How to Overcome Trauma – Breaking the Shackles was written on 06.01.21 finished on 01.07.21 and posted on 16.03.22
As some people may know I was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder / Aspergers and this whole process of “labelling” and self-identification is what hurled me further through a process of self-discovery and evolution.
Having to analyse all of my behaviours in a series of tests, and question my actions, really gave me a new perspective on my personality. I started to learn about myself in far more depth and identified repeating issues in my life.
It was a long process and I felt myself, and the protective barriers that I had created around myself, unravelling and realisation after realisation hit me like a ton of bricks.
The Fear of Labels
People are so afraid of labels, to be categorised, and to be told there is something, “wrong”, with them. The simple fact of the matter is that we are all a work in progress. We are all wonderfully flawed and struggle with different aspects of life.
Labels are not important but what is important is the ability to understand yourself intimately, and recognise “symptoms” or behavioural patterns that have been causing you issues.
Once you identify the issues that you have, at a granular level, you can start to then search for the roots of these issues. The four main categories that seem to be recurring themes are:
- Sleep hygiene
The manifestation of physical symptoms such as stress, anxiety, depression, often has roots within the realms of sleep and diet. If you consume a lot of caffeine, sugar, nicotine, alcohol, drugs then expect to be stressed, anxious and depressed.
Dealing With Trauma
We have all suffered some level of trauma, which we must learn to deal with and accept. We often downplay our own trauma and the experiences of others because trauma is a word with such extreme connotations.
It conjures up an idea of atrocities of the worst kind, when in reality a traumatic experience is anything that has left a negative imprint on our body and brains. The severity of these events is not comparable between two people as we are all different and handle emotions differently.
These traumatic events, if left unmanaged and unexplored, can cause parts of our personality to break away or switch off and they can cause us to build protective emotional barriers which hide our authentic selves.
Examples of Common Traumas
- Break up of a relationship
- Bullying (being bullied and bullying)
- Loss of loved one (including pet)
- Drug / alcohol abuse
- Verbal or emotional abuse – (can be at home, school, or workplace)
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Being neglected as a child
- Breakdown of the relationship with parent or caregiver
- Spiritual or religious abuse (Brainwashing, conversion therapy, refusal to treat illness, being forced to follow certain doctrines)
- Living in an abusive environment (with family, friends or partners)
- Car accident
- Being involved in a violent attack or witnessing violence on the street.
The list goes on but these are some of the most typical forms of trauma that a lot of people don´t realise have had such an impact on their wellbeing.
Have you experienced any of these traumas that you feel you may have repressed or brushed aside as not important?
How To Overcome Trauma
There are many different techniques to overcome trauma, and the main thing to remember is that it takes time – and there is no rush. Broken bones can heal quicker than broken hearts or minds.
The level of trauma that people experience differs and so some people may be in need of professional help. In my experience it has always been useful to speak with mental health professionals. You have the opportunity to offload to someone who won´t be judging you and has no bias towards what you are saying. It is their role to guide you through your journey and help you reach your own conclusions.
A very nice acronym for the stages of overcoming trauma, (or any issue), that I learned about recently is RAIN
RECOGNISE the trauma / issue
ACCEPT / ACKNOWLEDGE that this trauma is having a negative impact on your life and causing you problems
INVESTIGATE how this is affecting you and manifesting itself in your behaviours
NON-IDENTIFY – understand that this is not who you are and that this trauma does not define you. Your authentic self is separate from all these issues.
Remember that the key here is time. Wounds take time to heal and there is no hurry. Once you start the healing journey its a long ongoing process. You will start learning how to overcome trauma in a way that works for you.
You will find that once you start to understand the roots of your behaviour and suffering, and make peace with who you are and where you have come from, then weight starts lifting from your shoulders and you start to gain a new perspective on life. I am not saying this is easy. Making peace with yourself is hard and can be very painful but the less energy you spend running from yourself, the more energy you have to live your life.
Emotional intelligence is something that is often overlooked when we are trying to grow as a person. We focus on education, career, knowledge, money, power but we lose sight of one of the most important factors of our lives – knowing ourselves, knowing others, and knowing how to manage our emotions.
In order to truly know ourselves we have to open ourselves up to the harsh reality that we are not perfect, we don’t have perfect self-esteem, we sometimes lack confidence, and we often portray a different version of ourselves to the world to that which we reveal to ourselves – see Removing Three Masks to read more about the theory of 3 masks.
Fear of Seeking Help
People are so terrified of speaking to Therapists, Psychologists, Mystics, Psychics etc. because they do not want to be labelled as crazy. However, people overlook the fact that we are all crazy in our own way. We all have irrational thoughts and urges. A lot of us exhibit self-sabotaging behaviour and repeated toxic patterns.
Learning to recognise and control these damaging behaviours is part of growing up and mastering the brain.
We read about mental health issues being on the rise, but is this is entirely true? Is mental illness a new concept, or are people just becoming more conscious of the fact that mental health problems exist?
Now, being, “mentally unwell”, also has a quite extreme connotation attached to it. But why is this?
If a colleague at work is physically unwell and has a bit of time off work this is accepted as normal – for obvious reasons. We are humans and there is a whole host of problems that can affect one of our many organs. It is easy to accept that you are physically unwell, seek help and explain your problems to someone.
So why is this so difficult with mental health?
Why do people struggle to face up to the fact that they have issues which are holding them back from achieving their full potential? We are taught how to overcome physical trauma and injury but not mental or emotional trauma.
Any repressed emotions, traumas, and experiences that we bury in the subconscious will manifest themselves either through illness and disease or through toxic behaviours in life. They will zap our energy and leave us operating at a fraction of what we are capable of.
Expression not Repression
We divert so much of our energy to repression instead of expression and we learn to just mask our problems and pretend that everything is fine. We settle for mediocrity and a life that doesn’t satisfy us because we cannot heal the wounds that are stopping us from progressing.
Once we begin to analyse ourselves, recognise our repeating behaviours, notice our triggers, and re-live previous experiences and emotions that have caused us pain, we begin to truly open up and experience what it is like to be ourselves.
Once we let go of the masks that we wear to portray ourselves in a certain way to the world, in order to try and conform with our surroundings, we begin to feel a sense of freedom.
To escape the mundanity and insanity of life we can release our inner creativity and authenticity.
Now, more than ever, it is of utmost importance to connect with what makes us human. So many of us live our lives with our heads down, eyes and ears switched off. Learning how to overcome past trauma is a crucial. We must develop our consciousness in order to thrive in a world which will soon be populated with robots.
Express Your Authentic Self
I challenge everyone reading this to do something different today that expresses your true personality. Here are a few simple examples:
- Write yourself a letter and post it to yourself – (or a letter to someone else)
- Buy yourself a gift that makes you laugh
- Draw something
- Create something
- Make someone laugh by doing something that you find funny.
We could all find more time to spend alone reconnecting with ourselves.
Don’t be afraid to break the shackles of mundanity.
Any comments, questions, suggestions or criticisms, please get in contact via one of the social media methods below!
Looking for Free and Confidential Support?
Mad Millennials is a UK based peer support network offering free and confidential sessions with trained volunteers. The sessions are very informal and loosely follow a theme each month – which you can find on the Instagram pages. It is an opportunity for people to talk with other people who are often experiencing similar issues and talk openly in a non-judgemental way. There is no obligation to participate or even talk if you don´t want to.
If you follow the link below you will see a page with more information and if you click on MMM Peer support groups you will be able to contact any of the groups and join a session. If you are unsure which group to join then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org