And that’s been hard for some of us. Some are still stuck in anger. Others have passed through but to a new round of social withdrawal and/or numbing. Some of us have been lucky enough to find a little peace even if the door is opened with a bottle of Abita. Trauma is not simple. First you must establish some sense of safety. Then it is possible to remember, have someone bear witness to your pain and humanity, and begin reconnecting with the world and its people.
There’s no such thing as getting over, Grandma would say. There’s just getting on.
(God, lately I would sell everything I owned to have an hour with that woman again. Every single thing. I love you all, but I would kill and eat you, no kidding.)
When something traumatic happens people counsel to “take some time” and “talk to someone” and it just always sounds to me like the most infuriating crap. Take some time to do what? Sit on my bed and think about how awful everything is? Talk to someone, so that two of us can walk around with this in our heads?
When I’m very angry or very happy talking to someone is exactly what I want. When my chest feels crushed by hopelessness and I can’t move because I’m such an utter failure at life, the last thing I want is somebody noticing how badly fucked up I am. I need to get an A in everything. I don’t need you telling me the F isn’t really that bad and I can retake the course. I know that. And I know that that isn’t going to make a damn bit of difference until a couple of days from now, when the crushed feeling has become normalized, and I start thinking maybe I can live like this, bent over under it.
This isn’t to say friends never help, but mostly when things are caving in and they ask, “What can I do?” the answer is “come over and eat food so that I have to get my ass out of bed and clean my house and make the food.” So that I have to get on, when I can’t get over. My best friends keep me out of my head, until such time as I can put one foot in front of the other without needing to write down directions first.