“Trauma reactions are normal reactions to abnormal events.”
There are no right and wrong ways to respond to a trauma; and your symptoms may include the following:
– Shock, numbness, disbelief, or even denial
– Difficulties with focusing, paying attention, concentrating and remembering
– Powerful unpredictable mood swings
– Anger and rage
– Irritability/ having a short fuse
– Intense fear and anxiety
– Panic attacks and anxiety attacks
– Guilt, shame, and (inappropriate) self-blame
– The desire to isolate yourself
– Sadness, sorrow and regret
– Hopelessness/ an inability to see anything good in the future
– Insomnia, nightmares, and broken sleep
– Hypervigilant/ hyperalert/ agitation/ being on edge
– Racing heart
– Difficulty breathing, and regulating breathing
– Tingling in hands and feet
– Pain and muscle tension.
Some of these symptoms point to PTSD, where your nervous system’s stuck in a state of constant shock. This prevents you from processing the trauma properly.
It is best if you can get professional help to deal with this, so you slowly start to heal (thought it’s going to take time.)
However, there are also some things that you can do as well – some tips to help with your trauma recovery. They include:
1. Get moving. Trauma dysregulates the body’s equilibrium so you’re stuck in a state of high arousal and fear. Often, exercise can help to repair the disruption, and especially if modulates your breathing and heart rate. (Yoga, and activities like walking, running, dancing and swimming are thought to be especially helpful for this.)
2. Fight the tendency to isolate yourself. Connecting with others helps you slowly start to heal (even though you’ll likely feel that you’d much rather withdraw). You don’t have to share your feelings, or to talk about what happened. Just engaging with others helps to normalize your life.
However, you will also need a person who will listen without judgment (a therapist or counsellor, a friend, or family member). This is absolutely crucial. You can’t bear this on your own.
Also, many people find it helps to join a group for survivors who have shared the same experience and, therefore, understand.
3. Prioritize self-care. This includes doing your best to get some quality sleep (although PTSD often makes this difficult); making sure your diet’s healthy; spending time in nature; and doing things that help you to unwind and relax.
“Take all the time you need to heal. Moving on doesn’t take a day. It takes a lot of little steps to break free of the past, and heal your broken self.”