In a world full doubt, struggles, and barriers, one of the biggest things that can alienate connection is comparison.
Comparison is like a disease that runs rampant in our culture. From parenting to houses everything in between, as a society we are constantly comparing. But one of the most detrimental areas that we can play that game is when it comes to trauma.
"My trauma is worse than your trauma".
No one has ever actually said that to me. But I've seen it. I've seen it in social media posts and online forums. "Oh ya...well just imagine *insert trauma here*", "You're lucky, *this* could have happened!".
All I have to say about that is F*^k that sh#t!
Pardon my use of symbols but seriously!
Who are we to say that what someone went through wasn't as bad as what we went through.
Now I know what you may be thinking! "Ummmm Daniela, there are some traumas that are definitely so much worse than others!" And you may be right. And yet - you may be wrong.
Take for example, 2 police officers. They respond to the same call. They both experience the same incident. But they are probably not going to feel and react to that one experience in the same way.
We are all completely different people. We have different childhoods, we are exposed to different things as we grow up, we are wired differently.
One of those cops may be able to have a little debrief about the situation and call it a day; he may never be bothered by it. But that other cop - they might be forever impacted by that day. And both of those scenarios are ok. What's not ok, is to make either of them feel less than or shamed for how they experience that situation.
My husband and I attended a one day conference all about first responders and mental health. It was one of the most amazing experiences. There were nurses, paramedics, corrections officers, RCMP, police officers, dispatchers, social workers, and fire fighters all represented in the crowd as well as on stage.
One of the best parts of the day was that no one was comparing or judging. Everyone was there to simply learn, listen, and support.
A former police officer and now psychologist spoke and during his presentation he said such a simple yet impactful statement. He said "Trauma is trauma is trauma."
I may not have lost a parent or a child. But you may not have sat for hours with dread and worse case scenarios playing out in your head while your husband was being held hostage. Each trauma is serious and valid. And different.
Instead, we need to remember compassion, empathy, and listening.
Trauma shouldn't be a competition.
WE MUST NOT COMPARE.
Take care of one another,