Mental Health: How to Get Past a Traumatic Experience

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Mental health is far more than the presence or absence of a mental disorder. It involves your response to the world around you: how you act, engage in relationships with others, cope with difficulties, make decisions, and so on. Practically, it’s all about yourself, and that’s why it’s paramount to pay attention to your mental well-being.

But when a traumatic event has simply disturbed your lifestyle, it’s challenging to draw attention to your psychological health. Trauma can be unpredictable, and it can inconceivably affect your sanity. No matter the type (prolonged, developmental, complex, or intergenerational), the way trauma feels is overwhelmingly heartbreaking. You may be feeling lost and think that you no longer belong to your current place.

But even if the world around you seems to fall apart, one thing you need to know: you’re not alone in this fight. Dealing with a traumatic experience is, without any doubt, challenging but not impossible. The first step towards healing is acceptance: be aware of your feelings, don’t push them away. Then, you need to accept help, no matter in what form.

In light of this, here’s what you can do to overcome a traumatic experience and get your life back on track:

Identify it

If you’re a trauma survivor, one of the most important things to do is identify it. After going through such an unfortunate event, you may be confused, scared, and angry. Your feelings may not be clear, but they’re there – you have anxious thoughts that overwhelm you and keep you away from your loved ones.

Sometimes, trauma feels like it happened just yesterday; in other cases, it’s a feeling so deeply rooted in the depths of your being that it seems impossible to know what it’s all about. Childhood trauma, for example, can be felt years after the painful experience.

Back then, you could not even perceive what happened due to the high adrenaline level in your body, but your subconscious remembers. In this regard, you may develop a defence mechanism, which, in Freud’s terms, it’s called repression – you try to hide your feelings, but at some point, they will take over you, and that’s how the trauma is triggered.

In other instances, psychological trauma is caused by the death of a loved one, parental abandonment, car accidents, physical or sexual abuse, hospitalisation, natural disasters, etc. For example, trauma symptoms after sexual assault include nightmares, flashbacks, tiredness, and body aches. If you’ve been the victim of social abuse, you may face unwanted memories that you want to be erased from your mind. However, pushing your emotions away is not a great help in such situations. Although it’s a delicate subject, talking about your experience and making a sexual abuse claim may support your recovery. Frightening thoughts may not just disappear, but getting compensation for your losses can help you feel a sense of justice.

Consider therapy

Therapy tends to be overlooked nowadays, but it has great benefits for healing from trauma. Opening up to a loved one and sharing your thoughts may help you get over it, but if it is not a solution, it’s time to seek professional help. Talking with a specialist can help you overcome trauma, receive proper treatment, and get your life back on track.

Only a professional can identify the actual cause of your emotional trauma and its triggers. Whether we’re talking about short or long-term effects, the stress that comes with a traumatic experience is overwhelming, affecting your everyday life.

From negligence of things that matter to social isolation, severe mental pain is life-changing. Consider seeking the help of a medical expert because they can prescribe you proper treatment according to your current complications. And don’t think of taking medication on your own – meds can do both good and harm when taken improperly.

Cultivate a sense of belonging

Individuals dealing with trauma may find it difficult to integrate into society after being the victim of a distressing experience. So, if your defence mechanism is manifested through social isolation, don’t worry – it’s human. But this cannot last forever: at some point, you have to open up and get back to your routine. People around you can help more than you think. Social support is crucial in such situations, especially when you feel lonely and misunderstood. Losing your sense of belonging is one of the most common trauma symptoms, and do you know the best way to fight it? – by creating healthy connections and engaging in relationships that help you get back to your purpose.

Human power is greater than you can imagine – the moment when you realise that we’re only healthier together, you’ll be able to open up to people and get past your trauma.

Engage in physical activity

Not only will exercise improve your mobility but also your mental health. Studies show that exercise helps with stress, anxiety, and even depression, as it boosts your brain’s production of endorphins. Endorphins are also known to give a sense of well-being and are often associated with a “feel-good” sensation. Also, exercising allows you to turn your focus on your body rather than your mind, which is nothing but helpful in situations of extreme stress. Better you concentrate on the rhythm of your movements than on intrusive thoughts.

Practice self-care

Self-care is equal to self-love, and you do need a lot of self-love to cope with your trauma. Sometimes, you may have feelings of guilt, profound sadness, or helplessness and tend to neglect personal hygiene. Everything from taking a relaxing bath, sitting in the sunlight, following a healthy diet, having a cup of tea, and reading a good book is part of self-care. It’s understandable that you want to spend your day in bed doing nothing, but this will only worsen your anguish. Engage instead in some exciting activities, like painting or drawing, take a walk, go shopping, buy yourself a present, and live your life.

Final thoughts

Dealing with trauma is challenging, but we remind you one thing: don’t give up. There are solutions and people who would be happy to help you get over it.

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