Recovering from emotional trauma

Every day we experience all kinds of emotions from sad, to happy, joy, sorrow, love and the list goes on. The unique gift of life means that we don’t experience the same thing each day. Even though our occupation and routine may stay the same, the uniqueness of life means that at anytime, something can come our way to try and throw us off course.  In turn this creates all different types of emotions. Once every now and then we may have an experience that completely takes us by surprise and changes not just our emotions for that day, it changes us for years to come.

What is emotional trauma?

Here it is as described in the Collins dictionary:

Trauma is a very severe shock or very upsetting experience, which may cause psychological damage.
sad woman

Emotional trauma can damage the mind after a severely distressing event. Often an overwhelming amount of stress will be bigger than one’s ability to cope, or process the emotions involved with that experience.

Incredibly stressful events can result in emotional trauma. These events can shatter our sense of self worth or just our sense of security. Being emotionally traumatised can make all of us feel helpless as we see the world from these events as a dangerous and traumatic place. The more frightened and helpless we feel as a result of the event, the more likely we are to be traumatised.

It is not all bad news though, our minds are amazing and can recover so that we go on to live healthy and happy lives. I want to share just one of my experiences with emotional trauma hoping that you or someone you know can also be free from the pain this type of trauma brings.

I have had many traumatic events in my life and most of my friends still wonder how I am even existing after such events. I however believe in a  higher power called God, which helps me. It is my faith in God and the strength I get from having this faith that makes me hold steadfast to the belief that even though we experience loss, pain and trauma, we can also experience joy, freedom and laughter.

My experience:

“That man has just passed away”…these words I will forever remember after being involved in a fatal car accident. These words changed my life forever. It lead me to experience not just emotional trauma, grief, pain, confusion, disappointment and loss; it also took me on a path of self discovery, one that I am still on today however it has truly changed me forever. There is no easy way to describe it, however I felt the full force of emotions that come with such a sudden and traumatic event. Not only did this one off event change the way I look at life, interpret my faith and value humanity; it also allowed me to grow up emotionally and spiritually. When you have no one else to rely on, no one else to say ‘I understand’, or ‘I have been through that as well’, then you learn very quickly to be strong on your own. That is exactly what I had to do, be strong emotionally, on my own, through the grief, the shock and then eventually my healing.

It has been quite a few years from that fatal day, however as mentioned it still shapes me now. Although I have recovered from the emotional trauma of being in a fatal car accident, it has redefined who I am. I not only love like I have never loved before, I appreciate life so much more. I am not afraid to be myself, to enjoy the little things in life and I continue to learn to not sweat the small stuff. My lived experience of emotional trauma may not be the same as yours or someone you know suffering, however I hope that it shows that life can improve. From the worst day of my life to the best day of my life, there has been many valleys. I have continued to look at life as interval training. By this I mean that sometimes you go hard and fast and are winning at life, other times you need to rest, recover and heal from an emotional injury or negative experience. I have known of people who have never recovered from an emotional trauma, and it grieves me as I know there is always a way of recovery. Even though the pain and sorrow seems to much to bear, there is always a new day to live for; a new day to heal, to laugh, to experience joy…. so I urge you…choose life.

My goal is to be an inspiration to those who feel that they have nothing further to live for. I have been to that very dark place where there is absolutely no vision through those dark stormy clouds and I along with  many others have still lived to see another day. It is possible; it is possible that the sun can shine again on your life. There have been and will be other traumatic experiences along the journey of life. Some of mine have been so severe that I can’t share it all in one post. I however intend to share more of these experiences over time and how I recovered in the hope that one day someone will find hope that pain can fade away and life can be great again.

How to move forward from emotional trauma:

Trauma does take time to heal from. There are many ways to heal. This can include seeing a doctor, therapist, taking prescribed medication from a health professional or taking time off and focusing on recovery in rest and relaxation. Here are a few things that have helped me and others I know heal:

  • have fun
  • laugh
  • dance
  • sing
  • rest
  • go on a holiday
  • talk to a friend
  • understand and research trauma
  • seek out a therapist
  • safe guard your mind by building up new memories in place of the old ones
  • enjoy the moment you are in
  • surround yourself with those that love you and believe in you
  • seek out a purpose for your life
  • find a passion you love and do a little bit of that each day

No 2 people are the same, so no 2 recovery tools will be the same for everyone. I encourage you however, that if you or someone you know is experiencing emotional trauma to seek out appropriate help. Don’t disregard it however face it, tackle it, and take action and appropriate steps to heal from it.

Sometimes there is no reason why bad things happen to good people, why the pure in heart find themselves amongst evil doers. We live in a fallen and broken world. There however is always light, even if it is just a glimpse of the sun. Choose to keep moving forward, choose to heal, choose to love even in your brokenness.  I know that I may never see the answers to my questions about this lived experience of mine and many others however, I will keep moving forward. I encourage you, if you are going through an emotional trauma then rest in the comfort that this too shall pass. Choose to be brave enough to walk the process of healing. Life will be grand on the other side and you will live to see another day.

man sitting on cliff rock

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