How to heal from trauma

How to Heal from Trauma

#6 in Overcoming Challenges Series

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Today, I want to introduce you to Andrea who writes about ‘How to Heal from Trauma.’ Her words come from her heart after her personal experience.

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This article is not intended, in any way, to represent medical advice. For medical advice, always contact your physician or call 911 for a medical emergency.

Healing energies

Andrea’s story

The most crucial step towards healing from trauma is to talk. It’s also the hardest part because you’re re-living the traumatic event again and again while you’re talking about it. 

For quite a while, I wasn’t able to talk about the traumatic event that happened to me. I was drugged by two men and taken to their hotel room. Talking about it means it’s real. And you don’t want it to be real. 

As a Life Coach, I know the importance of acknowledging what happened and how crucial it is for healing. It seems to be more comfortable to push it away, pretending it didn’t happen. But it will haunt you. In your dreams, via flashbacks, situations reminding you of the traumatic event, anxiety. It’s impossible to ignore trauma. 

Shortly after the event, your body and mind go into survival mode. You might not remember a lot of what happened at first. Maybe you even tell yourself, it wasn’t so bad. It’s okay for a while. Your body and mind need to be ready to face what happened. Just be careful, you’re not getting stuck in this phase, because it’ll eat you up from the inside. The long-term effects can come out decades later. If you can deal with it now by ignoring it, it doesn’t mean you’re over it. 

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Life goes on

Every trauma causes significant life changes. The world isn’t how it used to be. It seems hard to accept that the world around you carries on like nothing ever happened. You might ask yourself if you’ll ever be able to heal from it. From my own experience I can tell you, yes, it’s possible. 

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Trauma is a psychological injury. It’s not a mental health disorder. It can become one like depression, but the trauma itself can be healed like every other injury. ~Andrea

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9 Powerful Healing Steps


Baby Steps

The first step after a traumatic event is to acknowledge the emotions you’re going through and what happened. Don’t push it away, don’t tell yourself it didn’t happen, it was your fault, or it wasn’t so bad. It was.

Only if you acknowledge all the feelings you have to go through after the event, you have an excellent chance to heal. But this is up to you. It’s hard work, and you won’t be able to do it alone. But if you want to have a healthy life again and avoid developing long-term physical or mental disorders, this is the only way. 

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Give yourself time

But go at your own pace. Another significant part of healing from trauma is time. Give yourself time and don’t rush anything. Also, don’t let anyone rush you. There will be times when you think all is good now, but then the flashbacks are coming back, and you will feel like you have to start all over again. That’s not the case; it’s just a reminder that you have to work on it a bit more. 

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Talk to someone as soon as possible

No matter if it’s a good friend, family member, your partner, or someone completely foreign. You might be more comfortable to talk to someone entirely external, who doesn’t know you. You might not want your loved ones to be concerned about you, which is fine, of course, but believe me, they notice.

It helped me to talk with someone professional who knows what I have to go through and knows how to handle the situation. To hear that it’s perfectly normal how I reacted and someone who helps me recognize when I sink too deep into the events. 

Hope for healing

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Don’t withdraw yourself from social life

I didn’t want to see anyone in the beginning. I wasn’t able to trust anyone, and everywhere I went, I’ve seen potentially threatening situations. I had to feel secure again. Start with people and environments you feel comfortable with.

Try to avoid new circumstances you cannot foresee, but only in the beginning until you feel stronger again. Ask your best friend to come over to your house. But don’t avoid leaving the house for long, it will only feed your anxiety. 

Tell as many people as you’re ready in your close circle, so they can understand what you’re going through and be there for you. I was anxious about how people would react.

There’s still a stigma on rape, and lots of women feel ashamed. You might fight with yourself, if it could have been your fault, you are scared that people could judge you. I can assure you: they won’t. The opposite happened to me: Other women opened up and told me about their story. I wasn’t alone. And you’re not alone either. 

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Reading inspirations on a daily basis can be healing. Click here for seven to get you started.

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Get back control

It’s crucial to gain back control over your life. Don’t hand over your power to the trauma. You have it under control. Maybe not right now, but you will get it back. You need to remind yourself that it was only one encounter in your life, besides so many good experiences. I know, it seems to be impossible to see it like that at certain times. But it’s entirely up to you if you allow someone else to rule and destroy your life.

