How feeling helpless helps my trauma recovery? Yes–you read the title correctly. The subject of this article is helplessness as a form of healing. If that sounds completely counter-intuitive to you, you’re not alone. I’m sure that if I had come across an article making this same claim in the past, I would have labeled it as completely ludicrous. But hear me out. If you totally disagree, you can write out your counter-argument in the comments.
Also, as you read this, I need you to understand that I’m not arguing you should intentionally bring yourself to a place of helplessness, nor that dangerous helplessness (the kind that can cause posttraumatic stress disorder–PTSD–or re-traumatization) is somehow cathartic. Instead, I want to tell you about a situation in which I was clearly helpless, and how accepting that helped me feel a little bit safer in this chaotic world.
Today’s guest post speaks for itself, so I will keep the introduction short. This Valentine’s Day, let’s celebrate a different kind of relationship. Let’s celebrate those who have the power to leave romantic relationship that are harmful, and the friendships that keep us afloat. Last week, on my birthday, I had my share of friends keep me afloat; people without whom I would not be here today. Today, you can read a letter from a young woman who herself experienced abuse, written to her dear friend who recently ended an abusive relationship. This letter is written to one specific person–who is very lucky to have such a caring friend–but it also says many things that can apply to any survivor of abuse. If you or anyone you know has experienced abuse, please read this and share it.
Kella Hanna-Wayne is the creator and writer for, Yopp!: a social justice blog that connects education, critiques, calls to action, and personal stories into one resource to lift up marginalized people and educate non-marginalized people on how to help them. For fun, Kella organizes and DJ’s at an Argentine tango dancing event in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon, bakes gluten-free masterpieces, sings loudly along with pop music, and makes cat noises. You can find her on facebook, twitter, or Instagram.
Recovery from mental illness often begins as an uphill battle. It doesn’t help that aside from difficult symptoms, those of us living with one or more mental illness also have to combat stigma and wide-spread misinformation–all while navigating a mental healthcare system that often favors the wealthy. Recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is saddled with some very specific barriers. In fact, treatment-resistance is actually a symptom of PTSD. If you or a loved one are struggling to recover from trauma, please hold back from judgement. There are reasons for treatment-resistant behaviors; you or your loved one are not at fault.