Healing from trauma is one of the toughest things you will ever do. As a Counsellor, I help women who have experienced all kinds of trauma in their progression to healing. And you know what? No two people are the same, our experiences are just as unique as we are.
The aftermath of a distressing event can be much more destructive than the event itself, and these experiences can take a toll on you mentally, physically, and emotionally. As with anything related to trauma, it’s complicated.
Rest and self-care
If there is one main thing I would like you to take away from this article, it is simply to be gentle with yourself. Trauma self-care is how we build ourselves back up again, and can’t be rushed.
The journey to healing and recovering from an event is not a linear, straightforward process, so take time to acknowledge that you have been through a lot, and give yourself extra love and care right now.
Listen to your body and let it tell you what it needs. Rest is something that a lot of trauma survivors struggle with, so remind yourself that you deserve to feel well-rested, nourished, and secure. Give yourself permission; it’s okay.
Just achieving these moments of self-kindness is important right now.
Calm a busy mind
When something has traumatised you, your mind will try to make sense of what has happened by reliving it again and again in your head. It can be hard heal from trauma, let alone get anything done with so many unproductive thoughts whirling around your head and live in the ‘real world’ again.
If it is still taking up too much real estate in your brain, start practicing calm breathing techniques, like meditation. If you haven’t tried meditation before, or have tried and “failed”, I will let you in on a secret… there is no wrong way! Meditation simply lets us practice sitting with our thoughts, instead of our thoughts taking our brain on a mental ride.
Try easing yourself in with a guided meditation, I love the app Insight Timer because there is a huge library to choose from.
The below excerpt from Sarah Wilson is a great reminder that even the Dali Lama doesn’t believe in the idea of a “perfect” meditation –
“And so it came to pass that I sit down with arguably the world’s most influential spiritual leader, he kisses my hand and tosses his thongs, and I ask, “How do I get my mind to shut up?”
To which His Holiness giggles and blows his nose on three paper serviettes, which he then shoves down the front of his robe, just like my Year 4 teacher, Mrs Makepeace (deadly serious!), used to do.
“There’s no use,” he says finally. “Silly! Impossible to achieve! If you can do it, great. If not, waste of time.”
“But surely you’re able to do it?”
“If I sit for a year on a mountain, then maybe I can do it. But no guarantee. Anyway, I don’t have time.”
He’s committed his life to help other people, the “practice of altruism”, he says. He has better things to do. So, not to put too fine a point on it… THE DALIA LAMA CAN’T TURN OFF THE CHATTER IN HIS HEAD EITHER!!!”
Another helpful step in healing is to accept what has happened to you. This can feel like a real struggle, but please know that there is a difference between accepting that an event has occurred, as opposed to approving of it. It doesn’t make the pain go away, and it doesn’t mean that it was okay, we are merely noting it as something that occurred in your life; that’s it.
You are just deciding not to feel this way anymore, and accepting that the pain isn’t going to feel the same as it was yesterday.
Healing can sometimes feel like a “two steps forward, one step back” process – that’s totally normal. It will be worth it when you give yourself the beautiful reward of not letting what you have been through, define you.
When the time is right you can look forward to connecting with people that you trust, and envision a lighter, brighter future on the horizon.
Healing really is so personal, and I encourage you to feel all of those heavy feelings, treat yourself with warmth and compassion, and seek the help of a professional to have someone else on your side with you.
Need someone to talk to about your own experience with trauma and healing?
I am here for you.
Get in touch HERE.