Step by step
I am convinced that Fr. Mike Schmitz is strongly lead when it comes to his vocation. He is up-to-date with what's happening in the world and finds practical ways to relate these events to scripture while not washing down any of our Catholic beliefs. He also includes himself as part of the audience by using "we" instead of "you". Simply put, he hits topics that many of us really care to hear about, in ways that we understand.
In his homily last week (1), one of the subjects he touches is anxiety as it pertains to trauma. He explains that working through past events by writing about them - their short-term and long-term impacts, the resulting pain, the tools we used to help ourselves, the lessons it left us with - help us move forward. Conversely, when we don't want to look at our painful memories, "[they] just keeps burning us".
In other words, even when we try to ignore our traumatic experiences, these attempts prove unsuccessful... their impact on us comes out sooner or later whether or not we consciously acknowledge their consequences. Hence the fact that "the body keeps the score" (2).
And alas... "the anxiety of 'what if' thrives in trauma that hasn't been grasped and understood yet" (1). We cause ourselves additional anxiety by pretending things never happened.
So what can we do to help ourselves?
Sometimes writing in our journal or talking with trustworthy friends is what we need. At other times, a weekend, a day, or even just one hour, unplugged, in prayerful reflection is what we need. Some of us need the wisdom and guidance of professionals to help us process our trauma. Maybe a relevant book with an accompanying workbook and a Catholic mentor will help our healing. And then some of us really benefit from Catholic Inner Healing services. It has been said that exercise helps the body process emotions, so maybe that is part of our healing package as well.
Don't hurt for longer than is necessary. It's impossible to rush through the process of healing, but sometimes we make things more difficult for ourselves by refusing to let go of what is killing us. Do what it takes to help your heart and mind heal from all that you have experienced. You deserve to heal and if you don't believe this, that's okay. Do the work anyway and your feelings will catch up. If you don't know what will help you, start by opening up to someone you trust. You can also try one, or a few of, the things I mentioned above, see how those go and work from there :)
Step by step. Don't give up on you!