The healing from trauma process is intense and takes time. It takes a determined, strong commitment to ourselves that says we will get whatever help we need and do whatever it takes to heal. Usually we make that decision when we cannot and do not want to live with the pain and the way we are living any more. The pain includes intense emotions such as anger, fear/anxiety, sadness, etc. which cause anxiety/panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, and the list of feelings goes on.
Because of all these feelings that are inside of us, we create coping defenses or behaviors that help us cope with and help keep these feelings under control. Some of these behavior include using alcohol and other drugs, anger at everyone, becoming bitter, over eating, under eating, depression and anxiety (as our primary feelings), poor relationships, isolation, harming oneself, withdrawal, confusion, problems concentrating (may look like ADD/ADHD), mood swings (may look bipolar), guilt, shame, hopelessness, helplessness, not living up to our potential and the list goes on.
We may be seen as the “black sheep” or “scapegoat” in the family and so family members avoids us, won’t talk to us and blame us for everything. This usually includes what is wrong in their lives, even if we don’t’ even see them. Sometimes, gratefully, family and friends surround the victim of trauma and help them heal. Sadly, I don’t often see this in my office, I wish I did.
Here is a description from a trauma survivor working through some of the healing the process he was experiencing:
“I am desperately working to hang on to me, to God and to friends. It is harder and harder now as I deal with more of the painful feelings. I sometimes don’t know what day it is and what I am supposed to do. Thank goodness I have my schedule. I do what it says to do. I keep going because I am sick and tired of hurting myself and being in so much pain. Sometimes I just want to give up. But I am determined to find me…me whoever that is. I know there is a real me, a good me, a me not in pain all the time.”