Recovering From Trauma: Putting My Life Back Together

Dealing with my trauma was and is not an easy journey. It is not one of those things you can just get over tomorrow or in a few months. Trauma is a never-ending journey that takes a lot of patience and sometimes impromptu interventions. And if it goes untreated for an extended amount of time, it has several negative consequences (I discussed in my last blog). Personally, I was angry at the world for something the world did not cause. I was quick-tempered and quick to lash out when I felt as though people were disrespecting me. You see, signs of disrespect (yelling, the intrusion of personal spaces, profanity, derogatory and curt tones…) were my trigger! Can you imagine how often my days were turned upside down because I had not dealt with my past?  Well, let me tell you, many of my young adult days were in constant flight or fight mode.
Eventually, I got to a point in my life to where I wanted to function as a “normal” individual and not a ticking time bomb! I was tired of being an “angry black woman.”  I was 100% aware of the potential negatives consequences my temperament could bring to my family lives.  I have many things I count as a blessing. I am a mother, a career woman, Chief’s Wife, and I inspire to be a role model for my girls’ and others. You know, we have to get to a point in life where we have to make decisions and not make excuses for our behaviors. When I came to that conclusion, and I thought I had it together, I did not.  In 2009 my world turned upside down with the passing of my mother. That was the bottom for me! After her passing, I felt like that year was a blur. I felt numb and apart of me dissociated from the moment. I lived by the minute and despite my family staying “rocklike” for me, I felt hopeless.
Lady holding sunflower
Looking back at my life, there were days where I did not know where I was and how I got there. It took many months after her passing to seek therapy because I thought “I would snap out of it.” I was inconsistent with my therapy sessions because I was forced to talk about grief and loss (therapy mentally and emotionally exhausted me). I cried for hours and some days following my therapy sessions.  Not just because my mom was physically gone, but the loss and abandonment I felt as a child (those two go hand in hand) were never addressed appropriately.  The one person who had all the answers to my many questions were no longer able to answer those questions. I somehow felt incomplete. As a young adult, my childhood was a constant thought that I pushed to the back of my head because I was raised to negate the fact I was hurting, emotionally and mentally. I somehow learned to deal with it as though my trauma never existed. I was never to question the why, how and what. But after living a life that was not healthy and purposeful,  I changed my thought process and asked… “do I want to live this way forever?”
As a young adult (even now, sometimes), I question the why, how and what because I feel I have a right to know why I was dealt a shitty hand. As a mother myself; I strive to be the best mother ever! And I cannot imagine giving my children anything but the best of me. As a military spouse and mother raised in less than favorable conditions, I have met issues coping with my past while growing as an adult.  Not to mention merely maintaining life through my husband’s dynamic, demanding military career.  One thing about trauma, the memory of events that happen in life never go away; I just learned to handle it positively by seeking therapy, practicing self-care and self-love, and surrounding myself around like-minded individuals.
God placed three beautiful women (the only women who I admire more than anything) in my life that somewhat compensated for what I missed as a child. The women taught me how to love unconditionally; how to seek God and never give up on my dreams (she’s my hype girl); how to dream big (college and career goals).  They took me in and provided me with the essential things I needed to become the woman I am today. Each person in your life serves a purpose.  There is also a purpose you are in someone’s life.  What is your purpose? How do you plan to use your purpose for good?
Thank you for taking the time to visit my page.  Connect with me; please leave a comment, like, share and email me.
You are resilient! Stay encouraged!

Reminder: My blogs are snippets of my trauma I would need to write a book to explain and describe the details of my trauma.

My Childhood Trauma

What is childhood trauma? Why are individuals afraid to talk about trauma or seek help?  What are the long-term consequences of trauma?
In my last blog, I discussed and defined my resiliency as the ability to persevere in spite of my situations.  Many of my childhood and young adult situations have not been pleasant. At one point or another, many people have been forced to endure some sort of traumatic event in their lives. I remember witnessing or being the victim of traumatic situations that at the time I thought was “normal.”  It was a cultural norm for me to observe or be a victim of emotional, physical or mental abuse.  Typically, individuals are a product of their environment.  Unfortunately, it was not until I was a young adult when I realized that my life was not normal, it was in fact, traumatic.  Trauma is the emotional, physical, or mental abuse when a person feels overwhelmed by an event or circumstance.  Feelings from the event affect the brain, body and the body’s response to stress. I believe as time progressed, I cognitively grew adept to trauma. As situations compound, we can develop a “business as usual” attitude towards trauma and not address the issue emotionally and mentally. Sound familiar?
A young boy and girl standing on the sidewalk
There are many variations of trauma to include:
Complex
Medical
Childhood Traumatic Grief
Community, School, and Domestic Violence
Early Childhood
Natural Disaster
Abuse (Physical, Sexual, Neglect)
To know me as a child/young adult, no one would expect that many aspects of my life were traumatic.  My trauma didn’t have a look; it was more so a behavior.  My experience with trauma impacted my school performance, moods, intrusive thoughts, practical decision-making skills, distrust of others, adolescent pregnancy…I could fill this page with my behaviors.  Back then, mental health was not an option, only perseverance, and thankfully, I learned to overcome my past.  Mental health was not an everyday topic in my community, yet through natural attraction, I chose this as my career.  I am blessed to have made it this far in my life with the many dreams and goals I have accomplished, along with being the spouse of my Navy man! But I know if I were given the opportunity to seek mental health early on, I would have returned to a healthy and hopeful individual early on in life.
I once said, “when you can relate, you can connect.”  I am relatable because of my past experiences. My job is to be the voice for children and their families when they are faced with adversity.  I educate my community on the impact of trauma and trauma-informed care. Have you heard of the (Adverse Childhood Experience) ACE study? It is a 10-item self-report measure that identifies childhood experience of abuse and neglect.  I will attach the link for you or a loved one to complete the assessment.  When we know better, we have hopes to do better. Let’s not pretend that trauma isn’t real. Unaddressed trauma can affect not only mental but also physical health. Complete the assessment (linked below) and speak with a trusted mental health professional or your primary care physician. https://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/Finding%20Your%20ACE%20Score.pdf 
I want to thank each of you for following me on my journey as I tell my story, with hopes of promoting positive social change.  I also would like to thank Top 100 Military Wife Blogs list for featuring me on their site.  Check them out and subscribe https://blog.feedspot.com/military_wife_blogs/
You are resilient! Stay encouraged!
Trenye B.

