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Don’t Let Isolation Creep Into Your Recovery

Maya Angelou once said, “I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” Empathy is the foundation of human connection which allows us to recognize and identify with one another. Our ability to have empathy toward one another is our ability to be human toward one another and see in one another the extreme effects of being a human on planet earth. Too often in our world, we are separated by circumstance and conditioning. The separations which start to take place at a young age build and build as we grow from color and gender to preference and political party and beyond. As we discover more differences between ourselves and others, we build higher the wall of separation to the extent that we start to believe that one person’s life experiences are drastically different from our own, simply due to the lies of separation we have been taught to believe. We begin to think that the value of someone’s life is different, that the possibilities of their life is different, that their ability to relate to us in any way, is different. As a result, we lead ourselves to feeling isolated from others and the world at large. As well, we lead ourselves to causing isolation to others by keeping our walls of isolation high.

Trauma And Isolation

Isolation is a painfully familiar experience to people who have survived trauma in their lives. What we go through with trauma seems unnatural and not normal. Many often times it is, in a way. The things that we experience in trauma are out of the ordinary, which immediately threatens our survivalist instinctual need to not be different, to fit in, and stick with the pack, or be accepted by our tribe of other humans. Living through trauma can cause us to feel like we’ve been permanently marked or damaged and that if anyone found out what had happened to us, what we did, or how we struggle to cope with it, and the many ways in which we do attempt to cope with it, good and bad, that we’ll be kicked off the planet, excommunicated from humankind, and officially as isolated as we feel. We think that nobody in the world could have experienced what we experienced, could feel what we feel, or could struggle the way we struggle. Nobody knows, could know, or would want to know and as a result, we keep secrets from others, and ourselves.

Isolation Ends When Honesty Begins

In the very moment that we can become honest with ourselves about our addictions, mental health struggles, and the other manifestations of our trauma, our isolation ends. By admitting the truth of our life experiences, we deeply lean into a muted sort of faith which quietly admits that maybe, just maybe, there is someone out there who could understand, who could relate to us, who could in the very least tell us, “It’s going to be okay.”

Choosing to recover through a trauma treatment program, we quickly learn that we never have been, never are, and never will be alone in our experiences with trauma, as well as trauma recovery. Most people who are alive on the planet will experience at least one traumatic event in their life and they will be affected by it. Many people will develop some sort of reaction to the trauma, some short lived and some ongoing. A smaller amount of people will have an adverse reaction to the trauma. Even smaller will be a group of people who develop PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.

We Can Still Feel Alone

However we respond to trauma and however we live with trauma, the fact remains that we have all survived trauma and we have all done our best to cope with trauma. The point is that we have all experienced trauma and have to live with our experiences.

Sharing our stories at group level and doing the deep, painful, miraculous, brave, challenging work helps us break down the wall of isolation and free ourselves from the delusions of separation. Yet, when we graduate treatment and go on to live as alumni of our trauma treatment program, we can still feel isolated, still feel separated, and still suffer from feelings of loneliness. It is part of our human nature as much as it is part of our nature as trauma survivors.

Combatting Isolation

During times of feeling isolated and separated it is of imperative importance that we connect first to ourselves and second to others. Connecting to ourselves helps us to get grounded, calm and collected, as well as integrated with the parts of ourselves which are feeling compartmentalized. Connecting to others helps us validate our connection to ourselves and strengthen our feelings of being connected to others.

In our next Alumni Blog, we’ll discuss strategies for connecting to yourself and connecting to others when you’re feeling isolated in your recovery from trauma.

When you graduate trauma treatment, the rubber meets the road, as it is said. To live successfully in recovery from trauma, addictions, or related mental health issues, we need the care and professionalism of an experienced, specialized staff who provide us excellence in treatment. Our alumni learn how to thrive in their lives not in spite of trauma, but because of it. We’re always here to welcome those in need of help at The Guest House Ocala. Call us today for information and resources: 1-855-483-7800