By Bernadette A. Moyer
Several years ago I was talking to a Catholic Priest and I was telling him about a little girl that I knew. I told him about her childhood trauma first at just two years of age and later when she was seven years old. After hearing about the losses and trauma she had endured by such a young age he said, “Do the math, she is broken.” It sounded so clinical and yet it made sense to me. I hated seeing that as an adult she was still struggling and making one bad decision after another. She has a history of playing the victim and of blaming others and hasn’t spent much time on her own healing. The problem is that she isn’t a little girl anymore and now an adult she has impacted so many people’s lives in destructive and hurtful ways due to her own brokenness. I’ve heard it said, “Hurt people, hurt people.”
Not long ago I was standing just outside an elevator when three women exited the elevator. The one in the middle was being held up by the two ladies on either side of her. It didn’t take but a moment to recognize that she was high and under the influence of drugs. Her front teeth were missing and her clothes were dirty, she was coming to social services for food, clothes and care. When I watched her I thought it is a beautiful warm sunny September day just after noon and without a cloud in the sky and this woman was in an altered state. She was missing out on the natural beauty of this day. I couldn’t help but wonder, what happened to her? What pain is she masking that is showing itself in her drug use? This woman is someone’s daughter, sister, mother, aunt, cousin, friend, and how has her drug use impacted not just her life but the lives of the people in her family and within her friends.
A social worker was telling me that it had been reported that at any given time 1 in 6 people in America is suffering from some form of mental illness. Most people will know their share of pain and heartache and will suffer at some point in their life. But what makes a person struggle through and another turn to drugs and alcohol to medicate their pain away? How is it that some people can take their trauma and do something good with it, by sharing and helping others, and some never get past their own brokenness?
What makes a person remain a victim and another person in a similar situation become a survivor? At the end of the day, all people impact all of our lives by the actions that they take. We don’t live in a vacuum and our actions have a ripple effect in our entire community.
I don’t have the answers, all I can do is pray and thank God that when I was faced with my own trauma, hurts and losses I had enough inner strength and faith in God to push through it to the other side. No matter what we are facing, no matter how difficult, it doesn’t last.
There is a new song out by Country Music Artist Gary Allan that is called, “Every Storm” and goes “Every storm runs out of rain, just like every dark night turns into day.” For people that are suffering and struggling, I pray for them and that they will know less dark nights and many more sunny days!