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The word trauma can be misunderstood. It is easy for us to minimize our past and talk ourselves into believing that it wasn’t that bad. We sometimes will compare our past to someone else and come to the conclusion that we should just “get over it”. The issue with thinking this way is we leave unresolved trauma within us, and that trauma will continue to affect us and our relationships. Today we are going to talk about unresolved trauma and the affects it can have ongoing in our lives.

What is Trauma?

Trauma can come from one-time experiences that we had but also from an ongoing unhealthy situation. It doesn’t have to be something like witnessing a mass catastrophe to create trauma within us. The National Council for Mental Wellbeing defines trauma as “Trauma occurs when a person is overwhelmed by events or circumstances and responds with intense fear, horror, and helplessness. Extreme stress overwhelms the person’s capacity to cope.”. Below are some examples of things that can cause trauma. Have you experienced any of these within your life? Have you pursued help overcoming that?

  • Neglect of basic needs
  • Abuse by phycological, physical, emotional or sexual actions
  • School violence or severe bullying
  • Major accidents
  • Serious health, illness or diagnosis
  • Death of a loved one
  • Military deployment and/or experiences
  • Repeated abuse in relationships

While this list is limited, it does include situations that many of us can relate to. Recognizing that there may be something in your past that you need help to resolve can be hard or confusing. Know that you are not alone. There is help.

Symptoms of Trauma.

Unresolved trauma will continue to play out within your life and relationships if left alone. It can be hard to take steps in remembering your past and talking that out with someone. Finding the courage to face your past and seeking help is possible. Often times, we don’t know that what we are doing is a sign of unresolved trauma. If behaviors within us have always been present, we can come to believe that we are just that way. Below, there is a list of symptoms that could present themselves if there is past trauma.

  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depression or feelings of being alone
  • Hopelessness
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harming
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Trust issues or having a guard up all the time
  • Frequent irritability, anger or aggression
  • Intrusive thoughts or nightmares
  • Anxiety and/or panic attacks

Are these symptoms present in your life? Is it possible that you have experienced something in your past that still affects you? Below, we will talk about steps you can take to live in the present without the weight of past.

How do I Heal from Trauma?

Healing from trauma is not going to be the same for everyone. Some of us have experienced something that still affects us sometimes and has little to no effect on our day to day lives. Some of us have lived through multiple traumatic events that have shaped our mindsets or core beliefs. This will make the path to healing different. There simply isn’t one thing that fixes all people. We are complex and each of us have different needs. And that is ok. Committing to finding what will help you heal from your past is what is important for you, regardless of if that looks like what helped someone you know. Below are steps that you can take to begin to explore healing from trauma.

  • Relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga
  • Acknowledge the trauma and what happened
  • Connect with friends, don’t isolate
  • Talk to someone you trust, don’t avoid it
  • Exercise
  • Do not cope using alcohol or substances
  • Reconnect with your routine of life
  • Write out the pleasurable things in your life
  • Keep a gratitude journal of things you appreciate
  • Fit in the things you enjoy such as music, art, crafting, or sports
  • Get proper sleep
  • Seek professional help

We talked above that some trauma is easier to overcome than others. If you have experienced multiple types of trauma and lived with that in your life for a prolonged period, you may need to seek professional help. They are trained to help you understand your past as well as how it affects your life today.

Next Steps.

Upstate Restorative Counseling has counselors that are trained to help. We also offer Intensives, longer more focused sessions, to help you overcome and take your life back. Reach out today if you could use help in taking steps toward the life you desire.