Trauma Can Enrich Your Life. Hear Me Out.

We are what happens to us. But we are other things too.

Karen Nimmo
On The Couch
Published in
4 min readJun 3, 2024

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Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

Trauma enriching? It’s a bold call, I know.

Anyone who has been through traumatic events — suffered through them — could quite fairly call me out on that.

But hold on a minute. I’m not saying trauma is good — or healthy. I’m not saying it’s necessary. I’m not saying it doesn’t cause mental and emotional carnage.

But, if you can pick through the wreckage, it can give you strength. It can help you grow. It can help you re-angle your life.

The imprints of trauma

“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: The past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.” — Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma

To some degree, we are what happens to us.

Trauma and struggle leave their imprints — in our beliefs, our thinking, our emotions and our behaviour. So do…

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Karen Nimmo
On The Couch

Clinical psychologist, author of 4 books. Editor of On the Couch: Practical psychology for health and happiness. karen@onthecouch.co.nz