On April 15, 2013, my triumphant finish at the Boston Marathon was drowned by the deafening roar of a bomb. As I took refuge in the medical tent, the world outside was collapsing, and the weight of the trauma was just settling in.
Here’s a universal truth: Our perception of the present is deeply rooted in our past. That bombing in Boston? It wasn’t just a moment for me. It altered the course of my emotional journey.
I’ll never forget being asked, “Where were you when the bombing occurred?” On the surface, a simple inquiry, but for me, it unveiled a whirlpool of mixed emotions. An inner voice murmured, ‘It’s not your story to tell.’ Because, yes, I wasn’t physically wounded, but does that make my trauma any less valid?
It’s a common pitfall many of us encounter: juxtaposing our traumas against others, unintentionally downplaying our own pain. Phrases like “It’s just a first-world problem” or “I was merely a bystander” often cloud our self-assessment. Remember being told, “There are starving children in Africa”? It’s that same voice that asks you to undermine your own experiences.
Though the scars weren’t visible, my mind was a battleground. Vivid, haunting replays of that day lingered. Yet with every replay, shame, guilt, and denial surged anew.
Addressing trauma isn’t about focusing on fragmented memories, but rather embracing a panoramic view of the entire event. I had to navigate my feelings, from the survivor’s guilt of leaving the tent to the emotional aftershocks that followed. This 360-degree approach, zooming out to a comprehensive perspective, is what makes healing truly transformative.
Confronting my trauma was like peeling an onion. With each layer, I unearthed another, yet every layer brought me closer to understanding and healing.
While traditional therapies sometimes skim the surface, focusing on individual memories, the secret lies in diving deep, getting to the heart of the matter. The goal? Clearing out the clutter, shedding the burdens that have overstayed their welcome.
If the shadows of the past cloud your present, know this: seeking help is the first step towards rediscovering yourself. The exhilaration of freedom, of breaking the chains, is an experience unlike any other.
So, reach out. Begin your journey towards liberation. And remember, it’s not about where you start, but where you’re headed.