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We don’t talk about trauma. Like the first rule of Fight Club, we don’t talk about trauma. Trauma is always a secret because the traumatic things that happen are often full of shame. The experience of trauma itself, which includes feelings of losing control, is full of stigma. We should have done something. We could have done something. We would have done something if we were “better”. To hide our shame and to prevent a damaging judgment from the rest of the world, we keep our trauma a secret.

If you are hiding a traumatic event and feel that it is taking a toll on you, it is okay to leave this article, get offline, and reach out for help. You can call us at The Guest House today for information on our treatment programs for trauma.

Secrecy becomes a way of life when we are living with unresolved trauma. We don’t talk about our feelings or our experiences. We stop talking about our thoughts or our opinions. Drugs, alcohol, and other negative coping behaviors create more secrecy that keeps the cycle going. Holding everything in might not seem like it has a negative effect on you. Though feelings aren’t tangible, we can “feel” them when we actively choose not to “feel” them and hold them in. Have you ever noticed the “pit” in your stomach when you feel anxious? Perhaps you have felt the tension in your neck when you’re bubbling with rage. Have you ever had to fight to swallow the “lump” in your throat when you are holding back tears, whatever emotion those tears might be connected to? You might not be able to see your feelings or touch them with your hands, but you can feel your feelings in your body. More importantly, your body feels your feelings for you.

Not giving yourself the liberating gift of saying things out loud

Resisting the opportunity to let go of your feelings inhibits you from being free of them. Logical, at best, but incredibly difficult to do. There are few moments that are more evident of the physical effect of holding in your feelings than the minute you start to let those feelings go. It’s always amazing how fast your body changes when you finally let it out. Your shoulders relax. You feel like you are sinking, releasing from every muscle in your body. Almost instantaneously you realize you feel better. You did it. You let it go. Hard, but not impossible.