While I admit the use of the word “normal” to describe anyone is dubious at best, given how Eric Maisel determined The 29 Senses of Normal, which has pretty much made it an empty word devoid of any real meaning, I still appreciate the perspective here in an article called A New Normal: 10 Things I’ve Learned About Trauma written by Catherine Woodwiss. I found this article through a friend on facebook, who herself had undergone a great deal of trauma in her relatively young life.
While it’s a blog with a Christian theme, I’d say that I’d have to agree with most of what is said here. I wanted to share some of these ideas with you. No one escapes this life without some sort of traumatic experience, and even if it hasn’t struck you, it probably has struck someone you know.
Some of the quotes that jumped out at me:
“a major life disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no “back to the old me.” You are different now, full stop.”
“Trauma is a disfiguring, lonely time even when surrounded in love; to suffer through trauma alone is unbearable.”
“in the recovery wilderness, emotional healing looks less like a line and more like a wobbly figure-8. It’s perfectly common to get stuck in one stage for months, only to jump to another end entirely … only to find yourself back in the same old mud again next year.”
“surviving trauma requires at least two types of people: the crisis team — those friends who can drop everything and jump into the fray by your side, and the reconstruction crew — those whose calm, steady care will help nudge you out the door into regaining your footing in the world. In my experience, it is extremely rare for any individual to be both a firefighter and a builder. This is one reason why trauma is a lonely experience. Even if you share suffering with others, no one else will be able to fully walk the road with you the whole way.”
“This is a mystifying pattern after trauma, particularly for those in broad community: some near-strangers reach out, some close friends fumble to express care.”
“In 2011, after a publically humiliating year, comedian Conan O’Brien gave students at Dartmouth College the following warning:
“Nietzsche famously said, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ … What he failed to stress is that it almost kills you.”
And, interestingly, I saw this RSA short suggested on my facebook timeline, which I thought was very, very fitting on The Power of Empathy by Brene Brown:
If you have three minutes, I’d encourage you to watch it.