The Weird Place of Peace after Trauma
by: Lisa Wright Burbach
I want to start by saying that I’m not a professional counselor or therapist. I’m just someone who is reflecting on my own personal journey, hopeful that it may help someone else in theirs.
I love life, I am someone who finds joy in the tiniest things; I’m a pretty forgiving person and able to let things go fairly well. I mean, I’m not perfect soo-I have my moments. Like that guy who drives really slow in the fast lane= grrrr!!! But, really…I love the sun on my face, to hear the wind in the trees, birds singing, to feel the grass under my bare feet, I love simple things. I always have, even in the midst of trauma, disappointment, abuse, and difficulty. This is a great blessing to me as I feel it has made a journey of healing more accessible for me that it may have otherwise; but, it’s still a journey and it ends in a weird place of peace.
Sometimes people say things like “Well, you could never understand because your life has been so easy”. The lesson here is to never let seeing someone who walks in the joy of today make you think that they have never walked in the darkness of yesterday. I do understand, but I walk in peace after trauma, which leads to the joy of today. The key is to overcome, grow, change, and heal.
Remember, it’s like your momma said, “You don’t know what their life is like until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes”.
I think that we assume, and don’t appreciate what someone feels after the trauma is behind them. We assume their life is amazing now! I think this is where a different level of pain is experienced, one of mourning, facing reality, and then acceptance. It is a journey and a process.
I’ve experienced challenging and difficult injustices and abuses in my lifetime and when I was in the thick of it, I just survived. One day at a time. There often isn’t time or energy to acknowledge the pain, fear, and anguish associated with life or accept the reality that the act of surviving is exhausting and withering. Plus the fact that I didn’t want to face it, it was too harsh. I just lived day to day, but then for me and for many of us the trauma is over, then what? It is a weird place of peace. It’s unfamiliar and foreign and can feel like something is wrong. It isn’t, it’s just different.
Here is a great example of when “right” feels wrong. As many of you know I am a Shaklee Independent Distributor; well a couple years ago Shaklee came out with a new probiotic and we got a free bottle at conference. I started taking it right away. About three days into conference I stood in the hotel room rubbing my stomach and telling my husband something was “wrong”. “No…wait…I think this is normal!” I’ve had a sort of jumpy stomach my whole life and it was the first time in my life I didn’t “feel” my stomach/gut. It was weird. Normal felt weird. It was such a crazy realization that that was a good thing! it was great! When we go from constant trauma to a place of peace I think it’s just like that.
Let me start by saying that I didn’t just go from trauma to peace overnight, it was a journey and hard work. I started by making changes and then through counseling!! A good therapist is the best thing you can do for yourself. Someone who is removed from the situation who can help you see that what you’ve been through is wrong, hard, painful…__________, you fill in the blank. Then they will walk with you through to the other side which looks like healing and peace after trauma.
Note: if your therapist or MD suggests medication, be open minded, be willing to get help. I recommend that you discuss options with a doctor about natural ways to help you as you walk through healing. Ask what could I do instead of what can I take. It’s possible exercise, mindfulness, prayer, walks, and supplements will be enough to support you through the healing. It’s also possible medication will be needed. It’s OK.
A big factor for me is my spiritual life; it’s important to me and my faith has carried me through many tough spots. You may not consider yourself spiritual, but here is an interesting fact “People who pay attention to their spiritual side have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, depression, stress, and suicide, and their immune systems seem to work better … To a certain extent, adherence to a religion allows them to relinquish the stresses of everyday life to a higher power.”—Dan Buettner, Blue Zones]
Today, I have a great life; it isn’t free of trouble, no one has an “issue” free life, but mine is full of normal issues, like “OMG, please don’t make noise when eating!!!!” Or “Yes!!! I have more questions!!! It’s like you never met me!!” However, I have found that now that my life is really good and trauma free, I am gradually recognizing the reality that I once lived in, to a greater degree, and it was awful. It was much bigger than I allowed myself to see, but now I do. It’s sad and painful and it could potentially rob me of my joy. I have a choice, I can live in fear or live in peace after trauma, my new reality. I can embrace peace, and for the most part I do.
I’m not unmarked by my past, no one truly is, and as a result I am more aware of how fragile life is and how a “good thing” can be over in an instant. As I continue to heal in my heart and mind I am faced with realities I once ignored because I couldn’t bare to look at them. As I feel safer and safer I can look at them now, but in a way that doesn’t re-injure me. And I have to remember the good things that exist every single day and that if I live in fear of losing it all then I can never fully enjoy it.
Another example: When we married 8 years ago, my husband had a lot of crystal, china, etc. and he was tempted to store them in the attic, so they wouldn’t break, but my approach is different. I believe that hiding away is like not having it. so if it breaks, what’s the difference? I think that using things is more honoring to the memory of the ones who gave it to us. So…we use it all. Actually I sometimes serve Sloppy Joes on china because I believe the dinner table should be embraced and that is the heartbeat of the family. Oh…anndddd one day the china cabinet shelf broke and 40 plus pieces of crystal broke. Ummm, yeah..so that happened. You know what? Life went on. Fear of losing is like that, if I live in that fear I never really experience what I have.
Enjoy the peace, embrace the peaceful time, and live it!! For me, I takes living in and embracing the peace after the trauma to really heal and grow. – It might take more counseling and that’s OK. If you need help, please pursue it!
Like I said, I’m not a therapist, but as a Health Coach I wanted to speak into this, our emotional life, a little and the impact it has on our physical health. Living in ongoing stress and anxiety destroys our body and mind, weakens our immune systems, increases the risks of serious health issues, and shortens our telomeres, thereby potentially shortening our lives. – It’s serious!
Wellness is made up of all the different parts of our lives, and works sort of like a wheel on a bicycle. When one area is out of balance it is like having a flat tire or dented wheel and our wheel doesn’t spin easily, causing an unsteady ride and even a fall. When our life is in balance, our wellness wheel is round, spinning freely.
The World Health Organization describes Health as: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
When our mind, body, and spirit are in order we are in a state of wellness or health. When this happens, we can find peace after the trauma.
If you are in the midst of trauma, abuse, addiction, or other serious issues here are just a few resources. I recommend looking into your local resources such as counseling, career help, financial help etc. There is always someone who can help those in need. No battle is meant to fight alone. I also encourage you to survive, to live, to heal. If you are like me and your battle is over and it feels “weird”, embrace it and enjoy the weird place of peace that comes after trauma.
This blog is not meant for therapeutic purposes, medical, or other treatment etc.
Hi, I’m Lisa and I’m an Independent Shaklee Distributor and Certified Health Coach. My absolute joy is partnering with people to realize their own self value. I believe that as we love ourselves we are loving to ourselves and from there we are more able to eat well, exercise, and take care of our physical selves. It is my goal to touch the lives of others and help people live healthier lives longer!! Through Shaklee I have an excellent partner that shares my passions of environment and health and I look forward to sharing that with you.