1. Triggers aren’t as easy as they seem.
Some things are easy enough, tw: rape tw: victim blaming tw: graphic content.
Some things aren’t. How do you explain to a friend ‘If you make me feel small- I will get sick’. How do you tell a lover, ‘Don’t call me beautiful, or gorgeous, or pretty. In fact- just please, don’t say anything’.
Or explain to someone, ” I can’t go through that line. That line has a man wearing a yellow shirt in it- and he is wearing a cologne and no. no. no. no.”
People think triggers are easy to understand- that those unaffected by trauma should still be able to understand the why.
If I can’t understand why I’m triggered by it- what makes you think you can.
2. Trauma would effect everything. Literally.
Something as simple as buying groceries, or going for a walk. Where I’m willing to be in public by myself.
What I will wear and when. And it isn’t so simple as just ‘covering up’. It’s ‘dress nice enough that no one will think there is something wrong with you’ next to ‘don’t dress too nice though- you don’t want anything to happen.’
It effects what I eat. Stress effects the stomach, and when your mind is constantly trying to avoid new trauma or thinking about old trauma.. then you have a lot of times where you’re either stress eating, or forgetting to eat from stress.
Sleep to avoid reality. Insomnia because nightmares.
It changed my speech patterns. Had to be careful not to invite things. Had to be careful to not be ‘b****’ who deserved what was coming.
Trauma changed everything.
3. Recovery isn’t a straight line.
The common theme seems to be ‘avoids life for x amount of days- maybe a week or two. friends come over pull victim back into the real world. there are 2, maybe 3 set backs- but by a few months- life returns to normal’
Personally it was more like ‘life goes on fast forward for the next two months, nothing is wrong- NOTHING IS WRONG- NOTHING IS WRONG IF YOU ASK ME ONE MORE TIME- crash. Refuses to deal with life 4 months. Begins to recover. set back. recover. set back. simultaneously does a little bit better in one area- and completely falls apart in another. set back. Too many weeks of wondering ‘is this behavior more attributed to recovery or relapse? how do I know?’
There are way too many variables for recovery to move in a straight line. There are times when we do things that are good for us- while simultaneously regressing in other areas.
4. Recovery isn’t always about going out, facing your fears, or punching your assailant in the face.
Sometimes recovery is making art about what happened.
It is talking honestly about your fears and doubts.
It is talking- at all- about what happened to you.
Recovery is reading terrible terrible fan fiction where the MC goes through something terrible- but finds their best friend through it all- and they go out and slay the dragon and win the hearts of everyone. It is believing that maybe you too will be able to slay the dragon.
It is admitting that you are hurting.
It is asking for help when you need it.
Recovery, is a thousand things.
but not an end goal. not really.
5. Love won’t actually save us.
Too often I saw this idea- that maybe if we found someone who found our pain tragically beautiful.. they could convince us of our worth. they could hold our hand in public and kiss away the pain. after a decent amount of time, you’d have sex- and you’d realize that things were going to be okay after all.
Our pain is not tragically beautiful.
We don’t necessarily have to save ourselves- not alone. But we have to put in the foot work, we have to respect our need to rest too though. We are more likely to get better with friends who extend hands to help us up- than lovers who kiss away memories of what happened.
6. Survivors actually aren’t that uncommon.
Too often I feel alone in a crowded room, feeling like everyone knows what happened and everyone thinks I’m a monster.
But I’ve learned, that when I speak up- inevitably, other people do too.
Whether it is reading a poem at a venue, or an offhanded comment. Once one person speaks…
someone else, who thought they were all alone, speaks up too.
We aren’t alone. The more we talk, the more we reach out, the more we find one another.
was probably the most healing thing I ever did.