“I have a gaping, bleeding hole in my soul.”
1. What happened to you mattered. It really, really mattered.
2. It wasn’t your fault, and you didn’t ask for it. This is one situation where you truly are a victim.
3. You’re no longer the person you used to be. You’re a shell of the person you used to be. You’re profoundly changed; you hardly recognize yourself.
4. This has turned your life completely upside down … So you don’t know what to believe anymore … And you don’t know who to believe anymore … And you’re afraid to trust … And you’re afraid to hope … And you’re afraid to believe that things will work out for you
5. You can’t relax and enjoy your life as you don’t know when the other shoe is going to drop. At any time of day, and on any random day, trauma could walk into your life again.
6. Most of the time you are running on empty. Your sleep is disturbed, and it’s hard to cope with life. You’ve no energy left to give to anybody else.
7. You feel as if you don’t own your life any more. You feel you’ve lost control. That other people call the shots. It’s pointless making plans because you don’t get to decide.
8. You’ve lost your sense of safety, and you’ve learned you cannot trust. For trusting leads to pain and betrayal in the end.
In fact, you’ve even learned that you cannot trust yourself.
9. All your feelings are valid, and deserve to be heard. They deserve to be taken seriously by you. They are trying to protect you from being harmed again. It’s important that you listen, and you treat them with respect.
1o. Your feelings are reactions shouldn’t be a source of shame. You are not going crazy; they are absolutely normal. Also, processing what happened, and recovery, take time. You don’t recover over night. It’s a long and winding road.
11. It is fine if you are having a bad day … or week … or year. You deserve to grieve your losses, and to grieve at your own pace. It’s ok to not be ok.
12. You are not your trauma. You are so much more than this. Yes, the effects might still be there – but you are brave, and you are strong. You’ve survived – you’re still surviving – and you’re going to survive. This isn’t the last chapter in the story of your life.
“You are not the darkness you endured. You are the light that refuses to surrender.” – John Mark Green