I saw this reposted on Instagram, and it’s pretty damn close to explaining my sentiments as I go through this.
I’ve been trying to draw something about living through a traumatic experience for a while, but it’s a really sensitive and complex topic, so I’ll just focus on this one part of my own personal experience:
The common conception is that you’re just so grateful to be alive afterwards, but that conception implies that you’re the exact same person you were before trauma. Same person, now with a new lease on life.
In fact, living on the other side of trauma feels like being a different person altogether — and a person who doesn’t quite belong anywhere.
It’s isolating, and is often accompanied by feeling of being a stranger even to one’s own body. It’s not the same Mari who is now just happy to still be here, it’s a Mari who has lost some trust in the world and herself and has a hard time talking about it.
In my experience, it’s frustrating to anticipate a swell of gratitude that may take years to set in, and it’s lonely trying to explain that it hasn’t happened yet.
I’m grateful for the wisdom that come with a brief visit to hell on earth, but it doesn’t exactly look like a new lease on life. Post-traumatic growth is certainly real, but complicated. Journaling helps. Nature helps. People help.