Updated: Sep 18
Many events in life can take us off our moorings; they give a jolt to our foundation of wellbeing. Usually events that are sudden and drastic; changes which involve loss, can be emotionally traumatic. It can be loss of health, loved ones, possessions or property. A trauma response can also be physical injury or certainly a disturbing or violent experience.
Trauma can be an acute and instant event; a car crash. It can also be behaviors over time that we don't choose. Changes, usually non-productive that become unstoppable habits, like addiction. It leaves us constantly coping to reclaim our physical and emotional selves. Many high-stress jobs that involve life or death can be trauma-inducing in the long term. Police work, paramedics, crisis personnel are top of the line to the lasting effects of trauma.
Caregiving is also a mine-field of trauma. It is chronic, repeated and prolonged. Domestic abuse and poverty are also long-term trauma experiences. Military deployment and ironically, dealing with trauma victims can also evoke a lingering boot print. Emergency personnel and public order enforcement usually face complex trauma daily with multiple events. Constant self-regulating and decompression counsel is required working in these fields.
A state of traumatization takes our time. It moves slowly for both individuals and communities. It displaces and harms our sense of safety, sense of self and our ability to regulate emotions. The trail of grief and disbelief mark its wake. Homeostasis in the body, a state of balance and physical well-functioning is upended. It can disorder our thinking and rationale. In order to heal we need to create and choose change.
One of the most important steps forward is connecting to others, don't isolate. Seek the help of others to re-establish community and our faith in humanity. Face what has occurred and begin to walk through it. There is professional help. Front line teams in disasters, services and support of organized communities and mental health counsellors. We are stronger in numbers. British Columbia has a Mental Health Support Line 24/7 just by dialing 310-6787, there is no area code needed.
Getting our basic needs of food, water and shelter is a start. Feeding our minds and our bodies to better respond and accept what has happened. It's important to receive medical guidance and support along with compassion and human decency. Of course using exercise, breathing, stretching and walking will help you get past the after effects. Our connection with nature is always grounding and assuring. It re-establishes our connection to ourselves. Reach out for the social support that you need. Trust in the care of others. You survived. You can go forward. Thankfully alive, able to begin again.