Struggling day-to-day with PTSD or another difficult trauma can be challenging, and getting yourself to attend classes and do homework may be daunting, to say the least. Here are some reminders to let you know that you are not alone, and that going to college having gone through past trauma is survivable.
1. You are more than your trauma.
You are more than the struggles you face. You are your ability to overcome.
2. You are not powerless. You've got this.
3. Trust yourself.
4. You don't have to have it together 100 percent of the time.
You don't have to be 100 percent to move on and find something better for yourself. You don't have to be the star student or excelling in every subject to give yourself a chance here. Keep reminding yourself that you don't need to be self-conscious of not looking completely together all the time; most people will be focused on themselves, which isn't meant to be a jab at them but rather a reassurance.
5. You deserve to continue finding things that make you laugh and happy to be alive.
Your time is not done yet. You still have a life to live and not just survive in order to just get by. College years have potential to hold some of the most wonderful, cherished times of your life, and you deserve to laugh and let in whatever happiness comes your way.
6. Shout-out to you and your progress.
It can take so much courage every day to do the things you do, whether it's just getting out of bed, or running a marathon, or in this case, maybe fast-walking from one side of campus to the next for back-to-back classes.
Not everyone needs to know or will know how much the simplest tasks can mean to you, and how far it means you've come in coping with the trauma in your life. You know (and hopefully a few others in your life that you can count on for support) but you don't need everyone's acknowledgement to know you're awesome for the steps you've made.
7. You don't need to be ashamed of the trauma you've faced.
Being subversive isn't always the greatest advice when it comes to school, but you can be revolutionary in your own progress and self-image. Or, be subversive of whoever may have told you that you couldn't do this, or that you wouldn't make something of yourself because of your struggles. Be subversive of a system that doesn't allow you to be imperfect, human and sometimes not altogether ok—whatever name that system may have to you.
And don't be ashamed of what you go through. It doesn't deserve the power to hold you back from trekking forward.
8. Your journey is your own, and it's for you to understand.
Your journey is for you. Every decision and struggle you face is for you, and the life you deserve. And I promise the life you deserve is brighter than your darkest moments.
9. It's okay to be human and have times where you're not okay.
Because you're headed places. You don't need to doubt yourself and your capability, even if it's hard to remind yourself of that right now. Don't punish or be angry at yourself for breaking down or needing a breather, even if you have to leave class early or take a mental health day. If it becomes a regular thing, then if you haven't already, that's a good indication that you should reach out to either on-campus or off-campus resources to get support.
10. You can do this.
You've made it this far. You have the power to keep going forward, even if that means taking it one day or one hour at a time. College applications—or past semesters, if you're returning to school—were difficult too, but you made it through. You're still here.
Don't push yourself beyond your limits to go to classes and do your work, but have trust in yourself, and know that you are capable of this, and you will survive it.