"We don't heal in isolation, but in community." - S. Kelley Harrell
This last and final blog is one that I am passionate about and one of the very reasons why I did this March series on Trauma. One of my goals in my private practice has been to raise awareness and talk about situations that are often treated as taboo in our society. Trauma is something that is all around us, but a subject that many do not know much about. Our community experiences shootings, violence, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, and violence within our own homes. Yet, we don't talk about it. Unless we have been personally affected by trauma, we often have no idea how it has affected someone else. We move on in our lives and as time passes we tend to forget that a certain event happened. But the reality is, if you have experienced a trauma, you will never move on in life the same way again.
This issue is much bigger than us and it is not just going to take one of us speaking out to change it. This is a society wide issue. The way our society handles trauma leaves those who have experienced it lost and alone. They often feel that no one will understand or support them if they talk about the trauma that they have experienced.
I also feel that we have made certain subjects so taboo that survivors do not even realize the effects of their own trauma. Trauma survivors often find themselves keeping hush hush about what they have experienced, because that is what everyone else is doing. So therefore, their best bet is to try to move on in life as best as they can. But that only works for so long. It isn't until they have debilitating flashbacks, panic attacks, or unmanageable stress, that they reach out for help. Trauma survivors need community and support, as Trauma is not meant to be processed alone.
Reach out for help
If you have experienced trauma and have hesitated in the past to reach out for help, is now the time? There is never an ideal time to deal with trauma. It is going to be difficult no matter when you deal with it. However, the weight that can be lifted off of your shoulders is worth the investment into yourself.
It can often be difficult to reach out to others due to the fear of not knowing how they will respond. However, people often do not know that we need support unless we tell them. This can be the hardest part of the healing process, as we not only have to acknowledge the effects of the trauma on our life, but have to be willing to be vulnerable and share our experience. Asking for help can often provoke feelings of weakness, which are a roadblock to asking for help. But we are not meant to do life alone. There is risk in allowing others to care about us, but it is something that can be so helpful in repairing our trauma. Community and support can often be one of the biggest contributions to our healing process.
Learn How to Support Others
If someone has reached out to you for help. I would encourage you to educate yourself on what that person may be experiencing. It can feel lonely for the survivor to not have anyone who understands or who they can lean on. There are great ways to educate yourself to better understand what your loved one is experiencing, and you can better be a support, if you know how to be.
How can you be a support? (I am going to talk more about this on my Facebook Live on Saturday, March 25th at 3pm. I would love for you to join me).
These are a just a few groups that are available to loved ones of those who have experienced trauma. Unfortunately, there are not support groups for every type of trauma that one might experience, but it is nice that there are some. I mention both the alcohol and drug support groups, because this is often what trauma survivors turn to, to cope.
Help Raise Awareness to Make Subjects Less Taboo
While I am not encouraging you to go share someone else's story, I am encouraging you to talk about subjects that everyone else is too scared to talk about. The more we stay quiet about certain topics, the more it keeps survivors isolated. Many trauma survivors experience shame. When topics are kept so quiet, it gives off the idea that they shouldn't be talked about, which magnifies those feelings of shame and embarrassment. Therefore, the more they are talked about, the more normalized they become and therefore encourage the survivors to reach out for help.
We only know about trauma that is reported. This is specifically important for crimes like sexual abuse, physical abuse, and emotional abuse. Many people do not report these kinds of crimes because they are not encouraged to. They think they are alone in what they are feeling and there is fear that no one will support them if they do. This often results in many survivors holding their trauma in and it therefore having negative effects on their life. Our story is not meant to be squashed and pushed down. It is meant to be processed. Now, in no way am I saying that you need to go tell everyone you know about your trauma, but find someone that is safe and reach out for help.
It is possible for us to make a difference. Change starts by us choosing to no longer treat issues as taboo.
I have provided you all of this information on Trauma over the last 4 weeks and would love to leave you with some resources to reach out for help.
Also, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions!
I want to thank you for joining me on this 4 week Trauma series. I feel so privileged to get to share life with you, it is such a blessing. I hope that this information has been informative and helpful. I would love to hear from you if you have comments or questions about anything that I have talked about, or if you have questions that haven't been addressed.
Read the Previous Blogs in this Trauma Series: