I read an article a few months ago about childhood trauma. Well, actually I saw the headline, read the first paragraph, and decided not to read any further.

Early childhood trauma is difficult – or actually impossible – to recover from. That’s the essence of what the article shared. That because our brains are still molding and evolving when we’re young, childhood trauma, especially intense childhood trauma, has lasting effects that can never fully be eliminated.

I chose not to read it, and I choose not to believe it either.

Whether or not you call my childhood traumatic – I know that there are many people who have experienced far more horrible things than I ever did, and I also know that there are many people who know me well who refer to my childhood as “complex trauma” – I choose to believe that while I have been affected by all that happened to and around me, and while it has shaped who I am and how I view and interact with the world, it is not my defining attribute. I refuse to have that be true.

I refuse to believe that I have been so impacted that I am forever scarred. I do know I have scars, but I don’t believe they have to define me. Not any longer.

I’ve read on a website about complex trauma that “complex trauma can have devastating effects on a child’s physiology, emotions, ability to think, learn, and concentrate, impulse control, self-image, and relationships with others. Across the life span, complex trauma is linked to a wide range of problems, including addiction, chronic physical conditions, depression and anxiety, self-harming behaviors, and other psychiatric disorders.”

For what it’s worth, I choose to not have this be true, or at least not fully true, for me.

I still get stuck in stuff, of course. But I find my way out. Or my way out finds me. The other day I was walking down the street, lost in a sense of “I’ll never fully get out of and over this” mixed somehow with “why am I blogging anyway? I have nothing worthwhile to say….or add. I am a waste and I’m wasting my time, and others’ time.” The swirling of negativity and despair threatened to overwhelm me. I felt – I knew – that I was only my problems and damage. That I couldn’t pull out and away from it.

Then a car pulled up next to me, and a friend leaned out and smiled. “Thank you for what you wrote,” she said. “I don’t know how you keep doing it, but keep doing it. It’s so great to walk this journey with you.”

My mood lifted. My day brightened. I realized and remembered that I was more than my negativity and pain. I realized and remembered that could walk away from my past. That I had walked away from my past.

I realized and remembered that I could choose to not let my childhood – my trauma – define and rule my life. I realized and remembered that I was truly okay.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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