You went through something awful. In a few moments, it seemed as if everything about your life and your understanding of the world got flipped upside down.
Now, you struggle just to sleep through the night. The flashbacks and memories of what you experienced still follow you around. Haunting you with every step you take.
To the outside world, you might seem fine. It seems as if you have it all together. But, inside, you are struggling to just get through the day.
Unfortunately, that is not easy for many people to do. Trauma can feel impossible to move on from, whether it happened last month, a year, or a decade ago. But is it actually possible?
What Is Trauma?
Let’s start with building a foundation of knowledge about what trauma is. Post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) occurs after someone has experienced or witnessed a scary, shocking, or dangerous situation. It is a response to a highly distressing or emotional experience.
Some examples of these types of situations are:
- Experiencing war
- Witnessing or being the victim of a crime.
- Abuse (domestic, sexual, childhood, emotional)
- Car accidents
- Death of a loved one
Symptoms of PTSD
No two people experience PTSD in the same exact way. This list is not exhaustive of what someone may go through after a traumatic experience.
- Loss of interest in activities
- Difficulty focusing
- Change in eating habits
- Physical ailments (headaches, stomach aches, muscle tension or pain)
- Difficulties with remembering
- Easily startled
- Low self-esteem
- Negative beliefs about themselves or others.
- Not trusting easily.
Is It Possible To Heal From Past Trauma?
It absolutely is, and it doesn’t matter how long ago the traumatic event occurred.
One myth about healing from trauma is that it must be completely life-shattering to be considered a traumatic event. Trauma, at the end of the day, is a response to a distressing situation. If it impacted you profoundly, then that is all that matters.
Know your symptoms
One of the first steps to healing from trauma is understanding what signs and symptoms you are experiencing. What triggers them? Is it a certain sound or smell? Maybe the sight of something? Or do you feel stressed when you touch a specific texture?
When we are going through a traumatic experience, our brain tries to protect us by blocking out certain aspects of it. That might be helpful if it weren’t for one thing. Your brain still holds on to these memories. Even if you don’t actively recall them. Unfortunately, the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” does not apply to trauma.
It can help record your symptoms and what may have triggered them. Whether that was a thought about the traumatic memory or if your body tensed up when you felt a seatbelt squeeze against you too tightly.
Maybe you don’t even know why you are feeling the way you do, just that it has been happening for a while. Journaling about your mental health can help you heal from anything, especially trauma.
We are taught from an early age to be tough and push through our pain. We’re often taught that our emotions don’t matter or that we are making a big deal out of something.
Quiet the inner critics in your head. Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability and admit to someone or yourself that you aren’t okay. That something terrible did happen, and you haven’t been okay since, even if you don’t fully understand how that experience changed you.
Trauma can make you feel like you are constantly grounded in the past. Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, can help you ground yourself into the present moment.
Trauma and how it impacts us is profound. Healing from trauma does not mean that you have to accept what you went through. Don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about trauma therapy and how it can help you heal.