Love shouldn’t hurt -ever

Your Voice is Important
by Teresia Smith

No two people experience trauma in the same way. Age, history, family dynamics, support systems, and much more influence how a person responds to traumatic experiences. What is a traumatic event for one person may not be a traumatic event for another. Sometimes trauma has occurred but maybe you don’t recognize it as trauma until later. The view of traumatic experiences may be distorted due to those things listed above and it makes the individual see the abusive or violent event as normal.

Learning how to cope with life’s challenges is an important part of healthy development. Mild, short-lived stress responses in the body can promote growth. However, ongoing stress can become toxic to one’s health. Some of you may have experienced significant and ongoing stress from sexual assault or from living in a violent home as children without caring adults to help you. Some of you may have experienced compounding stress caused by extreme poverty, neglect, or abuse. Some of you may still be experiencing very stressful events as adults. Toxic stress can weaken us and have long-term effects on our physical and mental health.

Joining a support group can be beneficial in healing from trauma. It often feels comforting to know that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. Part of the process in healing from trauma is developing connections and support of others. Knowing that you aren’t alone and that there are people who understand what you are feeling can help. Understanding trauma, and that we each respond to it differently, will help you be supportive and non-judgmental toward one another. This will help you understand why you respond the way you do in certain situations. Together, you’ll learn and teach one another new ways of responding as you journey through a trauma support group together. Your voice is important in not only healing your own trauma, but your input may be restorative to someone else. Your story is unique and is one that can only be shared by you.

Crisis Services of North Alabama is available to facilitate support groups for domestic violence, sexual assault survivors, and teens dealing with dating relationships. We also court advocacy, crisis counseling, compassionate listening, and referrals. Our services are offered free of charge and are confidential. If you are interested in attending a support group or accessing any of our services, you may reach Crisis Services of North Alabama’s Jackson County office at 256-574-5826 or our 24/7 HELPline at 256-716-1000.

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