We all go through challenging things from time to time, and the struggle with one’s mental health is not a reflection of one’s strength or weakness. That false belief can lead to negative and fearful thoughts that make us feel really bad. Past traumas do not have to be inexorably linked with our identities.
Many people walk around in the world not knowing what they need – they just know that they hurt. The world can sometimes seem like a scary place. Wars, school shootings, and similar events lead our evening newscasts and top the front pages of our papers. Sometimes, this can lead to strong feelings of anxiety and depression. Trauma can change the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and about the world. These stories can have a huge impact on how we feel and how we walk around every day.
Recognizing The Symptoms Of Trauma
People might not realize they have been affected by trauma. Some symptoms may include sleeplessness, hypervigilance, anxiety, and depression. Years ago, I worked in a hospital in Los Angeles. At times we would have traumatic things happen. We referred to these as “sentinal events.” These would consist of a patient death, a violent patient, or another emotionally taxing experience. Some medical professionals would try to ignore it or brush it off as “just part of the job.” The thought process was something like, “If I’m going to be a good nurse, I can’t be viewed as weak or soft.” So, they would employ various avoidance strategies to cope. Later they may begin to experience unwanted symptoms. At times, it may not even appear that their feelings are associated with that event. It’s as if a fear switch turns on, but it doesn’t turn off like normal.
Getting Treatment For Trauma
On a hopeful note, there are effective therapy treatments that can help people gain the tools they need to not be dominated by fear. We can find acceptance in that though we suffer, we can still overcome. We can live lives of hope and not fear. The stigma of mental health is lessening, and more and more people are reaching out for help. The more awareness that people have about mental health services, the more willing they will be to seek help from a licensed therapist or other mental health professional. If you are struggling with these unwanted feelings, just remember that you are not alone. Help is available to you if you make the choice to engage with it.