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A Story of Redemption: From Trauma to Triumph

Nümi Maras

Guest Blogger

mental illness

I don't feel real. I mean, I know I'm real, but not really. I know what my labels are: woman, mom, sister, coworker, crazy, emotional, intimidating—the list goes on.

I thought I knew what to do when I got to be on my own. College, work, home. Then work, home, family, wash, rinse, repeat. It seemed black and white.

However, it's not black and white; it's mostly gray when you have zero guidance on how things really work, and how much more there is to life. Emotional regulation, relationship navigation, setting and enforcing boundaries, maintaining physical and mental health, finances, credit, career, college, planning, proper decision-making, forward thinking. I could go on for days about all the things I was wildly unprepared for.

Parenting is the absolute hardest. How do you raise and teach blossoming souls to be emotionally stable, healthy decision-making adults? How do you teach life guidance and relationship structure when you know nothing of it? The answer is you can't.

I began life at 16, began in the sense that I was now responsible for my own independence financially and 100% of my choices. I'm 44 now, and I'm just now figuring out everything I've done wrong, how my choices hurt those I love, and were a catalyst for my alcoholism.

In 2020, that addiction killed me. Literally. After a month in ICU, I started my journey to heal not only my family but to try to heal myself. Sixteen years of trauma, the majority of it within the first six years of my life, all of it unhealed.

I learned how to manage and adapt. I have a lot of useful skills my trauma has taught me. It also taught me a lot of toxic traits that have done me no favors in the long run.

Since 2020, I have learned to do a lot of reflection. Self-reflection and self-awareness are helping me grow. Researching and learning everything I can about the mind and why it is the way it is. And all this learning, reflection, and growing is allowing me to rebuild and teach my family what I have never known until now.

I try to pause in the moment of negative emotion and try to trace it back to its origins. I can change my reaction to something different than the response I got as a child. Eventually, all that conscious effort will slowly start to become unconscious or subconscious effort, as our brains are creating new neural pathways, effectively becoming effortless slowly over time.

And I hope this seemingly small and significant change echoes through future generations until all that generational trauma vanishes, and my descendants become healthy, kind, compassionate, stable humans. Only I can end my trauma, and I choose to end it now. Because if not me, then who?

It's almost funny when you start making changes to your own personality because those who have known me see my changes. I've been told by many of those people that those changes read as a softening of my character or a developing weakness. I, however, do not.

I have witnessed great devastation, extreme violence, and stolen innocence. I've been consumed in the rage and chaos in the fire. I have walked with and loved the dark creature I became. I cared not about the aftermath I left behind me. I want no part of that anymore.

I know pain and violence. I choose kindness. I know the terrible things that I am capable of, and I choose to be soft and good. I choose compassion. And I'm stronger for it.

The pain in this world can feel cold, heavy, and dark. It doesn't have to be. When it rains, it pours, but it can't rain forever. Even the rain has a purpose, so try to enjoy the rain until it passes. Look for the rainbows; it will get better.


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