There’s a direct correlation between trauma, addiction, and depression. Substance abuse, most often, is a coping mechanism to escape the reality of traumatic experiences and PTSD that can follow. For most of my adult years, I minimized the trauma I experienced in life, as a child and adult. On the outside I presented as healthy, pulled together, intelligent…but inside I was breaking from the weight of my depression, anxiety, and PTSD…ashamed that I was a product of my cumulative traumatic experiences and felt something was wrong with me that I couldn’t pull out of my darkness. So, I turned to substances to cope.
I never thought I’d be someone with an ‘addiction’, my own closed minded judgement of what I knew about this term. But during these years, using substances gave me a temporary relief from my reality, made me feel ‘happy’ like I could get through another day, and made me feel social so friends would want to be around me. I thank yoga and my own self for having awareness to know substance abuse is never the answer for dealing with trauma. The only answer is to go through it and do the work…to practice compassion, patience, honesty, understanding, and kindness for yourself.
Transformation does not happen over night, it can take years. As a Doctor recently shared with me, I will never be fully ok from the trauma I’ve had, I will always walk with a limp in my heart, but I now choose to feel it all instead of numb. I now choose to be honest with people in my life when I’m in a dark place, rather than embarrassed. And I choose to wear a badge of honor that I’m still standing after all I’ve been through.
If you’re struggling, please know there is a healthy way out and reach out for help. There is always hope.