You Didn’t Lose Your Voice. You Lost Your Words.
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
One of the oldest and most profound paths to healing is speaking the unspeakable. Trauma
survivors are often told that they need to get their voice back, but I really don’t think that is the whole story. I think it’s more about the words than the voice.
Between our emotions and our ability to communicate exists a lexical gap. Communication
allows us access to the validation and social support necessary to heal. Trauma, anxiety, and all
other forms of fear resist accurate translation from our bodies to words. Our emotions are stored
in our body. We literally wear our feelings and our experiences.
Think about the muscle tension in your shoulders or back when you are stressed out. You could
spend hours explaining all of the things that are stressful in your life. Imagine if you could share
all of the thoughts, memories, and feelings stored in those bits of muscle fibers running across
your back. Imagine how different the world would be if we could truly, accurately share our
Fear has the unfortunate effect of widening the lexical gap, sometimes so far that we lose the
words necessary to communicate what has happened. Without words, we can literally be cut off
from the ability to connect with another human because they cannot empathize. We are cut off
from healing, and we stay stuck. Finding the words, a way to communicate what has happened,
making the unspeakable speakable allows for the necessary validation, the confirmation that we
are real and we make sense.
Do you have all the words you need? Really and truly need?