If you have trauma or PTSD in your life, you know what it’s like to be flooded with pain. It’s part of the package. Some would say pain is the package.
I remember the days and even years after a traumatic betrayal. I remember the other traumas that suddenly jumped into my awareness, compounding the betrayal. Those were pain-filled days and nights.
Can you remember the day that your world crumbled? You might not have felt pain at first; perhaps you were numb. Perhaps you kept the pain at bay with busyness or indulging in over-eating, over-drinking, or over-shopping.
Where are you now in relationship to your pain? Stuffing it, putting on a good front in public, walking around as a pain-filled, broken person, or meeting it head-on?
We both know that going numb, stuffing the pain, or putting on a good act simply doesn’t work. Pain keeps poisoning our lives until we deal with it. Until we make sense of it.
In a recent “Daily Hope” email, Pastor Rick Warren spoke of David as he stepped up to slay the giant. Before David ever put a rock in that sling, he had other giants to slay:
- Delay: David couldn’t get right to the job. He had to try on the armor, surpass the ridicule of his family and others, and wait for the giant’s challenge before he pulled out the slingshot. When I was facing repeated traumas, I was delayed in getting better. I had to get to a safe place first, and then make sense of the pain. Is something keeping you from addressing the pain in your life?
- Discouragement: In facing traumatic pain, we don’t know right away what will help us. EMDR therapy? Check. Counseling? Check. Separation from the source of the pain? Check. These are just a few options we have to try to make sense of the pain. Finally, deliverance prayer gave me the first foothold out of the pit of pain. Have you found a strategy that is giving you a foothold out of the pit?
- Doubt: David never doubted himself because he was confident in God’s calling and God’s victory. But is doubt part of trauma pain? Definitely. I doubted myself, my future, even God’s process for healing, which seemed so slow. But I kept pushing forward, processing the pain as I went—or slipping backwards often. I still have remnants of pain, but they rarely take over my life as they once did. Do you have doubts about making sense of your pain?
- Disapproval: People with PTSD often don’t seem “right” to their friends, families, and co-workers. I definitely wasn’t right. Trauma had taken over my world and me. My friends had many things to disapprove of: I had to quit my job, I couldn’t go back into the church where the betrayal happened, I couldn’t just “put it behind me.” Finally, it came down to a decision made with God: leave and start a new life or stay and lose my life. I left. God blessed. Do you feel the disapproval of others?
I invite you to read my book “Hope after Trauma and PTSD: Making Sense of the Pain,” for sale on Amazon. You’ll meet other people who had to overcome these gigantic obstacles. You’ll see how they did it. You’ll get ideas for how you can do it.
Together, we’ll start making sense of the pain.