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But It Wasn't That Bad

I hear it from nearly every person I talk to, "It wasn't that bad. Other people had it worse." When we're talking about trauma, folks struggle to quantify their pain as "valid." The interesting thing is that a person's amygdala is what decides what is traumatic. The definition of trauma completely depends on the person, the situation, the resources, and the recovery. A person can go through an objectively horrible thing, but have resources and a community and it may not register in the brain as trauma. Conversely, something "not-that-bad" may register as trauma when it's experienced by someone with not-a-lot of resources and not-a-lot of support.

Chronic trauma is so much more common than folks think. Trauma is not limited to military combat, rape, and car accidents. Poverty, racism, sexism, transphobia; all the structural societal issues can cause trauma. Bullying, sexual abuse, physical abuse, intimate partner violence; all the interpersonal issues can cause trauma. So many things can cause trauma.

Honestly, in many ways, it does not matter to me what caused the trauma. I treat it all the same: we just heal it. Trauma is a wound; it heals. You can heal no matter what caused it. Your pain is valid no matter how bad it was.

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