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We Need A Reason

What do you do when you feel like you don't want to live anymore? When you have lost everything that you lived for, when you can't seem to find even the smallest sliver of joy.

You stop.

You dig deeper than you ever thought you could.

You find a reason. There is always one.

That thought of, what if I gave up and I missed out on the slight possibility of being happy again. Even though I didn't see how or if that could ever happen, there was the ever so distant thought in my mind that it could be an option for me, an impossible one, but still...

What if?

What if I could survive this?

What is trauma? The APA (American Psychological Association) defines it as "an emotional response to a terrible event". Another website says "Trauma is a response to an intensely stressful event". To me trauma is not losing your job or money troubles, it's not having a flight with your best friend and it's not missing your flight to the Bahamas. These can be traumatic and upsetting events, but when I talk about trauma, I mean things that affect your life in a way that's huge. Something that is basically so overwhelming that you lose your ability to cope and function normally.

It is something that can bring you to your knees literally or metaphorically or it can cause you to change behaviour so as to cope. This often happens with trauma in childhood as children don't necessarily have coping strategies in place so they can go within, into a world of their imagination. This is what I did as a child. I also don't remember chunks of my childhood. Another coping strategy.

We also have a limited understanding of others trauma too. How can we understand the trauma of someone who has been though a natural disaster, lost their home, maybe even family members or friends, if we haven't experienced it ourselves? How can we understand the trauma of childhood sexual abuse or neglect if our childhood experience was parents that we trusted and could count on? That's why we need a community. Because together we can help each other. I can understand how you feel when you tell me about your marriage breakup, the searing pain of betrayal, because I've been there too. But maybe you lost a child too, which I don't understand, but that you can use to help someone else.

You see when I was at my lowest, when I was looking for reasons to live, it was often reading something like this blog post or in a book where I felt that the other person knew exactly how I was feeling that gave me the greatest comfort. Just to know that I wasn't alone meant so much to me and gave me just the small amount of strength I needed to carry on for a bit longer.

When I was in my darkest days there was that distant thought of what if? What if I could actually survive this and show my daughters what a strong woman is like, how a strong woman rebuilds her life and rises again like a phoenix. What if I could start again at 53? What if I could be happy again? The more I thought about the slight possibility of those what ifs, the more I wanted to give it a try, to see if I could get to the other side, to see just how strong I could be.

It's now over a year later, a year that has been the hardest of my life, and I am so very very grateful that I didn't give up, that I survived. For many many reasons, two main ones though. That I was able to show my daughters what a strong woman looks like and that now I am able to help others to do the same.

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