Knowing and understanding potential sources of trauma can be difficult to do based on what you see on the media. We are so accustomed to the constant stream of media filling our lives that we can forget to evaluate and question what we hear. This is as true of mental health as it is of any other topic.
What the Media Gets Wrong About Trauma
The media typically seeks big, dramatic stories. It’s competing in a very crowded market, so it has to do its best to keep people’s attention. As you know, it does this by looking for stories that are not everyday events. Rather, it looks for stories that stand out and seem unusual.
When you think of trauma, one of the first things you probably think of is combat veterans suffering from PTSD. Images of genocide may also come to mind. Physical or sexual assault is often portrayed in television dramas as well.
All of these are very real sources of trauma. But the media doesn’t spend much time portraying other types of trauma. It also rarely discusses how trauma can be addressed and healed.
Because of this, it’s important to examine trauma in more detail.
There Are Different Types of Trauma
As mentioned, you’ve probably heard a lot about trauma occurring from war and assault. But trauma occurs in many ways.
One of these ways can occur as a result of significant illness and medical procedures. Likewise, surviving a natural disaster can also create trauma. Chronic, unrelenting stress can be another source of trauma. Children who have all their physical needs met but whose parents are emotionally unavailable can also experience trauma. Enduring the death of a loved one can also be traumatic.
There Are Different Levels of Trauma
Trauma isn’t always a huge, all-encompassing disorder. As with all mental health issues, it falls along a spectrum. Where a person falls along this spectrum can be a result of a number of factors.
People Respond Differently to Trauma
Everyone responds differently to trauma. People with strong emotional resources may bounce back quickly from traumatic events, even those that are deeply wounding.
For others, trauma impacts them more forcefully and can lead to ongoing issues. This can include symptoms like anxiety, but may not be as debilitating as post-traumatic stress disorder.
And, unfortunately, trauma can cause some people’s lives to be completely changed. Their trauma does lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. They may live each day with anxiety and distressing, intrusive thoughts of the trauma, along with other symptoms like sleep disturbance and increased use of alcohol and other substances to soothe their distress.
Healing is Possible
You may feel completely trapped as a result of your trauma. Your life may have been taken over by flashbacks, irritability, fear and anxiety, and withdrawal from friends and family as a result of what you’ve suffered.
Or you may still be able to lead a normal life, but still experience some triggers as a result of your trauma. Perhaps you refuse to drive on the interstate after experiencing a car accident. While not all aspects of your life have been affected by trauma, some significant parts have been.
No matter where you fall along the continuum of trauma and its effects, it’s vital for you to know that healing is possible. Treatment options are available that help your brain reprocess and rewire itself.
It’s even possible to experience what’s called post-traumatic growth. You can build emotional resilience and come out even stronger and braver on the other side of trauma.