How must it feel to hear the phrase “You have trauma.”? Pardon? Excuse me? No, I have my own apartment. I have friends and a job; I went to good schools, I was never physically abused, I had nice clothes. I mean sure my parents split up, but the divorce rate is 50% — don’t everyone’s parents split up? I’m fine! Okay maybe not fine but like, I’m alright. I’m doing alright.
I know people who have suffered trauma. “Real” trauma, as I incorrectly term it. And I look at what they’ve been through and what I’ve been through and I’m like, cah-mahhhhhnnnn (read: “come on” in an especially incredulous tone). Trauma? Me? No way. But I guess the first mistake is comparing your situation to someone else’s, in anything really. It’s impossible. With how different we all are and how unique the lives we’ve led to this point are, it feels mathematically illogical to try to compare ourselves. It’s all apples and oranges, grapes and guava, kiwis and cumquats – there can be no comparison.
And apparently trauma in particular is a very subjective phenomenon. The 5 minute Google search I conducted yielded that trauma can be caused by a big overwhelming and/or terrifying event, or a number of smaller ones. Either way you land in the same place: feeling overwhelmed, helpless, scared, scarred.
I wonder how many of us walk around with this. I wonder how many of us walk around with this and don’t know it. Or actively deny it. How much latent trauma are we shoving under the rug because it doesn’t fit our prejudiced notions of What Trauma Looks Like, or Who Has Trauma? I would by no means call myself “accepting” at this point. Or even convinced. But denial doesn’t make a problem go away any more than closing your eyes makes you invisible. …Or does it?