One of the reasons I felt drawn to tarot is that I found it very helpful for my mental health, including my mental health, which the trauma I had endured ruined. Between being scapegoated, consistently bullied, and caring for a child for 13 years with complex special needs without me getting the moral support and encouragement (and only receiving criticism and judgment) that I needed, I not only struggle with MDD but also C-PTSD.
The fictional character of Risa Green that I refer to in my podcast, Swords of Depression, as I go over the meanings of each of the 78 tarot cards (I just finished the Major Arcana and only started with the Wands at this stage) has a lot of parallels to my history and life. However, there are significant differences, so I would say that character of Risa has it much worse than I do or ever will. You may be wondering why I chose the name Risa as the name of the characters since it is not a common name. Well, one day, I will reveal it, but not yet. Nevertheless, there is a significance to it.
Anyway, I will want to touch on something that bothers me in this post. When it comes to helping trauma survivors come out of their trauma, all I see is the term healing from trauma. And, I’m not too fond of that. Now, I am not saying that your only option is to stay in the trauma victim mode for good, no! Not at all! If that is what I believed, I would not be talking about how tarot cards have been helpful to me and how beneficial they are. It boils down to semantics.
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You Do Not Heal From Trauma
I am sorry, but the fact is, the term healing from trauma is very misleading. My therapist is in complete agreement, and very down-to-earth psychics and intuitive who I am in contact with also agree with this statement. So let me explain what happens if you don’t heal from trauma. Before I get into it, there are also things you cannot heal aside from trauma. For example, you cannot heal mental illnesses and many physical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes (unless you recently developed it, which means you can reverse it at that point).
The things you can heal are cuts, bruises, broken bones, or sprained muscles. But unfortunately, you cannot heal trauma, mental illness, and many diseases and physical ailments. That is reality, as I am a realist. But, what can you do with all of that instead? You process it and develop coping skills to manage it, which may or may not involve medication or other remedies. You will likely need therapy, the correct type of therapy to work through trauma, EMDR, ACT (which I am using), CBT, DBT, etc. The hardest part is processing the trauma of all of it.
Processing Trauma Is The Hardest Part
When you have to face your trauma, you have no choice but to process it since you cannot run from it anymore. There is only so long you can bury it and escape it. Eventually, it will catch up with you, and once it hits you, you will have no choice but to process it. And that is the part that gets very ugly and messy. You probably have seen the meme on social media that says healing is messy. I am pretty sure this is exactly what that means.
Processing trauma means you have to sit there and try to understand why you went through all of it. You will be angry, you may even be feral, and you may withdraw during this time. I did not realize how much trauma I had buried in me as I walked around for so many years believing that I had Major Depressive Disorder, which is what a psychiatrist diagnosed me with years ago. I do have it, and unfortunately, I am medication resistant.
However, it was not until the COVID-19 lockdown in the winter of 2021 that I made that horrific realization that I was living with extreme trauma from bullying, being scapegoated, and caring for a child with complex special needs for 13 years. I was horrifically feral for a long time, and I was acting like a wild emo teen for a while. And when you initially process trauma, that will happen.
You maybe process trauma for life, as I know I will. Perhaps new issues that emerge that I hid may cause me to become angry and withdraw. But here is the thing. Once you begin processing the trauma, you will have no choice but to eventually seek therapy for it even if you are resistant for a long time, as I was.
The Next Step Is To Develop Strategies And Coping Skills For Managing Trauma
Once you realize that you are going to be processing your trauma potentially for life, you know that you need to function and live a better life. That is why there are therapies like EMDR that help you develop coping skills to manage your trauma so you do not allow it to take over your life. There is no perfect and ideal way to find strategies that work, as everyone who has PTSD or C-PTSD can discover a method that will help them cope and help them manage their trauma. Some people can thrive, and others may not be able to do much better than to get by, depending on the degree of trauma and personality.
I find tarot cards helpful, but I will always have C-PTSD, whereas I will also always have depression. It is all about keeping them in check, and it is all about doing what you can to rise above them in situations that can challenge you. You also will find that you will develop skills to set boundaries and have an easier time saying “no” instead of giving in.
I am fully expecting someone to tell me what I just wrote is the definition of healing from trauma. Listen, if that term makes you feel better, by all means, use it, as most of the New Age and trauma communities do. I feel it is inaccurate and I don’t like it. Therefore, instead of me telling you that I am “healing” from trauma, I will tell you that I will keep processing it, and as I do, I will keep developing skills to cope and manage it throughout life.
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