Psychologist: Good morning and how are you feeling today?
Nadia: [sobs internally] I feel sad. I feel incomplete. I’ve been crying lately when I recall bad events that took place in my life, and it hurts so bad. I ask myself, “Did I deserve that bad result?”, “Am I not a good person to deserve good things in life?”, “Why couldn’t I help myself?”. I’m tired of living life. I’m tired!
Psychologist: Don’t be too hard on yourself, Nadia. It takes a while to heal from trauma, and it’s okay to not feel okay. And thank you for your sincere reply. Can we talk about it? 
Nadia: I don’t mind.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word Trauma?
Trauma is the wound of the heart and mind that causes deep suffering, it leaves one feeling overwhelmed and disconnected, and it takes long to heal. Also, it is when experiences rewire in a negative direction.

Trauma hurts every part of us, our relationships, our bodies, our thoughts, faith, and often sends shock waves through entire families and communities. Due to the realization that suffering is part of human experience, we are all vulnerable to trauma, but not everyone who experiences a stressful event will develop trauma.

SYMPTOMS OF TRAUMA: The symptoms of trauma range from mild to severe. This includes:
1.Re-experience: The person relives what happened to them with unwanted thoughts, images, or flashbacks.
2.Avoidance: The person does not want to talk about what happened because it is upsetting or triggering.
3.Arousal: The person feels intensely upset when reminded of the event.
•Startle reflex: The person feels agitated when reminded of the event.
•Hypervigilance: The person is always on guard or an alert.

TYPES OF TRAUMA: There are several types of trauma, which includes:
•Acute Trauma: This result from a single stressful or dangerous event.
•Chronic Trauma: It has to do with repeated and prolonged exposure to high stressful events e.g; cases of child abuse, bullying, or domestic violence.
•Complex Trauma: This result from exposure to multiple traumatic events.
 •Secondary trauma or Vicarious Trauma: With this form of trauma, a person develops trauma symptoms from close contact with someone who has experienced a traumatic event. Family members, Mental Health Professionals and others who care for those who have experienced traumatic events are at risk of vicarious trauma.

The Charity Mind in the United Kingdom lists the following as potential causes of trauma:
Bullying, Harassment, Sexual Assault, Rape, Physical, Psychological, or Sexual Abuse, Traffic Collision, Child Birth, Life Threatening Illnesses, Sudden Loss of a loved one, Being Kidnapped, Acts of Terrorism, Natural Disasters, War etc.

Research estimates that 60-75% of people in North America experience a traumatic event at some point in life. Traumatic events can be isolated, repeated or ongoing events. People have different reactions to traumatic events. For example; those who live through the same natural disasters can respond very differently despite experiencing the same event. That’s because we have different lives.  

PTSD: If symptoms persist, then the trauma has developed into a mental health disorder called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD).
PTSD is distressing and interferes with a person’s daily life and relationships. Symptoms include severe anxiety, flashbacks, persistent memories of the event and avoidance behaviors. Trauma can have long-term effects on the person’s well-being, although treatment can help people to manage their symptoms.

Research indicates that children are especially vulnerable to trauma because their brains are still developing. Children experience a heightened state of stress during terrible events, and their bodies release hormones related to stress and fear. This type of developmental trauma can disrupt normal brain development. As a result, trauma, especially ongoing trauma, can significantly affect a child’s long-term emotional development, mental health, physical health and behavior. The sense of fear and helplessness may persist into adulthood. It leaves the person at a higher risk of the effects of future trauma.

I was not born a stutterer. From what I was told, I got it from one of my family members because I used to mimic the person, and we were very close. While growing up, my family didn’t see it as a serious problem until when l knew me and began to understand my environment . I felt so sad because of how I speak. It affected every aspect of my life. I lost confidence in myself. Most times, I preferred not to speak, even when it was very necessary. I’ve lost many opportunities due to this problem.
Now, the way I speak doesn’t get to me, and I refuse to let it stop me from living the life of my dreams. I feel so confident in myself and I believe with time, I’ll be completely free from the shackles of stuttering.

Trauma is more about the impact, the lasting impact that an event or an experience has on the functioning of our nervous system.

EFFECT OF TRAUMA: The adverse effects of traumatic events can last long past the event and may occur with delayed onset as the individual begins to process their experience. These effects may include an inability to cope with daily tasks, a lack of trust in relationships, attention problems, sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety and even alcohol and drug use.

1. PRAY: Tell God all your worries, burdens, and pain, and he will help you solve your problems.

2. THERAPY: Therapy is a first-line treatment for trauma. Ideally, an individual will work with a trauma informed or trauma focused therapist. Therapy used to treat trauma includes Cognitive behavioral therapy, Somatic therapies, Eye Movement desensitization and reprocessing.

3. MEDICATION: Medication alone cannot cure trauma or PTSD, but it can help a person manage symptoms such as anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances.
4. CREATE MEANING: What meanings do you draw from your experiences, and how might these be shifted in a more recovery oriented direction.
5. SELF-CARE: Practicing self-care can help individuals to cope with the emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms of trauma. Examples of self-care includes:
•Exercise and meditation.

•Connection with others: Meeting wonderful new people and simply engaging with others can improve mood and well-being.
•A balanced lifestyle: However, sleep, relaxation, balanced diet and engaging in enjoyable activities, all play a role in mental health.

6. SUPPORT: If necessary, ask for support from others. This includes talking to trusted loved ones(learn how to reach out when you are distressed) or join a support group for trauma survivors.

No amount of therapy or medication is ever going to stop our struggles if we don’t give ourselves permission to stop seeing ourselves as damaged goods and instead embrace our survival skills, acknowledge the strength it took to make it through all our trauma, abuse and neglect.

Trauma permanently changes us. This is the big, scary truth about trauma; there is no such thing as “getting over it”. The five stages of grief model marks universal stages in learning to accept loss, but the reality is, in fact, much bigger; a major life disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no “back to the old me”. You are different now.
This is not a wholly negative thing. Healing from trauma can also mean finding new strength and joy. The goal of healing is not a papering-over of changes in an effort to preserve or present things as normal. It is to acknowledge and wear your new life, warts, wisdom and all with courage.

If you are struggling today, remember this:
You are spectacular
The best day of your life is still yet to come.
There are still amazing people you haven’t met, and things you haven’t experienced.

2 thoughts on “TRAUMA

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