Meaning Making


Can I even call myself a survivor if it only happened a week ago? I'm not even over it.


Thank you for this question. Yes, you can absolutely call yourself a survivor if that feels right for you. Whether what you experienced happened today, a month ago, a year ago, or 30 years ago-- you still survived the trauma and violence of your past. It is also okay if you do not feel like a survivor right now. Some people prefer to call themselves victims or other labels. Whatever label you choose, recognize how you define your experience is up to you, and that may change overtime.  

By labeling your experience in some way, many have shared that it has helped them acknowledge and accept that a traumatic event has occurred and that it has affected them. This sometimes has helped survivors gain a sense of control over their situation by learning about the trauma and its effects, and has helped them find resources to cope and move forward with hope. You do not need to be "over it" to define yourself as a survivor. Heck, most people will never "get over" what happened to them. It was wrong, harmful, and traumatic. While the memories may get less painful with time and effort, our traumas will often always be a part of us. 

Keep in mind that everyone's journey is unique and it may take time to find a label that works best for you. It is important to be patient with yourself and to not compare the labels you choose to others. Remember no matter what you label yourself, your traumatic experience does not need to define who you are. For many, healing means recognizing that the trauma they experienced is an importnat part of who they are, but not all of who they are.

Thank you for this question. We wish you did not need to go through what you experienced. You are not alone and healing is possible.

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