14 You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there! Yet the priests and prophets give assurances of peace when all is war.
Jeremiah 6:14 NLT
Trauma is defined as a perceptible response to a crisis that results in the alteration of daily functioning. Trauma is associated with an event or series of events in which an individual feels a threat to safety and well-being. The personal nature of the event and the intent of maliciousness correlate to the intensity of the cognitive, emotional, physical, behavioral, and spiritual response (to the traumatic event). There are specific conditions that can result in the diagnosis of an acute or post-traumatic stress disorder, based on the time between the event and initial onset of reactions that are distressing and impairing.
For many these trauma reactions are chronic and latent. After a while, they feel normal. The traumatized individual struggles to feel safe among others. They are constantly in a state of hyperarousal and unable to attach regular meaning to otherwise normal interpersonal actions. For them, their world is unstable, unsafe, always threatening, and dangerous. People are untrustworthy, suspicious, malice-intending, and duplicitous. Life requires a resolute independence from all and its quality is dependent on the extent to which self-effort is exerted. Unprocessed trauma is the invisible driver behind self-excoriation, unforgiveness (of self and others) and detachment from compassion (for self and others). It is an impossible task master that fashions a highly pessimistic lens through which the world is viewed. It can be the inexplicable cause for strained relationships, personal frustration, emotional lability, persistent feelings of loneliness and ultimate aloneness.
It does not have to be this way, however. Trauma and its effects range the human lifespan. Some suffer extremely traumatic circumstances as children. Others do so as adults. No matter the circumstances of origination, unprocessed trauma buries itself similarly. The coping that results points the individuals in the same direction, to a similar view of the world. Trauma is invisible because it uses shame as an invisibility cloak. It screams “you can’t share this with anyone, because it is so shameful”! As the passage above enumerates, however, there is no healing without exposure. In Jeremiah’s day, the religious order wanted to maintain the ungodly status quo by denying God’s declaration of purification by foreign attack. They therefore attempted to deny the existence of a problem, even though the visible "symptoms" on the surface suggested otherwise. Attempting to deny unprocessed trauma does the same. It prolongs a state whose ultimate end is chronic misery.
As a civilization, we know more about trauma now that we ever did before. Trained counselors and other mental health professionals have the tools to help. By focusing on unconditional positive regard, they can create the safe, confidential, and accepting environment that is necessary for processing. The restoration of healthy coping is very possible.
If you were traumatized at any point in your life, I feel deep sorrow for what happened to you. That was not what God intended for your life. Use this opportunity to schedule an appointment with a professional to help you walk through the journey to a healed you.