www.traumainformedoregon.org

Just maybe, I can celebrate the joy of special moments in life. It saddens me to learn from ‘trauma informed therapy’ that my severe and prolonged trauma would steal the gift of joy from my heart and soul…

Joy was a numb feeling. Joy was the enemy. Joy was risky. I didn’t deserve joy. My heart and soul suffered so. Loved ones suffered too while being in the presence of my painful moments…

I have experienced ‘dreamy’ moments of joy as true love entered my life. But living in the moment was nearly impossible. But, it was love and kindness that changed everything. Without love and trust in your home life or at work, joy is almost a impossible dream…

My children, I know now, never understood my behaviors. No doubt they wondered if I loved them or not. I do love them very much, though, but didn’t show it then. I was numb, I know now. It breaks my heart to think about how my kids must have felt then, and maybe now too…

My trauma caused loved ones to feel less than joyful to be around me as they observed my despair. As I felt fear of these joyous occasions, there was always pain in my heart, and my body. I never understood this until now. A very sad revelation so late in life.

When the Christmas Tree was decorated, or the birthday cake with candles was blown out with a wish, I couldn’t connect to this joyful moment. Even when others seemed so happy in the moment, I was afraid of joy…

It was like that at most joyful and celebratory events for most of my life. Even to take a moment to celebrate me was hardly a deserved special moment. Maybe I thought I didn’t deserve joy or happiness. I know now, though, my mind didn’t allow me to do so. I was afraid of joy…

Trauma does that, so sadly, for too many of us who suffer in silence. I know it seems unfair. And it is so unfair, especially when we have no control or capacity to help ourselves heal. While we retreat to more fear and loneliness under our blanket forts, the pain only grows worse…

I share this to help others to see a light in the struggle to find joy and happiness on an even playing field. Be open with loved ones and friends too. They will help you heal if you’re open to their kindness and love. If we suffer in silence there is no end to the pain of trauma.

Reach out and find help from friends and loved ones. I know now how important it is to them to see me happy with joy in my heart and soul…

With kindness and joy,

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate

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