How to Recover from Trauma
Everyone experiences trauma in their lives. Trauma can have a big effect on our lives, it can leave a lasting mark on how we feel. It’s important that we process this as best we can.
After a trauma we may experience the following emotions and feelings:
Shock and disbelief – we can’t believe that it happened, it’s a lot to process.
Fear – we are put in a state of red alert – our bodies are expecting something to go wrong.
Sadness – we can be extremely upset that something happened
Helplessness – Sudden and unprecedented violent crime, accidents or disasters can leave you feeling vulnerable and helpless.
Guilt – It’s easy to feel a sense of survivor guilt if you survived but someone else came off worse, or didn’t. The feeling that you could have done more to help.
Anger – You could feel a great deal of anger towards the ‘why’ of it happening.
Shame – you could feel a deal of shame that you were unable to help more
Relief – a great sense of relief that it’s all over
We’re all different so trauma is going to treat us all differently, there’s no right or wrong way to respond. It’s important that we don’t try to deal with the trauma by using substances as that can create additional problems to deal with, alcohol rehab clinics often have people in them who used alcohol as a means to deal with repressed trauma.
Avoid obsessively reliving the traumatic event – it’s easy to get stuck reliving the moment, what we could have done differently to avoid it , think about what could have happened or what should have happened but ultimately this not helpful – accept the new reality.
Ignoring your feelings will slow recovery – it’s important that you allow yourself to properly process what is happening to you.
Reestablish routine – try to get back into a routine, whether that means getting an early night, waking up early and continuing with any exercise and self-care that you do.
Recognise when traumatic stress becomes PTSD. Traumatic stress is normal following this kind of event, however it’s possible to get trapped in our feelings. When this happens you should seek professional help.
Minimise media exposure
Media tends to show distressing and unpleasant news stories and might bring something up that reminds you of the event – this is particularly true if your event was quite high profile and you had media attention at the traumatic event.
Avoid distressing images/video this could really set you off, and there tends to be a lot of graphic stuff out these days. Stay away from it.
Accept feelings – you need to accept the feelings that you have at this time, do not judge, merely accept things for the way that they are..
Challenge your sense of helplessness
You aren’t completely helpless, it’s simply your fight or flight response trying to protect you.
Volunteer your time
Spend time helping those who are less fortunate – not only will you be doing something good, it will give you a sense of wellbeing and make you feel good.
This relieves stress, releases endorphins and makes you feel good again.
Being mindful of your thoughts, your body, existing within your entire self.
Reach out to others – isolation can, take these kinds of issues seems so much worse than they actually are.
Reduce Stress (priority number 1) – as soon as you begin to settle down things will start to improve.
Relieve stress in the moment – this can be done by focusing on your breath.
Practice relaxation – relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga can do wonders for stress levels.
Schedule time for activities that bring you joy
It’s important that you do those things that you love, it will distract you from things and ultimately make you feel much better.
Sleep a lot!
You need your rest, you’ve been through a traumatic experience and you will need to recover and try to regain a sense of normality, the best way to do that is to get plenty of sleep.
Make sure you are getting all the treatment that you need.
Know when to seek treatment.
If symptoms and issues continue, it’s important that you seek help and get the proper treatment to deal with your problems. With a bit of care like the kind you can get at a rehab clinic you can get back on track.