When trauma strikes, some individuals are able to respond with flexibility; even creativity, where as for others, trauma makes a profound mark on the way they feel about themselves and their lives. Often, when there is an accident, there is likely to be a physical impact such as an injury whereas like depression, the injury caused by many traumas, cannot be seen but still cause immense pain.
We often see, on the TV, in the papers and magazines, the things people experience that we would consider traumatic, though we generally can’t imagine that it would ever happen to us. Then, suddenly, when even the little things can seem to overwhelm us and we feel as though we are losing control – our bubble of safety can burst – all our beliefs about ourselves and the world seem to no longer make any sense – we are in the grip of trauma!
What is trauma?
Life is full of both positive and negative experiences and through childhood and the support we are able to access, we establish a way that works for us, to get through the rough times and enjoy the smooth. It is when a person’s ‘normal’ ability to cope is completely overwhelmed by a terrible event such as a relationship breakdown, bereavement, accident, assault or disaster, that what they have experienced; is considered traumatic.
You will notice of the examples I gave, that not all of them are outside the typical human experience – it is not the experience that dictates the trauma, but the response of feeling an intense sense of helplessness and horror. Two people who have recently experienced a relationship breakdown or a job loss can experience these in drastically different ways depending on their personality, situation, previous exposure and experiences and degree perceived control.
How can Therapy Help?
Finding yourself a therapist that you feel comfortable with will allow you to process what it is that you experienced. Whatever you have experienced, it is likely that others have experienced it too but; not the same way you have. Because your experience is individual to you, it’s not uncommon if you were to feel isolated and struggle to relate to your friends and family about your trauma. You may feel as though your symptoms sound a little crazy though with your therapist, they definitely should not seem crazy, and they should be able to help you make sense to what’s happening for you. You may feel as though your experience doesn’t warrant your reaction and you may be giving yourself a hard time – this will mean that you aren’t allowing yourself to process the emotional experience of your trauma and your therapist will be able to guide you through this vital stage of recovery.
You may feel as though everything in your life has been tarnished by your experience and that you will never get back to how you once were – your therapist will be able to help you identify the positives you have, which are valuable in your journey and they're necessary to acknowledge for you to regain your control.