Childhood Trauma – Getting Help.

 

Getting help; why wouldn’t you?

 

People who have experienced trauma may also struggle with getting help. One of the most common outcomes of trauma is avoidance. One because you may not even be aware that something from the past can influence you and your health that much; trauma has the characteristic to tuck itself away. And two, when you are aware, you’re not really keen on dragging the past up. You know it’s there and you want to live your life today.

 

“Some people may be in denial about the role past trauma is playing in their life. I would say that a lot of people are unaware of how trauma is affecting them. One of the hallmarks of trauma is the fact that people often use defense mechanisms to protect themselves from stress. Denial is one of those, as is trying to normalize past problems. People may say things like, ‘oh, everybody I know got hit as a child”[1].

 

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Getting help: why, how and where?

 

If you suspect that past trauma is affecting your life, there is help. This is a treatable problem. Treatable in a way that the trauma can ‘change’, your views on it can change. You can become more aware of what is happening in your life. I don’t know if it is ‘treatable’ in way that it will magically disappear someday, I can’t promise you that.

 

Taking steps to address the problem may also help others in your life. Very often people who have experienced trauma pass problems on to others in their family through a process called observational learning. So, helping yourself may help those around you.

 

 

If you want to address trauma, consider the following steps:

 

Work with a therapist. A trained therapist can help you reframe what happened to you and help you move past it and support you.  Treatment may also include medication to address any mental health disorders you are experiencing. I go to drama therapy myself where I learned to work with my Inner Child to address the trauma from my past. I found it a gentle way of bringing those memories and feelings to the present moment. I understand that is not for everybody. You need to find therapy that works for you. You need to feel comfortable with the methodology used. It isn’t always easy to find a good fit but when it works it is really worth the trouble. If you are interested in working with the Inner Child, I’ve written the following posts on it: The Inner Child and Peter Pan. and Why connecting with mini-me is not a bad idea.

Self-Care. There are numerous lifestyle measures that can help you reduce stress and anxiety. These include yoga, tai chi, and meditation. Regular exercise can also help you manage stress and other symptoms. I’ve written a Self-Care guide for low days because going to the gym isn’t going to work for everybody. (Well, I don’t like it, that’s that.)

 

Reach out to others. Research has shown that maintaining strong social ties with friends and family members is crucial to good mental health.

 

When you’re depressed it is hard to do all these things. You need to find a starting point like therapy, talk-therapy or medication. A combination of those is said to be the most effective. Later on, when you feel a bit better, you can implement the other strategies.

 

To get more information about trauma and PTSD or to find treatment resources, here are three  good websites from leading professional organizations:

The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. 

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

The National Center for PTSD.

 

 

If you want to read more posts in this series about childhood trauma, I’ll leave with these links:

Childhood Trauma – What is trauma?

Childhood Trauma – The ACE-Study.

Childhood Trauma – Health Conditions.

 

You can take the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire if you are interested to learn your score.

 

 

References.

[1] Online article. Past trauma may haunt your future health. Harvard Health.

Picture credits click here.

18 thoughts on “Childhood Trauma – Getting Help.

  1. Terrific article Kacha. Well thought out, researched and written.

    Yes, you hit the nail on the head about why wouldn’t you get help? And you’re right, there are many reasons why we don’t tell i.e. fear of upsetting the apple cart, fear of hurting someone’s feelings, fear of the unknown like will I be believed? Denial is a big one, hoping it will just go away and stay there — but I don’t think it ever leaves you.

    It can take years to seek help — sometimes, cos you didn’t even know you needed it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel so too. The fear of upsetting the surroundings, other family members, the hierarchy that is installed. You’re actually told that what you feel isn’t right nor the truth. It is the tactic in itself. When you’re isolated it becomes even more difficult. I guess that is why it is important to write, to reach out and to speak up eventually.
      Finding understanding and support, even from ‘strangers’ makes you stronger and more sane.
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, it’s heartwarming ❤

      Like

  2. Very informative post Kacha! Childhood trauma is something I’m working through and it is very difficult. Until I went to therapy I was completely oblivious to trauma and codependency. If I was in the same place I was 4 years ago, I would still be trapped in abusive relationships, and a people pleaser.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Jo 🙂 It takes time, patience, insight, guidance, love …. it takes a lot to ‘repair’ what was done. But the rewards are there too.
      It great to read that you are doing the best for you and your daughters by addressing the issues. We’ll keep each other posted 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for this post :). I suffered quite a lot of childhood trauma through interactions with close family members. It was all brought back up again in 2015 and also 2018, when I had to stay with my older brother/parents for a long amount of time, due to physical and mental health issues. The same childhood conflicts and prejudices came back up, and eventually my parents and brother locked me out of their houses, making me homeless. I lived for most of last year in my car, and I suffered a lot more traumatic experiences.

    It’s all just piled up and I haven’t had therapy for any of it yet. I’ve got stable accommodation now, but i’m still very socially isolated and feelings of anger keep coming back up. I’ve cut off contact with those close family members to remove those negative interactions. But losing my family is a huge trauma in itself. Not that they were ever there for me emotionally, but it still has an impact.

    Anyways, I think your post has helped me to have more forgiveness for myself, because I keep having feelings of self-doubt, worthlessness, OCD symptoms and rumination. The best thing for me is to stay busy, focus on the present and keep trying to expand my social network :).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad the post helpt you a little. It is not a light matter in itself. Reliving the past and losing your family sounds like a real struggle to me. I think it’s good what you’re doing because we all try to get by no? Staying busy, focusing on the present and enjoying your social network are good steps. Thank you for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you very much 🙂. Yes, thanks for the encouragement— you’re right, I think these are pretty good generic steps, for life in general but particularly during difficult times.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I wonder if another motivation for avoiding even admitting the experience of childhood trauma could be fear of the lingering stigma or pity that can follow trauma survivors. That’s one area where the larger society might be able to step in, by encouraging people to normalize recovery, not trauma. There’s so many internal reasons to avoid that these survivors have to overcome, it would be nice if their community could support them in one way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree for the 100%. I think by sharing the stories of people who are recovering, they can send a powerful message to society. The focus on recovery makes it more easy to digest.
      Once you’ve come out as a trauma victim there are a lot of reactions possible. People tend to shy away or just to run away (I’ve had that happen once!). They look at you as if you’re ‘stained’ or they don’t believe you (It can’t be that bad). Sometimes you can be perceived as ‘broken’ and not ‘on a journey to glue those pieces together’.
      I think that reactions like yours can really help people, a reaction of acceptance and one of understanding. Sometimes it takes one reaction to make the difference.
      The first step is to admitting to yourself that something is different, avoidance, the abusive system itself and loyalty to the abuser can make that difficult. It takes time, rest and clarity to heal.

      Liked by 1 person

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