TRAUMA QUOTES: 8 People Describe Living With Trauma

TRAUMA QUOTES: 8 People Describe Living With Trauma TRAUMA QUOTES: 8 People Describe Living With Trauma

As we often hear at The Depression Project, trauma - like the majority of mental health issues - can be difficult to understand unless you've experienced it yourself, which commonly results in many people with trauma feeling isolated, alone and misunderstood. So, in this blog post, we'd like to share eight quotes from members of The Depression Project's community about what living with trauma is actually like - in order to:

  1. Help people who've never experienced trauma better understand what living with trauma is actually like;
  2. Help people who have experienced trauma to feel more understood and less alone.

Are you ready?

Trauma Quote #1: "It's so lonely. My mind is constantly consumed by it, and I struggle to be present with those around me. It's like there's an invisible wall between us."

Trauma can have a negative impact on a person's sense of connection and belonging in group settings. After all, even though the traumatic event(s) may have occurred in the past, traumatic event(s) can still consume a lot of a person's attention in the present. In particular, one major reason for this is because unresolved trauma can cause a person to 'zone out' of social interactions due to the intrusive thoughts or the flashbacks they can cause. Additionally, complex emotions surrounding trauma can take up a lot of mental and emotional space, which can make it difficult to engage with others' emotions and conversations. As a result, while someone who's experienced trauma may be physically present in a social setting, they may feel emotionally and mentally distant, due to experiencing a very different reality in that moment compared to those around them.

Trauma Quote #2: "It's like I'm constantly on edge ... I can't ever let my guard down and relax."

A traumatic experience violates a person's sense of safety, security, and control, which causes damage to their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Naturally, this can leave them feeling, among other emotions, overwhelmed, helpless, and vulnerable.

Consequently, instead of feeling calm and grounded in situations or environments that are typically considered safe, it's common for someone who has experienced trauma to feel uncomfortable, nervous and on edge - because of an awareness that things can "turn very bad, very quickly". Additionally, in order to compensate for this lack of safety and security resulting from their trauma, they may remain on high alert for signs of anything that may harm their well-being.

Trauma Quote #3: "The smallest reminders can make my heart race ... I can get flashbacks and relive it all over again."

Even something "small" that is loosely tied to a traumatic event can trigger a big response in someone who has experienced trauma. This is because as a result of trauma, their brain can become highly sensitised to certain cues that were present during the trauma. In particular, these cues may include, for example:

  • Sights;
  • Sounds;
  • Smells;
  • Specific words or phrases.

When someone encounters one of these triggers, their brain can go into a heightened state of arousal1, which can cause their heart to race, lead to them experiencing flashbacks, and/or make them feel as if they're reliving a traumatic experience all over again.

Trauma Quote #4: "It's hard to connect deeply with others who haven't been through trauma. It's just so life-altering, and people struggle to grasp how it affects everything."

Like we've mentioned, trauma can make a person feel disconnected and isolated from the people around them - in part because it can be extremely difficult for somebody who hasn't experienced trauma to understand the effect that trauma can have on someone. In particular, according to members of The Depression Project's community, many people who haven't experienced trauma often struggle to understand:

  • The extent of how impactful trauma can be, and how it can affect almost every aspect of a person's life;
  • All of the different ways that trauma can manifest in day-to-day life;
  • How difficult and complex it can be to heal from trauma.

Furthermore, because a sense of intimacy and closeness between people can often develop through shared experiences and mutual understanding of something that's important to both of them, it can be difficult for people living with trauma to create deep connections with others who haven't experienced the same life-altering event(s).

Trauma Quote #5: "Trauma can ruin even the good times. I have an underlying anxiety that things will go bad, so it's like I need to look out for this and prepare myself for it."

Trauma can impact a person's ability to enjoy the "good things", by causing them to constantly be on the lookout for signs that something bad may happen. Even in what would otherwise be moments of calmness and/or happiness, they may feel a deep-seated anxiety that everything could go wrong at any time - and as a result:

  • They may find it extremely difficult to ever completely relax and enjoy the present moment;
  • Because they're constantly on the look-out for threats, they may be hypersensitised to their environment, and prone to experiencing sensory overload. Consequently - as many people in The Depression Project's community who live with trauma have told us - this can make someone with trauma prone to snapping at others over "something small", and/or prone to having emotional outbursts over "something small" - which can cause conflict with the people around them.

Trauma Quote #6: "It's like I'm stuck in a never-ending loop of my past ... I can't break free and move forward or connect with the things I want to"

Trauma can make it extremely difficult for a person to be present in the moment, engage with various tasks, and/or work towards their future goals. This is commonly because trauma can anchor someone in the past, and result in them continuously replaying their traumatic experience(s) and ruminating about the many details surrounding them. In practice, this may take the form of, for example:

  • Ruminating on what they could have done differently to prevent their traumatic experience(s) from taking place;
  • Blaming and shaming themselves for any part they believe they may have played in their traumatic experience(s);
  • Feeling consumed with anger at one or more other people for their role in the traumatic experience(s);
  • Constantly thinking about how different their life would be if they hadn't gone through their traumatic experience(s).

Trauma Quote #7: "You constantly see red flags where there aren't any."

Like we've talked about, when someone is living with trauma, it's common for them to be on high-alert for danger. And, as a result, it can be common for people living with trauma to at times sense a strong threat of danger in situations that are not actually threatening or dangerous, and in situations where other people who haven't experienced their trauma feel relaxed, safe and at peace.

Trauma Quote #8: "I don't feel at home within myself. I can't remember big things in the past and it's like I'm a dulled version of who I should be."

It's common for people living with trauma to experience a fragmented sense of self as a result of the memory difficulties that can stem from trauma. In particular, trauma can cause someone to forget various details surrounding their traumatic event(s), and as a result, there may be prolonged periods of time in their mind that are "blank" or "missing". For example, if someone experienced trauma in their childhood, there may be entire years which they can hardly remember at all. And, if there are big gaps in a person's history, then it can leave them feeling lost, unsure of themselves, and that their identity lacks a solid foundation.

If You're Living With Trauma And Can Relate To One Or More Of These Quotes:

If you're living with trauma yourself and can relate to one or more of these quotes, then we'd really like to emphasise that you are not alone. Additionally, we'd also really like to encourage you to try your best not to criticise-, judge- or shame yourself for the struggle your trauma has caused, and instead, to give yourself compassion, patience, and grace as you work through the complex emotions and challenges that arise on your healing journey through it.

If You Aren't Living With Trauma But You Know Someone Who Is:

On the other hand, if you aren't living with trauma but you know someone who is, then we hope these trauma quotes have helped you see that trauma can affect a person in many, many different ways that may not initially be obvious on the surface. And, for this reason, if you know someone who's living with trauma, then we really encourage you to be patient, encouraging and gentle with them as they do their best to navigate everything they're going through.

All our love,

The Depression Project Team.


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