I’m always grateful when people like Jennica share their stories, but in the article below, this paragraph really hit me, because I felt like this about my childhood, and I feel this way about the last couple of years too.
“It wasn’t until I started working with my current therapist that I began to learn how to accept this diagnosis. “Trauma is not defined by how ‘big’ an event is. You don’t define trauma; your brain does it for you and you can’t control how it gets processed,” she explained. Those were the words I needed to hear. Those words gave me permission to let go of the responsibility—to let go of the blame.”
As many of you know, we spent much of 2019 grieving. Then, we spent most of 2020, and the early parts of 2021 dealing with a global pandemic. Now that I have been vaccinated, I am also realizing just how much PTSD I’m dealing with. As I have read a few times in the last couple of weeks about others, I am now in a situation where I should feel pretty safe, but I don’t. I’ve spent 2 years waiting for someone else I know to die, and then doing my best to not be near anyone. I can’t just turn that off now that I have been vaccinated. I still get extremely anxious when I have to be somewhere. I still pay very, very careful attention to anyone around me when I’m in public, and just generally spend that time being on edge, constantly. It’s exhausting. It makes me want to stay home, and avoid people. My being vaccinated didn’t change that at all.
I know I’m not the only one. For a lot of people, this last year has been traumatic. What that looks like for everyone might be a little different. Don’t for a second think that it will just “go away” one day though. Like any other trauma, it will take time to heal, and it will take time to figure out what we are comfortable with going forward. In my own case, I am starting to slowly take small steps to doing things again. What I’m not doing is jumping into large scale gatherings or traveling around the country. I’m not ready for it. I’m not there yet. I can’t turn off the hyper-alert parts of my brain and nervous system that exhaust me when I’m out and about. That’s going to take some time, and effort, to get there.
If that describes you as well, you are not alone. I know I’m not.