The goal of healing unresolved trauma is to be able to live in the present without being overwhelmed by the thoughts and feelings of the past. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with unsettled emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected or depressed.
It is normal after a traumatic experience to struggle for a time to get over the pain and feel safe again. But if these feelings don’t resolve or even get worse over time you are probably experiencing post-traumatic stress. In physiological terms post-traumatic stress is when the nervous system gets stuck and you remain in psychological shock unable to make sense of what happened or process your emotions.
When this happens, most people need help and support to be able to navigate healing.
Some general guidelines to start the process of healing include finding a therapist who specializes in trauma. Healing involves resolving the disturbing feelings and memories that often have been avoided. It involves getting help to discharge pent-up “fight-or-flight” energy. It also involves learning to regulate strong emotions and rebuild the ability to feel safe and trust again. Healing from trauma takes time and it is important to be patient with the pace of your own recovery.
Some general guidelines when navigating trauma include exercising daily. Trauma disrupts the body’s natural equilibrium and exercise can help repair the nervous system. Don’t isolate. Connecting to others will help you heal. Get plenty of sleep. A lack of quality sleep can exacerbate trauma symptoms. Avoid alcohol and drugs which can worsen trauma symptoms and increase the feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation. Eat a well-balanced diet which will keep your energy up. Do what you can to reduce stress. Try relaxation techniques such as yoga or deep breathing exercises.
Lastly, don’t give up. We are all born with an amazing capacity to survive and heal. Trust that with the right help you can return to a sense of balance and equilibrium and enjoy the freedom to move on with your life.