Our pasts are part of who we are, but not the whole picture.
Both biologically and psychologically, our past paves the way for our future. We gather experiences and relationships, which shape our choices and beliefs. Often, this is a blessing. We learn from mistakes big and small. After one flat tire on the side of the highway, you’re more likely to keep a spare tire and a jack in your car. After a bad experience with a partner, our radar for manipulative people is always up a little higher. So what if we can’t let go of our experiences? What if there are things in our past either so horrifying or so significant that they are paralyzing us? A violent childhood, an abusive partner, a significant loss- all of these can hold us back. So where do we go from the depths of pain? How can we hold on to jobs and relationships that once gave us fulfillment?
For many, therapy is the most effective way to lead a fulfilling life after a trauma. Talk therapy with a licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist has helped countless people move through their pain and live fulfilling lives. Sometimes that therapy can include medication, sometimes it’s based solely on talking, but either way a professional is guiding the patient through the process.
Many also find solace through spirituality. Church, synagogue, meditation, yoga, even reading have all been known to change the lives of those who’ve experienced trauma. It’s not for everyone, but a venture into spirituality can help some people move forward. The teachings we follow from holy scripture, our favorite spiritual guide, or the freedom of deep meditation have always been a part of the human healing process.
New surroundings may also help. A new city or a new job can reinvigorate our energy to move forward. The past is ingrained in who we are, but each experience is just one of thousands of puzzle pieces that make up our whole selves. We can help control which pieces are the biggest. Even if we feel powerless to do so, we should not hesitate to ask for help.
Check out our “Resources” tab above for a listing of some resources or contact your local mental health center for support.