Trauma: a deeply distressing or disturbing experience
Traumatic experiences can happen to any one of us. Trauma can be brought on by a toxic relationship, family dynamic, or a life-altering event. It can be as simple as being in the wrong place at the wrong time or more enduring and intentional. Some examples of trauma are:
- Physical, verbal, and sexual abuse
- Domestic or family violence
- War or political violence
- Witnessing crime
- Diagnosis or illness
- Natural disaster
- Car accident
While these are just some instances, trauma can be anything that puts you into deep distress. As a result, trauma is extremely tough to move on from. It takes continuous effort, a reliable support system, and facing that trauma head-on so that you can heal and move forward. Each instance is different for each person and each experience. Still, there are several steps you can take towards getting on the other side of it.
Here are four uncomfortable signs that show you that you’re on the path to actually healing from your trauma:
The first step to healing is making a choice to deal with your trauma. Trauma tends to hide away as long as possible, which means if you want to heal, first, you have to face it. As unpleasant as it may be, you must hold your trauma accountable for the damage it has caused. Then, acknowledge what that painful experience was. Merely naming your trauma shows that you are starting to heal.
The next uncomfortable sign is feeling that dreadful pain that comes hand-in-hand with dealing. There’s a reason you didn’t want to feel it in the first place, which is why you had to bury it. Feeling that pain is feeling your trauma, and while it doesn’t wipe away what happened, it does allow you to confront what happened.
The next sign that comes from feeling is reeling. While you can still get bombarded with triggers, stumbling through them can be less damaging. You may find yourself in a similar situation where you’re being triggered, but you react differently than the time before. You can still be triggered by whatever brings you back to that trauma, but you’re a little less controlled by that trigger.
Perhaps the most challenging sign of all is when you’re healing—which means you’re able to name, understand, and rumble with your trauma. The act of healing is long-term—and oddly, it can feel like both an achievement and a burden. The harsh reality is that recovering from trauma doesn’t erase it, but instead officially takes away the trauma’s control and reassigns that control to you.
While your path to healing is as unique as your trauma and the support system behind you, these four basic signs indicate that you can, you are, and you will heal from your trauma.