Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to share their knowledge and experience about trauma with me. It’s been very helpful and enlightened me in many ways. I’m very proud & excited to share with you that we will host our first trauma healing class for the kids this Saturday!
I’ve learned a lot about trauma over the last 3 weeks and I would like to share some of my findings. I hope that they will help my Gili family (and maybe even others) with dealing with their memories.
Recovering from trauma doesn’t mean forgetting your experience or not feeling any emotional pain when reminded of the event. Recovery means becoming less distressed and having more confidence in your ability to cope as time goes on. To help yourself recover, try some of the ideas below. Even if you don’t feel like doing these things, they might help you to come to terms with the trauma and reduce some of the distress associated with it.
How to recover from trauma
- Recognize that you have been through an extremely stressful event and it is normal to have an emotional reaction to it. Give yourself permission to feel rotten, but also remember your strengths. Even though it’s tough, you can deal with it.
- Avoid making major life decisions such as moving house or changing jobs in the days and weeks after the traumatic event. On the other hand, make as many smaller, daily decisions as possible, such as what you want to eat or what film you’d like to see. This can help you to feel more in control of your life.
- Look after yourself by getting plenty of rest (even if you can’t sleep) and regular exercise. Eat regular, well-balanced meals. Physical and mental health are closely linked, so taking care of one will help the other.
- Plan your days and try to schedule at least one enjoyable or meaningful activity each day. Try making a timetable for each day, including some exercise, some work, and some relaxation.
- Cut back on tea, coffee, chocolate, soft drink, and cigarettes. Your body is already ‘hyped up’ enough and these substances will only add to this.
- Make time for relaxation, whether it’s listening to music or having a hot shower – whatever works for you. It might be helpful to learn a relaxation technique like meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises.
- Get back to your normal routine as soon as possible, but take it easy. Don’t throw yourself into activities or work in an attempt to avoid painful thoughts or memories of the trauma. Tackle the things that need to be done a little bit at a time, and count each success.
- Try not to bottle up your feelings or block them out. Recurring thoughts, dreams and flashbacks are unpleasant, but they are normal, and will decrease with time.
- Spend time with people you care about, even if you don’t want to talk about your experience. Sometimes you will want to be alone, and that’s OK too, but try not to become too isolated.
- Talk about your feelings to someone who will understand, if you feel able to do so. Talking things through is part of the natural healing process and will help you to accept what has happened. As you start to feel better, you may even wish to provide support to others who have been through similar situations.
- Write about your feelings if you feel unable to talk about them.
I think there is a big scary truth about trauma; there is not such a thing as getting over it. There is no “going back to the old me”. I am different now, full stop. But I believe this is not a wholly negative thing. Healing from trauma can also mean finding new strength and joy. The goal of healing is not papering over or present things as normal. It is to acknowledge and wear your new life with warts, wisdom and all, with courage.
Sending everyone who is dealing with trauma strength, love and more love!
p.s. Please keep sending love & support. The best way to start the day is with messages full of love and encouragement. It gives us the strength to get out of bed every morning and to make the best out of each day with a smile on our face (and sometimes a few tears).