Things fall apart
• it was unexpected;
• the person was unprepared; and
• there was nothing the person could do to prevent it from happening
There are different kinds of trauma and there are a myriad of different causes of trauma, but those bullet points are the shared traits common to the experience of all psychological or emotional trauma. Some experts add a fourth bullet that almost seems unnecessary:
•it was overwhelming
To be traumatized is to be overwhelmed. Trauma is on the same continuum as stress, is often the culmination of multiple stresses, but where stress can be manageable, trauma is by definition unmanageable. Trauma is stress on steroids. I know I’m probably not telling anyone who went through Katrina and the aftermath anything they don’t already know.
The details of how I ended up learning so much about trauma aren’t overly relevant here but the abbreviated version is that around five years ago, it blew my life apart, blew it up real good. A fairly motley flock of mundane stressors in the life I shared with my then-spouse quietly began gaining on us both. Being the high-functioning overachievers we were, we managed the hell out of things. Till all of a sudden we got knocked down by something big. And then all of it, including all that crap we thought we were managing, caught up with us and that was it.
Last Mardi Gras, LaDonna was stressed, but managing. Really, really managing. Calling the shots and in control. Juggling bar, roof, kids, husband, ex-husband, search for Daymo, mother. Then they found Daymo. Still, she managed. Time, space, even the liturgical calendar would not get the best of LaDonna Batiste-Williams.
But then came the winter and the kid in the hoodie at the door.
LaDonna was only on screen for a few seconds this ep. Not surprisingly, since she doesn’t fit into these events anywhere. There’s no room for her out there. Like Ray’s friend said, “the world doesn’t grind to a halt because we got raped.”
I gasped out loud at this shot. She looks shrunken, aged, mentally ill, disabled even. Because she is.
via Julia Leyda’s Throw the Baby out The Window post:
The ultra-brief glimpses of Ladonna, ensconced in her comfy beige Baton Rouge sofa with her bucket-sized whiskey glass was all it took: I couldn’t get her out of my mind through the rest of the episode. She replaces Creighton as the embodiment of the city’s struggles this season.
Creighton was on that couch last year. I’ve been on that couch. So have you probably. Our various paths to that frozen spot don’t matter. We recognize that look, the fifty-yard stare, the sad attempt at trying to make your current state sound like a choice, like you have any choices left.
You don’t manage your way out of trauma. If you’re lucky, you get help to climb out of the hole. If you’re not, you stay in the hole. Or you die. Alcohol, drugs, suicide, heart attack, stroke, that’s just the top of the list of ways trauma kills. That shot, that blip in the midst of the moveable feast of Carnival Time, was the first time it hit me, like a ton of bricks, that LaDonna might not make it out of this.