The Why and How

I am writing my story…
Joyce Myers once said in her daily devotion, that the unfair things that happened to us throughout our life, will make us the person God wants lives to be.
After the twins read my first blog, they asked: “Mommy what is a nontraditional military family?” It dawned on me that we do not use the term often.  I only use the term when individuals are curious to know the “why and how” about me. Let us discuss the “why and how.”
Then, we will chat about my term of a nontraditional military family.

  • Why do you work?
  • Why don’t you stay home to…
  • How do you manage to…
  • How are you feeling?

Researchers have noted military spouses have a difficult time seeking employment or completing college due to their spouses’ military career.  The stress may be induced by PCS, family demands, single parenting during deployment, and certainly not limited to childcare issues. Personally, I would also agree that being a military spouse is exceptionally challenging for more reasons than the above.  But being a “nontraditional military spouse” is even more challenging.

A picture and flowers on a white desk. and a chair.
I know it is stereotypical, but I consider my military family  “nontraditional”, much because of my upbringing.  I can relate to military spouses/families, but relate more to my family and friends.  In most cases, traditional military families surround themselves with like-minded and relatable other military families. In my case, because of my upbringing, the “relatable” piece of that scenario does not apply to my family and I. As a child, my upbringing focused on perseverance through adversity, hard work, tenacity and becoming capable to support myself (maybe, more on that topic in the future). Those values have stuck with me ever since.  At 17, I became a teen mom; a single mom. Therefore, I know firsthand what it feels like trying to survive. When my husband deploys or forced to PCS without our girls and myself, life still goes on for the girls and I. I tough it out and SURVIVE!
I do not quit my full-time job, school, volunteering, etc…. At times, I play both roles and still manage to work towards my dreams. Is it challenging? Absolutely, but it is a personal choice and a sacrifice I am willing to make for me. I take great pride in not losing myself in my dreams because of my husband’s career, as research has shown.
We all are resilient, just in different ways.  How do you define your resiliency?
Stay Encouraged!
Harrell, M. C., Lim, N., Castaneda, L. W. & Golinelli, D. (2004). Challenges to military spouse employment and education. Working around the military.  Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2004/RAND_MG196.pdf
Redmond, S. A., Wilcox, S. L., Campbell, S., Kim, A., Finney, K., Barr, K., & Hassan, A. M. (2015). A brief introduction to the military workplace culture. Work, 50(1), 9-20. doi: 10.3233/WOR-141987
Don’t forget to connect with me on my other social media platforms (to the left).
~Tren 
 

Get to know Me!

Welcome to my site, my name is Trenye.  I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Florida.  For the past five years, I have worked with risky adolescents and their families. One of my ultimate goals is to facilitate positive social change for individuals and the community.  I am married to the most attentive man in the world. We recently celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary in July.  Together, he and I have five daughters.  Our youngest is a set of twin girls.  We are a non-traditional, proud and hardworking military family (more to come on that subject) that loves to live, love, and laugh.  Below are a few pictures of my loves!


 
Although the military life has helped me to define my weakness and strengths, this site will cover far more than military.  Sometimes we need a relatable individual with real-life experiences to believe and know “I can!” Therefore, I started this site specifically for individuals (young and old) who have a desire to be…anything they want despite life obstacles. A phenomenal individual (my husband ;o)) once told me, “when you can relate, you can connect.” Let’s connect!
Visiting my site you can expect to learn what a non-traditional life looks like for a military spouse/family, parenting, relationships, education/career, trauma-informed care strategies, self-love, resiliency, goal setting and much more!
Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog! Please leave a comment to let me know you visited and if you have specific topics for discussions.  Stay encouraged!