Overcoming Traumatic Events

We have talked about trauma before, but so many of my patients struggle with trauma issues.  Trauma can as simple as a car accident, to the loss of a loved one, to sexual or physical assault.  Trauma events are experienced differently, and what might be traumatic for one person, might not be traumatic for someone else.  Some people can overcome traumatic situations easily, others take time and support to overcome trauma.  No matter how you experience trauma, you can overcome and move on to a better life.  

Over the years I have worked with people around sexual trauma, life changing events, and having a family member die or be murdered.  Having a feeling of safety or security ripped from you due to assault or loss is a struggle related to recovery.  Understanding how to feel safe again takes work and processing events can be more difficult, and the first thing to do is to understand your role in your recovery.  Someone who was raped is not at fault for what happened to them, but so many people feel responsible.  I don’t believe that anyone asks to be physically or sexually assaulted.  It doesn’t matter what you were or how you act, you don’t deserve to be hurt.

When it comes to other events, like being removed from parents and being placed into foster care, or recovering from divorce, recovery can be just as hard.  After working with children in foster care, and working with adults that were a product of the foster care system, I know how hard it can be to overcome things that happen as a result of parents that aren’t supportive.  Parenting is such an important job, and the lack of good parenting creates lifetimes of struggles and attachment issues.  I have often said that it’s easier to have a parent pass away than it is to have a parent who is not capable of parenting.  For many kids that I worked with, they wanted so much for their parents to want to be with them more than drugs, bad partners, or whatever their parent chose over being with them.   It can be just as hard for a spouse to be left alone, after being promised that they will be loved forever.  Both issues create a lack of trust, just as loss and assault can become issues related to safety and trust.

The country struggled with trauma after 9/11, and most Americans were able to adjust to the new normal, but many are still adjusting.  Driving after a car accident can create trauma issues and foster an increasing concern around driving if not addressed.  Everyone has their own definition of trauma, and everyone will recover differently.  The important thing is to understand you can overcome and recover.  I have watched people overcome so many things, from military trauma to sexual assault, and you can overcome whatever trauma you are struggling with, but you may need help.  If you are struggling, find a therapist that you can trust who can help you with skills and support.

No matter what you are struggling with, don’t continue to struggle with traumatic situations if there is support out there that can help.  You might have family or friends that can help, or you might need a therapist to help you make the changes that you need to make, but make no mistake, you can do it.  Find the support you need and overcome.  It’s all part of being happy forever!