Trauma: (n). a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. Trauma occurs in people in different ways. It can be caused by natural disasters, violent crimes, deaths, or other personal issues that occur in one’s life. Trauma can trigger feelings of hopelessness, make someone feel helpless and also deeply affect people around you as well. Some of the symptoms of trauma are shock, disbelief, sadness, anger, shame or guilt. There is no wrong or right way to feel with dealing with trauma but here are some ways to help cope with it.
How to Recognize Trauma
Trauma is different for everyone. There is no real way to measure trauma or how your body reacted to a specific situation. Two people could go through the exact same event and have completely different outcomes of it. Here are some symptoms of trauma:
- Outbursts or lashing out. You may have unexplained anger and the emotions rise through you relatively quickly or out of nowhere.
- Shaking and fatigue. It’s normal for your body to experience a physical reaction if you brain is upset about things. It can literally exhaust you.
- Crying. It’s okay to cry and it can happen unannounced and at random times. You might cry because all of the forks are in the dishwasher, but in reality it’s your way of coping with whatever event you just went through.
How to Combat Trauma
- Face to face support is so important. It’s easy to get someone to comfort you via text messages or email, but face to face support is really great when someone can hold you and visibly show their support.
- Exercise. Get up and move. Stretch throughout the day. Keep walking. Distraction is important and it’s also a way of healing. When you are exercising you are breathing and breathing is putting oxygen in your brain. When we have oxygen flowing to our brain, we are more productive and can see things more clearly. This will allow you to process the situation and be able to create a more rational analysis of the event.
- Make stress reduction a priority. Stress has many symptoms of its own. Stress will amplify trauma side effects and lasting symptoms if it’s not managed. Meditation is important, stretching, focusing on breathing. Have your brain focus only on inhaling and exhaling. This sounds silly, but that alone will help calm your overall body during an attack of symptoms. Schedule a massage, sit in a sauna, go to the gym. Stress reduction needs to be a priority especially when dealing with trauma.
All of these tips are helpful but that doesn’t mean it’s just going to go away. If you go through a traumatic event, you will cope in different ways but you will get better. Find a support system, even if it’s a hotline, there is plenty of help out there. Understand that these things take time to heal. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but with each new day you will get stronger and stronger and healing and being okay.
By: Erica T.