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How can I overcome trauma?

After some painful events, this letter writer is looking for someone to talk to but she can’t afford therapy.

Our elder has some suggestions on how to learn to trust herself.

 

Dear EWC

How can I overcome trauma? What are the steps I can take? I have been through a series of horrible events that left me feeling scared of the world, people, work, and myself. Plus, I’m so lonely even though I have people around me, but they don’t understand I’ve been suffering mentally for almost three years and my friends are either treating me that I’m crazy or they’re pretending that I’m exaggerating and nothing happened to me at all. I’m in need to talk and talking to a therapist is not an option for me due to what I’m going through financially. The question that keeps me awake all night is: How can I move on and trust people again after all that happened to me? I’m trying to build some healthy habits now but I don’t know what else to do!

 

PJC replies

I’m very sorry to read that you have been through some horrible events and are suffering from the trauma now. I know you can’t afford a therapist. Usually, traumatic events really do require professional help – someone highly skilled with training to guide you through the rough parts. But, since that’s not an option, perhaps one or more of my suggestions will help.

If you live near a university that trains therapists, then you can look into whether those therapists in training offer services to people in need. Student therapists are closely monitored by their teachers and, because they are not yet certified, they may offer their services for free or at greatly reduced prices.

A pastor, priest, or religious leader may be available for counseling, so if you belong to a religious/spiritual group that you believe is trustworthy, then that may be a good avenue to explore. Often being able to trust in God (or whatever positive force you believe in that is bigger than you) is helpful in releasing fear and moving forward into a hopeful future, regardless of past trauma. You can attend (on-line) a number or church services to see if there are any that resonate with you.

Youtube is a wonderful resource. My guess is that you may be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you go on Youtube and search around that subject, you may be able to discover whether you do have that problem. If so, there may be some help offered that you find useful. 

Also, on Youtube you can find “Tapping”, the Emotional Freedom Technique and they will probably have some educational experiences that can help you learn how to tap. They may also have tapping exercises and scripts devoted to PTSD. I recommend Gary Craig as a good leader in this field.

Perhaps you can find a book by Frank Lawlis, The PTSD Breakthrough: The Revolutionary, Science-Based Compass RESET Program. (Dr Lawlis is often on D. Phil.) It’s available on Abebooks.com for a very affordable price, and I believe that they do mail books internationally. You could also ask at your library if the book is available. Or perhaps there is a place for you to find used books in your country.

Also available on YouTube are videos on gentle yoga and also meditation. If you specify PTSD, then you may be able to find experiences that are specifically catered to those with that need. Deep relaxation exercises in the safety of your home are especially valuable to someone with your experiences.

I approve of your question (although I’m sorry that it keeps you up at night): “How can I move on and trust people again after all that happened to me?” The answer that I found for myself, after undergoing trauma and spending a number of years recovering from it, is that I learned to trust myself. I learned to trust in my own wisdom, insight, intuition, strength, courage, resilience – and having, in time and with practice and with patience, learned to trust myself, then I knew that I would do my best to keep myself safe and, if for some reason that was impossible, then I believed in my ability to recover. Again. And when I first ventured forward, I did have a disturbing experience, but it was mild in comparison to what I had endured, and I was able to recover quickly. As I became more and more mentally healthy and positive in a real and profound way, then my experiences began to match my mental health. And part of my process was to “think through” safe escapes as indicated.

But I want you to please go slowly in learning how to trust yourself, making small, incremental changes. If you feel able, I invite you to take a fresh look at those horrible events, with an eye towards discovering how you can protect yourself should these events or something like them occur in the future. Look at your options – was there anything (other than staying home, although sometimes staying home is the right answer) you could have done that would have changed the outcome of those events?  Are there questions you could have asked, changes in plans you could have made, clues you could have gleaned, intuition that you had?

I’m not saying that you are responsible for the bad things that happened to you. You are not. I am saying that you are responsible to learn whatever empowering life lessons you can from those experiences.

Thank you for writing to us. I hope you will write again if you think we (or I) can be of further help. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers so that you can learn to trust yourself and so that you can be safe in the world and find peace and happiness. It’s not easy, but I believe you and I believe in you; I know you can do this. I am trusting you to learn how to effectively learn to trust yourself.

Article #: 479234

Category: Self-Improvement

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