How to Combat the Psychological Stress of Traumatic Experiences

Trauma comes in many forms, and while it would be wonderful to live in a world where everything is safe all the time, we know that isn’t reality. Instead of allowing ourselves to suffer more than we have to, it’s important to understand the effects of traumatic stress and what to do about it. These three experiences are major sources of psychological distress for millions of people. It’s time to end the stigma and talk about what hurts. You are not weak for needing help or having difficulty moving forward.

Car Accidents

Car accidents are so unexpected that many people do not experience emotional responses until hours or days afterward. Those who sustain serious or permanent injuries have to cope with the pain of recovery on top of the mental effects of being involved in the crash. According to Mahoney & Mahoney, car accidents not only cause catastrophic injuries but can also be the cause of emotional and psychological stress, which can negatively impact your life. There is an elevated risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a car accident. In order to move forward, it’s vital to return to your previous routine in small increments while working with a counselor. If you cannot afford therapy, talking to a friend or relative about your feelings can help you. Taking defensive driving courses can also provide a sense of empowerment and help you regain a feeling of control behind the wheel when you’re ready to drive again.

The Death of a Loved One

The stages of grief do not happen in any particular order, and some people find themselves stuck in the aftermath of trauma, unable to mourn and heal. Whether you lost a loved one unexpectedly or watched him or her suffer from a terminal illness, death is one of the most difficult experiences a person will ever have to cope with. It’s not uncommon to feel anger and stress after losing a loved one. Sometimes, latching onto painful or aggressive emotions is the only sense of control a person has when life as he or she knew it has been irrevocably changed. Give yourself time to feel whatever you have to. Some people need to be alone for a period in order to come to terms with the weight of their loss, and some individuals surround themselves with others and work through their grief together. According to Hospice of the Red River Valley, the most important thing you can do is learn about the warning signs of clinical depression, so you can differentiate between normal grief and something more serious.

Terrorism

The increase in violent attacks on the general public can leave many people paralyzed, and the fear to venture out is only magnified by those who live through a terror attack. After surviving a shooting or other horrific event, it’s common to experience survivor’s guilt. Wondering why you were the one who lived when so many others lost their lives can lead to depression. Instead of feeling blessed to have been fortunate enough to live, many people fall into a dark place that leaves them questioning life’s meaning. Surrounding yourself with positive support is critical. Being around those you love will help you maintain a firm grasp on reality and move forward while you process the events of the past. Working with a mental health counselor who offers trauma-informed therapy can also help you work through a wide range of emotions you’ll experience.

Birth

There are many reasons why someone may experience trauma after giving birth, such as labor and delivery complications; an unplanned C-section; feeling unheard and out of control during the birthing process; and delivering a child conceived through traumatic experiences, like sexual assault. Mothers are expected to adapt to anything, but they’re only human. Women who are struggling with anxiety, depression, and distress after having a baby need to reach out for support. If you do not feel comfortable opening up to family or friends, a therapist can help you navigate this period of your life and help you accept your feelings. Minimizing your pain is unnecessary, and you can still suffer from trauma and be a good parent.

The most important thing to remember is that you are not weak for experiencing trauma or struggling to overcome it. Admitting you need help and support is the first step toward releasing pain and building a brighter future.

If you’ve experienced a stressful situation, your energy may be out of whack. Schedule a Reiki session today to get your energy back to where it needs to be!

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