We have been looking at that feeling of being invisible, to those who live in a world of mental torment. These feelings of isolation can come on for a variety of reasons. We have covered some of them, let us say you grew up in a dysfunctional family, or you were a victim of abuse or trauma. Some abuse or trauma is undoubtedly recognized by the masses. However, some of these feelings are more specific just to you. When this happens others just shake their head… An example one day in Jr high I was emotionally distraught because I did not have enough nail polish remover to completely remove the old polish! I refused to go to school. (Some reading this may snicker.)
We are not here to compare traumas real or perceived but to learn how to Calm the Storm of your emotional fragility.
It is good to step outside your thought patterns and evaluate the seriousness of that which is claiming your life.
AN EXAMPLE :
I was mugged while on active duty as a reservist (USAR) at gunpoint, that was traumatic! It should in no way compare to my lack of nail polish remover. But somehow both stand out in my memory and produced the same type of anxiety, fear, or discomfort.
Are you letting traumas from your past resurface in your life today? If you automatically or strongly say yes you may need to take a step back and review that which is holding you hostage. A good counselor is often immensely helpful.
My nail polish “trauma” was more about me being bullied and mocked but at that moment all I could see was ugly nails. I have learned to use my own experiences to gain strength to overcome whatever stands in the way of peace, joy, and contentment. My experiences have given me the ability to help others.
The mugging is slightly different. At first, I was anxious and fearful. Instead of living in fear, I choose to be bolder in my attempts to put the incident behind me. Compare the 2 ways I told my story.
It all stated while at Summer Camp for the USAR….
One guy had a gun, but the two of us walking were unaware it was payday for the regular army. The mugger with the gun backed the man I was walking with into a wooded area. I was knocked to the ground by the other mugger. He was struggling to rip my handbag from under my arm. He straddled me for one last tug. The strap on the handbag ripped free. So, I walloped him with an adrenaline-filled punch right between his legs with my left hand. He screamed and they both ran off. We took off in the other direction and were met by the MP’s that heard the scream.
( Maybe I should have just given him my bag… I remember rapidly processing the information that his clothing was too tight to hide a concealed weapon. He was wearing a t-shirt and pleather pants. So, I struck!)
The whole incident spanned only a few minutes. But for some time walking in the dark around trees or walking in unfamiliar places, would cause an adrenaline rush. FIGHT OR FLIGHT Sleeping in the dark or with the windows open also caused discomfort.
After being silent about the mugging for a while I then wanted to tell my story. It did gather some sympathy. To me this type of sympathy made me feel weak. I wanted to overcome this minor setback. I decided to tell my story in a more positive light! So, I turned the story into one of bravery in the face of adversity. When I did this I realized the “fear” part was dissipating.
“Yes, I was mugged at gunpoint but we were in the army those guys were fools to mess with us,” I tell them about how I was knocked on the ground and he ripped off the strap to my handbag. But then I add. “I no longer carry my handbag over my R shoulder. If I had the bag on the left side my strong right hook could have permanently injured that guy.” I would add, “all I wanted to do was to deck him!” I always loved that term. I would then educate them on being aware of your surroundings.
This made a difference; I was in control once again. As I told how I decked the mugger, I became almost comical in my storytelling.
Laughter overcomes anxiety.
(FYI Your body can not sense fear or send out adrenaline if you are laughing.)
This incident made me stronger and more positive. I realized if I want to be in control of my life, I must speak it into existence. I realized that if I look at things through the glasses of “ I just want to deck him” I was giving myself power over the fear.
There are 2 typical responses to traumatic experiences like this. To withdraw and hold it in or to talk about it ad nauseam. At first, I did not want people to know, I felt ashamed like I should have known better??? Many people I know today still tell their story of a traumatic event as if it just happened. An example is a friend whose husband left her 30 years ago for her best friend. She now has a great life , but she “chooses” to keep the trauma alive by retelling that story of the day her husband left. She blames it for her ongoing depression. She has yet to fill in the ruts of her thinking to live her life in peace and joy.
Sometimes you think that a traumatic experience drove you into an uncomfortable lifestyle with no way to escape.
Troublesome thought patterns must be buried. Do not let negative past experiences dictate how you DO LIFE today.
I only want to include one link today that may be helpful to many titled: A few things I learned about Trauma! This article is from Don’t Lose Hope.
Once you get there click on the blog feed to find other great articles on how to Learn from trauma, how to cope with Emotional numbing is one of my Favorites, and Trusting again…
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