2020 & Trauma

Regarding 2020 —

When I was 19, I entered into my first romantic relationship. It was extremely unhealthy, codependent, and abusive — from both sides. And while during the relationship I knew it was unhealthy, I didn’t have a complete, large enough frame/model to understand just HOW unhealthy it was. It would take me many years afterwards, and therapy, to be able to fully understand what happened during that relationship — it was just so beyond my comprehension at the time. And it was also only in understanding what happened — updating my understandings of myself, people, emotions, and the world — that I was finally able to heal.

In the past, I’ve also had jobs that were unhealthy and that took me a long, long time to fully understand what happened in order to be able to heal.

Nationwide — actually, worldwide — we are witnessing emotional and psychological trauma on a scale I haven’t seen in my lifetime.

It is going to take us years, if not decades, as a nation to fully understand what has happened this year. It will take continuous, continuous conversations, empathy, soul-searching, and courage for us to heal.

But here are some things I’ve learned about healing from trauma. These are not new insights, but they bear repeating:
(1) It takes compassion. Both compassion for yourself and for others. Keep this in mind when you’re in conversation with others, for they may be hurting in ways you do not understand; frankly, you yourself may be hurting in ways you do not fully understand.
(2) You have to make the choice to want to heal. That means doing the hard emotional work and either learning coping mechanisms or — maybe potentially — eventually re-integrating your experiences.
(3) It will take time, but you can heal if you work at it, slow and steady.
(4) Talking with others can be extremely helpful. Thankfully as a culture we are normalizing mental health, and it is becoming more and more OK to seek the help of mental health professionals. Mental health professionals are great.

Just some thoughts on a Wednesday morning.

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