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Trauma Doesn't Define a Person

Expert Says: Accept What is Within Control and What is Not

More and more people today are finding answers as to why their mental health is in a steady decline. There’s been much medical research done on the long-term effects of trauma. Many people are learning that their mental and emotional downward spiral is connected to their experienced trauma dating back to as early as their childhood.

Experts claim that the increased number of adverse childhood experiences is associated with poor health, addiction, and incarceration, just to name a few contributing factors. Right now, you may be thinking about a traumatic situation that you’ve experienced and how it has played a role in your own emotional and mental development.  

Lifestyle spoke with Danya Artimisi, a licensed social worker who owns Soul One Wellness Counseling.

“Do you have phobias? Do you consistently experience anxiety in a given situation? Do you find yourself feeling leery about new people with whom you cross paths? Perhaps you cannot hold onto friendships, relationships, or even jobs. What about irrational fears? These are just a few examples of how perceived trauma can manifest and become life-limiting and seemingly paralyzing,” she explains.

“I am here to encourage you that your trauma does not ‘define’ you. It may feel consuming, especially right after the traumatic experience, but it does not encompass your essence. So many people live their lives blaming trauma for their hardships when they don’t realize that they, in fact, have the choice and the control to take back the reins on their lives.”

Danya counsels that people have the power to stop negative self-talk and self-limiting fears. “The fact is, what happened in the past, well, it happened. That is something that we cannot control, but what we can control is how we choose to let our past become our identity. All it takes is for you to make the decision to accept that your trauma does not define you.”

She says the best way to begin one's journey of healing is to know and accept what is within one's control and what is not. Here is her advice:

You CANNOT control:

  • The past
  • The future
  • The actions of others
  • The opinions of others
  • What happens around you
  • What other people think of you
  • The outcome of your efforts
  • How others take care of themselves

You CAN control:

  • Your boundaries
  • Your thoughts and actions
  • What you give your energy to
  • The goals that you set
  • How you speak to yourself
  • How you handle challenges

“Once you can acknowledge and accept what is within your control and what is not, you can begin to take full charge of your life. You are no longer allowing yourself to be held prisoner by self-limiting thoughts and fears. Don’t make it a blame game. Don’t give precious energy to that which does not serve you and know that it is perfectly ok to evict negative energies from your life. It’s too heavy of a rucksack to carry uphill through quicksand,” she adds.

Seeking help through mental health counseling is one of many great ways to navigate through this life-changing transition by having a professional to guide you. Visit to find support from a therapeutic professional.

This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Consult a qualified clinical provider or health care team for psychological, mental or emotional challenges. 

Danya Artimisi, MSW, LSW, is a licensed social worker with a master’s degree from Saint Louis University. She is the owner of Soul One Wellness Counseling, LLC in Swansea, IL.

  • Danya Artimisi, MSW, LSW