We are realizing today that many more people than were originally thought are struggling with the aftermath of significant trauma. This trauma may have been caused by a single-time event such as being the victim of a crime or in a serious car accident or even having a frightening medical procedure. Often, however, many are exposed to ongoing types of trauma. They may be the victims of ongoing abuse at the hands of others (often a family member or a spouse), whether sexual, physical, and/or emotional. Frequently, such abuse may have occurred in early childhood and is not clearly remembered, but the symptoms of being traumatized manifest sometime later.
Usually, two contradicting processes arise out of trauma: 1) an intensity of arousal, in which you may be hyper-vigilant, often looking over your shoulder, or being on high alert, and 2) an avoidance of any stimulus that may remotely remind you of the trauma. Along with these processes, understandably, you may feel ill at ease, restless, irritable, depressed, and anxious. You may wonder if you are too suspicious. Your relationships may suffer. You may self-medicate in any number of ways.
Therapy and analysis are two helpful ways to ease back into a state of felt peace or normalcy. It helps eventually to make sense out of your story in the presence of a compassionate and skilled other. You may also find a group of fellow travelers who have experienced something similar to be amazingly comforting. In addition to therapy and group support, you may be able to stop your self-medicating if you received something to help with the anxious, depressed, and other problematic feelings. We know that with the help of a nutritionist and a functional medicine professional that your diet and exercise may be adapted to enhance your sense of well-being. Likewise, your physician may prescribe an antidepressant and possibly an anti-anxiety medication for you to help you with the chronic and severe symptoms you may be experiencing.
What we know for sure is that life can and does get better once you are able to ask for the right kind of help.