“After all, when a stone is dropped into a pond, the water continues quivering even after the stone has sunk to the bottom.”
Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha
The word ‘trauma’ (from the Greek word tritosko, meaning ‘to wound’) is best understood, perhaps, as being something that occurs that is deeply wounding to us in some way. Trauma has many sides and faces and, like a lift, has different floors and different levels of severity, which means that each individual trauma requires its own journey of recovery. Any and all trauma recovery yields power and rewards.
Just to note, for the trauma I have recovered from, I have spent time undergoing counselling and have researched and practiced self-help in the areas of healing and self-care. I have found that trauma recovery is a deep and wonderful area of life.
The reason that it is wise to accept trauma is because, in a sense, acceptance is an antidote to trauma.
Trauma reaches us in unique ways: it enters our body and life force in deeply wounding ways that are complex and unlike the way most other experiences enter our lives and system.
Trauma can be sudden, shocking and frightening or it can be lonely, sad and a source of despair. The inability to acknowledge trauma at the time is part of the complex way we deal with trauma; the acceptance of trauma present in our system or lives later on is a key element in removing the effects of trauma, since what is denied cannot be faced and what is accepted can be explored.
If we break down the word ‘recovery’, it appears like this – re-covery (re-cover) and has the meaning of re-examining something, to cover something once more, to take another look at and to rediscover. This re-exploration of trauma is possibly the most painful element of trauma after experiencing the trauma itself–it is the going out after the coming in, and it hurts on the way in and it hurts on the way out.
However, exploring trauma is never as painful as experiencing it since we already know we have survived it one way or another. Exploring trauma, seeing it anew in clear, insightful ways, is the beginning of trauma recovery and is where the rewards are hidden. To recover from a wound, we must know something about the wound itself, and gaining knowledge of trauma, though painful, allows for solutions and healing to take place.
Some of the ways I have healed my own traumas are largely based around self-care.
Self-care means looking to fulfill the needs of the person I am, and is concerned with knowing what I am feeling, expressing and experiencing—think of the ‘self’ as a person or little being that has energy and life and thus expresses, feels, animates and lives.
If you are aware of what the self is going through or has experienced, you can be a friend to the self and relate with it; if you are unaware and disassociated—‘disassociated’ meaning not associated or not knowing (which is a common element involved with trauma)—you are blind to the needs of self in that instance.
You may be doing very well in many or some areas of life or you may not. The point is, self-care requires knowledge of the self it is caring for and application of the appropriate care, and if I am ‘unassociated’ with myself, there is a ‘block’—or at least a challenge. So, self-knowledge is the basis of self-care. Self-knowledge also requires feeling and knowing about who we are, and this is the answer and the challenge all in one.
Self-care and self-knowledge are the basis of trauma recovery; the basis of self-knowledge is acceptance.
When I accept that I am feeling low, sad or am in pain, I begin to name my symptoms. When I feel into these feelings—by sitting in a quiet space and allowing myself to physically feel my body, thoughts, expression within—I come to know what my trauma feels like and what it needs.
I may cry, get up and do something else, it may hurt, or I may be numb. A bit like meditation, I don’t necessarily know what is in that room of the mind until l get there and when I get there, I may want to leave immediately: staying there just as much as I can, leaving for a time and then returning is ultimately the way to master the urge to run.
We run around sometimes pushing the self away; trauma recovery is the opposite of this. The power that is gained from trauma recovery, for me, has involved ways to sense limitless beauty in birds and sky and rain, to understand daylight as love, and to gain entry to an inner world that is endless.
If you can begin today to acknowledge and experience your trauma as it is, to come to terms with its presence, if that means you run to the best counsellor you can find, or fill a journal with words, or cry for the pain of it, you have begun to heal and to tread a new and restorative path. I wish you well.
Get in Touch: share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.