In today’s world, we encounter trauma in numerous different ways. We are forced, at no discretion of our own, to endure situations that permanently hurt us in one way or another. This trauma is a powerful force in which that can mold the rest of our lives in several different ways. But does it have to be negative?
Healing after trauma begins with safety and stability.
One thing that a traumatic event does to us is it strips us of our safety and stabilization in the world around us. It is an event that is out of our control entirely and leaves us feeling shattered and irreparable. The first step of healing is the creation of a safe and stable environment around yourself, and most importantly, inside of yourself. Finding loved ones that offer unconditional support, surrounding yourself with supportive friends, and being able to harness the emotions you encounter that may be present from the trauma are significant steps in the right direction.
Identify the emotions or triggers you may be experiencing and bring them into your new reality. Understand that the fear, anger, resentment, or hatred is not healthy for yourself, yet is understandable. While you may want to shutter away from everyone around you, this is your new fight, and it is time to stand against the current. Find activities that promote a healthy lifestyle, like working out or meditating. Being able to better handle the negative emotions is a step in the right direction and one that is utterly important.
Next, allow the mourning of the event(s).
One of the most critical and most difficult parts of the process is the recollection of the events that caused the trauma. In general, the processing of these events provokes a fight, flight, or freeze response in yourself. It is imperative that you integrate the story of what happened and allow yourself to fully process the event(s) in a healthy manner. It is not to fully disassociate emotions from the event but rather to allow yourself to experience the emotions in a safe and stable environment. The expression of the emotions tied to the event and the process of grieving potential losses due to the event allow yourself to move past the trauma.
The main objective is to put words and emotions to the event and also be able to make meaning of what happened. This allows you to process the event(s) in a manner by which you can be more expressive and understanding of how it impacts you in your everyday life.
Lastly, reorganize and integrate.
The processing of the tied emotions allows yourself to move into being able to reorganize and reintegrate various parts of your life. Learning that the trauma in no way defines you as a person is critical. While it plays a significant factor in your life, allow yourself to reorganize and understand what you want out of life. Trauma has a way of reshaping the way we think and the way we perceive things in life which can mean things may not be as important to you as they once were, and that is okay. Take a moment to yourself to evaluate what is now important to you, your health, and your emotional safety. Integrate new items into your life that promote those new passions and ground yourself.
By pursuing the help of others like friends or trained professionals and expressing the tied emotions, you allow yourself to work through what happened in a healthy manner. This release of negative emotions tied to the traumatic event(s) allows yourself the possibility of healing and becoming a stronger person. With trauma, we can take several paths. Good or bad. We can let it devour our lives and lead us into more trauma or we can learn to process and harness its impact and thrust it back into the world in a healthy manner.
Some of the most powerful, life-changing individuals in this world come from the darkest of places. The secret to this is that you must take the road less traveled. You must take the difficult path that makes you uncomfortable at first in order to truly get through it.
Whatever you do, do not give up.