How to recover from a recent trauma
I’m really sorry you had to go through that – I really am. From what I know about you, you didn’t deserve it and it was probably in some way unexpected. But that’s OK – in life, these traumas are thrown at us to make us stronger and to build our characters, In this case, traumas can be positive.
But traumas can also hurt us. When we go through something traumatic, it can be hard to move on, or let go, or not dwell on it. Our minds are programmed to process through our emotions and without the world to reflect ourselves back at us we would stagnate and cease to grow. Even a trauma is a sign that you are growing.
What is trauma?
According to my dictionary, it is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. This (of course) would vary from person to person. One person’s trauma is another person’s “walk in the park”. Our traumas change as we age and grow older. What was traumatic at age 10 (getting lost in an unfamiliar place) could be a thrill at 20.
Why does trauma affect us?
According to Psych Central, “Experiencing trauma can have a dramatic effect on our bodies and our minds.” They mention that at our core, we are animals and we retain our “fight or flight” mentality. This is why trauma affects us.
“When you perceive a threat, the body activates the stress response. The stress response occurs in both your body and brain.” These stress hormones can have particular types of effects on the human body. When we feel trauma, we are in effect, preparing for an emergency.
How trauma affects the body.
Psychology.org tells us that the four main ways we experience trauma are:
- Physical trauma
- Cognitive trauma
- Behavioural trauma
- Emotional trauma
Each of these carries its own set of physical characteristics, from sleeplessness to poor concentration and memory. In some cases of trauma, people will lose their interest in going out, and become depressed and withdrawn. You may even have nightmares and feel anxiety and panic.
My own recent experience with trauma
Yes, I have been having nightmares and I have even experienced a few moments of unexplained anxiety. Sometimes I do not want to see people and I feel constantly tired and emotionally drained. Sometimes trauma can sneak up on us – even weeks or months after the event has taken place.
A couple of tips on dealing with trauma
Psychology.org mentions that it’s not a good idea to block feelings and emotions out – you have to work through them. Confront the feelings as they arise and try not to react to them. “Express your feelings as they arise,” they suggest. “Whether you discuss them with someone else or write them down in a diary, expressing feelings in some way often helps the healing process.”
A final note about dreaming of trauma
I had a dream the other night. I was in the water, drowning and I was taken under the water by the current. While submerged, I saw the water fill up with dark black mud, swirling through the current. I was afraid and didn’t want to drown. But then I saw all the black mud being drawn away in something like a sinkhole, like a giant bath plug had just been pulled out.
Soon the water was clear again, and I could swim to the surface.
The water in our dreams symbolises our emotions – the black mud (I think) symbolised my trauma. It was only through the deep, deep well of my own deep emotions could I be cleansed and start afresh.
We have such immense power within us and we are stronger than these traumas. In fact, they are gifts to us – because without them we would be stuck and unable to move.
These traumas will not kill us. They will not define us. They are the catalyst for change.
Good luck on your journey and be very kind to yourself.