Every once in a while we take a stroll down memory lane and it starts off innocent enough for you to bask in the moment of a memory. As you smile while taking that stroll it suddenly takes a side trip and you start to trip over what the rest of the memory reveals. Now your trip down memory lane has become a suspensful heart pounding nightmare that you welcomed with open arms and now have to run for your life to get away. That's how I feel when something reminds me of my own traumatic experiences. I can't get away from that memory fast enough. Although I know in the back of my mind that my thinking is irrational in that moment I can't help but feel scared and violated while on pins and needles.
The American Psychological Association defines trauma as an emotional response to a terrible event. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives. There are also studies that show that trauma can be passed on to future generations as a part of that traumatic experience has now become a part of one's dna. So not only can we experience our own traumatic events but we can also carry around the residual affects of our ancestors trauma.
As a woman of color I have no idea how much trauma I'm carrying around nor do I know where it came from. I know that I have experienced my own trauma. Stuff happens to everyone right? Some people stuff happens to more than others, some people have stuff happen to them more often than others. Although there are different degrees of trauma it does not make anyone's experience less traumatic to them at the time they experienced it. The fact that we all have our own paths to create in life means that we can choose to at least recognize the trauma that we have experienced and find ways to start to deal with it so we can heal it. Otherwise we will continue to play the only game longer than Monopoly which is Name that Trauma.