Trauma brings with it a variety of symptoms, and a Thriveworks therapist can help you to identify the symptoms in your life and work with you eliminate these negative effects. Among the common symptoms of trauma are physical changes such as headaches, stomach problems, and shortness of breath, a change in activity levels or sensitivity to bright light or loud noises. Being present in large crowds or an unfamiliar place causing a feeling of always being on the alert can also be the result of trauma in your life. Some people find it difficult or impossible to relax, often saying it even hurts to do so. These symptoms often lead to sleep difficulties including inability to fall or stay asleep, kicking, night sweats, nightmares, frequent waking often as though being startled awake. Similarly, psychological symptoms may involve mood swings, memory problems, emotional pain, substance abuse or addiction (self-medicating), a noticeable change in personal hygiene or housekeeping behavior, taking exceptional risks, isolating, wondering “what’s the point”, flashbacks, aggression, self-mutilation or suicidal thoughts.
The most important thing is to identify these symptoms as they arise – don’t feel guilt or shame about them. If you or someone you know is experiencing the effects of trauma, be proactive! Some of these ideas can help:
- Get moving! Remember, trauma freezes us in a state of arousal and fear, so exercises like walking, running, swimming or even dancing work well to stave off that fear. If 30 minutes at a time isn’t possible, try three 10 minute sessions daily and really get in touch with your body.
- Connect with others. Isolation, while tempting, is not helpful to recovery. Get out and connect with people through social events, volunteering or even joining a support group. Connecting doesn’t mean you have to discuss your trauma – in fact, sometime stalking about the trauma can make things worse, much like peeling a scab off an injury prevents healing.
- Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Many people have found yoga, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercises to be very helpful.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, rest, and avoid using alcohol or other substances as these may make things worse.
Know when to seek help
Healing from trauma improves our ability to move through future threatening situations with greater ease and can create a natural resilience to stress. We have the power to change the course of our responses, to be proactive rather than merely continuing to react to and be victimized by them. With proper interventions, you have the hope to recover.
While everyone heals at their own rate, not everyone can heal on their own. If your symptoms interfere with your normal daily functions, or if your relationships are being negatively impacted, it’s time to reach out to a professional, and we at Thriveworks Charlottesville are here to provide you the professional help you need, right away. We operate with a “no waiting list” policy. Call us today and see a counselor within 24 hours, and sometime seven the same day! We’re excited to help you on your road to recovery!
Call today at 434-812-4009! We’re ready to start when you are.