Most reactions to trauma are normal and understandable. The potential to experience trauma is part of life and many of us aren’t prepared and never learned best ways to deal with devastating loss and pain.
I have experienced the trauma of unimaginable loss throughout my life and had these reactions.
Reactions to Trauma
• Negative Thoughts
• Bad Feelings
• Distraction Use
• Poor Self-care
Once I completed implementing my action plan to thrive after loss and thought I had overcome my challenges, I didn’t understand I was still having some traumatic reactions to normal situations. Those feelings were a part of my life for so long, they seemed normal, until they grew and stood out in my life otherwise filled with peace, joy, and love.
I told a counselor I had unusual anxiety and I wasn’t sure why. I said it didn’t make sense for my heart to be racing so fast as I rambled on about wanting it to stop. I panicked when I didn’t understand what caused my nervousness because I feared my torture would worsen or never end. I was worrying about worrying and didn’t want to lose my ability to live life in a way I had grown to cherish.
The counselor explained although I dealt with the trauma in my life, the memories would always be in my mind. She said it’s common for those who have gone through trauma to be hypervigilant and to catastrophize.
I had an “aha!” moment. That was exactly what I was doing! My enhanced state of trying to detect threats was exhausting, but with everything I went through it made sense I might wonder what terrible things would happen next. I unnecessarily believed some situations were far worse than they were. This huge shift in my thinking lead to some immediate serious healing.
Now that I understand the behaviors causing my anxiety, I watch out for them, acknowledge them, and choose to respond in a better way. Instead of accelerating my negative behaviors and physical pain, I reduced them by recognizing what’s happening. It’s understandable I have a tendency towards being hypervigilant and catastrophizing, but I no longer worry about it. I visualize myself not having the issue.
If you are having strong negative feelings that don’t make sense, there is probably a reason. Seek professional help to recognize the root cause of your pain so you can get on with creating your best life after trauma.