By Heather Wells, Mobile Crisis Outreach Supervisor
Trauma, in its many shapes and forms, is often caused by a single experience or series of events that leaves the survivor feeling anxious, depressed, shameful, or hypervigilant. The spectrum for what trauma looks like is as wide as it is long, but there are elements that tie all forms of trauma together.
First, and most importantly, no matter what the trauma looks like, it is valid and worthy of acknowledgement.
The next element is a bit more complex; there is no correct timeline for healing or a single approach to dealing with trauma. Often we find ourselves unable to face these painful experiences and subsequent symptoms. Perhaps it is too overwhelming or thinking about it leaves you exhausted, let alone speaking about it out loud. Unfortunately, the memory of these events collects interest, much like a high interest loan. After trauma, people are left feeling indebted and emotionally impoverished. At some point, trauma demands your attention, much like a debt collector.
This can manifest in many ways: depression, bouts of anger, anxiety, insomnia, perfectionism, and panic attacks to name a few of many. If you have experienced and notice these behaviors, please know you are not alone. The National Council for Behavioral Health estimates that 70% of US adults have experienced one or more traumatic events in their lifetimes.
Additionally, navigating the mental health world can be a struggle, especially when you are overwhelmed to begin with. Perhaps you are not ready to access mental health care– that is okay. Remember that recovery is not linear and there is no one correct path. Give yourself permission to feel no matter what emotion arises; be it anger, sadness, guilt or shame. Lastly, try to remember we are not our feelings; our feelings are fleeting, but we, the survivors, remain.
Self-care such as mindfulness, exercise, and spending time with loved ones are all great tools to maintain mental health. In times of crisis, Mobile Crisis Outreach is here for you. If you find yourself struggling with thoughts of suicide, self-harm, panic attacks, anxiety, depression or need assistance accessing mental health resources, please call us at 1-800-855-1239 and ask to speak to a Mobile Crisis Counselor.