Trauma is a Thief, and We’re Done Losing Ourselves Piece by Piece

Gillian Sisley

This is a battle within to not lose more ground to the trauma that eats away at us ever since we were violated.

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I am fighting a war.

A war that many women like myself are all too familiar with.

A war that we never signed up for, and yet are responsible to win all on our own.

A war that was forced upon us by others who were wrongly entitled, and yet systematically protected by the justice system.

There is no justice here.

We are not safe.

We are not protected.

And thus, women like myself, every single day, are fighting a battle within to not only reclaim what is ours, but also protect that of us which is left from being taken away.

Because the darkness of trauma is a bottomless, insatiable beast.

And it’s trying with everything it has to eat away at the parts of us are that are beautiful, and strong, and good.

This war is exhausting. But if we don’t fight it, we will lose the most precious commodity of all:

Ourselves.

I used to thrive in the night.

As a creative, the night is the time where I deliver my highest quality of work to my clients, and am able to tap into the creative energy within me that allows me to write some of the best pieces I’ve ever worked on.

I used to thrive in the night time.

But now, I live with a very different reality.

I know without a doubt that once midnight hits, the demons of my trauma are going to start bubbling up and swarming around me.

Most nights I can acknowledge them, give them the middle finger, and get back to my work.

Because I learned after a year of struggling with my post-traumatic stress, I wasn’t going to let my trauma win.

Because if I let it overcome me and sabotage me and my business, I was letting him win, too.

And he’s already taken enough from me.

I wasn’t letting him take the business that I started from the ground and grown into something wonderful, simply because of his misplaced sense of entitlement over my body.

There are nights when most of the time the demons are there, I recognize them, and I just get on with it.

But then there are other nights where the story is much different.

Those are the nights when my husband is sleeping soundly in our bed, and I’m downstairs sitting on the kitchen floor with a tub of Nutella and a spoon trying with everything I have to ward off yet another panic attack.

Because that’s what I have to live with now.

That’s what being violated by another human being does to your soul.

It creates cracks and scratches that reverberate through the rest of your life and continue on for years and years and years to come.

Why would anyone think that fixing a soul after being violated could be such an easy fix?

That is why we’re told time and time again to, “Just get over it and move on”, right?

Because a violation like this is just so easy to “get over” with advice as simple as, “Stop talking and thinking about it and it will go away.”.

When it comes down to the essence of who we are and that part being touched by darkness because of someone else’s selfishness, of course it’s going to take an extended amount of time to fill in those cracks with something stronger.

And for most of us, that full healing never truly comes back, and the person we once were never fully returns, either.

And maybe that’s a good thing, because if it weren’t for those cracks in my soul and the injustice I feel and acknowledging them everyday, I wouldn’t be here right now.

I wouldn’t be writing about what happened to me.

I wouldn’t be talking loudly and probably about advocacy for sexual assault victims.

I wouldn’t be screaming out about the absolute catastrophe that we are living with in our current society where women are being raped and sexually assaulted at monumental levels that can no longer be disregarded.

So maybe we are meant to be here, and maybe there is a bigger purpose for why we survived what we did and are here to tell the tale.

Or maybe I’m just optimistic.

Final word.

I can say one thing for sure:

I know that through speaking our truths and writing about our trauma, we are creating space for healing to take place.

Not just within ourselves, but also within others, too.

I see it every day as I read article after article from brave women and survivors who take a deep quaking breath and press “Publish”.

I see it in the comments from readers who share their similar experiences and offer warm words of encouragement to the authors.

I see it in the writers as their narratives shift and change over time, and they continue to claim and declare ownership of every part that is them.

Every gritty part.

Every complex part.

Every broken and vulnerable and powerful part.

This is the space where battles are won.

This is where we claim victory.

And this victory happen all the time, in the most seemingly insignificant moments throughout an average day.

But we will fight.

And we will win.

And we’re not going anywhere.

“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.” (p.97)” ― Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

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