Thursday, September 20, 2018

Many of us live with a past that constantly haunts us.

Many of us live with a past that constantly haunts us. The past creeps up by way of memories, or our 'automatic' reactions (the way we feel physically or emotionally) to certain triggers. I was diagnosed with complex trauma disorder which is a psychological disorder that developed in reaction to the severe chronic physical, sexual and psychological abuse during my childhood. But to make matters even worse, I was trafficked as a young woman and kept chained, drugged and in captivity for 6 months. So this is something that I will never forget no matter how much healing or therapy I have had over the years. Some people might say that we choose to be prisoners of the past. No. I don’t dwell on my past anymore like I used to during my recovery process. I actually think about my present and the wonderful things that lies ahead of my future. My memories or triggers come back to me in different ways. A person’s triggers are activated through one or more of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. For me, a simple smell can take me right back to the past. An unwanted touch. Also aggressive and dominant behaviors remind me of my father and that always triggers me. However, I have learned to manage my illness and I have found happiness in my life. But I’m not going to lie to the survivor community and tell them that memories don’t haunt me because they do, especially when I’m physically ill or when I’m facing family problems. My whole advocacy work is based on being transparent and real. I’m being very real to survivors....There’s no magical pill to erase these parts of our life. We just have to learn to work through the memories or the trigger and perhaps with time we learn to placate the triggers. I have learned to move through them quicker or at times even divert the memories with different skills such as tapping out. Survivors can process the emotions concerning their pasts. Some may learn relaxation techniques to cope with panic attacks. Some use grounding techniques. Others may learn how to avoid them, there is no right or wrong when it comes to human behavior. But one thing that is certain is that with time and work, a person can face their triggers with much less distress.

Thank you for reading.

Cecibel Contreras
Incest, child sexual abuse, human trafficking survivor.

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