Nearly 8 percent of Americans experience trauma at some point in their lives.
You may be one of them.
Rape, physical attacks, and negative events that took place in childhood are among the top causes of trauma but those are just a few among a long list.
The traumas you experience can hold you back in life if you do not get proper help for them as soon as possible.
You don’t have to wait for an emotional crisis to deal with your traumatic event.
You can start today to learn how to cope with it and overcome the effects so you can have a productive life, free of reminders and triggers.
First you need to learn more about trauma in general so you can apply what you learn to your personal situation.
Trauma can be defined as an incident, either one-time or repetitive, that makes you feel threatened in some way. Whether you feel the threat of death, violation of your body or sanity, these are all forms of trauma. How people deal with a traumatic event is different among all individuals.
Some people who are sexually abused as a child later develop post-traumatic stress disorder and find it hard to function in society. But another group of sexually abused people can be more resilient and lead a high functioning life, even developing close relationships with others.
Some veterans of war return home only to drink and use drugs to try and cope with their memories of combat. On the flip side, some veterans are able to come home and immediately become positive members of society, with no signs of trauma.
Types of Trauma
The first step in getting the help you need is to understand what type of trauma you have experienced.
Some of the more prevalent traumas include: sexual abuse or assault, physical abuse or assault, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, serious accident or illness, victim or witness to violence, school violence, bullying, manmade or natural disasters, military, grief or separation.
To get help with your type of trauma, go to a counselor who specializes in your particular area of abuse. For example, if you are being physically abused, meet with a counselor who specializes in domestic violence. If you are suffering from memories of when you fought in combat, meet with a military therapist.
Make sure you are getting the right diagnosis too. A misdiagnosis can be even more damaging. Like, when a childhood trauma gets mistaken for ADHD.
Also, know your symptoms. Don’t wait until they become unbearable. Notice them when they are new. It will be easier to reverse the damages the sooner you get help.
There are many behaviors that can be associated with a traumatic event. These include a person being in denial or shock, anger outbursts, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, guilt, fear, isolating from others, unable to connect with others and self-blame.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder can appear in a person who has experienced a painful event. The effects of that painful event continue to haunt you throughout your life because you continually relive the event in your mind.
You may even have nightmares or flashbacks about the event. Some people have reported being triggered into a flashback just by encountering a scent or person or situation that reminds you of the trauma. For example, if you were in a really bad car accident on Main Street, it may be hard for you to drive on Main Street for a while. It’s possible that even when you get near Main Street you could start experiencing some emotions because the memory of the accident is triggering you to feel the same emotions you felt during the accident.
This may be a normal reaction but it can also be a temporary reaction if you work through process of overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder. You may also have a hard time sleeping or concentrating or be easily startled by a loud noise or crashing sound.
Finding the Right Help
To overcome trauma you have to completely change your way of thinking.
It will take a complete overhaul of your thinking patterns to enable you to put this trauma behind you.
This is why it is so important to find the perfect treatment program for you, even if it requires you to step outside of your comfort zone temporarily.
The long time rewards will be worth it.
Look for many different characteristics of the treatment program you choose.
Do not be afraid to ask counselors what they feel is important to the healing process.
One key element is empowerment and helping you feel like you are back in control of your life. This feeling is robbed of you when you are traumatized so it is very important to get that back.
The program you choose should also connect you with others who have similar situations to yours and also offer you hope that you can overcome this problem.
Unique Treatment Options
Trauma is one area that has some unique and successful treatments.
One treatment is called exposure therapy.
With this type you will be exposed to the traumatic event but in a safe way. The idea is that the more exposure you have to the event, the less it will mean to you.
Another treatment option is cognitive restructuring where you will adjust your thinking. This will help you make sure you are remembering the event as it actually happened. Sometimes we accidentally exaggerate what happened and we need to put the event in a realistic perspective. This can help you lesson the power of the trauma.
Now that you have more knowledge about trauma and how to move forward, it’s time to go for it. Grab that better life you deserve.
The trauma you experienced does not define you and it does not have control over you any longer.
Make the decision to get help and get happy! Start today making a new path for yourself, one that is filled with good memories. And if one of those negative memories tries to sneak back in, you will at least have the tools to squash that memory and replace it with something better. You can do this!