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The aftermath of trauma; post-trauma stress

Mar 24, 2024

When we're in the throes of dealing with recovery from an accident, injury, or illness, we're typically so busy and involved in dealing with it that we have little emotional or physical energy to do anything else. The task at hand can be overwhelming enough as we try and cope the best we can to make sense and recover from it. 

The stress of having an accident, injury or sudden and unexpected illness can be tremendous especially if it involves pain, debilitation and suffering. For the most part for many, the trauma itself becomes a blip on our timeline, we deal with it and find ways to accept and manage it and then life goes on and we can put it behind us. 

Depending on what we've experienced, how serious and intense that experience was and the consequences for us as a result of it, the time after the trauma can often be worse than the trauma event itself. 

When we're experiencing post-trauma stress the emotion gets the better of us and we're unable to see the wood for the trees. We project our own insecurities out to the world and expect others to believe what we believe in ourselves. We dismiss the help and advice we get from others and we often retreat inside ourselves to prevent having to deal with situations which we perceive to be a threat to our security & safety. 

We can feel isolated, lonely, depressed and, at times for some, suicidal. It can feel like no-one really understands what we're going through and others' frustrations in watching us suffer can cause them to lead us before we're ready which only makes our frustrations more amplified and triggers conflict and communication breakdowns. 

Often we get stuck in some part of the process of dealing with our stress and develop unhelpful beliefs, irrational fears, phobias, obsessions and compulsions, anxieties, and generally lose confidence in ourselves, which all serve to prevent us from moving forward. 

Remaining stuck in a post-trauma stress process, especially over the the longer-term can be debilitating and can take over many aspects of a person's life. It can prevent us going places, seeing people, moving on in our careers and relationships, suffering chronic self-esteem, having distrust, and not having confidence to progress generally in life the way we would like and expect to. 

Typically chronic post-trauma stress needs professional input from someone outside the close family/friend circle. Whilst family and friends have the best of intentions, we often need an objective listening ear who can offer support unconditionally and detach from the emotions that often arise and get amplified within close family units. 

What can also often happen with family and friends is collusion as the frustration and keenness of trying to influence and change turns to a sense of acceptance of the suffering and what is. The constant workarounds become the norm and those dealing with post-trauma stress learn to live less than their best life as a result of it. This can be damaging and detrimental to their long-term mental health and cause delayed recovery from their negative symptoms.

 

Recovery from Post-trauma Stress
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