Trauma can happen to anyone. Essentially, it is an event that causes a person to feel like their life is at risk or that they are severely threatened psychologically, emotionally, mentally, and/or physically. We all respond differently to trauma, and so our healing will need to be personalized to who you are.
Sometimes, a person may experience deep pain, confusion, fear, or even PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) for some time after the event is over. This is common, and does not mean the person is doing something wrong! They might need support from professional help to move towards healing.
What is a traumatic event?
Trauma is more common than most people think. What is traumatic for some may not be traumatic for others! There’s no way to predict whether an event will be traumatic, however some types of experiences, can be more likely to create trauma in your brain. Some examples include car accidents, injuries, assault, abuse, giving birth, violence, bullying, death of a loved one, seeing violence, war, severe weather or environmental events, experiencing prejudice or discrimination, and many others.
How can trauma impact a person?
A traumatic event or experience may not lead to PTSD, but it can still create aftereffects that impact a person’s ability to live. These aftereffects can last anywhere from a few days to many years after the event. The person’s response to trauma does not indicate strength, weakness, coping abilities, mental health issues, or anything about the person’s history of trauma.
When a person experiences trauma, they may also experience shame, rage, or fear. These emotions may be especially present after an event during which a person was victimized, such as domestic violence, discrimination, or bullying. A person who has been traumatized may develop physical effects as well, such as: trouble sleeping, digestive upset, aversion to intimacy, and other issues that affect physical functions. When a child experiences trauma, it may impact their development and must be addressed as quickly as possible. Both children and adults may develop depression, anxiety, social anxiety, chronic pain, or panic disorders.
A person may also experience secondhand trauma. This occurs when someone witnesses someone else experience a traumatic event, or hears about or is exposed to another person’s traumatic event. Even though the person does not experience the trauma themselves, they can develop substantial emotional troubles. Both primary and seconhand trauma can be treated with a professional’s help!
Coping and Recovery
Most individuals are able to recover from negative consequences of trauma with time and support. Sometimes, it comes down to time, patience, and self-care. Psychotherapy is highly effective in treating both PTSD and other psychological issues related to trauma. At Bloom & Thrive, we utilize EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) which was specifically developed to treat trauma and PTSD.
If you are struggling with trauma, find a positive support network! People who have a healthy network of people to reach out to in times of need and an environment that not actively create stress, fear, or guilt are likely to feel relief from trauma symptoms sooner and less likely to re-experience trauma and related symptoms in the future.