Signs that you have experienced Trauma
Updated: Mar 30
When something horrible happens to some people, it can take time to get over the pain and feel safe once again. Trauma is a normal reaction to unfortunate events, which can lead to severe effects and interfere with a person’s ability to live a fulfilled life. Trauma causes a feeling of helplessness and shatters your sense of security.
When this happens, support and help will come in handy to treat trauma-related effects and restore the person to a state of emotional well-being.
While many traumas are caused by physical violence, others are psychological.
Common sources of trauma include:
Death of a loved one
Rape or other forms of sexual assault
Serious injury or illness
Natural calamities such as earthquake, hurricanes, and floods
Witnessing a crime, accident or death
Loss of job
Childhood abuse or neglect
Trauma does not discriminate, and all ages and genders can be affected, with children being the most vulnerable group.
What are the signs of people suffering from trauma?
Individuals will respond to traumatic events differently, some experience it stronger in their emotional and psychological state while others experience it in their physical state. Although, there are some common signs and symptoms to look out for. They include:
1. Emotional and Psychological Signs
Fear and anxiety
A feeling of sadness
Withdrawing from friends and family
Irritability and anger
Denial, shock, and disbelief
Difficult to concentrate and confusion
Self-blame, shame, or feeling guilty
2. Physical Signs
Lack of sleep
Agitated or being edgy
Body aches and pains
Trauma signs and symptoms usually last from a few days to months and gradually fade as you process the horrible events. And even when you feel better, some events such as the anniversary of the traumatic event, a scent, or the site of something that reminds you of the event may trigger your memory and emotions, leaving you troubled.
Tips for Dealing with Trauma
1. Eat Healthy Foods and snacks: Usually, when we have stress, our bodies crave sugary and starchy foods that are harmful to our health and can worsen the symptoms associated with traumatic stress. Try as much as possible to eat a well-balanced diet to help you stay healthy and energized.
2. Talk about your feelings: After a traumatic event, you may be tempted to withdraw from social activities, family, and friends. Sharing traumatic events you have experienced with those closest to you will be a big step to overcome the negative effects of trauma, as talking it out helps you ease the burden you may be carrying. It also helps you to get the necessary support that will help you heal faster.
3. Exercise: Engaging in some physical exercises such as jogging, dancing, or yoga will assist in burning some of your anxiety and tension associated with trauma.
4. Get enough quality sleep: After a traumatic event, you may find it hard to fall asleep as worries, fear, and nightmares may keep you awake.
Here are some tips to improve your sleep:
Avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening and reduce or eliminate alcohol as it disrupts sleep
Schedule to go to sleep and get up the same time each day
Do something soothing and relaxing before you retire to bed like meditating or reading
Have your bedroom quiet, soothing, and dark
5. Accept your feelings: Trauma can lead to difficult emotions, which include anger, shame, fear, and shock. All these emotions are normal reactions to the loss of security that sets in after a traumatic event. These feelings are a natural response and accepting them are necessary for healing.
6. Therapy: For most people, the symptoms of trauma disappear with time; for others, they may be severe and persist for an extended period. When this is so, it’s time to seek professional help from a trained therapist.
There are several types of therapy available to help in processing trauma. To name a few:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This involves becoming aware of negative thought patterns and changing them.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): During this type of therapy, the client processes traumatic events while moving his/ her eyes to follow a moving light or the moving finger of a therapist. This helps to decrease the physiological responses of trauma.
Solution-focused Therapy: This is an approach that empowers a client to have the ability to solve life’s problems and involves future-oriented discussions to move a client forward to have resolutions of their present troubles.
With the current social distancing and stigma associated with Coronavirus, there is a rise in “collective trauma” globally. Collective trauma can be defined as a traumatic psychological effect shared by a group of people, including an entire nation, community or society.
Signs of collective trauma:
If you are experiencing the above signs, just know that you are not alone as many other people across the globe are also going through the same due the effects of Coronavirus.
Trauma is real and can affect people from all walks of life, but with proper approach and acceptance, one can go back to living a healthy life. The above tips, when followed diligently, can help you overcome the effects of trauma.
Your Therapy Friend,
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Perinatal & Relationships Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationship with their children and significant other. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Perinatal Mental Health Certified Professional, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter and son, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining. Read more about her at: www.infinitetherapeuticservices.com
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