Recovering from Trauma

There are many kinds of trauma that people go through, and many ways that people manage that trauma to recover.  The important thing is to manage the trauma and be able to move beyond it to get your life back.  Part of recovering your life is being able to think about a life after the trauma.  Developing new goals and putting you life back together are key pieces in the recovery process.  I often tell patients that you don’t forget  trauma events.  The events are processed and become integrated into who you become.  You will never be who you were before, but you can be better.  Do what you need to do to recover.  Don’t get stuck.

There are things to consider when working to recovering from trauma.  People recover from trauma without support, but many people need support.  If you need support, find it.  It’s your future and you deserve to feel safe again.  Think about the following when you are thinking about how to recover

Find safe activities

When I work with patients, we talk about things they can do that help them feel safe.  Many times the place or places where the trauma happened cause anxiety, so safe places may change.  Homes of friends and family become important as new safe places are established.  Places that still foster a feeling of safety can be important, like the grocery store or other shopping place.  Doing things that feel calming also become important.  Walking at the beach or other walks can be helpful, depending on the trauma event.  Do things that help you feel normal and remind you of better times.

Work on self-talk

What you tell yourself is important, as you recover.  If you spend too much time thinking about things, and dwelling on events, recovery becomes harder and more illusive.  Many patients I work with think that people will know what happened by looking at them.  It takes time to convince them nobody can tell anything by looking at them.  Helping the patient talk themselves through their recovery can be one of the hardest thing to do.

Don’t over analyze

Many times, when I work with patients they research everything, and end up focused on revenge.  It tends to drive people crazy, causing problems with sleep, stomach problems, and other physical symptoms.  My patients have struggled with so many things in recovery, but over thinking things is probably at the top.  Processing events is part of recovery, but harping on things isn’t helpful.

Evaluate

Whenever something happens, we have an obligation to think about it, evaluate it and learn from it, even if it was traumatic.  Trauma changes who we become, but it can be turned into something good.  Sharing what you learn with others can help others heal, but can also help you heal.  I have worked with colleagues that when on to help others, after recovering from their trauma.  Make no mistake, people who are still struggling can’t help others, but those that come through it are stronger.

Recovering from trauma, no matter what the event, is difficult.  Although, people manage trauma differently, recovery is the goal.  Take the time to recover.  Get help if you need it.  Find safety again, with people who can help.  Reach out for support, and you can become a new person, with new spirit and new strength.  No matter what, you can be happy again.  Don’t give up.  You can still be happy for life.