A broken brain: Trauma, abuse, neglect in childhood

A paraphrased conversation I had with a friend a few months after –

losing someone special to me in a drunk driving accident,

then losing my belongings in a house fire two weeks later:

(It sucked. A lot)

Friend: “How are you?”

Me: “Not so good. I’ve been really depressed and sad about what happened.”

Friend: “Still?!? That was four months ago!”

Me: “….”

(…Now feeling really shitty about feeling shitty.)

True story.

———

This dynamic sums up my emotional experience as a child.

There are reasons why I and people who’ve had similar experiences are:

“depressed all the time”

“so emotional”

“dramatic”

“so sensitive”

“moody”

———

Experiencing trauma, abuse, neglect as a child —when your brain and sense of self are still developing—fucks with your head, people. It feels like your brain is shattered.

You don’t need to study psychology, neurology or any kind of -ology to understand that some of us have had really stressful, lonely, intense, fractured childhoods.

So, as adults, we’re going to be/feel really stressed, lonely, intense and fractured sometimes.

The impact of trauma is permanent. Memories, thoughts, and emotions of the trauma regularly circle in your head. Forever more.

This happens every day. This is what we carry and what we fight through, regardless of how we appear on the outside — Every. Day. !!

It doesn’t mean we can’t also be happy and funny and easy going. We go through life’s regular stresses like everyone else; at the same time, we’re expending as much energy on regulating our internal worlds.

Yeah. Exhausting AF.

We’re trying to keep the bad memories, thoughts and emotions from distracting us from the lives we’re trying to live. Sometimes they break us down.

——

The next time you see someone who looks, sounds or acts “crazy,” I ask that you consider what they might have experienced in childhood. Try to tap into the compassion and empathy you feel toward people you love and send them to this “crazy” person.

What happens in childhood doesn’t stay in the past. For as many fond and fun memories you may have, there are some of us who can match your stories with shitty ones that we spend so much time and energy trying to forget. The mere topic of childhood in conversation can elicit PTSD.

So, when you think someone gets “soo upset” when you say or do something seemingly innocuous or mundane, there’s a reason for it.

All you have to do is put your judgement down, ask and listen.

(A hug is nice, too.) 🤗