Staying mentally healthy after trauma takes time and patience. People who go through a traumatic event may deal with it in different ways, but it is important to know that recovery will take time and strong emotions are normal.
Common Emotions Right after Trauma
According to the American Psychological Association (APA) it is common for people to feel both denial and shock after trauma. The APA notes that other normal emotions after a traumatic event may include the following:
- Strong feelings of anxiousness, nervousness or irritability
- Altered thoughts and behaviors that include intense memories or flashbacks
- Recurring emotions brought on by event anniversaries
- Challenging relationships with family and friends often triggered by being stressed or withdrawn
- Physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea and chest pain
Recovering after Trauma
It may not be easy to quickly recover from trauma. Natural disasters and violent experiences are especially traumatic and may lead to serious reactions such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which includes symptoms such as withdrawal and obsessive thoughts about the traumatic event.
Experiencing Healthy Emotions after Trauma
There are several techniques that can restore a healthy mental state after trauma. These techniques include the following:
- Don’t expect to feel normal immediately
- Embrace sad or frightened emotions, and know they are part of the healing process
- Reach out to friends and family members who are good listeners and can understand painful emotions
- Express feelings by talking with friends, writing a blog about the event or keeping a diary
- Meet with a support group that provides plenty of opportunities to talk and think about the events and your reactions
- Seek professional therapy
- Maintain a normal routine and remember to eat healthy foods and get enough sleep
Knowing When to Find Help after Trauma
While individuals need time to cope with trauma, they also need outside help. If memories of the event are interfering with daily life or raw emotions from the trauma are prompting conflict with family members and friends, it’s time to reach out to recovery professionals. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs common problems that occur after trauma include the following:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Aggressive behavior
Effective treatment programs are available, and they offer hope and positivity for the future.