One of my biggest struggles is something I refer to as "trauma brain." Its thought processes associated with the high level of trauma that comes with being a survivor of child sex trafficking. Trauma brain tells me that I am not safe. It tells me that I have been found and am going to be hurt. It tells me that I will never truly escape my traffickers.
Yesterday, trauma brain was in full force. I was anxious from standing in line at the grocery store. I'd had a stressful therapy session the day before. I hadn't eaten, had barely had any good sleep. All things that exacerbate my trauma responses.
So when I saw a vehicle that looked like one my trafficker drives that was being driven by someone who resembled one of my trafficker's associates, trauma brain kicked in to tell me that I was about to be caught.
With shaking hands, I dialed the number of my voice of reason. When I heard her voice on the other end of the line, I suddenly felt like I could breathe again. She reassured me that I was safe. She reassured me that I was not going to be hurt. She reassured me that I could be, and was, free.
Sometimes, I need intense intervention. Sometimes, I need someone to sit with me and hold me while I panic. Sometimes, I need emergency care. But yesterday, all I needed was someone to tell trauma brain to be quiet.
The women at Safe House Project are always there to do each of those things. I know that when trauma brain gets the best of me, my voices of reason are just a phone call away. Safe House Project does so many important things, so many big, take on the world kind of projects. But what I love most about them as a survivor is their willingness to do the little things, too. Like talking on the phone with me as she prepares dinner for her family to just be a voice of reason reminding me that I'm okay. I love them for loving me.