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Why Talking About Childhood Trauma Is Not Futile

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts or emotional abuse, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

There are certain subjects in a person’s life that are more difficult to talk about than others. Talking, however, is exactly what starts the healing process and inspires others to start theirs.

This subject for me is the effects of trauma in my early life, that have followed me up into adulthood. As a child, I was around a lot of conflict and volatility. I was within an abusive, manipulative and psychologically malevolent atmosphere. I was lucky enough to be saved from this life from the efforts of my aunt and my social workers, but the effects it had on me lasted far longer.

Trauma does not simply disappear.

It is not an accessory to which we ask for sympathy, nor is it a glorified element of our personality that gives us an advantage in life. It is none of the misrepresented and twisted ideas people believe it might be.

Trauma came in several different forms as I grew up. Largely, it manifested itself within a violent temper. Regularly, you would see a monstrous anger bursting out of me. I was confused, I blamed myself for everything that had happened in my life because that is exactly what I had been conditioned to believe. The only way I could deal with it as a child was to scream and to throw chairs and fight anyone who bullied me and then, at the end, without fail, fall into a broken bundle of tears.

I would end the days and fear the nights. The nights are the most devastatingly painful moments to experience within the entire process. There is no such thing as a good night’s sleep, or caring about bed bugs biting. It is nightmares every night that freeze your entire being into a state of remembrance. It is a replaying of everything that ignited your fears, amplified. This was so detrimental to my health at one point we had to move house, after I was triggered within the house we lived in at the time. When the lights go out, the darkness takes over and it engulfs you. I found myself in lucid dreams where my aunt, entering the room to check on me, would turn into a woman delivering a corpse into my room, which would lock eyes with me and I would not be able to escape the dream-reality mix, so I would just be frozen, screaming.

Eventually, this shock, this state of having little to no control over my life and feelings, bled into the days as well. I rarely told anyone about what was happening, but I began to see things and people on the street who were not there. I would break into tears and be terrified. I felt isolated, alone, bullied, hated. Even the counseling fixing my temper could not fix this life. I began to think of ways to end my life every day. I lost care for my safety. I did not want to die and my overactive imagination terrified me every time I tried to, holding back any and all instruments I wanted to use.

I did not want to die; I just wanted to be fixed.

I would violently attack myself and use anything I could find to knock myself out or stop me thinking, because when all you can think of is the trauma and the blame you find within yourself, you don’t want to think at all.

It feels lonely, because you don’t know if what you are experiencing is “normal” — if, after all, it’s not your fault. You rarely know who to trust enough to tell. When there is so much to explain, it is difficult to know how it to put into words and be vulnerable enough to let others hear them.

But not everything is pain and when shared, the experience can end positively. I started telling people, and started looking out for positive videos and articles and tried to understand my condition and my life. I gave myself more of a chance, I listened to friends, and though my trust issues and my loneliness and fear of my own agency at nights is still present, I am healing. I am healing enough to tell my story and hope that, in some way, someone may have the belief to heal themselves after hearing this.

Accept that it is not your fault, that it happened, that you cannot reverse time. Accept that there are people out there to help you.

It is not a futile journey.

It does get better.

Photo by Spencer Selover from Pexels

Originally published: February 22, 2019
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