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Dealing with trauma

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It has been a while since I made the effort to pen down my thoughts. The absence coincided with a period of great uncertainties, hopes and then frustrations. Truth be told, I was struggling for a while and decided to muster the courage to come face to face with my worries by writing them down.

I thought I was coping for a while when my schedule started to clear up, according me with more breathing space to continue healing from a traumatic event and to recover from burn out. The slower pace also accorded the space and capacity for reflection, of where the great inertia to go all out for my clients was coming from. And it hit me - vicarious trauma. I never thought that I would see symptoms of secondary trauma or vicarious trauma in myself, a relatively young worker in the field. You feel so depleted emotionally and you find yourself being as avoidant of work as you could afford, without missing the important deadlines.

But I am thankful I didn't allow myself to be brought back down to the depths of dispair. Working through the trauma experienced at work is painful and anxiety-provoking. It is sad that the helping profession are at such risk of suffering from secondary trauma, and even vicarious trauma. You realise your perception of the world has been altered. Things like the sight of children triggers images of danger, it reminds me of work and the vulnerable population I work with.

But I have also learned that experiencing trauma, while difficult as you heal, can also be a source of positive change. You learn resilience and you discover strengths in yourself that you otherwise wouldn't have. I have learned the importance of self-care and being brave by allowing others in, causing me to feel vulnerable. I have discovered that I have people around me who are watching out for me and that I mattered. Having experienced a traumatic event also helps me understand what my clients go through, and how I can be more sensitive to the way they respond to something potentially traumatic. 

While I sound positive, I am still feeling vulnerable and anxious. There are parts of my trauma I still can't fully talk about but I am working through it. Some days I feel it is so unfair that I am here trying to help others, only to be traumatised by the process. But I hold on to the belief that with time, I will work through it and find a way to make sense of trauma in my own unique way and to integrate it into who I am. The wounds of the trauma will never disappear but it doesn't have to keep us in its grips forever. I am able to acknowledge more of it with each passing day and I am having less nightmares. There are still bad days but I will get through it.

At the end of this post, I wonder the purpose of this entry. But I guess, I shouldn't always worry about the intention. Some days, it is sufficient that we just write without filtering. Perhaps one day, I may make sense of this post. For today, I shall just make do with the knowledge I just needed a "rant".

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