When you’ve experienced trauma in your life, it can sometimes be hard to imagine how things can ever go on as normal. As it happens, if it’s you living with trauma, others will find it harder to imagine how you can cope than you yourself. You can’t escape the trauma of past years, but you don’t have to let it rule your life, either.
Here are some helpful tips on living with trauma more effectively, productively and, most important of all, happily.
1. Never Be Afraid to Reach Out to Professionals
The last thing you might feel you want is professional trauma counselling in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney or wherever you are, but this is wrong-headed. So many people tend to think either that they can deal with the problem entirely alone, or that counsellors and others couldn’t possibly understand their experience and what they have gone through.
The latter is well understood by professionals because trauma so often feels like a unique and personal experience, but the reality is that so much is shared and common to many sufferers. Professionals help to add perspective, and might even help connect you with other sufferers with similar experiences so you can share, reflect and come to see a path to recovery.
2. Look to the Support Network of Family and Friends
Besides a professional help network, one should also never forget the personal network of family and friends they have around them. Things always look their darkest when one also feels or really is isolated and alone. In these times, family and friends provide the support and succour that one really needs.
Your family and friends aren’t mental health professionals, but that doesn’t mean their positive impact on your mental health won’t be pronounced and significant. Just spending an afternoon with your best friend having some coffee or watching a movie and laughing together can make everything feel good again. More importantly, it helps to show that life goes on and we can learn to gain the strength to live through difficult times.
3. Make Your Own Care and Well-Being Priority Number One
When you’re dealing with a traumatic event or experience, you need to make your own well-being top of your “to do” list. Everything you do should hopefully have some bearing on improving your mental and physical health, as well as overall well-being.
The more noble sufferers out there tend to feel like this makes them self-centred or uncaring of their friends and family. This is wrong-headed. The fact is that you can’t be truly healed and recovered from trauma, nor can you be that supportive and stalwart friend, brother or sister you were until you take your own problems in hand and work on fixing them.
4. Take Things One Day at a Time
You have to know that nothing will just magically happen overnight. Even the tips in this list may only help you get through one day or even just one afternoon or evening at a time. But that’s all you can really do when dealing with trauma. The “one day” units build up into a chain that helps strengthen and support you, but that means you need to show patience and endurance.
5. Build Daily Routines
Finally, there is significant and beneficial power behind daily routines and daily structure in our lives. Trauma is an instance of chaos and suffering in our life. It’s a time when we lost control; when someone or something overpowered us and put us through an experience that has mentally and emotionally scarred us. Having regular sleep times, getting up times, meal times and planned activities through a day, week or month helps provide a safe and reassuring structure. In other words, it helps us to restore control.