Trauma Recovery Perspective: Can You See It As An Adventure?
By Michele Rosenthal
I’ll just come out and admit it to you: I was not a very positive survivor-in-recovery. I doubted myself a lot, despaired a lot, cried, carried on and gave up a lot, and in general isolated myself like a hibernating bear in January. To sum it up, my recovery was not a pretty picture.
Looking back now I understand that if I’d had a better trauma recovery attitude my process might have been a little easier on everyone around me. But I didn’t have much guidance during my recovery and pretty much zero self-awareness, so I forgive myself for my shortcomings. You, however, have an opportunity right now this minute to make a choice: are you going to approach your healing journey as a chore or an adventure?
At the age of thirty-seven Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., suffered a major stroke. She lost her ability to do everything – speak, walk, write – you name it, she had to learn to do it all over again. In her book, MY STROKE OF INSIGHT, she writes about the process of recovery:
To help me find my way back to my peaceful right mind, I look at how my body organizes information into systems and capitalize on those already established circuits. I find that paying attention to sensory information as it streams into my body is a very helpful tool… I consciously hook into the physiological experience …. I ask myself repeatedly, how does it feel to be here doing this?
All of us go through a phase in healing when we have to deliberately learn to be present, conscious and aware of our internal experience. For some of us, it’s been many years since we’ve felt connected to ourselves and our bodies. It’s a time for courage, patience, trust in the process and… a small sense of adventure.
Which makes me think of Joy Harjo’s poem, ‘A Map to the Next World’, in which she writes,
Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.
You must make your own map.
In trauma recovery there is no universal beginning or end. We are each on our own self-structured journey. Like other adventurers before us, we each must make our own map.
Lewis and Clark, Magellan and Columbus went off the charted course and discovered entirely new routes and worlds. So can you.