Traumatic events are one of those things that can feel more like a tsunami in your life, followed by less intense tidal waves. For those who experience trauma, particularly young people, even though the event is over, the impact never goes away in the form of unwanted memories, nightmares, constant triggers like sounds, difficulty trusting, and so forth, causing those waves to come back without warning and control. Survivors of trauma struggle to cope with their internal process and external circumstances the best way they can. Survivors often express mixed feeling about dealing with trauma, even if they’re fully aware its impact on their lives. They may avoid revisiting their pasts or other potential therapy out of fear of experiencing distress again. Education plays an important role in understanding the experience and by developing your coping tools and learning to regulate the experience from within you can regain control again.
As supporters of young people who have experienced trauma its important to acknowledge their feelings and experiences even if you disagree. Remember, trauma is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation and how they deal with it often originate from a need to survive. To better connect with those in that constant state of chaos let’s start shifting our approach from, “What is wrong with you?” to, “What has happened to you?” or What has worked for you?” or by taking a closer look at what you can do differently to bring about a sense of calm again.
For a free handout on the signs of trauma and coping with a traumatic event see here.