Do The Work: 5 Steps to Healing After Trauma

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“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.”  -Hippocrates

 One thing I’ve learned in my 27 years of living is that LIFE HAPPENS. We don’t get to choose our families, therefore we don’t know exactly what we’re being born into BUT what I do know is we have to do the work to heal ourselves. We have the power to change!

No matter what your struggles are there are events that can change your life forever. It may seem small to others but it’s monumental to you. I have endured experience after experience and wondered why it happened to me. I questioned everything about myself. I attempted to find understanding in places that I shouldn’t have. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect, never have been, and probably never will be BUT I’m working hard every day to become a better version of myself.

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In the black community, we are taught to be “be quiet”, we move on without healing. What does that do for us in the end? How does that help us become the best versions of ourselves if we’re constantly sweeping everything under the rug? I’ve been determined not to be quiet. I refuse to be silent! Why should I be? Why not let my voice be heard and my story be told in hopes it will help someone else.

I remember watching my mother deal with problems growing up. She cried, prayed, and gave it to God. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for that…I truly am. Sometimes it’s just easier said than done.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7 NLT

By the age of 18, I had mastered the art of not dealing with my feelings. By 19, I had allowed myself to be battered and abused because I didn’t believe that I was deserving of true love. By 20, I almost married someone I didn’t love just to run away from the abuse. I was NUMB actually DEAD on the inside. My faith was gone, I was extremely overweight and unhappy I couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. And because I believed all of the foul mess he spat at me and trusted the forever broken promise to "never beat me again", at 21, I found myself, again, pregnant by my abuser. The words “your family doesn’t love you…why would they allow… to happen to you” played over and over in my head. As crazy as it sounds...somedays I would wish that he would hit me instead of speaking so negatively to me. Words kill! It's like a tape recorder on repeat in mind. One day the lightbulb went off in my head and I decided I didn’t want to die. I knew that if I stayed in that situation it would be the end for me. I left…disappeared into thin air leaving nearly everything behind.

And you would have thought that’s when the healing would have started. Oh no my friend, I did what I knew best swept it under the rug. I dried my tears and handled my business.  Fast-forward to 25 when it all started to click. I was an emotional train wreck! I realized I NEEDED HELP! I needed to deal with my mess. I needed to own the parts I played in my own downfall. I had to FORGIVE! I kept carrying that dead weight within me and didn’t understand that one day it would explode. That’s what usually happens…all of a sudden one event that shouldn’t send you over the edge does and you have nowhere to go. Then everyone really thinks you’re crazy!

Healing starts with YOU!


Below I’ll share with you my 5 steps to healing!

1.       Acknowledge the problem

Sometimes the best way to fight a demon is to stare it straight in the face.

This step will take some time. I had to personally sit down with pen and paper and write down everything that hurt me. Then I read the list back to myself while looking in the mirror and accepted every emotion that came with it.

2.       Understand YOUR Role

In most situations, we had some hand in the way things were handled. I’m not speaking about sexual trauma or things beyond your control but what about that man/woman that you knew wasn’t right for you. All of those red flags you avoided just to say you had someone.

3.       Forgive

Forgiveness is for YOU…it has nothing to do with the other person. You will stay bitter for years because “Joe cheated on me” or “Sally left me.” Whatever and I do mean whatever was done its okay. Their actions were not but you’re still living and breathing. TAKE BACK YOUR POWER. Forgiveness frees you. That doesn’t mean you and that person can be friends or even like each other but you’ll feel better once you truly allow it to be released from your heart.

4.       Seek Help

 Often times we are afraid to seek out help from a professional because of what others will say. No one has to know you’re in therapy. Do it for yourself. Find your purpose and start living again. If you can’t afford a therapist try researching free services through your employer or find support groups. You’re going to need someone to help you unpack your mess.

5.       Take time for yourself

Start discovering who you really are. Who your family wants you to be not who your friends think you are but take time to find out about yourself. What makes you happy? What feels good to you and go from there.

There is no set time on the recovery process. Trust me, I wish there was. It’s taken me nearly 3 years to fully recover and that’s okay. I had to make some hard choices. I had to learn to stand up for myself and decide what I wanted my life to look like. My life isn’t anywhere near what I want it to be but every day I’m one step closer. I believe that you can do the same. What’s stopping you?

Bonus Tip: 

Here are some great books to help you get started on your journey!