Have you been told most of your life that you are too sensitive? Or, you feel too much? Maybe you feel too deeply? When I have been told such things, they are often followed by statements of judgment and suggestions on how I should see the world.
Being a survivor of trauma, I have discovered that being sensitive is a side effect of trauma. I can see and feel it in others who have survived or are in the crux of trauma. We try to identify with our feelings and their cause that we become enmeshed in the emotions.
This can have an isolating effect when you can’t see that the very act of feeling is a strength and not a weakness. Society has put a stigma on being sensitive as being weak. I say:
Weak is The New Strong!!!
As you are in throes of grief, heartache, change, bereavement, discomfort, despair, you may become confused by what has happening to your life and what you are supposed to feel. The fact is, you must learn to feel it all.
If you have shared your feelings with someone who isn’t in touch with their own, you may doubt yourself, bathing yourself in insecurity because you don’t have anyone around you who understands or can relate to what it is that you are feeling.
The Land of Confusion
It can be confusing when you are experiencing trauma and you don’t know what to do with all the emotions and feelings that are surfacing. You may not have known you were capable of feeling these particular emotions or that they even existed.
If you don’t have anyone who understands what you are going through, this can feel isolating. It helps if you can define trauma.
What is Trauma?
Trauma is the experiencing of any extremely stressful event. Pretty much anything that shatters your world and brings you to your knees.
The loss of a loved one, a divorce or break-up, losing your home or job, having a loved one imprisoned, a serious injury, caring for a terminally ill person, abuse of any kind, dealing with addiction with yourself or someone close to you, a car accident, diagnosis of a disease for yourself or loved one, humiliation, or grave disappointment.
Trauma wears many masks and can sneak up on you at any time. No warning signs. It’s just there and you are forced to deal with it. But, how?
The Side Effects of Trauma
Before learning how to deal with trauma, it is helpful to understand the many side effects of trauma. These effects can last for days to years. Symptoms range from mild depression to debilitating diseases.
Some physical symptoms people experience are as follows, but not limited to: aches and pains, insomnia, a loss of or increase in appetite, difficulties in concentration, a lack of focus, increased heart rate, ulcers, extreme fatigue.
Some emotional symptoms are as follows, but not limited to, anxiety, full of fear, withdrawing from regular activities and people, mood swings, anger, feelings of guilt and shame, feeling numb.
What’s In A Name
Sometimes, the name of a certain feeling (grief, sadness, anxious), can’t define what you are truly feeling. You lose the ability to find words to describe your pain because such words don’t exist. A feeling of being so low, so distraught, cloaks you in darkness so you are unable to see yourself let alone try to describe your experience to another.
At times, the people around you may not understand what you are experiencing. Some may even be bold enough to say you’re too sensitive or you just need to move past it. You might have been told to either feel a certain way or to not feel what you are feeling.
I find when this happens, the person saying so isn’t in touch with their own emotions or lacks the empathy required to understand yours.
Feeling is for the brave of heart
The best way to deal with your trauma is to first, allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling. Whether it is anger, sadness, disgust, contempt. Just feel it. Do not judge yourself or the emotion.
Feeling your feelings DOES NOT make you weak. This world is full of enough people choosing to not feel because of some idea that it makes them weak.
You are strong when you do not repress your emotions.
The more you attempt to label it or control it, you will repress what you are feeling, eventually causing you to continue feeling the sadness, anger, disgust, or contempt. You then provide these emotions multiple opportunities to rear their ugly heads in future scenarios.
When you repress your emotions, you aren’t doing yourself or anyone any good. These emotions become baggage that you carry around.
Eventually, the baggage gets to be too heavy and unknowingly, you hand it over to those around you and make them carry it. You can lighten your load by allowing yourself to heal by feeling.
Trauma Is Not A One Size Fits All
Sadness and heartache may feel like crippling emotions at the time you are experiencing them. This type of suffering is all consuming and can feel like it will never end.
Your trauma is unique. There isn’t a right or wrong way to cope. Tell yourself it’s OK!
It’s OK to hit rock bottom. It’s OK to ugly cry. It’s OK if you still don’t know who you are or what you want out of life. It’s OK if you made bad decisions and now your life is a mess. It’s OK if you fell apart and still haven’t been put back together. It’s OK if you walked away from someone. It’s if OK someone walked away from you.
Your Scars Can Heal the World
Yes, you read that correctly, your scars can heal the world.
Like the phoenix rising, you are born again, never the same after the fire as when you went in. The grief and trauma have forever changed you. Use your scars to show the world and others who suffer that they too can heal.
Tell your story and don’t leave anything out. Have no shame in your trauma or how you dealt with it. Those are the best parts. Those ugly parts made you who you are; gave you those scars and show others that it’s OK that they have ugly parts in their story.
The scars you carry from your trauma are reminders of what you went through; your growth and lessons learned. This too is when you learn who can handle you, scars and all and who is just passing through.
There is beauty in feeling to the depths that you do. From all the sadness, anger, confusion, and heartache, don’t forget that you can feel all the beautiful deeply as well. Use your experiences from trauma to show you just how much you can love.