Trigger warning: this piece discusses themes of trauma. If you cannot relate to these feelings associated with trauma, this does not make your journey any less valid. We all experience things differently.
There’s no sugar coating it; trauma SUCKS. It can have such a huge impact on you, even if the event or events happened quite some time ago. In fact, if it’s something that you’ve grown up with, you might not even realise that your trauma is impacting you, it might just feel normal.
One aspect of trauma is feeling guilty. To those not familiar with trauma, this may sound odd, so just hear me out. Trauma survivors want to feel that the world is fair. So, instead of blaming the perpetrator, the blame can tend to fall on the victim. It’s important to remember, however, that this is never the case. Of course, not everyone will experience this aspect of trauma, everyone experiences trauma differently.
People who experience trauma can often experience thoughts regarding what they could have done differently. If they had just done this, maybe it wouldn’t have happened. If they chose not to do that, they wouldn’t have been in that situation. But none of that is true. It’s hard to always know exactly what to do in any and every situation, but no one expects the worst to happen.
For me, my trauma stems from 13 years of medical treatments as a result of having cancer at a young age. Now, medical trauma doesn’t tend to have one perpetrator, unless you point to the illness, but I have often felt guilt. Guilt for putting those around me through this, guilt for ‘not being healthier,’ guilt for so much that had nothing to do with what I did or didn’t do.
I realise that it might not make a lot of sense, and logically it doesn’t, but to my traumatised brain, this is real. But, thankfully, I’ve gradually worked towards realising that there was nothing I could have done to avoid any of what happened. It wasn’t my fault.
What I went through was not reflective of me or anything I did. I didn’t choose to go through it, I didn’t want to go through it. It was something I unfortunately experienced, but it doesn’t define me nor was any of it my fault… Aside from that one time I, as a 4-year-old, bit through an IV line!
Trauma is a difficult thing to go through, and if you’re reading this as a survivor, know that you’re not alone. No matter what happened, your trauma was NOT your fault. It might be hard to believe that, but trust me, you did nothing wrong.
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