at you. Am I? Will they? Who has the right to say that? Do I even care about how other people will react?

I feel this call to speak up. And I’ve been feeling it for weeks. The words are rushing through me and I am not holding them back anymore. I made a promise to myself: I would always follow this call, this deep whisper from within that is guiding me to posts like this. So I am.

Two times this year I experienced trauma. The second time directly, meaning I was the victim (not a fan of the word, but not sure how to name it otherwise), the first time I wasn’t the victim, rather I was by the side of the victim, holding her hand, taking care as she was going through the worst.
It was a friend of mine who I met after the first traumatizing event for a  coffee and she looked at me, listened to my words, took a pause and said: “Ronja, that wasn’t just a little traumatic event for you, that was a traumatic event”. Bevor that I’ve been trying to hold my feelings down. I wasn’t the victim, therefore it wasn’t my right to talk about trauma, which is what I told myself. It wasn’t until my friend used the word “trauma” that I realized that this is what it was. I felt so understood, so taken care of and still now I feel the deepest gratitude for her and that moment.

And somehow that already brings me to the first few things I want to mention.

From those two events I have learned  (but I know a lot of you feel the same) that although I was a victim, I felt as if it wasn’t in my right to speak up about it. I felt I had to keep quiet, I felt I was making a fuzz out of something that shouldn’t even bother me. Ahhh just writing those words again makes me so angry. That shouldn’t even bother me. I think that is one of the keys.
It is our ego, telling us this, and it is the society maybe even the reaction of friends and family that add up to that feeling. But let me tell you this:
Who has the right to judge about how you feel? Who has the right to tell you how you should or shouldn’t behave if they weren’t there if they don’t have the slightest idea how it has been? Who has the right to say if this was big or small trauma or if it was a trauma after all?
The only person that knows the answer to this is: You. The person that was there, the person that is feeling the after wave. You who are trying to manage, to handle this.

A young woman slapped her purse into my face with such a force without any reason, coming from behind, without me even realizing it until it happened. Was this a trauma? Was this reason enough to go to the emergency room in the middle of the night? Was it worth the tears? The shock? Was that worth calling in sick the next day at work?
I say yes. I being the one having experienced that.
Is it trauma? I think it is. I think anything is trauma if it leaves a mark on you. And it has left a mark on me.
I never liked going home by myself when it was dark outside. I like it even less. The thought of a Halloween party, strangers with masks, costumes and weird outfits coming way to close to me freaks me out just thinking about it. I was in a cafe with friends, and there was a man walking in, starting to talk ot the owner. They weren’t in my eyesight when a friend whispered: “I think they are gonna start a fight”. My heart rate went up quicker than I was even able to take a breath. I ran outside immediately, standing there taking big breathes, trying to stay calm and keeping the tears inside.
Now is this trauma? Was it trauma when that women slapped her purse into my face? I think it is.
I am only telling you all of this so you understand, so some of you might feel a little relief knowing they are not alone. And I am telling you this because I can already feel how writing those words brings me a sense of peace, is helping me to let go.

Which brings me to this: If something happens to you – no matter how small your ego might try to make it – please please please speak up. And if you tell it to someone and their reaction fuels your ego even more, than turn around. Find someone else to talk to. I told a friend about it, and her reaction was barely any reaction at all, which convinced my ego: See she doesn’t care. I told you it is nothing. I told you shouldn’t make such a fuzz out of it. But it is a thing, isn’t it if your brother asks you to go to a concert with him and your first thought is “no I can’t. Too many people, too close to me” which you would have never thought a few weeks ago? So I turned away from that friend. Being a little bit angry and upset. But I understand now, that we have to keep this in mind: we don’t know what our story might trigger within the other person. We don’t know what they may have experienced. We don’t know if maybe back then they weren’t able to speak up. So don’t be mad at your friend if they react this way. Let them be. You can turn away, that is okay, and find someone else to talk to. That friend, it just wasn’t the one you needed in that moment. But there is someone else out there who is. And you can trust that.

I know that what I have experienced doesn’t even come close to some of the worse things that people have to live through each day. I know that, yet I am tired of comparing, tired of thinking something is worse than other things, tired of judging and trying to explain myself.
I’ll say it again: If something happens, that you cannot shake off no matter how big or little you are convinced it is, you have a right to speak up. You have a right to talk about it. You have the right to say “I need help. I need to talk. I don’t feel good.”  You have this right.

