How many times have I heard someone say something along this line: “what happened to me pales in comparison to what happened to you”?
A lot. Actually almost everytime I get into a deeper or longer conversation with anyone concerning my story. We’ll inevitably begin talking about things that have become traumas in their own lives and inevitably they’ll try to discount them as not worthy of discussing further.
I’ve been there as well.
It happens all of the time in group therapies and it happened in mine.
While I was in therapy, locked up at Salt Lake Behavioral Health, we would all spend time telling each our deepest, darkest issues. I couldn’t believe the terrible things that had happened to these guys. I wasnt worthy of sitting here in the same room as them. My traumas were nothing compared to theirs. When it came time for me to read my trauma statement, I was worried that the other guys would wonder why I was even there, that I didn’t belong. Oddly enough, at least 4 of them approached me later and said that they were in shock. That my story moved them to tears and that they felt that their own trauma was shameful in comparison.
Over time, I’ve learned that we all think that way. That any other person would be able to handle our traumatic situation with ease and that we are just weak for not being able to stoically handle our own business.
The thing is, we all have strengths and weaknesses and unfortunately our traumas hit us in our weakest areas. What one person may be able to handle another is crushed under the weight. When we hear the trauma of somebody else, we are amazed that anyone cam live through it because it wasn’t something we’d ever expect. We didn’t live the life that lead up to it. So it is surprisingly shocking. It seems to be something well beyond our understanding.
At least that’s my observation.
And I have to tell you. Your trauma is just as bad as mine. If you are dealing with something that you know is horrible and is ruining your life, don’t ignore it just because you think it isn’t worthy of therapy.
Own it. Get help. Before it embeds itself like a tick in your psyche and you do something you’ll regret.
I spent some time on the bike thinking about that today because of a conversation I’d had with my dad. Nothing specifically but it just keyed a thought.
Vets hear similar things all of the time when talking with vets from other eras. Hell, even I say it. How can I compare my service, my war, to that of a vet from a real war? Do you see what I’m doing?
It is a vicious cycle.
Today we woke up around 6am because neither of us could sleep and my dad likes to talk. That makes it hard to roll back over for another hour. That’s ok because we had a big day ahead of us and we needed to get moving. I may have just been enjoying a real bed too much. The continental breakfast would have to do.
Rolling out took extra clothing, it was 54 degrees. We topped of the tanks and headed north.
Deep canyons, tall trees and great roads. It was beautiful but hard to enjoy as it hit 46 degrees in the shade. I haven’t been this bundled up since day 2 in Arizona.
After an hour we came out above the canyons, to high plains. Rolling hills and farm land as far as you could see. It remained this way for about 250 miles. Here’s a shot of Great Falls, where Lewis and Clark had to portage around.
We got lunch in East Glacier at a restaurant on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Worst, and most expensive hamburger so far this trip. They can’t all be winners.
Right across the road was the Galcier Park Amtrak bridge so I took this picture for David.
Here is where we hopped onto the “Going to the Sun” highway. This was the whole point of our days journey. It didn’t disappoint. Other than being really crowded. The immensity of the mountains and valleys is not something I can adequately put in to words. I apologize for not being able to describe it well enough. Someday, everyone should do this park.
One of my favorite things about today is that I had some friends who were currently in Kalispell. We linked up in town for dinner tonight. It was so fun catching up with them. People from southern Utah meeting in northern Montana. I love it. Thanks guys!
I had a good time. I enjoyed being able to think about things and it was great to have somebody to talk with and to share experiences with all day.
Big thanks to those helping.