As someone who has suffered trauma, I know there is absolutely no formula for truly recovering. It has taken me years, and I still have some serious anxiety and depression. I have had this topic on my ‘blog post ideas’ list for awhile; however, in light of the Las Vegas shootings, it has been bumped up to top priority. I want to come out about some simple ways to help you move forward after experiencing trauma. Please keep in mind that I am NOT a professional in the mental health industry, merely someone who has experienced a massive trauma and want to share what I have learned.
- Accept The Trauma: Whether you were a witness, a victim, or someone who was just truly affected by a traumatic event, even if you just heard about it, you need to accept that you have suffered from trauma. One of the easiest things to do is to tell yourself that ‘other people go through worse’ or that someone else was closer to the incident and you shouldn’t be feeling anxiety or stress because of it. THIS IS FALSE. It is OK to be traumatized by and event, even if your connection to the event was that you saw it on the news or read it in an article.
- Find Someone To Talk To: I am serious. It could be a parent, friend, significant other, therapist, or a someone on a hotline that you call. You need to express that you feel trauma over the event. If it is causing serious anxiety or depression GET TO A DOCTOR. They are professionals and can help you. You CANNOT be ashamed of expressing the trauma you experienced. Absolutely nothing good can come from keeping anxiety and depression bottled up. If you don’t think you ‘deserve’ to see a doctor because of some crazy reason, go back to step one.
- Tap Into Your Support System: This is different than talking to someone, though there may be some overlap. Your support system could be friends or family, maybe even a pet! You don’t have to spill your heart to every one, but maybe get lunch with some people, or invite them over for a movie night or to watch a sports game. Just being among people you love can at least lessen the anxiety for a little bit.
- Take the Break You Need, but Keep Moving: You may find that it is serious enough to take a sick day from work, or take a small break from other activities. This is OK. Don’t guilt yourself over it. But you need to keep moving, no matter how small the movement is. Take your dog for a walk, do some yoga (I tend to use YouTube!), or take a shower. If you are feeling the need for a break, then it is definitely time to see a doctor.
- Find Resources: Some of my favorite ‘resources’ are fiction books where characters suffer from mental illness or a memoir of someone who lived with mental illness. Seriously. I learn so much more from those than self help books because they are PEOPLE dealing with similar issues. Also, hopping onto blogs or forums or groups in social media to find support. Whatever you can get your hands on that you think might help.
The biggest thing to remember is that trauma can come from anything. Did you witness a car accident or someone having a heart attack? Did you see videos of the recent mass shootings and have it trigger some anxiety deep inside you? Maybe you were a victim of an accident or attempted robbery. Whatever happened, whether you lived it, witnessed it, or saw it through a screen, can cause a stress response. Please remember to take care of yourself!
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