What’s in My Backpack? 7 Traumas You Didn’t Know You Were Still Carrying

February 3, 2023

Discover if you are one of the many people still carrying these 7 life events with you every day and how to stop letting them weigh you down.

Feeling weighed down? Life can be unkind to us, and in the thick of our grief, there’s a lot of pressure to “get over it” quickly. But grief and trauma, much like the raccoon stealing  all the mealworms from your bird feeder, don’t just go away.

Each and every one of us is born with an emotional “backpack.” It’s the place in our heart where painful events and memories are stowed away. Over time, that backpack can get pretty heavy.

Taking inventory of your heart means taking the brave step to unzip that backpack and find out what’s been weighing you down. And you may be surprised by what you find.

So often, we’re told that certain life events “shouldn’t” be having an emotional effect on us. So we pretend they aren’t. But your emotional backpack would beg to differ! Below are some of the life events you had no idea you could still be carrying with you on a daily basis.

Are You Still Carrying These 7 Traumas?

  1. Your first breakup

But I was like, thirteen! No matter the age, first love is a big milestone in your life. And those big emotions can have an even bigger impact when we’re young. If you never gave your first heartbreak the attention it deserved, unresolved grief may be lingering with you.

  1. Moving away

There are a lot of reasons why people have to move schools, towns, states, or even countries at some point in their life. But something so routine can still pack a punch. You left behind family, friends, and places that were formative for you. Leaving the familiar can really do a number on your nervous system.

  1. Bullying

Though it’s not often thought of as a grieving experience, being bullied encompasses a lot of loss. You may lose friends, trust in others, or trust in yourself. Self-worth and a sense of control can be losses you grieve as a result of a bullying experience, too.

  1. Not getting the job

Sometimes you can carry the weight of something that never actually happened—like getting a job you wanted or embarking on a career path you thought would be your future. You probably got plenty of advice to “keep your chin up” or move on to the next thing, but losing a dream isn’t something you can just ignore. It does a number on your self-esteem and confidence and those small tears in how you feel about yourself certainly add up and affect your next seasons of life.

  1. Marital distress

Even if you never lost a spouse to death, trouble within your marital relationship can cause lasting trauma that permeates into many other facets of your life, including future relationships. The side effects are no different than in any grief situation, but can often go unaddressed as we try to perform being “fine” for the other person in the relationship.

  1. Health diagnoses

How can I be mourning? No one DIED! That might be what you told yourself when you or someone you loved got the big news about a serious illness. The fact is, you can grieve the loss of life before the diagnosis.

  1. Losing a pet

There should be an extra tax imposed on people who say, “It was just a cat.” The death of a pet can be just as devastating to you as the death of a human. The trauma of a pet’s departure can closely parallel the departure of a human being and requires the same type of healing.

Trauma: The Bottom Line

Feeling weighed down? It’s all too common to believe that life events like these are things we should just “get over.” But if we don’t take the time to unpack and process them, they’ll weigh us down everywhere we go.

There are over forty known losses a person can experience in their lifetime—for example, surviving a natural disaster. That’s a lot to carry on your own! The good news is that grief recovery can help you to lighten your load. And in time, you can walk tall without the past weighing you down.

What to Do if You Are Still Carrying the Weight of Trauma

If you believe you are still carrying one or more of the 7 traumas mentioned above, you are far from alone. We see you, we know you’re hurting, and want to offer you a safe place to share your story and feel supported in your healing journey. Contact us today to set up a free discovery call and spend some time with us – we’re here for you. 

Sharon Brubaker is a certified Life Coach and credentialed Grief Specialist who, along with her team, teaches women who are grieving how to process their thoughts and emotions. To learn more about navigating grief within the family, listen to the full podcast episode here or download my free e-Book, The Griever’s Guide, which equips you with the tools to live life after grief; because no griever should have to navigate a broken heart on their own.

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