Updated: Sep 30, 2018
This is a question I'm asked a LOT! "Why would you want to hear about people's worst times?" Well, as a trauma survivor, I had to ask myself this question before I made the decision to give it 100% to help others. Someone made a difference in my life - my goal is to try and help others make a difference in their own lives.
I've spent my paid career helping others who've been incarcerated. In order to help keep myself grounded, I volunteer with the American Red Cross. I started by responding to local and national disaster events and quickly fell in love with helping strangers when they were at their (perceived) lowest. I learned very quickly that helping others was helping me! I then was one of the first Disaster Mental Health volunteers to be trained to conduct "Coping to with Deployments: Psychological First Aid for Military Families". I LOVED helping our servicemembers and their families! Then I was honored to be selected to become a facilitator for "Reconnection Workshops" for our returning military heroes. I recognized that we may have had different experiences to feel "traumatized" or "stressed", but we all shared the E X A C T S A M E F E E L I N G S. Different roads/paths but same destinations.
So I thought about what we're putting in our "suitcases" on these journeys. No one taught us how to unpack or repack our trauma. I figured all of my years in prison has given me an education one can't get from a book. Or several books. I know why we sit with our backs to the door. Why we know where all of the exits are before we sit down. Why we are feel the need to run toward the risk instead of away. And why we tend to close ourselves off to others until our "circle of trust" is just ourselves and our brothers/sisters. I get it, I really do.
So, why do I want to do Trauma work? Because I need to DO something. We've lost too many, too soon and if I can help in ANY way, I feel it's my duty to take this as my new "post/watch/assignment". I hope that helps you understand.