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  • Writer's pictureTaneka Gibson

How My Childhood Trauma Complicated My Grieving Process

September 22, 2020, is a day I will never forget. Matter of fact, for a good while, every “22nd” or Tuesday since that day I would become deeply depressed and often paralyzed. On this day, my first love my oldest son Earl died in a horrific car accident. Tragic. Devastated. Heartbroken. Angry. Numb. Indescribable pain. These are just a few of the emotions I have felt since this day. My life has been forever changed. My relationships with those around me have changed. My marriage was strained. Depression. Anxiety. My drive to work increase but paperwork piled up. My mental and physical health diminished. Hello, weight gain, high blood pressure, and migraines. Basically, the world around me was spiraling out of control from traumatic grief.

So I am sure you are wondering how my childhood trauma fit into this. Ok! Ok. Imagine growing up and being chastised for expressing emotions, crying after a whooping, or crying out of fear/disappointment and being told “shut up” “be quiet before I give you something to cry about!” As a child one will eventually learn that feelings are not safe and begin to suppress their emotions.

If my early childhood experiences taught me anything it has taught me to be a master at “SUPPRESSING” my emotions. Therefore after a short leave from work, I put my feeling in my pocket and got my ass back to work. However, I was stuck in the grief cycle because I wouldn’t pause long enough to feel the pain. All the while, I was receiving praise for being so “STRONG!” Strong for who? Actually, I was afraid to be vulnerable. I was afraid to feel because what if the pain is too unbearable. What if I fall and no one is there to catch me. WHY do we do this to ourselves I wondered? WHY do we resist healing?

As I approach the first anniversary of my son's death you may wonder where am I in the grief journey? The short answer….it depends on the day. I have a long healing journey ahead and I am learning to stop avoiding my feeling, accept help, and be ok with not being ok.

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