Looking For Ways To Cope With Trauma
When we experience trauma, our brain holds photographs that seem to be filed away until something triggers a flashback.
Although time has passed, people may think we are healed or have had enough time to get over it. However, time does not heal all wounds. It’s what we choose to do with that time.
Trauma is like a bad nightmare. Once we awake from panic, we try and talk ourselves through it. We know what we experienced was real, but it is now a memory. Being able to discern the two when panic sets in can affect our heart rate, blood pressure and mental outlook on life.
It’s important to be able to discern an enjoyment versus an escape. For me, I chose to escape my experiences by suppressing my emotions and using alcohol to numb the pain, to ease the anxiety, to fill the loneliness, and to battle the depression. I began to self-medicate. I had to experience the bad in order to learn how to cope in healthy ways.
As I reflect on each phase of my journey, these are the most profound techniques that helped me when I was feeling stuck:
1. Allowing myself to feel the bad. Suppressing our emotions does more damage to us than we even realize. Some memories are like toxins. We have to cleanse our mind and body to get to a healthier place.
2. Reaching out for help. Our success in life is achieving it through others. We cannot do it alone. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the help of others. It’s important to surround ourselves with people who can provide us with honest/constructive advice. More importantly, people who can help us be the best we can be. If we stay in a black hole, we’ll only get deeper. It’s like quicksand, unless someone throws us a rope, we can’t make it out alone.
3. The power of the individual. Learning how to focus on something that brings us peace. It’s like learning how to ride a bike, learning how to hold your breath longer under water, or learning how to balance yourself. It all comes down to training our minds. Biofeedback is a therapy technique used to help harness the power of the mind in order to gain more control over our health.
4. Journaling can help us be honest. We can write things down that we wouldn’t share with another human being. It can help track what triggers us. Sometimes times triggers can be a smell, a noise, or a visual. Writing it down can also help us get to the root of our trauma.
Coping with trauma is not a one size fits all. What works for one person, may not work for another. Finding the right techniques is a trial and error process. It all depends on what works for you. I’d like to leave you with a quote by the great Dalai Lama,