What is Trauma?
Trauma is the emotional distress that remains after a devastating event occurs in your life. Trauma can stem from one major event, or several events occurring over a span of time, resulting in complex trauma. Experiencing events such as the sudden loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or witnessing something that is emotionally disturbing can leave you feeling unsafe and affect your ability to function in everyday life. Trauma can also be a deep wound that you have carried with you for years from adverse childhood experiences. Memories from trauma can invade your mental space and make it hard to cope with the resulting emotions. The depth of trauma results from the level of negative feelings you hold about the event. These negative emotions can cause you to feel numb, anxious, and fearful. The good news is that we are here to help you cope and heal from your trauma. The following are steps you can begin now.
God formed us to be relational beings and He desires that we stay in close communion with Him and those around us. When you experience a traumatic event, you are not meant to face it alone. Attending support groups or reaching out to a trusted loved one can help you feel connected so that you are not alone in your experience. One of the first things many do is isolate themselves and shut down. This coping mechanism builds walls around your heart and prevents God from taking your broken pieces and making you whole again. To begin recovery, a good initial step is to invite God to help you heal your emotional scars. As Isaiah 41:10 NIV reminds us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Getting creative is another way to cope and heal from trauma. When you experience numbness or dissociation in your body due to your emotional distress, your body takes note. Art is a great way to help you feel safe in your own skin again and release the negative tension stored in your body. Painting, journaling, or writing poetry helps you express your emotions in a calming way. When trauma occurs, your mind can obsess over the event which may cause uncontrollable flashbacks. Spilling these emotions on paper helps the mind release the need to focus on the traumatic event and can provide you with some solace.
Prioritize your needs and focus on your recovery. This will look different for each person, but focusing on calming and soothing activities can create an outlet for your soul to release tension and feel comforted. Things to keep in mind are taking a hot bath, eating a comfort meal, watching your favorite movie, reading a good book, or listening to music. Exercise is also a great way to relieve stress. When you go through a traumatic event, your nervous system can remain trapped in a constant state of hyperarousal. Exercising burns off adrenaline and releases endorphins which will improve your mood.
Trauma never truly leaves us. It changes who you are and forces you to carry pieces of it throughout your life. The choice is how you carry what has happened to you. For many, you need so much more help than this blog can offer. Walking through trauma is a tough journey but you do not have to walk through the storm alone. At New Vision Counseling and Consulting, we have trauma trained therapists with a faith-based foundation who will guide you in your journey to healing and restoration. We will meet you with compassion and create a safe place for you to heal. The next step is to reach out by calling (405) 921-7776 or learn more about trauma counseling. We hope to hear from you soon!