The Mighty Logo

Recovering From Trauma Is Not a Team Sport

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

You can’t partner trauma — it’s not like a blind date where you figure hey, they both majored in art and love documentaries. Recovering from trauma is committing to a serious relationship with yourself. Recovery must not be measured by the actions you take against your monster. Instead, look to what has returned from the darkness. Undisturbed sleep, bouts of joy, eye contact, touch, belief in self-reliance, mindful connections and reinvented confidence.

• What is PTSD?

Nothing, I mean nothing, will ever feel the same again. It can feel familiar, but the monster changed you and all you know forever. Be angry, feel the deepness of the burn, visit the scars — but don’t stay there. The monster wins if we stay there. I know it is not fair or rational, it never will be. The details of the horror will never fit cleanly in a file folder. It will be that unyielding suitcase so full it can never be zipped close and put away.

But your survival depends on a willingness to let go of the monster. You do not betray the trauma or belittle it’s importance, you simply provide yourself with room to breathe. Creating a little space between you and the monster diminishes his power and builds up your power.

Originally published: October 21, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home