1. a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
In case you didn’t know the definition of trauma, there it is.
Maybe you should note the words distressing or disturbing.
Let’s talk about what those two words mean.
causing anxiety, sorrow or pain; upsetting.
causing anxiety; worrying.
Those two words alone spell out trauma with their definitions. Anxiety can be traumatic and worrying can be traumatic.
What’s traumatic for one is not necessarily traumatic for another. Many also call trauma PTSD and relate this to veterans and what they experience in war. The thing is, PTSD doesn’t only happen to veterans.
For example a woman who has previously been beat on may be traumatized when watching a television show where a woman gets hit. Because of this the woman may choose to only watch certain television shows and movies.
Another example is someone who may have been in a car accident can be traumatized when in a car with someone else or even driving themselves. Due to past trauma never getting in a car again is a possibility.
These are kinda extreme examples, but hopefully you get the point.
Think about bad things that have happened in your life; storms, car accidents, natural disasters.
If you have lived in Cleveland the blackout about 12 years ago was traumatic for some (by some I mean me on the 50th floor of Key Tower).
For some September 11, 2001 is traumatizing and on its anniversary each year people want to hide in fear.
Can trauma be overcome? Sure, over time and with the right support services. Counseling is one option, cognitive behavioral therapy is another and many prefer group therapy or peer support to get past things that happen in their life that they can’t shake.
I focus on trauma today because there have been many traumatic things that have occurred in my life. The odd thing is, the trauma doesn’t always surface immediately. It can take years, as was the case this week.
What can you do for someone suffering from trauma?
Listen – sometimes they just want to talk it out.
Respect – it’s their trauma, not yours. Don’t make fun of it and don’t put them down for their feelings.
Ask – ask them what you can do to help, maybe it is just helping them relax.
Validate – validate their reactions and their feelings.
The closer someone was to a traumatic event the harder it may be to overcome the traumatic event. Know that you aren’t the problem, but you can help and be a part of the solution.
Just like there’s always time for pain, there’s always time for healing.