As a society, we experienced a lot of traumas throughout the recent years. We lived through a pandemic, social justice reform due to traumatic events, and unfortunately, many mass shootings. The past Monday, February 13th, 2023, there was an active shooter on Michigan State University’s campus. As Michiganders, this has made an impact on our communities, especially because the Oxford High School shooting happened a short 14 months ago. During these tough times, it’s important to lean on each other and be resilient. Trauma is a difficult thing to work through, but you are never alone. In this blog you’ll find tips, resources, and education on how to help yourself, your children, or anyone else working through trauma.
There is “No Normal” Way to Respond to Trauma
Often, we expect people to respond in a certain way to trauma because it has been normalized. For example, an extraverted person might want to talk things through right away while an introverted person shuts down. While this can be true, there is no right or wrong way to respond to trauma. Our Wellness Works team attended a webinar hosted by BCBSM that provided coping mechanisms from behavioral specialists when it comes to traumatic events. Click here to view the webinar and the slideshow.
Below are some of the common symptoms that you can expect. Not all of these will apply, and they can often be interchanged through the stages of grief.
- Feeling depressed, sad, and teary
- Feelings of disconnectedness or numbness
- Withdrawing from others
- Wanting to be around others all the time
- Insomnia and nightmares
- Signs of PTSD, such as being easily startled
- Difficulty concentrating
Helping Yourself and Others with Coping
Moving forward takes time and it’s not linear. However, there are some things you can do to help smoothen the process. Dr. Farris Tuma, who oversees the NIH trauma stress research program says, “It’s important to have a coping strategy for getting through the bad feelings of a traumatic event. A good coping strategy, he explains, is finding somebody to talk with about your feelings. A bad coping strategy would be turning to alcohol or drugs.”
Healthy Coping Mechanisms
- Lean on loved ones and community members for support.
- Prioritize self-care.
- Be patient with yourself and others.
- Seek professional help.
- Try to maintain a regular routine.
Recovering from trauma takes time and sometimes requires help. It is never too late or too much of an inconvenience to ask for help. Sometimes, seeking out professionals is the best solution. Below are resources to help you connect with a professional to work through trauma.
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- American Psychological Association
- Psychology Today
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a Behavioral Health Services Locator by location and type of facility (e.g., inpatient, outpatient, residential). Call for assistance 24 hours a day 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
- 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline