Traumatic events are, almost by definition, those from which someone is unlikely to ever make a full recovery. There is likely to be extensive damage to the body, and the circumstances are often so sudden and extreme that the psychological impressions they leave are as damaging as any physical scar. Although new and better techniques to aid physical and psychological recovery are continually underway, most people will retain some traces of a traumatic experience throughout their life.
Although this is far from the ideal outcome, it doesn’t mean that a person will never be able to get back to normal functioning. Here are some ways in which trauma survivors can speed their physical and psychological recovery.
A traumatic event can create a significant sense of isolation. A person who has experienced trauma may feel like those around them cannot possibly understand their struggle to cope. Many recovery strategies use the analogy of mountain climbers who must tie themselves together for safety–by “roping up” to friends, family, or fellow survivors of similar incidents, one can directly counteract the loneliness and isolation that would otherwise leave them walled off from receiving the help they need.
Call for Help
It is often difficult to admit that one cannot tackle an obstacle unassisted, but psychological recovery from trauma may need outside intervention in the same way that physical recovery from trauma demands outside intervention. Getting professional help with any post-traumatic symptoms can be as important to a psychological recovery as an emergency room visit and continued medical care are to your physical health. Make sure you are paying as much attention to your psychological wellbeing as you are to your physical wellbeing when recovering from trauma.
Realize that Your Feelings are Typical
You may experience fear of circumstances similar to those in which the traumatic event occurred or spend time mentally reliving the event. It has been repeatedly proven that these types of fear, and the multitude of other symptoms that may occur, such as anxiety, are expected reactions from someone who has survived a traumatic event. If you are experiencing these fears and/or anxiety to the point of interfering with your activities of daily life, it’s time to find some help.
Moving on from a traumatic event can be helped by literally moving. Many people who have experienced trauma find it helpful to take on new goals or projects. Exercise, hobbies, pets, or other personal goals can give someone a focal point other than the traumatic experience and can help them to avoid focusing on the past.
Traumatic events can leave psychological distress long after the danger to life and limb has been resolved. People who have experienced trauma can find help in overcoming both the physical and psychological scars that trauma brings.