How to Survive Trauma
On December 30, 2005, I was awakened by a deafening noise, explosions, thick smoke and the rattling of fire raging mercilessly and engulfing my home. In an instant, I was back in the Holocaust war zone of my youth. Although half asleep, my thoughts came quickly. “Run, run for your life. Get out.” My breathing was shallow, and my heart was beating fast.
Fortunately, my husband and I got out in the nick of time. As we exited the house, the roof over our bedroom collapsed. From the front yard, I watched the house burn. As it did, the survivor in me kicked in. It was the house that was burning, not me. I was safe.
The Nazis did not get me as a child, and the fire was not going to get me now. The lessons learned about surviving have to do with free will and destiny (Beshert). In addition, surviving is a conscious decision that comes from the ability to stay calm in the face of danger. As a child in the Nazi concentration camp, I learned to carry-on, entertain myself, and avoid panic.
Those traits served me well through the years and have helped me deal with all types of threats, disappointments and vulnerabilities. These are the skills I’ve developed and applied in my personal and professional life. If I can do it, so can you. What traumas have you experienced, and how did you survive them?