Trauma occurs much more frequently than we realize. Too often trauma is associated only with returning veterans who have experienced difficult things during their service, but there are actually many factors, many of which go overlooked or unnoticed, that can affect the onset of trauma in our lives.
Trauma may be caused by involvement in any event we perceive as deeply disturbing. The following list, while far from exhaustive, covers experiences that are often common in our day-to-day lives, but can potentially be traumatic:
- On-going stress from such things as living in a violent or unsafe environment
- The responsibility of caring for someone with a chronic or life-threatening illness
- Being the victim of or witness to such events as accidents, injuries, or natural disasters
- Experiencing neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, domestic violence, bullying, or invasive medical procedures
- Watching intense events on the news such as the 9-11 attack or the Boston Marathon bombing
- The loss of anything important to us such as a job, a home, a limb, bodily functions, or a relationship through death, divorce or abandonment
If you’ve experienced any of these, the good news is that there is hope to process these events and to find a full and lasting recovery! At Thriveworks Roanoke Counseling we specialize in treating trauma, and our team of passionate and highly trained trauma therapists can come along side you and equip you with the tools you need to heal.
Grief and trauma are close friends.
We often grieve the losses that accompany a traumatic experience. Have you ever observed how an animal in the wild deals with trauma? After the initial “fight, flight, or freeze” response, they will literally shake it off physically and move on. Bears being tagged will come out of anesthesia shaking it off and still running. People, on the other hand, often become trapped in the “freeze” response and can sometimes remain there for a lifetime. This can lead to the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and can be a very serious mental health issue if left unattended. At Thriveworks Roanoke Trauma Counseling, our counselors specialize in the treatment of PTSD and can help you on your way to recovery.
Identifying the effects of trauma in your life is a key to your healing
Trauma brings with it a variety of symptoms, and a Thriveworks Roanoke 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 Roanoke Trauma Therapy 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 Thriveworks Roanoke Counseling today at 540-788-5090! We’re ready to start when you are.