Dealing with trauma is difficult, but not for the same reasons as most other mental issues.
If you have bipolar disorder, then it will be pretty obvious that you have bipolar disorder. The same goes for borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression. It might be difficult to diagnose those things, but once you know, the solutions to those problems are well-established, and it will not take much experimentation to find proper care for them.
How is trauma different? Well, the problem with trauma is that it is unique to everyone. Especially in adults, the things that cause trauma in one person can be trivial for another.
As a result, diagnosing trauma is hard enough, as there is no set standard for what causes a person to have a trauma reaction. Beyond that, treating the trauma can be complicated by a person’s unique way of dealing with stress, how they acknowledge the stress, what reminds them of their trauma, and many other factors.
Today, we are going to go over the 10 things you should know about how trauma can affect a person, as that can be critical to understanding how to deal with the trauma, whether it is your trauma or someone else’s.
Trauma Isn’t Rational
It is probably best to start off strong by acknowledging that trauma is inherently irrational. That does not mean it doesn’t follow rules. That just means that it is an emotional experience, meaning that it does not follow the rules of logic.
As we said, different people are traumatized by different things. You might be a hardened veteran who could mentally process getting shot at, but still can’t deal with people yelling at you.
It is Easier to Get Traumatized in Childhood
However, as much difference as there is between adults, trauma in children is a lot easier to analyze broadly. Trauma from childhood will usually boil down to the child feeling unsafe.
That trauma can also stick around for longer, since it is internalized as “normal” by the child and not regarded as a problem until they start to interact with the world outside of school and homelife more.
Trauma can Come from Simple Things
In fact, post traumatic stress disorder is the disorder you are diagnosed with if your trauma (and the dysfunctions that follow as you try to cope with it) come from an individual event.
This can be as straightforward as a car accident, getting injured doing something you enjoy, or getting into a conflict someone, whether it is physical, verbal, or emotional.
Complex Trauma Happens Over Time
Contrast this with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as CPTSD. This is what you get when your trauma is not one single event, but instead one ongoing situation.
If you were raised in an environment with violence, either at home or outside of home, then you will probably develop a complex post traumatic stress response to that situation.
Traumatic Stress Unravels in Time
Many people will find months, if not years of their lives altered by both PTSD and CPTSD. However, it is always possible to deal with post traumatic stress disorder, complex or not.
The best way to think of it is that you are not trying to make the trauma go away. You are trying to strengthen the parts of you that deal with it.
Trauma is Handled by the Amygdala
The amygdala is the portion of the brain that processes emotions. Think of it like the throat (in a metaphorical sense, not a literal sense). If you try to swallow too much food, your throat will close up to prevent you from hurting yourself. Similarly, the amygdala will close up to prevent you from feeling the full weight of a traumatic event.
PTSD and CPTSD are not actually the feelings of dealing with that traumatic event, but the side effects of not being able to deal with it. This is why we emphasize strengthening your ability to respond to that stress.
Some Trauma Responses can be Medicated
While most trauma is dealt with using therapy, there are some trauma responses that can be (and sometimes should be) medicated. Pay close attention to that language though: It is the response that should be medicated, not the trauma itself.
Most Trauma Responses are Bad for a Person
Why do some trauma responses need to be medicated? Simply put, because most of them are not good for the person exhibiting them. Sure, those trauma responses will often feel cathartic for the person suffering from the trauma. But that does not give a person carte blanche to respond to their trauma triggers however they want. Most times, those reactions need to stop.
Trauma is Out of a Person’s Control
This is true on many different levels. To begin with, people rarely elect to participate in the situations which leave them traumatized. A child does not choose to be born into a violent household. Even someone who puts themselves in a dangerous situation usually expects to be able to handle it. But beyond that, people don’t get to pick what traumatizes them either.
Trauma Does not Make a Person Lesser
This needs to be stated, as many people end up judging themselves for their trauma responses. They might know that trauma is out of their control. But at the same time, they might go out of their way to find things that were in their control during their trauma to make themselves responsible for it.
This is a misguided attempt by the person to empower themselves, when the real empowerment is moving past the situation and quit assigning blame.
The battle against trauma can feel endless. And indeed, even once you are not crippled by trauma anymore, you might find yourself still ruminating upon it.
Believe it or not, even this will go away with time. You just have to find the right therapy, and perhaps the right medication if it is necessary. If you need any help with that, let us know here: https://epiphanywellness.com/new-jersey-detox/