Healing from trauma is a journeyWritten by SAFE
The first time Aurora came to SAFE was in 2016. She had just left a partner who was physically and sexually abusive.
When she first called our SAFEline, she told our advocates that she had a hard time trusting anyone. Because of the trauma she was living with, she felt unsafe everywhere she went. Our counselors recognized that she constantly experienced high levels of anxiety and fear. Aurora said she had felt this way ever since she was a little girl. Once she got to know our advocates and build some trust, she disclosed that she had been sexually abused throughout her childhood.
Aurora enrolled in our counseling program where she learned ways to manage her trauma symptoms and develop healthy coping skills. She found ways to establish healthy boundaries for herself and for other people in her life. As she became more comfortable, she decided to attend a Spanish-language counseling group at SAFE where she interacted with other survivors.
Aurora said she never realized other people had similar experiences to her own. She had always assumed she was alone. It was like a switch had flipped.
The healing journey
Aurora started working deeper on the issues that kept her stuck in her pain. It was like she had walked into the deep end of the pool and could barely keep her head above the water, but she couldn’t make her feet take her back to safety. For the first time, though, she was surrounded by peers and advocates—she was learning how to swim.
She learned how her previous experiences impacted her life and changed her view of the world, herself, and others. From that point of understanding, she began to let herself heal. Her anxiety didn’t go away and she didn’t instantly trust everyone she met, but she did feel less fear. By the time her last session ended, Aurora said she no longer blamed herself for the violence she experienced.
Early this year, Aurora returned to SAFE for services. She wanted more support as she continued to address her trauma symptoms. She joined a group counseling where she was able to share all she had picked up over the years while continuing to learn from others. Since rejoining group sessions, she has gotten good at confronting and reframing the negative thoughts that kept her from building trusting relationships. She also learned how to substitute negative thoughts with more balanced, realistic ones.
Aurora says she knows how hard the healing journey is, but she is grateful for all the steps and continued support she has had during this process. She is now seeing her world with a different perspective: She has developed a sense of worth and has a clear understanding of how trauma affected her life.
During her group sessions, Aurora encourages other members to not give up on themselves. She talks openly about her own journey and assures everyone listening that healing is possible.