Trauma is an overwhelming event that overcomes your capacity to cope. It can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxieties that would not go away. You may not know it, but trauma has been a part of your life for a long time; for some people, it may be new. Trauma, when not recognized and treated, can make you feel frightened, helpless, numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people.
How does one experience trauma or how does one suffer a traumatic event? Trauma often involves exposure to a life-threatening situation or event, but any incident that makes you feel overwhelmed, isolated, anxious, scared, and hopeless, can result in trauma, even if it does not involve physical harm. It is not what happened or what you experienced that determines whether an event is traumatic; it is your emotional response to the said event. So, the more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.
You should also know that people have different responses to trauma. What may be traumatic to you might not be traumatic to others. Most people will recover over time and not experience any lasting difficulties. Some others, particularly those who experience trauma as a child, will experience longer-lasting difficulties.
What are situations or events that cause trauma? Trauma can be one-time or chronic. It can be caused by events or situations that happen to us such as:
- Accident or injury
- Criminal act, such as robbery and kidnapping
- Violent attack, such as attempted murder, mass shooting, or act of terrorism
- Living in an unstable or unsafe environment
- Religious or political persecution
- Hate crime
- Life-threatening illness
- Separation from loved ones
- Sudden death of a loved one
- Childhood neglect
- Domestic violence
- Sexual, physical or verbal abuse
- Religious abuse
- Breakup of a relationship
- Public humiliation
- Near-death accidents or experiences, such as drowning and traffic collision
- Natural and man-made disasters
The effects of trauma can be overwhelming. Sometimes you may feel that it is taking over your life, and you feel lost, isolated, and hopeless. Trauma can lead you to see the world as unsafe and unpredictable. Oftentimes, this becomes exhausting, stressful, and unhealthy – a recipe for self-destruction. Trauma can affect you in so many ways:
- You can lose connections to people close to you, avoid people, and withdraw from society.
- You may abuse drugs and alcohol.
- You become more prone to mental and physical health issues.
- You feel increasingly sad, hopeless, or desperate.
- You feel increasingly anxious and worried about the future.
- You have difficulty sleeping, learning, and concentrating.
- You lose interest in many things and no longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy.
- You may act aggressively or hurt yourself or other people.
- You lack trust and have difficult building relationships.
- You feel ashamed or guilty for celebrating your own success, believing you don’t deserve to be happy.
- You worry about the things that are out of your control.
- You are afraid of failing.
- You feel insecure about yourself.
- You have trouble asking for help or reaching out and opening up to others.
Healing from trauma is possible, and the path to recovery is different for each individual. Recognizing and understanding the impact of trauma are the first steps toward healing and recovery from trauma. Bring Jesus into the traumatic moment and give what happened to you to Jesus and watch Him carry it to the cross. He comes to you and comforts you and he heals your trauma.
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