Life After Trauma: How to Pick Up the Pieces and Move Forward

It's no secret that trauma can change a person's life in an instant. For some, the experience of trauma opens their eyes to the world in a new and profound way. They may feel more compassionate or empathetic towards others who have experienced similar things. However, for others, trauma can be destructive and overwhelming. It can be hard to cope with PTSD or other mental health conditions that develop after a traumatic experience. If you are struggling to pick up the pieces after a traumatic event, know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you move forward in your life.

Trauma can look like many different things in different people's lives.  Some people experience one-time events, like natural disasters or car accidents, while others experience chronic trauma, like abuse or neglect. No matter what your experience with trauma has been, it is important to find healthy ways to cope. Trauma can have a lasting impact on your mental and physical health, so it is important to seek out help if you are struggling.

It is both interesting and confusing how similar traumatic events can affect people in such different ways.  Trauma researcher Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., has studied the effects of trauma on the brain for over three decades. In his book The Boy Who Was Trapped in a Video Game, he discusses how some children who have experienced abuse or neglect go on to lead successful lives while others struggle with mental health issues and substance abuse. While it is not clear why some people are able to rebound while others continue to struggle, it is important to remember that everyone deals with trauma in their own way.

There are many ways in which we can go about dealing with our traumatic experiences.  Some people find that therapy, medication, and self-care are helpful in managing PTSD or other mental health conditions. Others may find that they need to distance themselves from their trauma by avoiding triggers and situations that remind them of the event. It is important to do what feels right for you and to reach out for help if you are struggling. Understanding our unconscious programming in response to these traumatic experiences can also be extremely valuable.

If you or someone you know is struggling to cope with a traumatic experience, there are many resources available to help. The National Trauma Hotline provides 24/7 crisis counseling and support for survivors of trauma. You can also visit the National Center for PTSD website for more information on treatment options. Trauma doesn't have to define your life. With help, you can begin to heal and move forward. Learn more about trauma by diving into more info from a very reliable and knowledgeable trauma resource called Trauma Informed Care: Extra Info.

- Aaron Schwartz
Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern
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