Dealing with trauma
Here is something I read on Facebook.
Dealing with trauma
by Zach Whitsel
A few months ago both of my dogs were viciously attacked through a fence on the dirt road near our home. A large dog in the Ridgeback family attempted to pull my smaller dog through an opening in his fence and nearly sawed her throat open in the process. It took about nine stitches to close her neck up. Right as I got her free, my larger dog stepped forward to the rescue and nearly got her shoulder dislocated by the same dog. She could hardly walk at all for the next few days. To make matters even worse, my six-year-old was with me. I felt completely out of control in the situation. And that’s not a great feeling. In fact, from a psychological standpoint, phobias and PTSD stem from situations involving that very emotion.
I remember laying in bed that night still traumatized by what had happened. I’ve been a dog lover my whole life. Would this situation change my mind? I’m a confident person who has never lived in fear. Would this impact that? I mean, after all, what if this had involved me or my child? It made me sweat to even think about it. I knew this wasn’t a normal dog or normal circumstances, though, so I made a conscious decision in bed that night not to let it get any bigger in my head than it was in reality. The Ridgeback couldn’t fit through that fence (I had already drove back over there and checked) so my son was never actually in any danger. I got both my dogs away from the other dog, and both would survive. I had already spoke to the owners of the dog and they had enthusiastically volunteered to close the opening in that fence. A phrase came into my mind, a phrase I would remind myself of a lot over the next couple of days.
The Ridgeback’s name is Chocolate. I’ve stopped on my bike and patted his head through the fence a few times since then. He’s actually a pretty good dog, he just hates other dogs. The situation ended up having no long-term negative affects on me because I chose to stay in touch with reality and remind myself of what was true. Truth is liberating: I think that’s in the Bible a few times.
What you have been through in life may make my dog story sound lame but you can wade through your emotions and reactions with the same process. Maybe you don’t feel like “I won” describes your outcome very well but, if you are reading this, you could definitely say “I survived.” And that is a major victory. Then, assess the facts without asking your emotions for help. What happened and how you feel about what happened can be so far away from each other that reality is lost. You can deal with the facts, and sometimes the facts reveal that you came out a lot further ahead than you feel like you did. After that, repair the boundary (the fence) in the situation and then look your fear in the eyes from a safer position than you had before. He may not be as scary as you thought when he’s behind the right fence. And then move on with your life. Your future depends on you looking at your problems correctly. Physical health depends on what we feed our bodies; mental health depends on what we feed our minds. You can’t control what life serves you sometimes but you are in full control over what you pick up and eat.