Is the process of putting trauma behind you too modest?

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This is a very serious question. It seems as though some people prefer very complex and mystical solutions to dealing with traumatic experiences. It appears as though they what to attempt all kinds of treatment and therapy. As long as someone else makes them feel better and they have to do as little as possible. Yes, true quick fixes are preferable, on the one side. On the other hand, others seem to want to stay in therapy as long as possible, because the longer stay in therapy shows that you had a really big, traumatic experience.

In reality, trauma is part of life. Traumatic things can happen anywhere, at any time. People, all over the world, are confronted with bad experiences daily. In this light you might argue that trauma scars people for life. Popular media seem to promote the idea that everyone who experiences any traumatic event will immediately develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It is a total misconception that everyone who experiences trauma will inevitably and inescapable suffer from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). People are not totally vulnerable and helpless. Most people who face potentially traumatic events are relatively resilient and resourceful enough to grow beyond traumatic adversity.

On the other hand, if people are constantly told they are vulnerable and helpless, they will be conditioned to be helpless and hopeless. These myths become self-fulfilling prophecies.

The reality is that trauma is not a disease to be healed by a doctor. Therapists, counsellors and supporters can play a role in assisting to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Reaction, but in due course people must be able to take responsibility for their own recovery. They have to find the meaning they choose to give to their experience.

Over the years we found that people can manage stressors, be resilient and function on high emotional, cognitive and physical levels after adversities, tragedies, misfortunes and disasters. Some people might need a little bit of help, support and counselling. A very small number of people can develop PTSD, but the good news is that there is also help available for people in these cases.

Distress, confusion and disorientation are common after a traumatic event, but how do you know when to ask for help? If you answer 'yes' on two or more of these statements, consider seeking advice from a professional:

• I have no one to share my feelings with, but would like to talk to someone.

• I feel numb and empty.

• I feel overwhelmed and as if I can't handle my emotions and bodily sensation.

• I constantly feel stressed, tense, confused and exhausted.

• I have unpleasant sensations in my body.

• I keep busy or work to stop me from focusing on how I am feeling.

• I want to sidestep and avoid thoughts, places, people, and activities who remind me of the traumatic event or situation.

• I sleep badly and have nightmares.

• I am using medication or/and drugs that is not prescribed by my physician or in excess of the prescribed dosage.

• My relationships are suffering since the incident.

• My work performance has suffered.

• I find it hard to concentrate.

• I experience sexual difficulties that I didn't have before.

• I have lost hope for improvement in my life's situation and I have no hope for the future.

• I lost faith and I am angry at God.

I trust that this will give you some guidelines and will assist you and that you will take the first step to get help, if and when you need it.

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