I was just trying to get through my regular day-to-day life, but what I didn’t know at the time was that I was experiencing compound trauma and PTSD. It began as a feeling of low self - esteem, anxiety and loneliness that gradually increased until it eventually became unbearable.
What is really interesting about compound trauma and PTSD is that even though it had been with me for years, I wasn’t aware of it until it got to the point where I could no longer cope on my own. After multiple episodes of complete exhaustion, depression, nightmares and high levels of fear, I realized something was seriously wrong.
The first step to dealing with my issues was accepting that trauma had taken its toll on me and seeking professional help. Going to therapy showed me how much more complex than anxiety or depression this issue is. My therapist helped me build upon existing coping mechanisms and also gave me new tools to work with in order to better understand how to manage my mental health.
This journey has been quite difficult yet liberating at the same time. With every step forward, I can feel myself growing stronger mentally and emotionally. Although there are still days when the darkness sets in or days when self doubt takes over, learning how to cope has made all the difference in being able to process each experience as it comes.
It’s taken a lot of strength for me to speak up about my struggles so openly but talking about trauma has been especially helpful in the therapeutic process. I’m constantly honing new skills such as maintaining healthy relationships with others and practicing self - compassion rather than viewing myself through a negative lens (which was one symptom of PTSD). It’s been a long road but part of managing compound trauma is knowing when you need extra support from your most trusted people in your life which has proven absolutely essential to my personal healing process.