How to Be Stronger After Crisis and Trauma? Life is unpredictable. One moment everything goes well, and then something happens that turns your life around and you have to fight for survival. Other people’s trauma just shocks you for a moment and then you forget and go on. But if you went through trauma yourself, how do you return to normal?
Most storms are unexpectedly falling over a man. It does not give you time to prepare and get yourself physically and emotionally for what is to come. It just happens and can also take any form, from a violent crime against you or your family to the sudden death of a loved one.
All forms of trauma have a lasting impact on you. Life will never be as it was before the crisis happened. You can’t wish for it or try to ignore it – that’s where it happened.
Have you seen on TV when a hurricane hits a place? The storm itself is bad, but first you see the degree of devastation after the hurricane has raged. Similarly, it is with a life crisis. You do not immediately realize the extent of the damage to your emotions, mind and body. Your first reaction is always to survive. Just keep breathing. To just get on.
Many of our coping mechanisms are so strong in the first few months to a year after a traumatic event that people around us think we’re right. We processed it. However, this is not always the case.
In some cases, the reality of what has happened may first hit you a year or more. It can kick you off from scratch and suddenly let you sit down with a lot of unprocessed emotions. To then try to pretend that everything is right, will only cause you more harm.
Every person works in her own way through trauma and its consequences. You need to give yourself enough time to move through the whole process and the whole clutter of emotions.
Somewhere on the road to recovery you will realize you have more inner power than you ever thought possible. That the will to survive and live again is stronger than anything else that has tried to break you.
It is possible to stand out as a victor, as we can learn from these women’s lives.
“I’m Grateful I Got Cancer”
She was female in the weird when breast cancer was diagnosed with her, but Janie du Plessis did not allow conditions or illness to get her down.
I was in Switzerland for chemotherapy and one day I was waiting for a wait. I was scared and alone and thought no man on earth knew how lonely I was at that moment. As I looked up, an old uncle without teeth across the path sat looking at me. He was there with me every time and drove out of the mountains with his motorcycle. It seems to me that we are on the same path, although we do not know each other. From that moment on I was no longer lonely.
I started thinking about my cancer differently and realized that the difference between a flower and a weed is simply its judgment. It ripped me to a halt. It was time to stop the Ferrari in which I was driving. To get out, walk over the road, climb into a skedonk and start off from scratch. I realized to be really healthy, it was necessary to come home. The decision was an intense spiritual experience.
I never dreamed that I had the potential to experience and survive so much pain and loss. Cancer taught me to see every day as a gift. I thank God every day for the grace to get cancer, because the joy and love I received through it humbles me. Every morning when I put myself in cream, I look at my old-fashioned wife, and I’m grateful.
No thing that happens to me, no way I look at anything, nothing I do or how I feel about my kids is the same. Everything is more. Although I am busy, I remember how much grace I received every day. If you get a longer “lease” for life, ask yourself what you are going to do with it. I promised myself I would live.
Sometimes when you are overseas and you do not know where to eat, you instinctively choose a restaurant and often it is an experience you remember for a lifetime. Similarly, every time you stand in for a choice, you should rather listen to your heart. Your heart is not stupid.
“I’m Raped, but Not Broken”
Charlene Smith had to choose between being victorious and staying victim. For her, the choice was easy even though it was in the midst of difficult circumstances.
I was attacked in my house, raped three times, tied with masking tape and locked in the bathroom. As I was raped, I had to fight to stay calm, so he didn’t kill me with the knife he pressed against my throat.
The trauma didn’t stop there either. After the incident, it was a struggle to obtain antiretroviral drugs. I also struggled for a long time to convince organizations to help me find the rapist and had to urge the police to continue with the investigation.
There is nothing more traumatic than rape, but in the end it was my choice how to live there. My positive attitude helped me to successfully walk the path to physical and emotional recovery. I firmly believe that you should never give up the responsibility for your own life, no matter what happens to you.
Women raped often fall into the pit to carry the rapist with them. They don’t realize: Someone who rapes me forgot about me tomorrow. But if I constantly think of him and not lead a happy life and maintain successful relationships, or can’t continue with my career, I complete his work and give him more power than he ever earned. My advice to other women is to choose not to be the victim anymore. There are many things in life that we have no control over, but for most successes and failures we have to bear the responsibility ourselves.
I decided years ago that no one or nothing will ever get me wrong. I’m determined that no one else will control my life. I want to look back one day without any unfulfilled wishes or reproaches on my life.
“I Got up Again After a Hijacking”
The day when Tersia Schmidt and her daughter were hijacked, her carefree existence splashed, but she decided to start living again.
We were on our way back to the Modimolle area when they started shooting at us. I had no choice but to stop. The next moment two men got into the double cab bakkie and chased us away.
My little girl was only two years old and she cried together. I did not know what to do. Suddenly, the men stopped at a deserted dirt road and dropped us off. I was grateful they didn’t hurt us. My first thought was to get help and we started walking. We found a farmhouse about an hour later and could call my husband.
For a long time afterwards I made as if I had processed the incident, but I was scared, very scared. Eventually I snapped and went to see a clinical psychologist, who set me a choice: “You can be scared or enjoy life again.”
Then I chose to see all the good things in life again. The experience remains horrible for me, but a few things have become clear. If it is God’s way of using me so that I and others can learn from it, I accept it. This experience also taught me that anyone who has experienced a traumatic event can get up. You just have to make the choice, stick to it and live it.