Our perception of trauma
Everyone has gone through at least one traumatic event that has made us sit down eating an entire can of ice cream. We have all been raised to believe that traumatic events affect us differently because of how we react to them. But did you know there is a biological reason women and men get affected differently? We react to separate types of trauma using methods that are familiar to us; crying, cutting, depression, aggression, and silence.
Trauma is considered an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape, or natural disaster. Of course it makes sense people handle such events on a wide scale. We have seen suicides, depression, unpredictable emotions like thyself, and aggression which cause strain in day to day life. Boys have an area in their brain called the anterior circular sulcus which is bigger compared to boys who do not have any signs of trauma. However, this area was smaller among girls who went through trauma. What this area does is control our empathy and emotional awareness which is why girls react to trauma by either depression, or emotional lock down. So in fact, this idea about trauma explains why guys and girls handle events so opposite of each other.
I’m going to get into a personal situation here for a minute that shows a very direct example of how we take trauma differently. During seventh grade I lost my mentor, someone like a father to me, and somebody that gave me hope about my future. This man was my BEST FRIEND’s father. In life, there are moments you lose your will, moments you can’t explain, and moments that blew my heart. All three of these happened at once and in such a way that it scared my brain worse than the rape I felt at eight years old. How it happened, and why I can’t explain how the soul connects but I believe we can connect our souls in someway is a mystery.
I remember the day like a bleeding memory as scarlet drops of pain poured out of my eyes.The moment I felt something was wrong with my friend tom was the day I was in gym class and out of nowhere my heart pushed into my chest which caused my legs to slide as I sat on the ground. Friends crowded around me but all I could do was inhale trying to figure out why my breath left me so fast. I swear the feeling of hands pushing on my heart told me something bad was going down on that day. An event that would later haunt me for life.
When the day ended I was took the bus back home driving by my friend’s house to see an ambulance resting in the yard. I went home trying to call him but his phone was off so I called my cousin. What made my cousin surprised was not my call but the fact my first words were “ is tom ok?”
He later told me that Tom would stop by and tell me what went on in a somber voice. I don’t think I can ever forget that when I hung up we had tom knocking on our door. We answered it to find out that his father passed away from his addiction to alcohol.
Our response to the tragedy was very opposite. He began to change by locking himself in his room and playing video games day and night. I think he even failed out of highschool due to this. His brain took the loss heavily as he grew older he yearned to be someone else. You can’t always choose what happens in life sometimes fate takes your hands, and yanks you to where you need to be.
I know that his sad was my sadness for a while. I couldn’t understand why I would feel flights of depression for no reason but as months went by it made sense. If tom was sad I would be inevitably sad. If two souls connected like ours most would expect a love story out of it but our story ends a little differently. The way I coped with the pain was to slide myself into writing daily, nightly, weekly, or even play video games. I was never one for social aspects of life but he took the pain a new degree.
Tom decided he no longer could be a man. Yes. My friend took the trauma of his dad and in later years began to explore what it would be like to be female. We may never love each other like lovers but I will love her now like a sister, and believe that our life was meant to connect. Do you believe our trauma makes us do things we would never do if we didn’t go through certain trauma?
On that note, Decode is the story of our friendship.