Written by Cloé Vaz-Wiggins
Image by @voguearabia
It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you can’t see the end of the tunnel. The truth is, when you’re in the midst of it all, the traumatic situation, relationship, dynamic, environment, space – you name it – it’s hard to see how you’ll ever be anywhere else but right there, in the middle of it.
It’s hard to believe that the tears coming down your face will ever stop, or that the knot in your throat will ever go away. For many of us, the different types of armour we use to get through the trauma, become part of our identity and a huge part of how we exist and learn to cope with it all. Being aware that those mechanisms, language, ways of relating with one another truly only serve to protect us during these specific phases, is a good place to start on the journey of evolving into someone better and coming out on the other side.
Understanding that the ‘on edgeness’ and all that comes with experiencing trauma, is not the way we’re supposed to operate is key to evolving out of it. What’s that saying? ‘The only way out is through?’ something along those lines, this is how you become better – through it. And that’s the biggest and most valuable epiphany you can ever have for yourself. Trauma is part of life. The not so enjoyable parts are very much part of the life experience we’ve been given. Acceptance and surrender will guide you all the way through, because whatever you’re going through, it will pass, even if you can’t see it right now.
I’m not sure there’s a formula, in fact, I’m sure what works for me might not work for the next person. But I am sure, that if there is one, it’s in the intersection and the combination of surrounding yourself with people that truly love you, especially when you’re not your best and you actively, wholeheartedly and consistently choose yourself.
It’s spending time with friends and family that listen and are truly there for you. It’s finding the safe spaces that allow you to work through your situation and state of mind in whichever ways you’re capable of at the time. It’s finding kindness and love towards yourself. It’s choosing yourself, in the smallest and most significant of ways.
Recognise that trauma is real and what you’re feeling is valid. Allow yourself to truly feel, acknowledge and process all of the emotions that arise without judgment and without pushing them away.
Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help
If you’re not seeing a change, if what you’re doing on your own is not having an impact on how you feel. Don’t ever be embarrassed to ask for help. It can be your friends, your family but it can also be a therapist, a life coach or a psychologist.
Choose self-love and self-care
Focus and nurture yourself in ways that enhance your wellbeing. Move your body in whatever form of exercise is enjoyable for you, meditate, journal, spend time in nature and do things that truly bring you joy.
Embrace new and healthy coping mechanisms
It’s important that you recognise coping mechanisms that add to the trauma so that you can change them. We all get defensive, shut down, act or lash out, but deep down we rarely actually feel better in the aftermath. Explore healthy coping mechanisms that support your healing journey. These include developing and applying healthy boundaries, exploring grounding techniques during triggering moments and practising breathing exercises that regulate your nervous system.
Focus on wellness
Explore holistic approaches to wellness, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga. These are all practises that can support your physical, emotional well-being.
Most of all, always remember and always, always remind yourself of how worthy you are. It’s easy to own the stories our mind tells us when going through trauma, it’s even easier to give in to the noise, to what other people are saying or what we think they are saying. It’s important that you don’t.
It’s important that you remind yourself that you create your story, you write your narrative. So, while you’re healing, while you’re trying, practise seeing and saying out loud all that you deserve. Speak positively into your life.
There’s only one you, worthy.