You’re having nightmares. Waking up feeling as though the nightmare is still happening. You know the feeling. Your heart is racing and there’s a pit deep in your stomach. And, it takes a few moments, even hours, to reorient to the present moment. During the day, you now feel disconnected from people. numb or completely overwhelmed. More often than not, you’re anxious and even angry.
A traumatic event can leave you feeling “different” from others. You may even feel like you’re now “damaged”. Now, you’re constantly on high alert, looking for danger around every corner. Plagued by worst-case scenarios and fear of terrible things happening again. These scary, intrusive thoughts are now in the driver’s seat of your life and you don’t know what to do next.
Denial, memory loss or unexplained gaps in time (repression)
Addiction or other problematic behaviors
Hyperarousal and/or risky sexual practices
Irritability, fear, and paranoia
Guilt, shame, and blame
Why am I so affected by this traumatic experience?
There are many factors that impact your response to an unexpected incident. Your childhood experiences, past life events, social support, personal values, and more. It doesn’t matter exactly what has happened. And, there’s no sense in comparing your trauma to another person. Whether you are experiencing death and grief, generational trauma, divorce, child sexual abuse, or something else, your trauma is real. You are reacting exactly as you need to in order to get through this moment.
You can do everything “right” and bad things can still happen.
This is difficult, but oh-so-necessary to understand. To believe. Deep in your bones. Whether it’s an illness, car accident, medical trauma, sports injury, birth trauma, or sexual assault. Blaming yourself doesn’t help.
The Collective Trauma of COVID, or Coronavirus
Right now, we are seeing everyone in the world experiencing a collective trauma. COVID 19 has brought the global community into a new reality. Our medical centers are overwhelmed and healthcare staff members are experiencing vicarious trauma like we’ve not seen in modern history. Schools are closed. Jobs have been lost. People are dying. We cannot even be there for each other in the ways we know best. Our churches, mosques, temples, and community centers are even stifled from providing healing for our spirits.
The COVID pandemic has been particularly devastating due to factors like:
Suddenness of death
A multitude of losses
Lack of in-person institutional support
Uncertainty, unpredictability, and lack of control is a breeding ground for trauma. It’s not surprising so many of us are struggling.
Traumatic Reactions to Food Allergies and Health Anxiety as Trauma
At Brave Minds, one of the topics we specialize in is food allergies and health anxiety related to these complex issues. Even though, logically, we know that the risk of death is statistically very low after an anaphylactic reaction, it is still one of the greatest fears. And, when our child or loved one, or even we ourselves, experience a life-threatening medical event, we are left traumatized. This is understandable and normal. So, we have a number of blog posts about food allergies, including one about reducing the trauma of an anaphylactic reaction.
The Trauma of Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss
The loss of a pregnancy, infant, or child is a trauma. One that not many people are comfortable talking about. Quite frankly, most people just don’t know what to say. This experience can trigger PTSD just like any other type of trauma and can feel extremely isolating. You might be curious about relating to yourself and your partner during this time of grief and loss. We have a number of relevant blog posts for dealing with miscarriage and pregnancy loss:
“Helplessness and isolation are the core experiences of psychological trauma. Empowerment and reconnection are the core experiences of recovery.” ~Judith Herman
Trauma Therapy and PTSD Treatment Can Reintroduce Safety, Peace, and Joy Into Your Life
Trauma therapy doesn’t have to be a scary, unknown thing. Together, we can work to repair the safety, trust, and security that has been compromised. Your safety is our main focus and priority. We can work through your symptoms, toward increased self-compassion, resilience, and connection.
Because everyone processes trauma differently, our approach is completely tailored to you. We want to address your needs and therapy goals in a way that makes sense. First, you’ll know you are in a safe, confidential, and compassionate environment. Then, you can learn effective coping strategies to have more control over your emotions. We use a variety of methods that work including deep breathing, grounding exercises, and mindfulness.
Some additional approaches that we might use in trauma treatment include:
We want to restore your system to a calm state that feels grounded, safe, and connected to others and the world around you.
In trauma therapy at Brave Minds, we guide you through 3 processes of PTSD treatment.
Learn to calm your body’s physiological responses to the traumatic event. You’ll learn relaxation skills, mindfulness, and meditation skills. Then, develop ways to identify and communicate emotions using visualizations and grounding exercises.
Processing the Trauma
Unprocessed trauma can get stuck in the mind in it’s raw and emotionally intense form. The brain brings it up, again and again, to try to understand what has happened. But, then the brain becomes overwhelmed. Or, the trauma might be pushed down and come out as physical ailments. This can include hypertension, headaches, chronic pain, skin issues, and more. So, it is important to process the experience, and understand what has happened. This helps the memory settle into the past as opposed to being relived in the present.
Reconnecting with others and truly living your life
This is the moving forward stage. Fully engaging in life. Not letting the traumatic experience take over or steer the direction of your life.
You may still have questions or concerns about trauma therapy or PTSD treatment…we understand.
Am I going to have to talk about what has happened? I just want to move on.
Trauma can be processed in many ways, one of which is talking about it. If and when this is part of your process, your trauma therapist will work with you to do so safely. Our number one goal when working with trauma survivors is to create a sense of safety in the therapy environment. We aim to equip you with tools for emotional regulation, so you’re no longer consumed by intense feelings. We’re available to walk with you, every step of the way until you’re able to bring the safety we establish in therapy out into your world.
Children are resilient. My child will justeventually get over it, won’t they?
Children are resilient when they have the tools to recover. And, we know that the children who have great coping skills will heal more completely than others. There are many potential benefits of trauma therapy. After opening up to a professional in PTSD treatment, your child can be free to live life without trauma controlling their actions. They will be able to form and maintain healthier relationships. Have fewer physical health problems. To live their life feeling more confident and calm throughout each day.
Shouldn’t I be over this?
Everyone copes with trauma in their own unique way. And, healing from trauma is not linear. Troubling memories, sensations, and emotions tend to revisit individuals throughout their lives. This may include major life transitions and even celebrations. We don’t get to choose when and how our body brings these feelings up, but we can deal with them head-on. In trauma therapy, you will gain tools to process and manage unwanted memories, emotions, behaviors, and more. You’ll also develop a new understanding of your unique experience. This prepares you to lessen, and even overcome, troubling sensations, now and in the future.
Our New Jersey Trauma Therapists Are Here For You
At Brave Minds, we’ve been working with trauma survivors for over a decade. With the guidance and support of an experienced trauma therapist, it’s possible to reconnect with your world. You can excel in your career, in spite of the vicarious trauma you’ve experienced. You can finally feel more in control of your body. Able to calm yourself when you get triggered. You’ll feel more empowered and able to speak about your experience with trauma. Finally, you’ll be able to understand what has happened. Trauma doesn’t have to determine the direction of the rest of your life. You deserve to experience the love people have for you and be free from what happened. You deserve to realize your limitless potential.
Begin Trauma Therapy or PTSD Treatment in Scotch Plains, NJ
Your trauma does not define you. Life can be brighter and more hopeful, with trauma therapy at Brave Minds Psychological Services. Our trained and caring therapists at our offices in Scotch Plains are waiting to give you the best trauma therapy available. If you’d prefer to meet with a counselor via video session, we can offer online therapy in New Jersey. To begin counseling, follow a few simple steps: