The After Effects and symptoms of Trauma
When people have been traumatized, I have often heard them tell me that they feel like they are going mad. In reality they are not going mad, they are experiencing a very normal response to trauma. The madness is that we expect ourselves to remain our usual selves after an experience that has shattered our worlds.
Trauma shatters any belief that we may have had about the safety of our world. After a traumatic event it is difficult to trust others and to trust the world. Recovering from trauma is largely about learning to believe in safety again (part of this is learning to identify what is safe and what is not safe).
One of the worst parts of trauma is coming into contact with our extreme helplessness - our lack of control over our lives. This is terrifying.
Often, but not always, we feel guilty about how we responded in the incident. We think “I should have ….”, “If only I ….”. Here the pathway to healing is self acceptance and self forgiveness.
There are many things we can learn about ourselves through trauma. Because it shatters our lives it creates the opportunity for us to recreate them. Through traumatic experience it is possible to break previous limitations. For instance patterns of behavior that are destructive to our relationships, or an attitude to life that is too suffocating or unstructured for our well being, and so on …