When I was a teenager, I nearly died in a tent fire at a family reunion. The flames from an overturned old-school propane lantern erupted near the door and melted the zipper shut, sealing me and three other family members inside. Luckily, family members outside our burning tent were able to rip it apart and drag us out.
My first memory after being freed is of someone asking me if I’d been burned anywhere else. I didn’t know what they meant by, “anywhere else,” but I said no.
Then I looked down at the back of my hands as they gently lifted them up from the palm side and into my view. Shocked, I found most of my skin to be missing from my wrists down, where my sweatshirt sleeves ended. At that precise moment, the excruciating pain I had yet to feel introduced itself and proceeded to stick to me like glue for the next several days.
I didn’t feel the searing pain—or even understand I’d been injured— until someone pointed my burns out to me.
Trauma went down similarly three years ago after my husband told me he’d been unfaithful. That he’d had an affair and betrayed out marriage vows.
Some days after his confession, my mother expressed concern over my irregular, erratic breathing. Not until she made mention of it, did I realize I was desperately sucking at air as if I’d never get enough of it. I’d cried so hard, for so long, the intense sobbing had altered my breathing pattern.
Our bodies are amazing in response to trauma and injury—whether phyiscal or emotional. They adapt. They do what must be done to survive. And sometimes, they blessedly wait to fill us in about our wounds until we’re able to process the information and deal with it.
I had trouble breathing regularly for several weeks in total. But eventually, I regained the ability to breathe steadily again and so will you. If like me, you need someone to point out the results of your trauma to you so that you can recognize the parts of you that need to heal, click here to read my story in full on Her View From Home.