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Monday On My Mind

It seems like everywhere you turn these days someone is talking about trauma. And I think that’s a good thing because trauma really is something we will all deal with, sooner or later.

I grew up in a chaotic household. My parents split up when I was only 2 and my first memory is of my mother sleeping on a mattress in the corner of my room. Even at that tender age, I knew something was wrong. She remarried when I was 6 and things were good but eventually there were financial problems and my mom’s drinking became problematic. I was cared for and fed, I had a nice house and pretty clothes, but there was a level of uncertainty to my day-to-day life that has had a lasting effect on me. There were big emotional events, like the time my stepfather threw my brother through a window and the police came or the time my mother and I got in a car accident when she was driving after drinking too much. There were also daily events, like fights that lead to tears or stony silences, dinners that went uneaten because someone said the wrong thing, and early bedtimes to escape the tension in the room. In other words, I never quite knew what to expect and I walked on eggshells. A lot. The uncertainty of what was about to happen, the anxious feeling of always waiting for the other shoe to drop, impacted my view of the world immensely. The trauma of my childhood experiences has been long lasting and is something I work constantly to understand and overcome.

I’ve also had trauma in my adult life, like the time my husband got hit by a car while he was mowing our lawn. I’m so grateful that when that happened, I was already under the care of a therapist and we immediately worked on how I was processing the experience. And when I say immediately, I mean that I had a phone call with her the same day as the accident. And I talked with her daily for several days afterwards. I still had panic attacks and incredible anxiety but we dealt with it quickly and the lasting impact of that trauma has been fairly mild.

I shared with my therapist recently this analogy: dealing with trauma is like dealing with weeds. If you get to it quickly, before the roots have gotten deep and had a chance to really take hold, you can get rid of it. If you don’t get to it quickly and it’s allowed to grow and spread inside of you, it’s much harder to remove. Those roots can be so deep and incredibly difficult to eradicate completely and sometimes, even when you yank one hard enough to pull it up, it multiples into a bunch of new (smaller) things that you have to deal with instead. That’s what dealing with childhood trauma has been like for me. Deep roots. Widespread damage. Problematic regrowth.

And yet, there are times when I feel like the weeds of trauma are gone and I’m flourishing like a beautiful garden. That the weeds that are left have shallow roots. That maybe this consistent digging and yanking we’ve been doing is actually working.

And I’m filled with the hope that one day the flowers will outnumber the weeds for good.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. I like your analogy, Carole. My word work the last year (release) and this year (full) had/has me contemplating how to let go and fill my life with things that do not include the elephant that has always been in the room for me. Is the elephant still there? Yes, it is… but not ignoring that elephant helps.

    Thank you for sharing… it helps so much to realize one is not alone. Sending you all the love today… XO

  2. I think weeding is the perfect analogy here, Carole. The thing about weeds? They just keep showing up where/when you least expect them. I’m so glad you’re finding the support you need to finally understand and process your trauma, my friend. Keep pulling those weeds. Your garden looks beautiful — healthier and more robust every day. XOXO

  3. I have also experienced trauma in my life and still work on dealing with some of the events that caused it. I like the comparison of weeds growing in your garden. I will be pulling weeds today and hopefully I won’t have as many in the future.

  4. I really like your analogy. The reality is that I don’t think anyone ever truly gets over trauma, just like weeds are never truly gone, but if you keep on top of dealing with it, it’s something you work on a little bit every now and then rather than a big job. I am thankful that you have found a therapist who has helped you deal with both the older trauma and the most recent!

  5. I had a similar childhood, Carole, and I have never completely overcome all the trauma from that era of my life. However, it gets better every year for me, and I am optimistic that it will continue. I hope your journey of healing keeps getting better as well. Great analogy, BTW.

  6. Weeds are a great analogy! I’m still yanking errant vinca and trumpet vine out of my beds eight years after I thought I got rid of it all, but it sounds like you are tending to your weeds before they have a chance to go to seed and cause more trouble. May your garden get some rain so the weeds pull out easily!

  7. What a perfect analogy Carole and kudos to you for being open and sharing about your experiences and traumas. I have faith that your flowers will prevail over any weeds that are left.

  8. Perfect, Carole! I can relate more than I’d like to. I’m reminded of a cross-stitch piece that I made for my mom after she transformed an overgrown ravine into a wildflower garden…



  9. I think that is a great analogy! Keep at those weeds and may your garden continue to flourish!

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