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A Letter to Myself After Trauma

In the fall of 2017, I experienced significant medical trauma, most of which I was not conscious for. In the weeks and even months that came after, I struggled significantly with my emotions. I cried often and was constantly paralyzed by anxiety. I experienced flashbacks and nightmares, I was not able to sleep in my own bed, several things triggered my fear and my grief, I became afraid of crowds and I struggled with wanting to be in public at all. I had no choice but to leave my primary GI and the hospital he practiced in, knowing I could not walk through those doors again. All of this was heartbreaking, not just to me, but to my husband and my family too.

After working intensely with my therapist, my psychiatrist and my husband, I very slowly unwound. One day at a time, I began to feel a little less rattled, a little more secure, a little more sure I was still alive.

I attended an event that brought out many emotions

Six months after the trauma, I was able to attend an event aptly called Heavy & Light, which was an evening of songs, conversation, and hope hosted by To Write Love on Her Arms.

That night, standing at the House of Blues in Orlando, FL, I felt so many emotions. I found myself fighting back tears & I grabbed my phone and drafted the note below. I wrote a letter to myself, in that moment, and it has been taped to my desk ever since as a reminder that I am brave, and I can survive hard things.

I would be so grateful to hear the ways in which you started again after facing trauma if you’re willing to share.

A letter to myself, present day

I see you.

I hear you.

Your feelings are real.

You’ve survived the unthinkable. You survived when you didn’t have to. When you weren’t supposed to.

That day has changed your entire life, and very few people really know about it.

I know this makes your heart ache. I know that it was the worst thing that has ever happened to you. It’s also the moment that forever opened your eyes. The moment when you got lucky. Your soul said okay. Your soul said we’re here. Your soul said you would figure out how to move forward.

You’ve fought tooth and nail to stand here today.

To show up, carrying all of the bags: vulnerability and anger, frustration and starvation, even fear, and yet, you continue trying to give, to love, to hear people. I don’t say it enough but I’m proud of you.

I know you wish you could hear it, that people could realize how f***ing hard it is to be you right now. But you know. And you’re doing it, one day, one minute at a time.

I may never be fully grateful for the vessel that carries my soul through this life, but I am forever in awe of the heart that keeps beating, that has learned to lick its’ wounds and start again after every tear, after every shred, after every break.

Today, I hope you know you are safe, you are loved, and in this crowded room, you are home.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.