There are a variety of things that can be labelled “trauma.” It may be an accident, tornado, childhood abuse, rape, being robbed, soldiers in combat, or any of a long list of other things. Traumatic experiences can cause a lot of turmoil. Going through a traumatic experience is often like an earthquake with some pretty big aftershocks.
Everyone is different. People experience the aftershocks in various ways. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Feeling as if the event is going to happen again
- Being afraid of others
- Nightmares or flashbacks
- Losing track of time
- Trouble concentrating
- Outbursts of anger
- Feeling disconnected from others
- Feeling hopeless
- Avoiding talking about the event(s)
You’re Not Going Crazy
It is important to recognize these symptoms are common. They are normal reactions to terrible circumstances. Things may feel out of control. You may feel like you’re “going crazy.” The truth is, you are experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms.
The trouble is traumatic experiences actually change our brains. Without getting into all of the scientific details, our brains become trained to deal with the world differently. We become more sensitive to threats of danger – to the point of believing a threat is there when it really isn’t. As a result, we have psychological symptoms related to the trauma.
Individuals who suffer traumatic events can experience some lasting effects. Some of the more common long-term effects are:
- Difficulty developing relationships
- Problems identifying, expressing, and managing emotions
- Being “set off” easily
- Poor physical health
- Substance abuse
- Chronic depression
These are just a few of the potential long-term effects. Other problems have been identified as well. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study from the Centers for Disease Control have found links between negative childhood experiences and a variety of mental and physical health issues.
You Can Recover
Recovery from traumatic experiences is possible. Even if it happened years ago, there are some specific methods of counseling and therapy that have been proven to be effective in helping individuals recover from the effects of trauma. It is important to seek the help of a professional. The cliché “Time heals all wounds” is not true. The wounds of trauma are not likely to heal unconsciously. They must be faced.
The great news is this process can release the hold those events have had on your life. You can be free from the pain of the event(s). You can go through life without having to deny the emotions or distract yourself from them. You can be free to just be you.
If you have experienced past trauma, we would love to help you break free. Feel free to contact us if we can be of assistance to you.