Signs You Are Healing From Trauma
Trauma is a result of a distressing event happening to us at some point in our lives. Whether it’s a natural disaster or an accident, it leaves its mark on us.
Trauma affects every aspect of life, including relationships, health, and even spirituality.
Trauma is defined as a psychological injury caused by a traumatic event. The term was coined by Sigmund Freud in his book, “Beyond the Pleasure Principle”.
He described trauma as a response to a frightening experience that causes a person to withdraw emotionally.
Trauma is a universal human experience. In fact, most people have experienced some level of trauma at some point in their lives.
Many people don’t realize they are suffering from trauma-related psychological issues or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
But how do you know what caused the trauma? And how are you healing from it? It can be tricky to know and leaves many of us unaware of the impact trauma has had on our days.
And that’s where we come in. We are here with some of the common signs that you are healing from trauma, as well as symptoms and causes of trauma to help you identify it in your life. Just keep reading to find out more.
It’s worth noting that this article should be treated as a guide only. If you are concerned about trauma, PTSD, or any topic covered today, be sure to seek professional help.
Causes Of Trauma Or PTSD
The following list outlines some of the causes of psychological traumas and PTSD:
- Natural disasters such as hurricanes/earthquakes/flooding
- Sexual assault
- Physical abuse
- Physical or mental illness
- Childhood abuse and neglect
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Experiencing violence-related situations
- Witnessing violent crime/abuse
- Accidents such as car crashes
- Death of a loved one
- Having a loved one suffer from physical or mental illness
- Stressful circumstances before exposure to a trauma
These are only a few examples of psychological traumas, there are many different causes of trauma and PTSD, and some are less easy to spot and more misunderstood than others (such as in the case of emotional abuse, where an individual may not realize that they are experiencing psychological trauma).
If you think you may be suffering from trauma or PTSD, read through the symptoms below.
Here are some symptoms of trauma to watch out for:
Symptoms Of Psychological Trauma
- You tend to keep things inside – Instead of talking about your distressing thoughts and emotions, It may be easier for you to avoid them or not speak about them with others.
- You can’t concentrate well – You may struggle to stay focused, recall information, or keep your attention on things.
- You feel jumpy – Sudden actions and noises might make you jump or feel on edge.
- You often feel sad, depressed, or anxious – You may have feelings of worthlessness, not enjoy activities you used to, become socially withdrawn, or feel anxious frequently.
- You suffer flashbacks frequently – When you remember traumatic events, you find yourself reliving those painful memories over and over again.
- You don’t sleep well – Insomnia is common after a traumatic event.
- You become irritable or aggressive – People who’ve been through trauma often feel angry and don’t know how to process their emotions. You may begin acting out verbally, physically, or both to vent. But yelling or fighting won’t solve your problems. Instead, it will only make matters worse.
What Is The Difference Between Trauma And PTSD?
One thing to note about trauma is that it could take months, years, or even decades to recover fully from the effects of trauma.
However, if someone has experienced repeated or multiple traumas throughout their lifetime, these experiences can cause long-term damage to their brain.
This is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD). For example, PTSD can arise when someone has been exposed repeatedly to a violent situation or witnessed a murder (which is called “complex” PTSD).
These events have left the sufferer with overwhelming fear, guilt, sadness, and anger which can also lead to depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and other disorders.
Seeing a doctor or mental health professional will help you to determine if you are suffering from trauma or more serious PTSD.
When To Seek Help
If you suspect you are suffering from psychological trauma, talk to a doctor or therapist to discuss appropriate treatment options.
But don’t wait until you’re too far into a problem to seek professional help. Start with your GP – he/she should know the best ways to evaluate your condition.
People who suffer from PTSD often deny their condition, which makes getting proper care tough. However, if you suspect you might be having difficulties due to past experiences, it’s important to seek help before things get worse.
Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, or less courageous than others. You may be offered talking therapies and medication to help treat your condition.
Work with your doctor or therapist to come up with a treatment plan that suits your individual needs and preferences.
You can also apply some self-help techniques to your life – such as practicing self-care and mindfulness. A technique that many trauma sufferers find helpful is to keep a journal.
Journaling is useful not only to record the details of your traumatic events and progress throughout therapy but also by allowing you to express your innermost thoughts and emotions on paper without judgment so that you can release them.
Writing about difficult memories may seem like difficult work, but permitting yourself to write down those unwanted thoughts can help you heal emotionally.
So, how do you know that you are healing from trauma? Read on to find out about the differences you’ll see in yourself as you move on from the damage caused by psychological trauma.
Signs You Are Healing From Trauma
Trauma is a painful psychological wound that takes time, effort, and support to heal. Here are some of the signs that you are well on your way to recovering from trauma:
- You look forward to going back to work or doing certain activities.
- You feel happier and less depressed or anxious.
- You can get along with other people better.
- Your self-esteem has increased.
- You no longer crave drugs and alcohol or anything you used to numb your trauma.
- You smile more easily and enjoy what life has to offer.
- You are more patient and loving towards yourself and those around you.
- You have accepted your trauma and come to terms with it.
- You don’t experience any or as many symptoms such as flashbacks, nervousness, or irritability.
- You are more self-aware and know how to overcome bad mental health days.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Trauma Or PTSD?
Trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder isn’t something anyone wants, but if you have it it can lead to serious mental health issues. The good news is that you can recover from these types of trauma.
However, recovery takes time and a lot of patience. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, it could take several months to years.
The average time required to overcome trauma depends on the severity or length of the event, as well as the quality of treatment.
Having trauma or PTSD won’t stop you from living a happy and fulfilling life. Traumatic events happen to most people at some point in their life.
Although there’s often nothing we can do to prevent traumatic occurrences, having tools to manage the psychological injuries caused by trauma will help sufferers on their road to healing.
Don’t let past trauma control you, and be kind to yourself throughout your recovery. Take note of the words and support you would give to a friend or family member in a similar situation.
Practice positive self-talk, engage in various treatment opportunities and help yourself to get better as best you can.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT (license:115130)
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: December 2, 2022