Beat your fear, face your trauma! Turn them into beauty!
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”–Marie Curie
I almost lost my father nearly twenty years ago. He barely survived – that’s what the doctors told my mum. Those words rebounded from her utterly petrified stone-like figure, crashed into the white hospital walls, and then rushed at me like a strong wind. Suddenly I lost my breath; I stopped listening, except for a strange buzz in my head, or maybe it was outside I do not remember. I have vague memories of what was happening in the coming days; I just know that I stopped sleeping.
An unknown feeling grew over me and wrapped around my body like a heavy, suffocating cloth, starting slowly from my legs, then my stomach, chest, shoulders, carrying all the blood to my head, until it all turned into pain. All of a sudden, so much babbling hit the inner walls of my head like relentless blows. I opened my eyes, and my nose was bleeding. I immediately got up and went to my father’s bed to check if he was breathing. I stared at the blanket to see if it was moving; I was afraid to look him in the face right away. That was my everyday routine; once I made sure he was okay, I felt relieved to start my day. Every day was a painful expectation that the worst would happen. I created neurotic patterns of behavior to avoid death. Not mine, of course. It was as if the life and death of all people depended on me. I overestimated myself a bit, don’t you think so?
This event had a substantial impact on me; it changed me. The fear that comfortably settled in my mind and body slowly narrowed my world and placed me at a safe distance from everyone. I was firmly determined not to get close to anyone, not to build any relationships, not to expose myself emotionally, not to feel. I was indeed successful in that.
I did not talk or share my thoughts or fears with anyone, which was utterly wrong. I did not dare to name those thoughts even in front of myself; I avoided them skillfully, skipped them, and was afraid that if I faced all my thoughts and feelings directly, I would cause them to happen. And that made me feel so exhausted and empty. I got terrible headaches, for which no doctor had a solution. It put even more pressure on me because I was taking care of my parents, so I was trying to hide them … “One can get sick from worries,” I heard my mother once. And somehow, there was no end. I did not enjoy anything even though I was just a child.
Goodbye to the trauma!
It turns out that what is crucial is to understand and face the fear. When the unknown becomes completely exposed and known, it loses its power. There is nothing to be afraid of, right? That means (this is only my personal experience, and I hope you will find it helpful) stand straight, straighten your head and your look, do not wander around with your eyes, which is a vital element of this strategy. Take a deep breath, and this will be the last time you experience fear with such intensity, which is a moment to say goodbye to the trauma. The next essential moment is to start writing down your thoughts immediately. You start writing but not just anything; you have to honestly just continue writing and do not mind the content.
That will be the channel you create and through which all the persisting fear flows, all the preserved thoughts and emotions that take away your peace and infiltrate your dreams. What a relief! Sounds like magic? Well, for me, it really was.
Can trauma have a good side to it?
Traumatic experiences do not mean that you are weak, that you do not know how to manage your inner world, that your mind cannot correctly process the incidents that usually happen without your influence. But with a little bit of effort, they can turn into something extraordinary – in art, in your art. Before they hurl into us, our inner space gets a new layout; a new dimension opens up that we were not aware we possessed. Still, no matter how much we get in touch with our dark side, such experiences inevitably lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves, the world around us, of life.
What I have learned about myself was the fact that I have a special sensibility. At any given moment, I can describe in great detail what thoughts go through a person’s head, what bothers him, and to see their perspective, feel those emotions like my own. This is simply human, and it’s called empathy. It’s somewhat like reading thoughts, right!? We should embrace it like a superpower, not consider it awful or unwanted or like a weakness.
I did not know back then that writing has therapeutic powers. I used it as a tool in dealing with my traumatic experience quite intuitively. It doesn’t even have to be writing. It can be painting, shooting videos, making necklaces… These things must come from the world within us and take on a new form – to become beautiful.