Trauma is one of the most devastating events for the human brain and body. In addition to working through the effects on themselves, trauma survivors often (and sadly) feel pressure from those around them to “get over” the effects of their trauma. This pressure can lead to increased feelings of failure, depression, hopelessness, and despair. Further, the continued invalidation of the trauma reinforces the impression that the survivor can’t trust themselves or their feelings, deepening the damage that has already been done.
Unfortunately, as an Atlanta trauma therapist, I encounter this regularly. Hearing the accounts of the survivors in my office has led me to share some information about trauma. I hope it will help validate the experience of the traumatized and inform anyone who has expectations of them.
You Aren’t Choosing This
You didn’t choose to be traumatized, and you can’t choose to stop. You aren’t choosing to be triggered, to have flashbacks of the trauma, or to believe negative things about yourself and the world around you.
When you live through a trauma, your brain becomes conditioned to associate everything that it associates with the trauma as a current event. This is why a particular song, smell, or wall hanging (just to name a few) might lead to extreme anxiety and fear.
You don’t have control over it. If there was a button you could push to not feel this way, you would push that button. Your trauma responses are not your fault.
Trauma Take Time to Heal
You did not choose to be traumatized. And if you choose to work with an Atlanta trauma therapist, healing will still take time. You are not required to “get over it” or “get better” in any specific amount of days or months or years. Healing from trauma is a gradual process where you see progress over time and at different stages.
Trauma changes the brain. Changing the disruptions caused by trauma will occur over time. You also don’t owe it to anyone to heal on anyone else’s time.
You Are Only Responsible For You
You are not responsible for making anyone else feel more “comfortable” about your trauma. If anyone has a reaction to your trauma response, that is for them to work out and deal with.
An Atlanta trauma therapist can help support you as you work on learning to let go of anyone else’s expectations. You’ve already carried enough. You can give yourself permission to focus on your own healing for you.
It can be difficult to navigate the expectations and feelings of others. But no one else gets to assert their opinion about how quickly you heal. Thinking about the healing process of trauma can feel overwhelming. Our Atlanta trauma therapists know this and meet you where you’re at, with compassion and evidence-based strategies and tools to help you overcome the painful effects of your trauma.
You deserve to heal. If you need help, please reach out to set an appointment today.