Therapy Blog

Rewriting the Story: Healing from Trauma and Cultivating Resilience

Posted on Friday, September 15th, 2023 by Cristina Vrech

Healing from Trauma

When the concept of trauma comes to mind, what do we think? For most, the immediate associations revolve around visual flashbacks or the nightmares often experienced as facets of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But trauma manifests itself in various other ways as well. Its manifestations extend to encompass physiological responses and complex emotional echoes within the body, occasionally surfacing seemingly out of the blue.

Healing from trauma is a journey that comes with challenges and emotions that often feel overwhelming. However, this journey is also an opportunity for profound growth, self-discovery, and building resilience. Each person’s path to healing is unique to their personal experiences, emotions, and ways of processing. 

“The Wound is the place where the Light enters you.” – Rumi.

The Impact of Trauma

The influence of trauma is deep-seated, casting its effects on both the physical and mental dimensions of well-being.

Traumatic experiences often leave deep emotional scars that persist long after the event has passed. These might lead to many issues, from anxiety and depression to physical health problems and difficulties in interpersonal relationships.

It’s important to remember that trauma doesn’t define you. It’s a chapter of your story, only part of the book.

How Unresolved Trauma Manifests

Trauma emerges from experiencing or enduring a deeply distressing experience while failing to address or process it subsequently. Unresolved trauma can manifest as persistent thoughts, vivid flashbacks, or disconcerting dreams. A sustained state of alertness (hypervigilance) amplifies stress levels, taking a toll on physical well-being.

Insomnia and persistent headaches might also manifest as the consequences of trauma, while the impact could even extend to straining your cardiovascular health and compromising your immune system’s functionality.

Psychologically, trauma paves the way for the establishment of enduring feelings of anxiety or melancholy. It is not unusual for people to resort to self-medication or addiction as a means of emotional numbing. In some instances, contemplations of self-harm might surface. On an emotional plane, trauma elicits profound sensations and responses, such as overwhelming fear or profound guilt.

It’s helpful to remember that these are completely natural reactions.

Interacting with others can become challenging and exhausting after a traumatic event. It might feel safer to withdraw and harder to trust people, and building or maintaining relationships can seem like an uphill battle. An interesting thing to remember is that trauma can also subtly affect our cognitive abilities. A “traumatised brain” can find it harder to focus or recall things, and indecision is typical.

If you have gone through a traumatic experience, you do not have to be alone in this journey. 

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Can You Heal From Trauma?

Absolutely, the journey towards healing from trauma is both a profound and empowering one. While undoubtedly challenging, it presents an opportunity for transformative growth. Through the invaluable guidance of an experienced professional, the path to recovery becomes not only plausible but achievable.

Central to the healing process is addressing the events that gave rise to the trauma gently, gradually and when you are ready. While the instinct to shield oneself from the accompanying distress is understandable, such avoidance inadvertently can nurture a reservoir of emotional anguish, subsequently hindering the overall healing trajectory.

The first step towards healing and recovery is acknowledging the trauma, its impact on your life, and your feelings about it.

Nurturing an attentive and supportive relationship with yourself during this process is so important. It’s OK if you experience a range of strong emotions. You may feel anger, sadness, guilt, or even relief. All emotions, even the most uncomfortable ones, are important and are part of your healing journey. When these feelings arise, remind yourself that it’s okay to feel them. Be caring, loving and supportive of yourself; healing is very different from fixing.

Resilience, As Part Of The Healing Journey

Perhaps you have learnt to expect or are expected to “bounce back” when you go through something difficult.

“I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” — Maya Angelou.

Developing resilience is one of the most transformative aspects of healing. Resilience isn’t about ignoring or avoiding pain; it involves developing the ability to recover and grow from adversity. 

Here are a few ways you can nurture resilience while healing from trauma:

  • Seek Support: You don’t have to navigate your healing journey alone. Seeking support from trusted friends, family, or a counsellor provides a safe space to share your feelings and experiences. This reduces feelings of isolation and provides valuable perspectives.
  • Express Yourself: Find ways to express your emotions. This might be through journaling, art, music, or movement. Expression helps externalise feelings and provides a sense of relief and clarity.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness activities like meditation or focused breathing help manage anxiety and promote relaxation. Mindfulness provides a break from ruminating on past events or worrying about the future by focusing on the present moment.
  • Prioritise Self-Care: Ensuring that your basic needs are met—such as sufficient sleep, regular meals, and physical activity—can significantly impact your emotional well-being.
  • Cultivate A Healthy Mind Set: This doesn’t mean ignoring your pain but finding and acknowledging moments of joy and beauty in your life. This can shift your focus from suffering to healing.

Keep in mind that healing isn’t linear. It’s normal to have good days and challenging ones. It’s okay to take two steps forward and one step back. Healing requires time, patience, and compassion. It’s okay to move at your own pace.

How Therapeutic Counselling Helps

The journey of healing from trauma is not solitary; it’s a collaborative effort where therapy becomes the compass guiding us back to ourselves.

Experienced therapists at Leone Centre use integrative therapeutic approaches to help you process your experiences and reframe unhelpful thinking patterns. By doing so, you can gradually reduce the power of the traumatic event.

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With time, you develop a renewed sense of control and self-empowerment, promoting overall well-being. Finally, it is always helpful to remember that your trauma is something that happened to you—it’s not who you are. You are continually learning, growing, and evolving, with the inherent capability to heal and grow.

As you embark on healing, remember there’s a wealth of strength within you. Take each day one step at a time, seek support, and always be kind to yourself. The path to healing and resilience may be challenging, but also a journey of courage, strength, and transformation.

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