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“Remind yourself: I will be patient and love myself as I heal.” ~ Unknown

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Work on your self-esteem

Try to acknowledge your body again. I didn’t want to look pretty for a long time. You don’t do it for someone else, do it for yourself. You need to conquer back your body. You need to become one with it and accept and love yourself. Have a spa day at home. You might not want to get touched by a foreigner for a while; therefore, massages are not to recommend. Do as much good for yourself, as you can. 

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Try to see the positive changes

When I talk about the positive changes since the trauma, people can’t believe how I can see anything good in it. No, there’s nothing good in the incident itself, but it changed my life entirely. I stopped drinking and going out to bars.

Therefore my social network changed entirely from superficial drunks to meaningful and trustful friendships. I started to overthink my entire life, and because I didn’t feel able to apply for an everyday office job anymore, I had to think about alternatives, I had to find my purpose.

One year later, I’ve set up my online business and will move to my heart country. This time with work, I’m passionate about and in the country I love. I’m an entirely different person living a different life now. And I like it! 

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You may also want to read this article, New Research Finds a Technique to Manipulate how We Process Trauma.

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Be patient

You might think you will never be able to get over it. You will always remember what happened, and it might be forever a sharp point. But I can assure you; it will get better! Take your time and be patient. You will heal at your own pace. There’s no timeframe for recovering from a trauma. Every individual reacts differently, every trauma is different, and therefore every healing process is different.

Only because I was able to start the healing process pretty early, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you, if you need longer. When it happened to me, I was already 43 years old, settled, and as mentioned before, I’m a Life Coach, so I know a lot about trauma and how to deal with it.

It also depends on your personality, if you had pre-existing issues with depression or any other mental health conditions. Your social network also plays an important role. I also got help from my Life Coach I’ve been working with for years. As a bonus, she went through similar encounters, so she knew exactly how I feel and what is important to do.

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Help people around you how to react

Some people close to you might not respond to your story as you expect them to. The main reason why loved ones don’t react at all, or it seems like they don’t care is that they don’t know how to respond. 

After a while, I needed to tell my parents to understand my circumstances I was living in and why I made certain decisions. My dad made a joke. It seemed to be totally off, but I know him better. It was his way to cope with it. To tell him what happened to me was very hard for him. His little girl was raped. One of the worst things that can happen to a woman and your daughter. Don’t expect a great response.

You will need to help them with how you want them to treat the situation because they are insecure. Let them know, it’s okay to talk about it and ask questions. If there’s something you don’t want to say, tell them. You need to help the people around you to be able to help you. 

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“Recovery is a process. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes everything you’ve got.” ~Unknown

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Others like yourself

Some might not react at all because they went through similar trauma. Nearly every woman I’m talking to had comparable encounters. Yes, this is shocking! And no one is talking about it. I also found out that most of these women haven’t been working through that trauma and still suffer from it – some for more than 30 years! It showed me, even more, the importance of talking about what happened to me. There are so many women out there who had and have to go through the same. 

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Summary

There are many ways you can support the healing process besides talking about it. Make sure, you have good sleeping patterns. You need to have a good rest. Try Mindfulness and Meditation. It gives your mind a break from thinking about it. Physical exercise helps you to get your mind off the events and make you tired, which means good sleep.

In my case, my dogs have been of fantastic help by protecting me, being close to me, and showing me unconditional love, and they wanted to go out, so I needed to leave the house and exercise. 

If someone asks me how I was able to heal from trauma and feel joy and happiness again, my answer is pretty simple: Talk about it! Don’t bury it!

I can’t stress this enough. It’s hard but so worth it. You will never forget what happened to you, but you can live a happy life. And always remember: You’re not alone. 

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This article is not intended, in any way, to represent medical advice. For medical advice, always contact your physician or call 911 for a medical emergency.

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How to heal from trauma

About Andrea:

Andrea, 44 years old, https://damnitshard.com

Now co-active (CTI) Life Coach and Mental Health Blogger after a career as Software Sales Manager all over the world (Focus on women, Expat Coaching, Life Improvement)

Lived in seven countries, currently in Thailand with my two rescue dogs.
Passionate about helping street dogs, dogs in general.

Andrea has written other articles about healing from trauma. You can read them at the links below:
How Dogs Benefit Our Mental Health
How Trauma Changed My Life
How to Deal with PTSD after Sexual Assualt

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Other articles in the Overcoming Challenges Series

5 Tips for Loving and Supporting Your Spouse’s Mental Health
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Special Needs Kids Just Want Love
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How to Stay Positive While Co-Parenting
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Finding my Way from Misery to Success
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How do Miracles Happen? The Bone That Disappeared

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How to heal from trauma

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