Dealing with emotional trauma: developing healthy coping mechanisms and finding ways to overcome the hurt

Trauma occurs when you experience something that is highly stressful, frightening or overwhelming. The distress this event brings is difficult to keep under control and just as challenging to cope with, meaning that emotions tend to be chaotic and almost impossible to make sense of. Trauma can occur as both the result of a single incident as well as due to the re-occurrence of an ongoing incident that happens over a more extended period of time. The initial emotional reactions to trauma are confusion, deep sadness, agitation, anxiety, numbness, dissociation or agitation. Victims can alternate between them, and they can vary in intensity. 

Apart from that, there are also the delayed responses that will generally manifest as persistent fatigue, sleep disorders including nightmares, intense intrusive thoughts and recollections that are likely to be quite distressing, flashbacks, depression and an avoidance of all activities or sensations associated with the trauma. Trauma itself occurs because of the way in which the human brain is wired to remember things that could be beneficial for your survival so that you can remain safe in the future. However, trauma can become distressing, and its manifestations can have a negative impact on you, even reducing your quality of life. 

Luckily, there are ways to manage the trauma and overcome it.

Acknowledging the trauma 

Healing begins when you’re ready to accept that something terrible happened since that’s the only way to find solutions to your problems and discover the strength to move forward. When it comes to trauma, most people are unwilling to discuss how much it has affected them since they believe that admitting to their victimhood would automatically mean that they’re weak and can’t look after themselves. However, all traumatic events should be addressed openly and without any guilt; otherwise, healing becomes an impossibility. This includes all types of awful events, including abuse, neglect, and becoming the victim of an identity theft crime, for which you should get Data Breach Compensation, bullying, loss, accidents, terrorism, natural disasters, and even witnessing violence and being unable to do anything about it.

All of these occurrences can be painful, and wanting to sweep them under the rug is a natural thing that many people are prone to. Whether the trauma you’re dealing with is recent or it occurred years ago, but you never addressed it adequately makes no difference; the tendency to bury unpleasant emotions is commonplace. Facing your trauma requires self-compassion, understanding, kindness and patience since it is a complex process that will naturally take time. You must give yourself permission to feel all of your emotions, regardless of how intense they might be, including anger, guilt, fear or shame. The goal is to experience them without succumbing to self-criticism. 

Social networking 

While you’re going through a difficult time, it’s crucial to have a solid emotional support system that can guide and assist you. This doesn’t mean you must be surrounded by people at all times. In fact, occasionally, you might even feel the need to be alone and spend some time in your own company. However, having the right support system will play an essential role in the healing process, as it allows you to rebuild your trust in others and get the emotional support you require. There’s no limit to the type of people that could provide you with the space you need to feel validated and heard, and they can include family members, friends, colleagues and partners. 

It’s quite frequent for those who have been traumatised to feel isolated and alone, feelings that can exacerbate self-loathing. When you’re surrounded by people who make you a priority, emotional healing gets a boost, and you’re much less likely to feel like you’re all on your own. However, you might also think that the people around you are unable to give you the support you want simply because they haven’t experienced the same things as you. Regardless of how much they’d like to empathise with you, the fact that they’ve never been through the same things can act like an insurmountable barrier for some. Luckily, there’s the option of support groups where you can connect with people who are navigating the same or similar trauma patterns, so you can share stories, advice and get a sense of belonging. 

Professional help 

When you’re dealing with emotional or mental health problems that seem to overwhelm you should look for help from a professional. Therapists are aware of the particulars of trauma-informed care, so they can provide you with advice and help you discover healthy coping mechanisms that tackle the issue directly so that it can be remedied instead of focusing on the avoidant practices which are common but unhealthy. For instance, you might be taught to learn more about relaxation exercises to ground yourself and avoid developing a panic attack anytime something potentially triggering happens. While this will likely take practice to master, you might still be able to diminish the impact of the panic attacks in the meantime, or at least reduce their duration. 

Connecting with nature, art therapy, mindfulness, journaling, focusing on recreational work, activities and hobbies and avoiding substance use and abuse can all help a great deal. The symptoms will likely be persistent, so you need to put in some effort in order to see results. This can also prove to be an obstacle, as your energy levels will likely feel completely drained, and you might wish for nothing more than to retreat and close yourself off from the world. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be a helpful instinct, as you need to tackle your trauma in order to move forward from it. 

Don’t rush into the process; take it step by step instead, and be proud of your victories, even the smallest ones. Remember that rushing is more likely to undo your progress than bring you closer to healing, so take all the time you need. There will be setbacks along the way, and at times, it might feel like you’re falling back on the old patterns, but that’s because healing isn’t a straight line, and there will be ups and downs. What you need to do is trust the process and have faith in yourself.

Also read: strange symptoms of stress.

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