I’ve been walking around for days wondering what I can offer you. How can I help (there’s my unhealthy four showing up)? What advice can I give? How can I fix this? (There’s my Enneagram Healthy 4 coming out wanting to MAKE EVERYTHING RIGHT.)
Long before I jumped into the world of writing about adoption, I was writing about mental health. I am going to jump back there for a bit.
My honest thoughts are these: I am a fish out of water flopping around on the ground (sometimes literally) between hyperarousal (panic) and hypoarousal (shame). Those of us with Trauma do not like surprises. We don’t like the unexpected. This triggers our Mamillian brain and sends us into fight, flight, freeze, or fawn.
Let me make something clear. Many of us with trauma do not feel fear concerning the COVID-19 virus. Many of us feel no emotional response at all about the pandemic. In fact, many would use words like numb, nothing, or indifferent.
Fear. Panic. Uncertainty. These are all feelings we feel every day. This isn’t something new.
I will even go as far as to say that many of us with Trauma think the rest of you are silly.
Yes. That may seem harsh to you. But this is our normal. This is our COMFORTABLE PLACE. You all look like chickens running around with your heads cut off. We are over in the corner talking amongst ourselves: Why can’t they handle this? What’s the big deal? Why are they being so overdramatic about this?
(Yes. I know the irony of this last statement doesn’t fall upon deaf ears. I am well aware we trauma folk have a history of dramatic impulses… because of lack of impulse control.)
But here is what many of you who live with, work with, or love people who have Trauma NEED to understand:
We are not reacting to fear. Again, fear is our safe place. This is just any ol’ day in the life.
What we are reacting to is the unexpected. It’s the surprise. It’s the abrupt fall-out of normalcy. It’s the loss of our routines that keep us grounded. It’s having our senses bombarded with more than usual sensory engagements having our children home or not being able to go to or engage in our safe places.
We are feeling frustration.
It’s the loss of our coping skills and boundaries we’ve put in place (either purposefully or subconsciously) for our SURVIVAL.
Survival. (For some of us this is a matter of survival. Fighting for our sanity or our lives isn’t a joke. It’s a reality. )
I get it. It’s hard to understand from the other side. I grew up with neuro-typical parents who still struggle with even accepting Trauma and that I have it. I’ve heard all the phrases. I give all the grace. Most of us are aware your intentions are good.
While it may appear that we are feeling the same things as you are, it’s crucial to understand that we are not. It’s crucial in HOW you approach your loved one with trauma during this time.
Just like many other areas of trauma, the surface reactions and actions may appear to be the same as yours. However, it’s not. It’s the WHY that’s different and HOW you love, help, or regulate your loved one who has trauma during this time needs to be adjusted accordingly.
More on that later…
– Your Mental Health Trauma Momma