Siah HaginSurvivor of Trauma

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I spent some time in therapy dealing with the effects of my abuse. It was an emotional process for me. I doubted myself a lot of times and was unsure whether I could get through it. I cried often and leaned on friends for support. No matter how I felt, I showed up every week and utilized the skills that I learned in therapy. Trauma, like abuse, is not something you forget about, but you learn to manage.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is not just a horrific experience such as abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Trauma is the loss of a loved one, dealing with a divorce and even having to live through a pandemic. If you were one of those individuals that watched the number of deaths rise each day during the pandemic; you experienced trauma. If you dropped your loved one off at the hospital during the pandemic and never saw them again, that was trauma. If you watch George Floyd’s life being taken by a police officer leaning on his neck, that was trauma as well. All these experiences have impacted us in one way or another and have made it difficult to move on with life as usual. Trauma can be defined as an overwhelming inability to cope. That experience that you are trying to make sense of and struggling through can be defined as trauma.

The Impact of Trauma

Trauma impacts how we interact with others. It impacts how we build and maintain relationships. It influences how we look at ourselves and how we think others look at us. When trauma goes unaddressed, it can lead to low self-worth, depression, anxiety, etc. It can also manifest in our bodies causing headaches, stomach pain, and other medical issues. Traditionally trauma is what we may consider to be a hard or challenging time. However, after experiencing trauma an individual‘s daily functioning has been interrupted.

As someone who was abused, I recognized the pain I was dealing with was beyond going through a challenging time; I needed help. I needed help to process all the emotions I was feeling. That’s when I sought therapy.

This piece was written by Siah Hagin

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