Emotional and psychological trauma are the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust.
Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.
Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by:
- One-time events: An accident, injury, or a violent attack, especially if it was unexpected or happened in childhood.
- Ongoing, relentless stress: such as living in a crime-ridden neighborhood, battling a life-threatening illness, bullying, domestic violence, childhood neglect, a hostile work environment, constant financial stress, being in an abusive relationship.
- Commonly overlooked causes: Surgery, loss of someone close, a humiliating, deeply disappointing experience, especially if someone was deliberately cruel.
While traumatic events can happen to anyone, you’re more likely to be traumatized by an event if you already have a heavy stress load, have recently suffered a loss or losses, or have been traumatized before—especially in childhood. Childhood trauma can result from anything that disrupts a child’s sense of safety, including:
Experiencing trauma in childhood can result in severe and long-lasting effects. When childhood trauma is not resolved, a sense of fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood, setting the stage for further trauma. However, even if your trauma happened many years ago, speaking to a Counsellor can help to overcome the pain, learn to trust, connect with others, and find a sense of emotional balance.
We all react to trauma in different ways. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to think, feel, or respond, so don’t judge your own reactions or those of other people. Your responses are NORMAL reactions to ABNORMAL events.
Trauma symptoms typically last from a few days to a few months, gradually fading as you process the unsettling event. But even when you’re feeling better, you may be troubled from time to time by painful memories or emotions—especially in response to triggers such as an anniversary of the event or something that reminds you of the trauma. Whatever the cause of your trauma, and whether it happened years ago or yesterday, with the help of a caring Counsellor you can make healing changes and move on with your life.
Healing from trauma: As a trauma survivor it is important to learn to cope with loss. You may have lost your sense of safety in the world, trust in yourself or the people around you, you may be experiencing may levels of loss. The natural reaction to loss is grief, like people who have lost a loved one, trauma survivors need to go through a grieving process. A Trauma Counsellor will:
- Teach and encourage you to find new ways of coping
- Allow you to deal with trauma in your own way: Some people need to re-live the experience in order to move on while others would rather focus on the present.
- I encourage you to see yourself as a survivor rather than a victim
- Provide guidance and support through the grieving process so that you heal from trauma and move on with your life when you feel truly ready.
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding ~ Kalil Gibran