Dealing with trauma is like handling broken glass. Once the glass is shattered it remains forever. All of us have had traumatic glass in our lives. Some of them are big chandeliers that come crashing from the ceiling. Others are small shot glasses or tiny figurines. The object can be rebuilt, but it cannot go back to it's original form. Having a Learning Disability caused my dreams to shatter, and being bullied because of it added more glass. I have found that handling the glass of my trauma is what helped me, rather than trying to sweep it away.
The first step I had to take in handling the broken glass was to acknowledge its existence. If you break a mug in the kitchen and don't acknowledge that it is broken, then you will step around it or keep stepping in it. Ignoring it does not clean up the mess and often times shards of glass will go into other areas of the floor. When people ignore trauma it may appear in other areas of your life and cause difficulties. Many times people want to pretend that the trauma has not happened or that it does not bother them. I have had others dismiss events in my life saying it was in the past and to get over it.
It is also important to acknowledge how you feel after this event. All trauma leaves pain, but it can be different depending on the event. Some people may feel sad, angry, anxious, or numb. Certain situations may be traumatic but won't effect you the same as other ones. I have had other people also try to tell me how I should feel about having a disability. People have told me that I shouldn't discouraged or frustrated because other people have it worse. Others have told me that having one is not so bad or that I was lucky that I had one because I had accommodations. Feelings are not something we have control over. Our actions is what we can manage. If I cut my finger on broken glass; it is going to hurt. I can't control that. I can choose how to handle the pain and know that it won't always hurt this bad forever.
After I acknowledged the trauma, I had to take steps to clean up the brokenness. Cleaning up the damage requires the right tools and care. I had to put my shoes on to protect my feet from becoming further injured. I also needed to have a broom and dust pan to gather up the debris. I had to go through each piece of glass and look at the trauma and decide what to do with it. Some of the jagged pieces I could put together. I could find new possibilities and form together a work of art. Other pieces could not be restored and I had to toss those away.
Some shards of glass pieced my tender skin and had to be removed. I had to stich the injured skin and wrap them. Many of the red angry scars have faded to a soft pink.
Even after the scars heal and the glass is swept away, trauma still has it's effects months or years afterwards. You may be feeling fine and then something triggers you to remember. Or you may discover a tiny glitter of glass that you thought was swept away but it's still there.
The broken glass of trauma leaves lasting effects, but people can heal. It requires acknowledging the pain of the event and processing it with great care. It is also important for people to tend to the wounds that were inflicted on them; neglecting them can create further damage. I have learned to view my scars of trauma as a badge of honor and have used the broken pieces to create a work of art.