Have you ever been in a car accident or known someone who has? Have you ever experienced another type of accident that either injured you or left you fearful? Have you ever had, or know someone whose had a serious health condition or one that scared you? Most of us can identify with one of these situations. By definition, you’ve lived through trauma, which is defined as a wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury or an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.
When you hear the word “trauma”, what comes to your mind? Most people would picture a car accident, a heart attack or someone serving in the military who has been seriously injured or has seen others get shot or killed. While this is true, trauma extends far beyond the common pictures or stereotypes in most of our minds. For example, this month we as a nation remembered ten years back to the attacks of 09-11. For many people who may not realize it, 09-11 was a traumatic experience, regardless of where you were when it happened. Reality is this: Trauma is much more common in most people’s lives than we realize. Our human nature does not want to admit this, as it is very painful and embarrassing. Unfortunately, running away from trauma or sweeping it under the rug only makes it worse. Trauma is a one type of an invisible disability and a mountain that many people “fall off of” metaphorically.
Many of you may know my story that in 1985, I had a serious rock climbing accident, falling 125 feet and breaking my bones in 168 places. At the time of my accident, I realized that I had suffered serious physical trauma. However, just as damaging, if not more damaging, was the psychological trauma. It was not until 17 years later that I got professional counseling to help me through my accident. What I learned from my counseling is that I had not only suffered physical trauma, but also serious psychological trauma. My counseling was very helpful because it got me to open up, admit some difficult struggles I was having, and it helped me to learn to live with myself regardless of what I had been through.
In summary, many people are living with ongoing trauma and don’t realize it. I understand that the subject of trauma is serious and not one that many people enjoy reading about or discussing. However, my intent in writing this blog is that people will be honest about their lives as well as those they care about. Trauma, as bad as it is, can be managed and people who go through traumatic difficulties, can find peace and freedom to live their lives.