Past Trauma, New Problems
Updated: Mar 23
Written by: Madison Horne, MA, LMHP-R
Trauma sucks. There’s no easy way around it, it just sucks. People are almost bound to experience some sort of trauma throughout their lives. Some think bad things happen to them because they deserve it, others think they never catch a break, while others forget the trauma and suddenly get triggered and cannot think of an explanation for their emotions. No one deserves the trauma; but it is almost inevitable. Just like most things in life, it varies from person to person, no one person is the same. Everyone experiences trauma differently and expresses themselves differently. However you see fit, trauma exists and it is no fun thing to deal with, overcome, or conquer.
You can do it though…
So wait, what even is trauma? According to SAMHSA (2020), “An event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.” In laymen’s terms, anything that causes a reaction that interferes with daily functioning, can be considered trauma. I’m sure we all can think of circumstances in our life in which we would classify trauma, but the question is “How did you handle it?”
Like I said earlier, we all experience trauma in our own ways, which entails dealing with it differently as well. Some experience depression, extreme sadness and helplessness; some become anxious, restless nights, nightmares, eating patterns change; while resorting to substance use/abuse, and lose themselves, dabbling in risky behaviors or aggression. Some signs can be subtle… while other signs are screaming “I AM HERE AND I AM HURTING!!”
The uneasy thing about it all is the symptoms can disguise themselves and appear to be a sickness or something physical, that we as a society have learned to just forget or suppress them and keep going. Some are ashamed to discuss the symptoms, the disruptions the trauma is causing, and even-more-so discussing the actual event is worrisome. An excuse often heard, “No one understands me…” “No one gets it.” or “I will be okay eventually…” Overtime this will not simply disappear; adverse effect, it will become less manageable, more difficult to partake in your day-to-day functioning, cause even more stress and anxiety symptoms – when this happens physical health can also take a turn for the worse. It is absolutely important to seek treatment to somewhat deal with the damage.
With all this talk of reactions to the event – we must discuss potential events or triggers that causes trauma and stress. For many people, the first person to pop into mind in regards to trauma and PTSD are our war heroes, veterans, those in active-duty. While this is true, PTSD and trauma can happen to anyone. Do not think “that could never happen to me … “. Us “regular Joes” can also have PTSD or some related stress disorder. Mental, physical, and sexual abuse can cause PTSD or related symptoms. A loss of a loved one, witnessing a tragic event, or even a dispute can cause individuals to experience those symptoms of PTSD or a related stress disorder.
Before I go any further, we need to explore the differences between PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder (ASD).
The Recovery Village (2020).
The main point is, psychotherapy is a part of the treatment. Going and receiving help is absolutely necessary! This is where some struggle. Reaching out for guidance during this time is confusing, “When do I know I need counseling?” “How do I even find a counselor?” “Will my insurance cover it?” Psychology Today is a great resource to help answer those questions.
You are not alone. You are worth it. You are amazing. No matter how large or small your situation is, you can cope and overcome the past trauma, with the correct help. Having that unbiased, authentic person to listen, to guide, and to simply be there for you through this difficult time is reassuring and a step towards the right direction. It’s 2020, if actually going in to see a therapist is too difficult for you, regardless of the circumstance, you can now see a therapist online in the comfort of your own home! It’s even easier to make your own appointment!