Reprinted from "Trauma and Victimization" issue of Visions Journal, 2007, 3 (3), p. 3
There are two things I associate with trauma. Boxing Day 2005 watching a huge wall of water surge over people and buildings without much warning, I wondered how the people actually living through that tsunami would ever be able to look at the sea again without fear. I also recall watching a documentary with Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire returning to Rwanda. His moving recollection of his time there and his struggles once he returned home deeply affected me. These are traumas on a population and distant level.
There is also trauma on an individual scale: the recent illness of my mother and close friends, the death of a couple friends of my son’s. All these things begin to add up. For some people, there are more horrible things that affect them so deeply that it takes years to overcome. I guess what I am trying to say here is that trauma affects everyone at one point or another. And as one article in this issue points out, it even affects those who come in to help with trauma—in a vicarious way. The question becomes then why do some people seem to be able to navigate traumatic experiences with not too many problems while others become very affected?
The articles in this issue look at the variety of theories, programs, services and experiences that come to represent our work on trauma and victimization today. As always, there are issues and theories that we have left out, mostly because we are unable to include everything in one issue. But one thing is for sure, there is some serious food for thought and action here.
As this is my penultimate issue as policy/content editor, I just want to take this chance to express my gratitude to the amazing group who works so hard to put together each issue of Visions. I knew coming in that this was a magazine that presented difficult topics in sensitive and thoughtful ways….and this is because there are so many people committed to each and every issue, and because there is a huge variety of dedicated people working in mental health and addictions in this province. But my deepest gratitude goes out to those people who write about their lived experience. This is an act of great courage but mostly is seems it is an act of faith, faith that in telling their story things can and do change. All the rest of us have to do is listen and learn.
About the authorChristina is Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mid-Island and Cowichan Valley Branches. She has an MEd in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies and is working towards her doctorate in Policy and Practice in the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria