Healing after the storm: recognising trauma

Healing After the Storm: Recognising Trauma and Finding Gentle Techniques for Calming the Inner Weather

Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes we experience events that leave us feeling shaken and unsafe. These events can be big or small, but their impact can linger long after the initial experience. This is what we call trauma.

Trauma can be anything from a car accident or a natural disaster to emotional abuse or witnessing violence. It can leave us feeling disconnected from ourselves and the world around us.

Signs You Might Be Experiencing Trauma:

  • Flashbacks: Vivid memories or reliving of the traumatic event.
  • Nightmares: Disturbing dreams related to the trauma.
  • Hypervigilance: Feeling constantly on edge and easily startled.
  • Avoidance: Avoiding people, places, or situations that trigger memories of the trauma.
  • Emotional Numbness: Difficulty feeling emotions or feeling overwhelmed by emotions.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Difficulty focusing on tasks or conversations.
  • Changes in Sleep or Appetite: Sleeping too much or too little, eating more or less than usual.
  • Physical Symptoms: Headaches, stomach-aches, body aches, fatigue.

Gentle Techniques to Help You Cope in the Moment:

If you're experiencing a moment of emotional overwhelm related to trauma, here are some gentle techniques you can try:

  • 5 Senses Grounding: Focus on five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This can help bring you back to the present moment.
  • Deep Breathing: Take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on the sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Tense and relax different muscle groups in your body, starting with your toes and working your way up. This can help release physical tension.
  • Visualisation: Imagine yourself in a safe and calming place. Focus on the sights, sounds, and smells of this place.
  • Mindfulness: Focus on your present experience without judgment. Notice your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.

Remember: These are just a few techniques, and what works for one person may not work for another. The most important thing is to be kind to yourself and find what helps you feel calmer and more grounded.

Seeking Additional Support:

If you're struggling to cope with trauma or the symptoms persist for more than a couple of months, it's important to seek professional help. A therapist can provide you with tools and strategies to manage your symptoms, help you process the trauma and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

At Ramsay Mental Health, we have a nationwide team of experienced and compassionate mental health care professionals who specialise in treating trauma. We offer a variety of evidence-based treatment options to help you heal and move forward. So no matter the level or support you need, we can help.

Important: If you are feeling unsafe and require immediate help, please call 000 if you need immediate counselling support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Remember, healing from trauma is a journey, not a destination. Be patient with yourself and take things one step at a time.