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The Shocking Truth

Trauma is an all-encompassing vice that holds both the mind and body in an iron-like grip of confusion, pain, and anxiety. The visceral shock of a traumatic event penetrates every nerve, sending our entire being into a tornado of ungraspable thoughts and feelings. There’s simply too much going on for any hope of instant stabilization, and every moment carries the weight of unprocessed emotions; a whirlwind that can once again send us spiraling into the depths of what we don’t know, don’t want to know, or just can’t understand. It’s the question of why bad things happen that looms on the horizon, eating away at our nerves and clouding our thoughts…

And in such times we’re desperate for help and support, but are too jumbled to express what we need. Our internal and physical chaos projects an unnerving cloud on the environment, unsettling those closest to us…

So how do the ones we love cut through the dense air of pain and confusion and pass our threshold of anxiety to provide the comfort we need and desire? Our path to salvation is already littered with emotional pitfalls and scar tissue that cuts deep into our beings, rendering us incapable of direction. All we know is what we feel; and what we feel is raw, untamed, and primal. In a sense, trauma tears away the veil of etiquette and what’s left is the unedited, unfiltered chasm of our emotions. And it’s an awfully big chasm for anyone to jump in order to reach our strained hearts… But the depths of peoples’ feelings run deeper than we can imagine, and there are always ways to reach out and lift those struggling in their own terror.

Trust in Those Who Truly Know You

Inspiration, love, and happiness are universal attributes that can come from even the most unexpected of places. A simple comment made by a coworker; a nice message left by an obscure friend on your Facebook page; a phone call from a distant relative; all have the power to lift the soul and usher in a stream of light in otherwise dark days.

But what if you’re neither a coworker nor an absent friend? What if your relationship with the suffering individual is one of intimacy, and immense closeness? What do you do then? Your friend, lover, sister, son, desperately needs your comfort, but the path of inspiration, love, and happiness is crowded with the chaos of the traumatic event.

Over the years I’ve learned the best road to take is one of empathy and understanding. You can’t fight someone else’s battles, but you can be a figure of support.

So listen…

Listen to what your traumatized friend needs. If she needs a shoulder to cry on, be the person to wipe her tears. If she needs to dissect and analyze the situation in its entirety, be her lab partner writing down the results. Just be there every step of the way; from the moments full of tears to the moment of acceptance.

I can remember watching my dear friend cry and shake over the loss of her unborn child… the family wanted a little girl, a sister for their first son. But nature decided it wasn’t the right time, and the child was lost through no fault of the mother. However, the pain of such a loss was near unbearable for the young woman, and all I could do was give comfort when she believed it was her fault; show my frustration when she was angry; and empathize when she accepted the terror. And now she’s the proud mother of 2 strapping, young boys and a warmhearted, beautiful baby girl.

The idea is, don’t fight against their emotions. Everything they’re feeling must be faced and processed for any hope of salvation…

Help them face and endure it.


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