According to the American Psychological Association (https://www.apa.org/topics/trauma), “trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives”.
Now, trauma can be personal, familial, generational, race, ethnicity or religious-base. None of us can deny the intergenerational trauma caused to the Indigenous Peoples from the so-called civilized colonialists, or the intergenerational trauma caused to Black People unfairly and unjustly due to their colour, in many parts of the world, or the trauma caused to the victims of the Holocaust and their families.
It derives from the Greek word that means wound, which is pretty accurate, because it may not be obvious, but trauma is an emotional wound that runs deep in us and has many facets.
Bond & Craps (2020), caution us that trauma is a slippery concept, one that became prominent only during the 19th century, because of the changes and development of the mental sciences and the changes in the people’s lifestyle. They argue that trauma is product of modernity and I agree with them on that, because we did not identify traumatic experiences as such before that. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t exist, though; they were very real and very painful. as Bond & Craps (2020, p. 14) say, such developments reveal how changing socio-political norms and values reflect conceptualization of nervous and mental disorders”.
I would love to be able to talk about every type of trauma, but I don’t have the necessary knowledge, the needed space and it’s not my place to talk about some types of it. As so, and as I mentioned to the previous article of this category, I will be focusing on trauma as we experience it as individuals. I know that individualism separates us in many ways, but it also unites us because it gives us our unique identity and lets us connect with people on the levels we want and not on a homogenizing basis of just people that experienced traumas.
My traumatic experiences took place when I was a very little girl, probably around 2 years old, so I’m not able to clearly remember what happened to me, since my memory mechanisms were not in play yet. I’ve managed to have flashbacks of moments, after long and painful psychotherapy. It took me years to realize what had happened to me and then some more to accept it. No one wants to be a victim of a traumatic experience from its family. It doesn’t matter how bad or how seemingly good the family is, no child wants to know and accept that its parents are abusers. It took me almost 23 years. Imagine that. 23 years of moving around in the world, having psychosomatic symptoms no one could diagnose where they came from or what could treat them. It was always right in front of me, but the mind will only let us see and accept what is happening to us when we are ready. We usually say that we cannot take anymore or cannot deal with a situation when it arises. I believe that we actually can. The time and place and phase in our lives are what give us the tools to face and tackle with what is happening. That, however, only when it comes to remembering traumatic experiences.
Some of my symptoms included anxiety, migraines, weight gain or rapid drop and then regain, alopecia, nail-biting, highly irritable, very emotional, and always nervous. I was always on the verge of breakdown, even if I was going through a seemingly quiet phase in my life. There were always triggers around me. I would cry without knowing why, I would distance myself from people without reflecting the reasons, I would dissociate and breakup relationships on a whim. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from healed and far from not having these happen to me or by me. Most of them still do, but I’m -for the most part- able to see it, thankfully before or while it’s happening.
I wish I had a cure for that but I don’t. All I know is that talking and reflecting is needed. To open up about ourselves, our experiences and our symptoms. Our struggles, our survival, our thriving, our cravings.
Until next time,
Love and Light,
Bond, L. & Craps, S. (2020). Trauma. Routledge