That’s what my therapist said to me the other day.
“Your capacity for joy is amazing, considering the trauma you experienced.”
Considering that I (more) often (than I care to admit) ask her, “it was hard, right? My childhood was hard, right?” it was amazing – and validating – when she said that. Which is probably why she said that.
I have said similar things to other people. Or, at least I’ve said, when strangers reach out to me and tell me their stories and trauma, “One thing I know is that, while I wouldn’t wish trauma on anyone, I do know that those of us who experienced trauma – when you’ve worked through it at least a bit and have found ways to let yourself heal – find joy in the simple things in life…much more than those who haven’t experienced trauma.” At least from my experience.
As I What’sApp’ed with a friend in Scotland this morning, as we “talked” this through, and as I’ve written before, finding this joy isn’t something that necessarily happens. Aiming for Post Traumatic Growth (which, again, is kinda the other end of the spectrum from PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is officially defined as “positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning.” In lay person’s terms, or at least to me, it means learning, growing, and thriving after trauma as opposed to only being consumed, defined, and conquered by trauma…) is a choice and, at times, an effort. A huge effort even.
And the capacity for joy is magnificent.
Or at least my capacity for joy is magnificent.
I have (joyfully) worked to find, see, and create when necessary, as much joy and love as possible in my life. I find joy in my yellow birds. I find joy in the trees against the sky and the breeze on my skin. I find joy in all the love in my heart and all the people I love and adore. I find joy whenever and however I can.
I guess I have an amazing capacity for joy. I guess it is even more amazing, considering the trauma I experienced.
I know I cried when my therapist said that to me. And I know I hope you experience tons of magnificent joy too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
If you have been in ANY high control group or religion, share your story with the hashtag #IGotOut. Share on your own platform OR if you need to be anonymous and/or would like support, there are resources at the @igotout_org website.
When you see a survivor share their story, let them know they have been heard. This is such a meaningful part of the movement. We all need to know we’re not alone.
If you know someone who has been harmed by a high demand group, share #igotout posts or stories you think would help them.
Together we can bring awareness to how many of us have been harmed by high control organizations and end the shame or stigma we might feel about our experiences.
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