There is no one-way solution for this, no xx steps on how to handle trauma, but there are a few things I wish for you to keep in mind:

Speak up

You can see how passionate I am about this, can’t you? This is because I struggled to do so myself. I experienced first hand how difficult it was for me to talk about what had happened. Keep in mind that your ego is trying to keep this hidden, trying for you not to make a fuzz out of it. But you aren’t. Never if you say out loud what you feel. And I promise you this: the moment you speak up, the moment you tell someone what happened and they react with genuine support and love, you will feel such a weight lift off your shoulders. It will immediately help you to heal.
Please please please speak up. Open up to a person you trust. Invite them in. Let them help you heal.

Be as gentle and loving towards yourself as you possibly can

As I said, this is a time for your ego to try and show up. A time in which you might feel sensitive and vulnerable. A time in which you are sensitive and vulnerable. So don’t add up to this by adding even more stress. After that purse incident, I called in sick the next day. For one because I barely slept that night, but also because I was very aware that I had a choice: to push myself or to give myself room to breathe. I chose the latter because I knew that pushing myself would only backfire. Of course, that wasn’t easy. My sense of responsibility didn’t like this. Luckily it was my mum supporting my decision and backing me up as I did so. So I am doing the same for you. It is okay to take it slow. It is okay to take a few days sick. Yes, it is even okay for you to go into hiding for a few days. This is important, more important than ever: do what you feel drawn to. Do what feels good. Do as your soul is telling you to. Nurture the cravings and the desires your body and soul have right now. No matter what beliefs you have around them – I mean this typical: I can’t eat the chocolate because I want to stay skinny and fit. This isn’t the time to push yourself. Please, eat the damn chocolate if it makes you feel better!

Ask for help

Oh, I know. This ain’t easy. This ain’t easy for me at all. I am amazing at giving, but I am the worst at asking for any sort of help. Asking for help doesn’t come easy to me. And I think it doesn’t for a lot of us amazing successful and independent man and woman. We believe that asking for help is showing weakness and we believe that we cannot be weak in order to survive in this world. Well asking for help has nothing to do with showing weakness. In fact its the opposite: Knowing yourself well enough to see that you are struggling, acknowledging that and then taking the steps to feel better and heal, well I can only say that in my opinion, this is strong!
I always preach that to you and most of all to myself: you don’t have to do things alone. You can rely on others to be there to help and support. Sometimes you will just have to ask a friend. Sometimes you might want to ask a life coach. Other times you will want to ask a therapist. I cannot tell you which one it is, but I can promise you that you know deep within. And if you ever ever feel the desire to talk to me, tell me, open up to me because you feel that we share something, do not hesitate to do. I cannot promise that you are safe with others but I can promise you that you are safe with me.

Allow yourself to heal

Whatever happened, has left a scar on you and a scar needs time in order to heal. Just because the scar is not visible from an outside look, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Remember when I wrote that my brother asked me to go to a concert with him? He asked me around two months after the purse incident had happened. And my first instinct was no. He gave me room enough to think about it, thankfully he did. In the end, we went, because I felt confident enough to try and see how I would feel, knowing that my brother knew all about it and would be there with me. Funny enough the day the concert came I didn’t think once about it. I had a blast and one of the best times this year. Only later I realized that beforehand I had been so scared to go.
I still freak out when things get crazy in a Subway and just this week I was there when another crazy person decided to throw a glass bottle across the platform at someone else and pieces of glass where all of sudden all around me. So I am still jumpy, but overall I can navigate freely again, which I couldn’t at first. Over time I healed, I still heal. And so will you. It just won’t happen overnight, it will take some time. Allow yourself to have this time, allow yourself to heal.

 

This post didn’t come easily to me. You know that I am very open when it comes to sharing when I am going through challenging times but this one was different. My ego was so strong and telling me that it wasn’t safe for me to speak up. Somehow the older I get, there more I feel this very very intense need to speak up, to voice my opinion. I said before that I feel as if so much bad is happening in the world. At the same time, I strongly feel as if this right now, right here is our time to rise. Our time to unravel. Our time to find and share our light. You. Me. Us.

Rise for you, rise for me,
when you rise first you rise for she.

by Rebecca Campbell

 

I hope this serves you.

Don’t hesitate to reach out. I am here. This is safe.

xx Ronja

 


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