trauma and grace
Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. Psychologists can help these individuals find constructive ways of managing their emotions.
It’s recently been acknowledged to me that what I’ve been through in the last few months is an actual trauma. I didn’t go through a terrible event, but rather a series of challenges that added up to a trauma, according to my counselor.
So basically, for me, this just means that I’ve been screwing up a lot lately. It has not been a good time for me to make decisions or deal with the stress of transition and job change and moving. Plus so much more. I mean, let's go down the list. Unpredictable emotions? Check. Flashbacks? Everyday. Strained relationships? Several. Physical symptoms? Quite a bit. Difficulty moving on? Hell yes.
I could use the excuse that this behavior is all about my response to my situation. And there may even be some truth in that. But I also make my choices. It’s important that I own what I have messed up. That I ask for forgiveness where I need and that I work toward reconciliation with those I’ve hurt. My response is all I have control over, and my response must be repairing what’s been broken.
To be honest, I’m just so tired of feeling sad. I’m tired of keeping record of wrongs (clearly my own sin), thinking about how many hours I spent with people listening and supporting them through their hard times and now when things got bad in my life and needed someone they weren’t there for me. This is part of my trauma. It’s no sprained ankle, my counselor said. This is a car crash will multiple broken bones. So to some extent, my choices are at the mercy of my trauma and how my emotions are handling this trauma.
I guess what I’ve found to be most thankful for in this whole process is the grace of Jesus Christ. When I don’t offer grace to myself and others don’t offer grace to me, I always know that Jesus is extending his. To be honest, it’s all that is getting me through.