A traumatic event, even if it was only a few minutes, can leave a lasting impact on your life for years. While you can’t go back and undo what has happened, you have the power to heal and live a life full of happiness. Here’s some advice to help you on your journey.
Understand the trauma
Painful memories can sometimes be buried deep in our minds, especially if we experienced them when we were young. If you know that such a memory or memories are impacting your mental health today, then it’s important to understand what happened, and look at it from a healthy perspective. Showing yourself patience and kindness is important- don’t blame yourself, and be aware of any negative self-talk.
Identify its impact
Once you understand the trauma, the next step is to identify how the event impacts your life today. Perhaps you may be experiencing Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (c-PTSD), Anxiety or Depression.
The impact of trauma can sometimes be difficult to recognise. Practicing mindfulness, breathing techniques or meditation can help you quieten your mind and be more aware of your emotions and where they come from.
You are not obligated to forgive anyone who has hurt you. But, you do need to forgive yourself. Guilt and shame often go hand-in-hand with trauma (especially abuse) and can prolong your suffering unnecessarily. It’s important to let go of any guilt and shame you may be holding, and forgive yourself.
A good exercise you can do to help with this is to close your eyes, and imagine that you’re speaking to yourself at the age you were when you experienced the trauma. If you imagine yourself as a child, then give that child a hug, tell them that they’re safe, they’re heard and they’re seen. You now have the power to give yourself the support you need.
Cope in healthy ways
You most likely won’t wake up one day and feel completely healed from trauma. However, through taking care of your body and mind regularly, the effects of the trauma can get smaller and smaller until you don’t even notice them anymore. That’s why the best thing you can do is to find healthy coping mechanisms (such as exercising, self-care, a hobby, getting enough sleep, etc.) and avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms (alcohol, drug use, self-harm, disordered eating, risky behaviours). Remember that the unhealthy ways you may have gotten used to may provide temporary relief, but they’ll end up hurting you more in the long run.
Healing from trauma can be difficult, so be proud of your progress and how far you’ve come. You deserve to live a healthy, happy life, and you have the strength to do so. Remember that you can message us privately on AskCellCgirl- it’s completely free, confidential and we’re here to help you get through any traumatic experience or other issue you may be struggling with.