TIP: The need for resources is essential to help individuals process their experience in a healthy way and to regain hope through secure and safe emotional connections.
There are a few things you need to know about trauma.
As I mentioned earlier people may be at risk of developing anxiety or depression after experiencing a traumatic event. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines trauma as “a person’s emotional response to an extremely negative (disturbing) event that someone has been exposed to.”
According to DSM, exposure to elements that cause traumatic events must result from one or more of the following situations, in which the individual:
Directly experiences the traumatic event.
Witnesses the traumatic event in person.
Learns that the traumatic event occurred to a close family member or close friend (with the actual or threatened death being either violent or accidental).
Experiences first-hand, repeated, or extreme exposure to aversive (unpleasant) details of the traumatic event (does not learn about it through media, pictures, television, or movies, except for work-related events) Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
People respond to traumatic events in different ways. What this means, is that we are all affected by trauma differently. Even when two people, for example, have experienced similar situations, each one of them will come out impacted differently.
How Do You Overcome and Arise Above Depression and Trauma?
Don’t stay isolated. Stay connected with people you trust and share (even on the phone) your story with them. We heal by telling our stories.
Seek out emotional support and socialize (even on the phone) with friends and family members.
Learn strategies for making social connections so that you can get involved in social activities and hobbies of your liking.
Learn ways to manage stress, such as meditation and mindfulness. We have posted several articles related to managing stress and more on our website: Africanresourecescenter.net
Guard your sleep; make sure you are sleeping enough. Stick to a regular schedule and make healthy lifestyle choices, including nutritionally healthy meals to help promote better mental health and recovery.
When it comes to making major decisions in life like changing jobs or relocating, it’s important to delay them until your depression symptoms improve.
Avoid too much caffeine or alcohol so as not to interfere with your sleep, in order to allow your mind to recover and heal.
Avoid known stressors when you are coping with a tough situation, or after a stressful event.
Let’s be our brother’s keeper and check on each other and allow ourselves to be a bridge that others can use to find help and support. I know it’s tough trying to help when a person doesn’t want to talk about how they feel or what happened. It can be hard to keep making the effort to get the person to respond, especially if you feel you’re being pushed away. But you’re in a good place to help when you:
» Understand the definition of depression or traumatic event.
» Can identify some of the signs and symptoms.
» Are willing to keep offering help even if it’s not accepted at first.
Remember, your caring supportive attitude to those struggling with depression or after a traumatic event may make a big difference in how well and how fast the traumatized person recovers. If you do this, then my writing of this article will not be in vain.
Those who are leaders in our community know we are doing all we can to address the issue of suicide. I ask that we find more creative ways to become strong allies in helping each other find resources and share them with those in our sphere of influence who need help. It’s in that spirit that I request your help to share this article far and wide. I’m optimistic that our efforts in sharing of resources will contribute to improving health outcomes for all who apply what is shared and learned.
As a coach, when working with my students through the process of finding their purpose in life, this is what I tell them: what you choose to not deal with will ultimately become the governor of your life (consciously or unconsciously) and mostly in a destructive way. This is the reason you see people doing things which for the most part, they don’t know why they do them – addiction, destructive lifestyles, inappropriate relationships, risky behaviors, and others of similar kind. This is the nature of unresolved trauma, which includes dealing with past loss and grief, aftermath of war and violence (domestic abuse), and childhood abuse. All these are capable of producing destructive behaviors in one’s life.
The Body Keeps the Score
Perhaps you have heard about the saying, “the body keeps the score,” made famous by Bessel Van Der Kolk, a leading trauma specialist in 2014. He made that saying famous through his work, research and sharing with the world about the impact of trauma on the body and mind. Now, if the body- mind keep scores of everything that has happened to a person (traumatic experiences), when the deep emotional hurts (caused by traumatic events) go unaddressed, they start finding ways to come out and most of the time; they do it in unhealthy ways.
Many people keep the feelings and experiences that are eating them from inside locked up. They do not share with a trusted person, in order to get the feelings out. As we noted earlier, we heal by telling our stories.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help
We all need a little help to deal with life events that cause us stress. Many effective treatments are available for depression. So don’t try to tough it out on your own; the outcome could be perilous.
Remember, without treatment, depression is unlikely to go away for some people, and it may get worse. Evidence-based research shows that untreated depression can make you and the people close to you miserable. It can cause problems in every aspect of your life, including your health, career, relationships, your personal safety and that of others.
I want you to know:
If you find yourself thinking how you may hurt yourself or having thoughts of attempting suicide, get help right now!
Here in America, Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
Call a suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use its webchat on suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat and speak to someone.
Talk to a friend, a family member, a local pastor, a spiritual leader or a faith person in your community. This is important no matter how hard it may be to talk about your feelings.
It’s a sign of strength to ask for advice or seek help when you need it.
Upon reading this article, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
About the Author
Joe’s mission is to help others become conscious of their entrapment and empower them so they can find freedom and joy in life. He is passionate about helping people cope and grow through their experiences in life-changing circumstances.