Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.
― Fred Rogers
All life experiences leave their mark. They impact our lives in negative or positive ways, they change the way we see ourselves and how we view the world. It’s impossible for someone to go through a traumatic event in their life without their body or brain reacting to that trauma, it can be a change as subtle as no longer having the taste for your favourite food, to something as big as walking away from family, friends or even relationships. Trauma can impact someone in ways even they find it hard to comprehend. It can also bring forward old habits that were buried.
Trauma can be brought on by a life-threatening accident, illness, abuse as an adult or child. Whatever ‘it’ was that happened to that person, It’s the shock of trauma that causes the survivor to have a sudden shift in personality and the way they interact or relate to those around them. I have an uncle who when I was growing up was such a kind-hearted gentle giant. But somewhere along the line and to this day, I don’t know what, he went through an event that changed him, he had a complete personality shift. He became a recluse, distancing himself from family, friends, becoming very untrusting. It’s never been discussed what brought him to that point and I’m not really sure any knows. He’s still a gentle soul, just trapped in a suspicious shell.
Trauma can trap us in a state of confusion, sometimes making us a shell of ourselves. I can say that I’ve had several traumatic events in my life that changed not only my personality but changed my outlook on the world, as well as created insecurities that sometimes became so crippling they literally took my breath away. Over the years it always seems like as soon as I’ve healed from one event, another one comes along to knock me off my feet again. Causing me to fall harder than the last blow.
We have all gone through some form of trauma in our lives, whether we wish to believe it or not. There are a few key facts that were brought to me to be aware of when you’re feeling ‘not yourself.’
1. Whether for the good or bad, the key is to identify the fact that your way of thinking has changed. No one stays the same, change is a part of life, so is a change in mindset, tastes and desires. As human beings we’re are constantly evolving. Just don’t evolve to the point of leaving everything behind for some novelty that may not last.
2. Accept that your feelings are in disarray and judgements are sometimes clouded which can open you up to manipulation. Be wary of poachers, anyone willing to take advantage of your mental state.
3. Recognize that the people who were there before that event that forced you into change are also there now to give support, love and a shoulder to cry on if you need to. It is often hard to share with the ones you love and sometimes an unbias approach of a medical professional is needed to get you through it all. Don’t be afraid to seek help.
4. Be proud of your resilience in the face of all that has happened to you. I would say with everything that has happened in the past year, has made me stronger, and my insecure side at times do wonder if I’m strong enough to handle what may come next but I’m still here and each day brings with it a second chance to start over.
Pinned Message: Looking at the impact of trauma can be like watching your life on a screen, where the images are constantly moving and shifting. Where triggers can cause emotions to become more and more intense, these new personalities not only affects the person suffering but everyone around them. Though it may at times be difficult, you have the options to be kind, be gentle and continue to love that person or leave them to suffer in silence.
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©Etta D. Richards