It’s safe to say that trauma occurs when you least expect it. This unpleasant “surprise” is what leads to a number of related situations, including PTSD, the onset of panic attacks, and general anxiety. What causes trauma? It could be anything from getting into a car accident to being sexually assaulted.
The main thing to remember is that no one should tell you that your trauma is unfounded. If you went through it, then you have every right to be traumatized about it. With that said, there are some things that can be done to work through the trauma. Here are seven of them.
1) Share Your Thoughts with Others
If you’ve been through a traumatic situation, then the last thing that you should do is keep your feelings on the situation to yourself. Instead, you need to share those thoughts and feelings with others. Find a trusted friend or family member and talk to them – although you can discuss this with anyone who knows you well and who you think will be there for you.
The main idea here is to not get stuck in your own head where you’ll dwell on those thoughts over and over.
2) Make Yourself Feel Safe
Another thing that you can do is whatever is necessary to make yourself feel safe and secure. For some people, this involves sleeping with a nightlight or some sort of light on. For others, it might be adding more locks on the door or getting a pet for companionship.
No matter what it is that makes you feel safer, do it. You don’t have to explain this to anyone. The most important thing is that you feel as though you aren’t in danger in any way.
3) Do Empowering Things
What do we mean by “do empowering things?” You need to do whatever it is that makes you feel empowered. For example, if you were raped or mugged, no matter how hard and scary it is, you need to take the proper steps to prosecute the perpetrator. If you were in a car accident and it’s tough to get into any vehicle again, take the small steps needed to do so.
Continue to do things that make you feel as though you have power and are in control of your life. You’ll feel much more stable and capable that way. It’s very important to get your power back.
4) Seek Professional Help
No matter what, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Many people who’ve been through a trauma are worried that seeing a therapist will make them seem weak. When you add on the fact that it’s tough to talk to someone when you’re feeling extremely anxious, then this becomes even tougher to do.
However, you need to reach out and get the help that you need. This actually makes you strong – because you’re being proactive about it – instead of weak. Those professionals will be able to help you through your trauma and eventually, you’ll begin to feel like yourself again.
5) Don’t Rush the Process
On top of this, you don’t want to rush through the process. You might be tempted to, thinking that the sooner you get through it, the quicker you’ll feel normal again. On top of this, trauma can be frustrating, since you just want to go back to living your life without what feels like a cloud hanging over your head.
However, you don’t want to hurry through this – and don’t put any sort of timeline on it. That will just make it worse. Instead, stand up, hold your head high, and go one day at a time.
6) Do Your Normal Daily Activities
Getting back in the “swing of things” is very important. Most people who’ve been through a traumatic situation don’t get back to their daily lives quickly enough. Instead, they dwell on what happened and make it worse. You can’t do this. Although you don’t want to rush the healing process, you do need to get back to living your life and going through your standard routine.
Otherwise, you’ll stymie your healing and make things tougher on yourself. So, no matter how hard it is and how altered your new routine may be, you need to get back to it and do things again.
7) Pay Attention to Your Emotional Triggers
Spend some time paying attention to what triggers your emotions. Exactly what sets things in motion? Is being in a dark room? Hearing traffic outside? Or just being in a car? These triggers might pop up when you least expect them to, bringing some complicated emotions along with them. If you pay attention to what they are, then you might be able to avoid them for some time, until you’ve healed enough to confront them.
This guest article is a contribution of John Wells promoting Samitivej Hospital, a specialized and well known center for emergency medical services in Bangkok.