There are many competing opinions out there on the way trauma impacts a person’s life, and how you respond to the question can depend on a number of factors. There are those who will say that, no matter how painful your past experience, it’s what’s in the present that matters – whose attitude can best be summed up as “deal with it and move on”. There are others, though, who argue that it is essential to explore the impacts of traumatic incidents. Indeed, there are studies that suggest our emotional and mental health can be affected by harrowing news reports (which, let’s face it, aren’t rare in this age of rolling news).
What seems to be certain is that, if you leave trauma to fester, it is only going to have a negative effect. Those of us who have grown up with negative incidents in our lives, or who have experienced trauma as adults, can face a string of ill-effects which include anxiety, depression, exhaustion and the inability to form relationships. Therefore, if you have a traumatic experience that you’re yet to get over, you need to think about how you will address it, if you want to have the best possible life in future.
Speak to people – on a personal and professional front
If you’re battling the impacts of a past experience, there is no worse way to approach it than tackling things alone. We may make any range of excuses for isolating ourselves, from “I don’t want to bother anyone” to “I know what I need to do about this”, but what we really need is additional perspectives. It’s vital to talk to friends and family who you can trust – perhaps even more important, if the trauma came at the hands of a friend or family member – but it is also essential to speak to a professional; only a trained counsellor can offer you the practical advice that will allow you to address trauma, package it up, and consign it to the past.
Seek reparation for what you can’t get back
Trauma can take on many forms, from a period of emotional abuse to the more visceral impact of an accident that led to serious injury. Even after bones have mended and physical scars healed, there can be mental wounds left behind that take longer to repair. Serious injury rarely happens without causing you some loss: missed earnings, lost opportunities and even having to put your whole life on hold. Whether you need to speak to a personal injury law firm or you simply need an apology from someone who has let you down, it is essential to seek that closure in a practical sense; if you don’t, it will always be there in the background.
Live your best life
One of the most inevitable impacts of a traumatic experience is the tendency for a sufferer to disappear into themselves – often described as “going into your shell”. It’s natural, when you’ve experienced something awful, to not want to expose oneself to anything that could go wrong again. However, if you want to genuinely recover and feel like yourself again, you need to remake your life. That doesn’t mean you have to go back to how you were before the incident – sometimes a fresh start is the ideal chance to do something different. Whatever the case may be, though, only by making a better future can you avoid living in the past.
Moving on after trauma is easier said than done. However, with help from the right places, and by reckoning with the past, you can leave it where it belongs, and come out better for the experience.