Self Help for Trauma
by Laura Russell Ph.D., MFT
A trauma is a sudden, abrupt and dangerous experience. Most studies
show that if a person thought they or someone else were going to die
during the traumatic event, that person will have symptoms of
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
Examples of traumas are: Rape or attempted rape, violent crime,
earthquake, fire, political torture, airplane crash, manmade disaster,
accidents, explosions, child abuse, care taking role in trauma, gang
violence, natural disaster, war, witnessing a trauma.
The single most important fact for you to know about traumatic
experiences is that the symptoms are completely NORMAL. These symptoms
__Repeatedly remembering the event.
__Dreaming about the trauma.
__Loosing interest in your life.
__Feeling separated from others.
__Not experiencing many feelings.
__Being on alert all the time.
__Trouble remembering things.
__Beginning to avoid your life.
__Reacting to things that resemble your trauma.
__Feeling sad about what happened.
__Finding the need to talk and talk about the trauma.
__Troubles with intimacy.
__Troubles with relationships.
__Feeling like you cannot control yourself.
__Developing an eating disorder.
__Developing a drinking disorder.
__Developing a chemical abuse disorder.
You can use this information to give yourself support to help you make
healthy choices and nurture yourself with self-talk.
For example, knowing that people who have had a traumatic event are at
risk of developing a drinking disorder can help you choose another way
to comfort yourself. It can also show you that you need help with your
drinking and lead you to
Lets say you are having trouble sleeping with nightmares about your
trauma that wake you up. Instead of pouring yourself a drink or two or
six at night, you tell yourself that these nightmares are normal. Okay,
not a symptom that something is wrong with you.
Then, when you awake, you might journal to comfort yourself, or take a
bath, listen to some calming music or read a book.
What happens to people that makes their experience much worse is that
they awake in a nightmare, and begin negative self-talk about it. They
judge their experience to mean something is really wrong with them and
in their life. So you end up with the nightmare, the fear that you are
going crazy, and a drinking problem.
Knowing that your nightmares are normal for someone with your life
experiences can help you avoid harming yourself any further. Then you
can take care of yourself like you would a good friend.
Compliments of Laura Russell, Ph.D., MFT
Therapist about PTSD Archives
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