My Journey with Societal Pressures and Trauma

Trauma is an interesting thing. It is one word to express the different forms of damage done to a human brain.

As a 15 year old in the foster care system, I was introduced to counselling and “over-processing emotions” (as my therapist now calls it) as soon as I entered into my first foster home. I would go from one session to two, then the therapist would never see me again. Then a year later, i’d try someone new. One session, two sessions… The pattern continued. It was not until I found the right therapist that I actually stuck with therapy (mid-20s). And even now, I view my own therapy journey as something I utilize when I need someone else to verbalize what is going on in my head in a logical and comprehensive way. Sometimes, that is just too much for my over-processing brain.

It is interesting. Trauma. The behaviour and patterns displayed around and to you as a child (as young as the age of 3 months), impacts the way the brain wires and develops.

No matter how many years of therapy you go through, no matter how much work you do, there will always be triggers and parts of society that make those triggers arise.

Therapy doesn’t erase the trauma or triggers. It teaches you how to cope.

If you grew up in a house where you were constantly told you were not good enough…

No matter the grades.

No matter your skills.

No matter what you said.

No matter what you did.

Everything. Was. Not. Good. Enough.

Societal expectations can be a big bully – who constantly retells you everything you heard as a child.

In our teens, we are told to go to high school and graduate. During high school you need a part-time job. You should graduate by 18. Then you should go to college or university so you can get a good full-time job with benefits and vacation time. In university you should meet your life partner. You should move in together. You should graduate within 4-7 years and be engaged by the end. Then you get that good paying job because of your degree. Then you should get married. And buy a house. And have children no later than the age of 30. You should have minimum debt and go on vacations. You should save early for retirement and retire by the age of 65.

And if you don’t. You are a failure. And you are not good enough. Just like you weren’t as a child.

I would argue, that these unrealistic and almost unattainable (it feels) societal expectations are a breeding ground for decreased and slashed self-esteem in adults, which is already a difficulty for those who experienced trauma as children.

What society does not tell you, is that if you are truly and honestly giving 100% of what you personally are capable of most of the time (because sometimes we also need to give ourselves the permission to not function at 100%) – even if that may not result in a house, or kids, or a high paying job in the near future – you are doing great!

And you are valuable. You are important. And you are good enough.

Do not get lost in trying to achieve what society tells you you need to achieve.

If you are happy – enjoy where you are. Wherever that may be.

And hey, lets be honest, if you are in your mid-20s and have a roof over your head, electricity, food in your fridge, money for your bills and a decent paying stable job – from one 20-something to another, you’re not doing bad at all!

You are good enough.

Society on the other hand – needs some therapy.

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