People don’t talk enough about the loneliness that comes from being a trauma survivor. The loneliness that comes from trying to put your life back together after it’s been ripped apart.
I experienced child abuse and in my early adult years I was so disconnected from it. I had a lot of friends, was very social, was able to push through my anxiety and do the things I wanted. And then I started to go to therapy and the trauma stuff started to come up and it felt like my life fell apart.
The abuse happened consistently when I was young but I was able to completely dissociate from it so it felt like it didn’t affect me very much. I had really intense anxiety but I was pretty numb to the trauma. Once I started processing it, though, all the emotions started coming up. I started feeling what I hadn’t during the trauma and it derailed me. I had to pull back from being social so I could cope with what was coming up. I didn’t hang out with my friends as much and sadly they stopped talking to me. I felt really upset about it, but I had to focus on my recovery and healing.
No one talks about how when you start processing your trauma it can make things feel worse for a while. As your walls start to come down and the dissociation lessens it can make it really hard to keep up the pace of the life you had before you started processing it. But this is normal and it’s OK. It’s frustrating, but it’s all part of the healing process and it doesn’t last forever.
The parts of us that experienced trauma deserve to be loved and held whether you were a child or an adult when it happened. I’ve found that in this healing process, as I’ve stepped back from being social, I’ve been able to connect more to myself and my needs and it feels really good.
Healing is hard and recovery is hard, but it’s so worth it. It’s worth it to get your life back. It’s worth it to feel glad you’re alive and able to do the things you love. It’s worth it to feel free from the trauma. The process can be lonely and it can feel like no one understands, but there’s hope on the other side and being able to connect to yourself is one of the most healing things.
If you’re in the middle of processing your trauma right now and things feel overwhelming and impossible, you’re not alone. There are other people who understand how you feel. I’m really proud of you for the work you’re putting in and it will be worth it on the other side. If you’ve had friends or family leave you during this time, I know how painful that can be. But you will make new friends on the other side of this. Your connections will be deeper because of the work you’re putting in now to heal and you will be able to feel closer to people than you did before.
If you’re looking for more connections now, I definitely recommend downloading the WhiteFlag App. You will be able to meet people there who understand what you’re going through. People who have been through similar things to what you’ve been through and people who understand how hard it is. There are people there who want to talk and connect. I use the WhiteFlag App often when I experience panic attacks, flashbacks, triggers, self-harm urges, and sometimes even when I’ve had suicidal thoughts. You’re not alone in this even if you feel like you are. I also use the Crisis Text Line for support, as well. It's always there and you don't need to be in crisis to text them. Just text ‘start’ to 741-741. They help you ground in the present and they help you find ways to cope with what you’re struggling with. They text with you for as long as you need it and it’s not going to make them show up at your door or send you to the hospital.
Sometimes it might feel like it’s easier to live in the dissociation than to face and process your trauma, but it’s not. The dissociation might work for a while but eventually, things start coming up to the surface. It’s possible to actually live and not just survive but you have to go through the healing process first. If you’re in the middle of this process right now it might feel like it’s never ending but I promise that it will end. You deserve to have a life worth living. You deserve to be glad you’re alive. You deserve to be out of survival mode and actually living. And all these things are possible for you. I’m sending you love. You’re not in this alone.
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