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Healing from emotional and psychological trauma

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What is emotional and psychological trauma?

It is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, leaving you feeling helpless, numb, disconnected, unable to trust others, upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won't go away.
Any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can lead to trauma. It's your subjective emotional experience that determines whether an event is traumatic, not the objective circumstances.

Causes of emotional and psychological trauma

1.

One-time events (e.g. accident, injury, or violent attack)

2.

Ongoing, relentless stress (e.g. living in a crime-ridden neighbourhood, battling a life-threatening illness, or experiencing traumatic events that occur repeatedly)

3.

Commonly overlooked causes (e.g. surgery, sudden death of loved one, break-up of significant relationship, or a humiliating or deeply disappointing experience)

Emotional and psychological symptoms of trauma

There is no right or wrong reaction, your response are purely normal reactions to abnormal events.
Here are some emotional and psychological symptoms:
1. Shock, denial, disbelief
2. Confusion, difficulty concentrating
3. Anger, irritability, mood swings
4. Anxiety, fear
5. Guilt, shame, self-blame
6. Withdrawing from others
7. Sadness, hopelessness
8. Feeling disconnected or numb

Physical symptoms of trauma

1.

Insomnia or nightmares

2.

Fatigue

3.

Being startled easily

4.

Difficulty concentrating

5.

Racing heartbeat

6.

Edginess and agitation

7.

Aches and pain

8.

Muscle tension

Tips to recover from trauma

1.

Get in some exercise or movement for 30 min or more. Rhythmic exercise with a mindfulness element which engages the whole body works best.

2.

Don't isolate yourself, join social activities, reconnect with friends, volunteer. You don't have to talk about the trauma.

3.

Self-regulate your nervous system for greater sense of control

4.

Take care of your health, get lots of sleep, avoid substances, eat well-balanced diet, reduce stress

When to seek professional therapy for trauma

If you're:
1. Having trouble functioning at home or work
2. Suffering from severe fear, anxiety, and depression
3. Unable to form close, satisfying relationships
4. Experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, flashbacks
5. Consistently avoiding things that remind you of the trauma
6. Emotionally numb and disconnected from others

How to help a loved one deal with trauma

1.

Be patient and understanding

2.

Offer practical support

3.

Don't pressure your loved one into talking but be available if they want to talk

4.

Help your loved one to socialise and relax

5.

Don't take trauma symptoms personally

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