How do you know if you’ve been traumatized? A deeply disturbing or distressing experience is what defines trauma. It leaves you feeling helpless, as though you’ve lost all control over your life, and the world is no longer a safe place.
Additionally, you’re left with a lot of distressing emotions and memories that continuously plague your mind. The thing to know about trauma is that they don’t have to be accompanied by physical harm; it’s the emotions you feel after that matter.
It won’t be easy, at least initially, but there are a couple of things you can do to aid you in your recovery process. Ultimately, you want to get back to the emotional state you were in before the trauma, and if you can, be even better.
The following tips should help
Don’t run away from what happened
The emotional trauma did happen. No matter how painful, you first need to accept that happened and that the effects are real to you.
Ignoring or avoiding the traumatic event all together doesn’t make it go away. One way or another, it will come back to you, particularly when you’re triggered. When we don’t acknowledge our trauma, we miss the chance of learning healthy ways to cope with emotions.
Don’t want to have a meltdown or something similar to face emotional trauma. Sure, it is hard, but it is the bravest and the most loving thing you can do for yourself.
Don’t shut down
After going through something traumatic, it is not uncommon for people to want to isolate themselves. During that space, a person is typically dealing with a lot of painful emotions such as shame, guilt, anger, and even regret.
These emotions tend to be overwhelming, and a person can end up thinking that either no one will understand or they don’t want to be a bother.
Well, shutting down is the last thing you should do. If anything, you need all the support at this crucial point in your recovery process.
Reach out to family and friends– they don’t have to understand what you feel, but them being present, and lending an ear is enough. If multiple people have experienced the same, talk to them. You need people around you now more than ever.
See a professional
When we have physical symptoms, we naturally see a doctor. The same should be true when you have emotional and psychological symptoms. How do you know if you need to seek professional help? Some of the signs are that you are withdrawn from people.
Your emotions are still hyperactive, and the pain is as real as they were during the traumatic event. Overall, if how you feel is interfering with your daily life in any way, you ought to see a mental health expert. There’s only so much your untrained friends and family can help you through.
Join a support group
After a few sessions with the mental health expert, you may consider them asking you to recommend a local or online support group you can join. There are quite a few benefits of going for group therapy. Among them is they tend to be cheaper or even free.
The other fantastic thing you’re going to appreciate about them is that you’ll be assured that you are not alone. Others can feel and understand what you are going through. You will learn a lot about yourself and others, and when done right, you’ll know that you always have a safety net even on rough days.
Experts recommend physical activity to those going through the effects of a traumatic experience. You don’t have to join a gym; there’s more you can do right at home. Go for exercises that encourage deep breathing, such as yoga or meditation.
Going for walks or jogs, and even doing gentle stretching can help you in the recovery process as much needed endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine flood your brain to help you feel happy again. However, remember to listen to your body.
Emotional traumas can take a physical toll on you physically. If you feel tired and could do with a nap, go right ahead and choose one.
Listen to your inner child
The inner child is inherently who we are, or rather, our original self. This subpersonality does not die as we grow, but rather, stays with us even in adulthood. In psychological and analytical psychology, it is believed that the inner child also plays a role in our waking conscious mind.
Tap into the inner child to help you guide through difficult times. What does that look like? Well, think about what you’d do for a child who’s been through emotional trauma.
Would they like to take a bath? What about spending time with friends? Listen to what your inner child tells you about what you need to do at a particular time. For example, if you find yourself feeling distressed, think of ways you could sooth yourself.
It is different for everyone. One would want to listen to their favorite music, and for another, a nap would do the trick. The actions you take should be healthy as you are indeed appealing to your inner child.
Avoid alcohol and drugs
If you are processing emotional trauma, you need to stay away from alcohol and drugs. There are not things your inner child will find helpful, and yourself in particular. Alcohol and drugs may help take the edge off difficult emotions, but ultimately all they do is numb the feelings and help you forget the event.
It, however, does not make it go away. When you wake up, the feelings will still be there, and so the cycle continues. Most people quickly become addicted to alcohol and drugs during this time. Therefore, consider adopting long-term solutions to your emotional trauma; alcohol and drugs are not one of them.
Create a routine that works
Emotional trauma can interrupt our daily functioning, and it could be hard to get back to the things we once used to do effortlessly. Part of the recovery process is getting back into your routine so that you can regain some of the control over your life that you feel you lost.
Even as you get back into the way you did things, consider making some positive changes to serve you better. You want to create a way of doing things where there is minimal stress so that it doesn’t trigger you. Whatever you choose, be sure that the morning version of yourself will thank you for what you did today.
When something horrible happens to us, it tends to cast a dark cloud over us. We immediately forget any good in our lives and end up focusing on the worse. A quick way to alleviate these feelings is through practicing gratitude. Take stock of the good things in your life, and also noticing the important things to you.
Once you do, you’ll find that your energy is going toward something that matters, for example, family, friends, hobbies, etc. Continually focusing on the good puts the emotional trauma into perspective as it stops being this colossal monster that ruined your life.