By Kurt Stapleton
Trauma…It has several meanings and definitions for each one of us.
In the medical world, trauma is considered a physical injury. Traumatic events cause these physical injuries. These events include domestic violence, child abuse, natural disasters, and severe car accidents. There’s also mental trauma’s that include emotional abuse/psychological maltreatment. School violence, War/terrorism, racism, forced displacement, sexual abuse, and also those who may witness these abuses happening, experience trauma.
However you view trauma, it changes you forever and if you don’t address them they will cause even more harm. When I think of trauma I think of my childhood and the events I endured and never had the chance to cope/deal with. I was given no tools to address these and didn’t have anyone to confide in. The traumas I endured had a lasting impact on my life. Especially my mental health. I didn’t know how to deal with stressful events in a healthy manner. I didn’t know how to talk about my feelings or how to show them. I was filled with denial, fear, shame, guilt, hopelessness, irritability. My inability to handle these feelings and emotions left me feeling lost in this universe. I felt that my childhood was a very dark and lonely time. As I grew older, I felt even more hopeless until I discovered painkillers. This took me down the path of substance use disorder and slowly destroyed my life. After several years of substance abuse, I made some choices that landed me in prison. It was here that I had time to sit and think about what I had been doing with my life and where I wanted to be going. I worked with a consoler that opened my mind and helped me understand why I was abusing substances. She taught me about traumas and feelings/emotions, how to cope with them. She asked me what happened to me that I had to numb myself. I slowly opened up to her about my childhood and she gave me some great exercises that helped me do the internal work to address those traumas. I had never done this before and it changed my life. Having the tools to effectively deal with traumas was vital. After working on those past traumas and healing from within, I no longer felt the need to use drugs and I was in control of my feelings and emotions. I had effectively addressed the traumas in a healthy manner. I encourage anyone who is struggling with traumas, to seek out help and learn how to address them. You can live a happy, healthy, emotionally stable life. Here are some links to learn more about trauma and ways to deal with it.