• Marc-Henri Sandoz

Reconceiving trauma, part 1: universal transformational force

a new conception of trauma

Thirteen days after my amputation, just back home, I found this image on a site by a guy called Edward Tick who works in US with war veterans.

I've been really struck by every word of it, and am going to dedicate some posts about them.

For the first one, let me share with you how encouraging it has been to let those words resonate in me: "reconceiving trauma, not as a pathology but as a tragic reality and universal transformational force."

Tragic it is, and I would be very angry and suspicious about any attempt to make things seem easier or nicer than they are. Trauma, illness, amputation are very painful and difficult realities. It can destroy one's live, cause depression, undermine life energy and any desire to go on living as well as any hope for the future.

Yet let me tell you what struck me in this words, and changed my perspective: first it helped me to remember that what was happening to me was part of Reality. These things happen, they happen all the time and can happen to anybody. I was just happily forgetting it, until the moment it happened to me. Suddenly I was facing that part of Reality I had been blind to: death is part of life, I'm frail as every human being, shit happens. Then I could begin to grasp how this trauma that was happening to me was beginning to be, for me, an universal transformational force. Precisely in putting me in the situation to face it, in putting me in the situation to open myself to a wider dimension of Reality, which is always life changing and eye opening.

What happened to me has been a dramatic opportunity to reconsider my life. To discover how much pain, frailty, death were part of it, of course. But also to discover how much each and every moment was precious and important, and for example to overly value the moments I could spend with my loved ones, and to learn to be loving and kind towards myself too. There is much more to say and much more to learn, and the work is still in progress, and will be for a long time, I hope. But for now I resolutely want to go with that transformational force, and to learn everything it has to teach me.

Instead of depression or despair, I feel a curiosity arise and grow in me, as well a strong desire to live as fully as possible this new moment of my life.

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