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Trauma and the Mask Men Wear: Knowing How and When to be Authentic

I have been trying for a while to figure out how to write this particular blog on trauma. It is a difficult one to actually put into words. The term “trauma” has almost become a catchphrase in the counseling field with everyone having an opinion on what it is and isn’t. I like to think of trauma as individual to the person.

Understanding PTSD Clinically

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on the other hand has a very definable set of criteria that has to be met and is followed by evidence based treatment options that have been vetted over the years for validity. That is a long way around to say that most of us by the age of 40 have had something traumatic happen to us. This could be the death of a loved one, car accident, terrible relationship, or any number of things that leave a scar that may or may not be visible to the naked eye. The reason that I have had trouble figuring out how to write this particular blog is that I have been called out on an aspect of it several times over the last few weeks and figure it’s a sign to talk about it.

A Personal Story about Trauma

Self-Disclose time: So I come home at the end of the day, and I’m sitting on the couch talking with my family and they ask how I am doing. I tell them that it was a very difficult day for me and that I woke up struggling with anxiety and fear. They just look at me with strange expressions. “You were smiling and laughing this morning?” Trying to explain this away was no easy task so I have to just be honest. I have had a lot of things happen in my life that could be considered trauma. Over the years I have learned how to compartmentalize aspects of my life in order to keep moving forward. I can put on a mask.

The Mask Can Come off

The hard part, the part that I want to emphasize, is that I have also learned that it's ok to take the mask off sometimes. For the loved ones of individuals who have had something traumatic in their lives take place, please remember we are all doing the best we can sometimes and although we may not come out right away with what’s wrong, if you give us the space and allow us to feel safe around you, it will come out. On the other hand, if you judge and make us feel less than for not always being able to express ourselves, we won't…ever. Taking off the mask of always being strong and having our stuff together is scary and not everyone has earned the right to see that side of us.

At Mind Works Counseling Services in Lubbock, TX, we are able and ready to help you and your loved ones feel safe in taking off the mask and letting your authenticity shine.

Learn about the Trauma Counseling Services we offer.

Contact us to schedule an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.

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