What to do when you experience Trauma

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During your lifetime you will experience some kind of trauma; some more than others. The definition of trauma is this: It is when your mind and emotions have been stressed beyond your capacity to handle an event that affects your life and safety or of someone close to you.

With recent hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and mass shootings occurring near us or someone we love, it can cause you to become overwhelmed with fear, sadness, despair, heartbreak, loneliness, the inability to sleep, anxiety, or depression. Some may even resort to drinking, the use of drugs, or even to contemplate suicide to deal with the pain. Hopefully you won’t consider either of these options.

I do have a few recommendations that may help you deal with your trauma in a way that allows you to move on with your life:

Experience it – That is, move through it and engage in the factors that allow you to touch the people connected to you and the adjustments that must follow. Give yourself time to cry, or take a ‘time out’ to clear your mind and take in the enormity of the event.

Admit it – The mind doesn’t want to believe it; the emotions don’t want to accept it; but psychologically you must own it to begin the healing process. There are times when you may feel so overwhelmed that you may need to see your doctor or counselor to help you grasp what just happened and what to do next.

Choose to deal with it – It is important to express all the emotions that you may feel concerning what has happened; numbness, fear, frustration, anger, revenge, lack of energy, helplessness, etc. You can’t isolate yourself or run away. An example of dealing with it could be just trying to make your day as normal as possible. Or, it could mean you allowing yourself to be consoled by others.

Share it – Some people are able to relieve their trauma by talking about it to or with others. Sharing it can mean ‘exhaling’ all the pain and confusion that may have built up inside. I usually recommend a ‘Survivors Group’ if you are the victim of a crime or you have lost loved ones to a tragedy.

Forgive it – There may be persons associated with the trauma that you need to forgive. Though it may be hard, it may be the first great step towards real healing. It was Deepak Chopra who said, “What we don’t recognize is that holding onto resentment is like holding your breath. You’ll soon start to suffocate.”

Anticipate your future – Someone said, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” Survey you life and decide which direction you will go now. You must move on, for life is not meant to be traveled backwards. Many of the people who lost homes and loved ones in Houston, or Mexico, or Puerto Rico have decided to REBUILD. They will not allow their lives to be determined by what they lost. There is truly nothing wrong to give thanks to God for what you yet have to work with and to ask for guidance.

Finally, when you can bounce back from trauma, it is proof that you have the kind of love that surpasses understanding. I believe its God’s love.


 Dr. Bruce