Three years ago today, I went through a trauma that really messed me up. Afterwards, it was like I lost all control of myself. I felt like I couldn’t breathe no matter what I did, and I couldn’t think about anything else. My entire body would shake, panic attacks were constant and I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing what had happened to me. I cried myself to sleep and then woke up screaming from the nightmares. It honestly felt like my whole world had been ripped apart.
Everything I thought I knew felt wrong and I was terrified all of the time. I had trouble finding motivation to get out of bed, lost interest in all of my hobbies, and moved through my life like a zombie for months. I’m pretty sure that everyone could tell that there was something wrong with me long before I was officially diagnosed with PTSD.
My husband was worried, trying to support me and help me through the trauma, but not knowing what to do. He realized that we needed help and convinced me to go to therapy. During my very first session, the therapist said something that changed everything.
“What happened to you was not your fault, but healing is your responsibility.”
At first, I was livid. Why was I the one that had to do the work when I was the one that got hurt? I wasn’t the one who made life-destroying choices, yet I was the only one suffering. How was that fair?
All I wanted was to go back home, crawl under the covers and continue shutting the world out. But as we talked through it, I realized that he was right. No one else was going to fix me. I could sit around and let myself drown in my misery, wishing things had been different, or I could work towards rebuilding. I’m really proud of myself for choosing to rebuild.
I’ll be honest; I’m still going through it.
I still have bad moments each day where I start thinking about the past and feeling bad for myself. Moments where I am suddenly terrified or angry or wracked with pain. But I’m so much better than I was, and I’m continuing to get better. Sometimes it feels like the hard work will never end, but I know that I will get there because I am so much stronger than my trauma.
Over the last three years, I have made some MAJOR changes in my life.
The most important change was becoming a mom. My daughter breathed a new life into me and motivated me to work even harder to heal and become stronger. Every single moment with her is healing on it’s own.
On top of that blessing, I cleaned house on all of my toxic relationships, set some major boundaries, and started learning about self-care and empowerment. The relationships that were good for me were strengthened and I found a whole new sense of self-worth. I also traveled, left my full-time job, started a small business, moved to a new state where I’ve been renovating my dream house, and started this website to help other women thrive. I’ve taken a bunch of new classes about things that have interested me, participated in multiple summits for women who want to take their lives to the next level, learned new skills, and so much more.
Not bad for someone who just three short years ago had pretty must lost the will to live, right?
If you’ve been through a trauma, first know, it isn’t your fault.
You didn’t deserve it. How do I know? Because no one deserves to be traumatized. But even if you were a victim- just the collateral damage of someone else’s horrible choices- you still need to heal. You need to do it for you. Don’t let them take your life from you. Don’t let them win.
Even if it seems like your world has ended and there is no hope of happier days, you need to try. Start with small goals and don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Some days, your goal might just be to get out of bed, and that’s okay. Heal at your own pace and start building a life that you love. I promise you, you will not regret it. You are stronger than you think.
If you take nothing else from this post, please just remember that you matter.
Click here for more on mental health and self care.
And in case you need it, here is a link for MyPTSD, which is a public but anonymous forum. I am not associated with this forum at all- It was just one that I came across in the course of my healing journey that seemed to touch on all different sorts of trauma. If you’re looking for forums more specific to your trauma, a quick google search will probably turn up a bunch of them.Want to connect further?