How I overcame traumatic experiences in my life.

My 3 traumatic experiences

From my experience, something bad happens to you and you don’t realize it can affect you after it happened. My first traumatic experience happened one summer in college. I was going back to campus from my summer job in the city. I took a taxi that was not registered as a taxi. This is a popular thing where I’m from. Halfway through the journey, we were about to approach a stop light and the driver decided to get out of the line by driving on the other side of the road (it was not a one-way street), and he was trying to go to the front of the line (another popular but illegal thing where I’m from).

A cop was at the front of the line in a police car and when he saw the taxi I was in, he came out of the line and the driver of the car I was in began to run from the police. It became a chase as other police cars joined in as they all tried to catch the driver of the taxi I was in. The other women in our car screamed and pleaded with the driver to stop. He even crashed in other cars and walls and still didn’t stop. The worst part was when the cops started firing shots (I don’t know if they were fired at us or in the air), but at that point, a guy in the car held a knife to the driver’s neck and told him to stop and that is when he stopped. We were now in a violent community and I was even more scared. I got out of the car, stopped a bus without even knowing where it was going, got in it and cried my eyes out.

It was like a scene from a movie. I cried for about a week and did my best to avoid traveling on the street where the chase started. Years after that when I thought I was over that incident, I was in a car passing the street where the chase began and out of nowhere, I started shaking and crying as the memories of that day came back to me.

Three years ago I had a similar experience but this time, I got minor injuries from the taxi crashing in a post. This driver, after crashing and the cops finally caught up with him, he still drove away with us and let us out so far away. The crash caused the car door on our side to cave it and we couldn’t opened the door. Out of fear of the police catching up to us and the driver driving away again, I used my torso and pushed as hard as I could until the door finally opened. After going back to work to let them know what happened, I asked for the day off and went to a doctor. After that, I promised myself I would never take another taxi that wasn’t registered to be driven as a taxi.

In 2018, I was walking from my apartment in the city to the bus stop and decided to call my brother to ask a favor. I knew it wasn’t safe to be using my smart phone and even had a cheap phone that I used on the road, but in the moment I wasn’t thinking. Also, I didn’t want to forget to call my brother because I needed him to accompany me to the hospital to do a test that required anesthetics. So as I walked through an intersection, I noticed 2 boys on a bicycle at the top of one of the streets. I was on the phone with my brother and that was when I noticed a shadow beside me and he started wrestling my phone from my hand while the other boy was in front of me standing. I let go off the phone and they rode off with it while looking back at me. I panicked and just stood there.

For months after this happened, I was jittery walking on the road, and I kept looking behind me every few steps I took. I couldn’t help it and my heart would race. One day I was walking and doing this when a lady walked up to me and asked if I was okay, so I told her what had happened months ago and she said she thought I should try to stop looking behind me so much because it made me look vulnerable and may attract other thieves. I ended up moving from that apartment to help me to heal from that experience.

It took me a while after each experience to overcome the trauma. After the first experience, I drowned myself in my college work and my friends were there to help me get through it. After the second and third experiences, I was making sandals as a side hustle and used that as a kind of therapy to get through what I had gone through. I also had my family and my friends who helped me through it all.

Many people have similar or worst traumatic experiences so I decided to share some tips that might help individuals to heal from their trauma.

  1. Exercise can help to relieve the stress of your trauma.
  2. Don’t isolate yourself. You may want to stay by yourself but being alone will cause you to keep remembering what happened to you and lead to stress.
  3. Participate in social activities.
  4. Join a support group. Sometimes talking with others who share similar experiences can help us to move on.
  5. Meditate. This will help to relieve anxiety.
  6. Get plenty of sleep.
  7. Eat a balanced diet. This will help support your immune system.

Seek professional help for trauma if you’re:

  • Having trouble functioning at home or work.
  • Suffering from severe fear, anxiety, or depression.
  • Unable to form close, satisfying relationships.
  • Experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, or flashbacks.
  • Avoiding more and more of anything that reminds you of the trauma.
  • Emotionally numb and disconnected from others.
  • Using alcohol or drugs to feel better.