We all experience what we call “traumatic events” and our brains and bodies are designed to help us recover from these events. But for some of us, particularly those who are experiencing chronic trauma, we are not able to return to our normal baseline. Find out why some people are able to recover from traumatic events quickly while others remain stuck in an elevated state of anxiety, fear and stress.
How to Recover From Traumatic Events
Trauma can strike suddenly and leave us feeling overwhelmed and terrified. Whether it’s a singular, harrowing event or the cumulative effect of ongoing stress, trauma can have a profound impact on our mental and physical well-being. In this article, we will explore the nature of trauma and discuss strategies for recovery. I’m Jonathan Glover, a therapist with over 15 years of experience, and I specialize in helping individuals recover from trauma. Join me as we delve into the acute and chronic trauma responses, the factors that influence recovery, and the path to healing.
Trauma is not a one-size-fits-all experience. It can manifest in various ways, and it’s essential to recognize that the severity of trauma isn’t solely determined by the scale of the traumatic event. Trauma can affect anyone, whether you’ve just faced a sudden, terrifying incident or have been exposed to ongoing stressors like those witnessed on social media or in the news.
Types of Trauma Responses
When dealing with trauma, it’s crucial to distinguish between acute and chronic trauma responses.
Acute Trauma Response
An acute trauma response is the immediate reaction to an overwhelming event. These reactions typically last from a few days to several weeks. This response is considered a normal adaptation to abnormal situations. Our bodies and brains are not wired to endure constant trauma, so these responses help us navigate difficult times and recover.
Chronic Trauma Response
On the other hand, a chronic trauma response is a more prolonged reaction that can persist for months or even years. This type of response can have far-reaching consequences, affecting not only our mental health but also our physical well-being, relationships, and behavior.
Factors Influencing Recovery
Why do some individuals seem to bounce back from trauma while others grapple with long-term effects? Recovery from trauma depends on several key factors:
Resilience is the ability to withstand and adapt to challenging situations without losing one’s sense of self, confidence, or trust. Think of it as your psychological armor. A higher level of resilience can bolster your capacity to recover from trauma.
Support is an essential element in the recovery process. It can come from various sources, such as family, friends, therapists, or support groups. Support extends beyond emotional comfort; it also involves recognizing the traumatic experience itself and validating its impact on you.
To achieve healing and recovery, you need to be in an environment that fosters safety and well-being. It’s challenging to heal when you’re continually exposed to a traumatic environment or stressors that keep you in a state of anxiety or fear. This is especially true when a toxic relationship is the source of trauma.
Trauma Isn’t Always Extreme
It’s vital to understand that trauma doesn’t always stem from extreme circumstances like physical or sexual abuse. Trauma can result from a range of experiences and situations. Even seemingly less severe events can have a lasting impact on your body, psyche, behavior, and relationships.
The Role of Therapy
Therapists like myself play a crucial role in the recovery process. Our goal is to help clients identify the dynamics that contributed to their trauma, understand their current situation, and work towards a path of healing and repair.
Recovering from traumatic events is a complex journey that requires resilience, support, and a conducive environment. Whether you’ve experienced acute trauma or are grappling with chronic trauma responses, know that healing is possible. Seek out the support you need, whether from friends, family, or a therapist, and remember that your trauma is valid, regardless of its perceived severity. By addressing these factors and seeking professional help when needed, you can move towards a state of calm and well-being, rebuilding your life after trauma.
Also read: The Power of Empathy Explained
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.