Trauma Blog #3: Confronting Violence
With trauma there often are memories of violence; living through violence can change your life outlook and affect your psychological health. Though not everyone experiences violence in their life, violence does exist and we can't always ignore it. Coping with the reality of violence is likely a part of recovering from trauma.
In order to take care of myself in the wake of violence and trauma, it's necessary for me to surround myself with "peaceful" things. This could be something like fresh flowers from the yard, cups of chamomile tea, yoga classes or a soothing song like "Lotus Flower" by Radiohead.
I've become a huge fan of Radiohead.
Another task in dealing with life after violence is restoring or creating a positive mindset. Obviously violence can make one feel unsafe and depressed--leading to negative thoughts that keep you unmotivated. However, as a victim of violence, you deserve to live a life that brings you joy and fulfillment--in order to achieve your goals, you need to be strong. For me, I make a conscious effort to elevate myself above the violence I've suffered, and recognize how important a peaceful life is. I may not be able to control everything, but I can control what I do and what I surround myself with. I also make sure I have everything I need to have a healthy day--making my tea, washing my fruit, etc..
A healthy routine and comforting-rituals (like breathing and stretching) can ease the discomfort that comes from trauma, but negative thoughts and stress can hinder one's ability to follow their routine. I'm in a good place now, but I struggled for the better part of a year habituating my healthy routine. The pain and exhaustion from traumatic stress made it difficult to concentrate and keep up with the things I needed to do. Also, my exposure to violence left me feeling cynical and pessimistic about the world which made it hard to stay motivated. It took months, but eventually I was able to prioritize my health and refused to let violent experiences hinder me forever. I shifted to a more positive perception and habituated a healthy lifestyle through dedication and repetition; no matter how many times I backtracked or failed to follow my routine, I always vowed to start again immediately.
So how do I navigate my daily life living with first-hand knowledge of violence? I must accept it, and try to rise above. It may not be fair, it may not be just and violence may not be necessary, but it exists. In order to rise above, you have to take care of yourself.
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/lotus-natural-water-meditation-zen-1205631/