APRIL 2018 SUPER EDITION
Introduction and causes of Trauma
Life instances are inevitable. These instances can either be positive or negative. In most cases a sizeable number of people forecasts only for the positive side of an event/situation as an outcome. And this is nature. Although we might all have this tendency, it is also wise to put into consideration the challenges that might get across our schema. Bearing up under such circumstances betters our lives physically, psychologically and emotionally.
We most probably have lost our loved ones, relationships, money, a job and cases in courts while fighting for justice among other vital things that used to enhance our lives. A lot of people have been in accidents, rape assaults and most definitely all of us have been sick at some point in our lives. All these are adverse events and as they transpires we tend to go through pain, suffering and sorrow and if not well managed, these conditions tend to lower our performance.
Well, before getting to the insight of the topic, Trauma, fixing its meaning will definitely mark a good kick-off. Trauma is a severe shock caused by an unpleasant experience or the experience that causes this feeling. It is a tragedy causing a prolonged shock to someone. Trauma causes anxiety, distress, pain, suffering and sorrow among other painful or distressing emotions. As highlighted earlier, cases bringing about loss such as death, accidents, sicknesses, job terminations, money/security, rape etc all leads to someone being traumatized. The most tragic and inevitable event that is mostly experienced in life is death.
What happens after losing your beloved ones? On receiving a death announcement, it is very difficult for one to put along with it. At first we tend to think of it as some prank or rather a sort of some nightmare. On verification we are often left with thousands of questions running through our mind. All these implies a state of denial which can definitely lead someone to depression. For instance, when our loved ones depart from us for good we will probably not be ready to accept the fact that they are gone. At first our hopes tend to come to a halt depending on the schema we had from these people. Perhaps the deceased is the person whom we thought would come to rescue us or good enough do something significant in our lives. Loosing someone that we definitely hoped that he/she would fill a certain gap in our lives makes us feel down casted, a state that might take an unpredicted period of time as we see no other person who can fully replace the gap left by the deceased. Like for example losing a parent(s) only mean that we can never find someone as better as them. Losing a most trusted and reliable friend will also leave a very big gap which might never be filled since there exists no one who can take after another person fully. This explains why we all have different and very crucial talents. Although these talents might be closely related, no one talent is completely similar to the other.
Most often we hear or rather experience people getting out of relationships. This is not a new occurrence to most of us. We definitely have been through this at some point. What happens after this scenario? When relationships come to an end we get to state of denial. An intimate relationship is one of the most special things we all need in our lives without which our lives feels lonely. As they say, no man/woman is an island and we probably need each other. When in an intimate relationship we always opens up to our partner. This makes us to understand each other to a certain depth that not even our parents or siblings can get conversant with. This makes us feel special. Spending time with such people makes us experience a small heaven on earth. We make promises and get to share our dreams with each other etc. The discussions we normally have with our intimate partners keeps us moving on as they becomes part of our lives. This does not mean that we cannot live without them but they make quite an important part in our lives. So when relationships gets to an end we find a difficult time in trying to accept the change and move on. Thinking about the great times we shared together, the promises and visions we had, time and other resources we wasted in that relationship(s), we most likely feel traumatized. Even though we might finally get over the relationship(s), it is definitely not easy to get over the trauma.
Another loss that most people gets into is loss of security. About loss of security, we are going to view it from different forms. For example, on a fine dawn Joseph got up early to exercise his daily tasks that allows his loose ends meet. He locked his door as usual and confirmed his house and all in it is safe after which he made his way out of the compound. During the day he had all his duties well fixed and as the sun started sinking slowly down the skies as it is his norm, Joseph had to travel back home. On getting to his compound he couldn’t believe his eyes. The main entry to his house was broken down, the entry flung open and his house had nothing in it. He at first thinks he is dreaming or well enough lost his way back home. But again on the other hand he’s been living there for quite a good number of years and he is fully convinced that this is his home. With a loud scream he falls backwards with his mouth wide open having nothing clearly coming out of it. His body generally gets weak and he cannot feel his being anymore. The loud screaming is heard by neighbors and it makes them come to his rescue. After some hours he slowly starts getting back to his realization and well he is still not believing what exactly transpired…….. Days after this instance he starts feeling like he has to relocate to a different place.
In a different scenario, Justin is assaulted sexually and good enough he recognizes the parties involved in this. He decides to report this case to the authorities trying to seek justice. The court building is quite kilometers from his residential area. He has to use a sizeable amount of cash every time he is travelling for the court hearing. Every time he gets to the court, the accused doesn’t show up. He is then forced to go back home feeling wasted and tired. Behind his back what cooks every time is unbelievable for the one accused has all what it takes to get favors from the judiciary. He tries following up this case for quite some time and he eventually let go as there is no action being taken by the authority.
In the two scenarios above, we find that after losing everything in the house, Joseph has a feeling that he should rather relocate to a different place. This feeling of relocation has been invoked with lack of personal security as he lost all the properties he had had in his house. In the second scenario, Justine finds it difficult to trust in the judiciary as it seems not concerned about his pains and sorrows. The judicial authority is meant to offer security to the offended but in Justine’s nothing like justice happened. This is also a form of insecurity. Justine also lost a lot of money while trying to follow up the case. Money is a security in itself and using it on something that wouldn’t bear fruits then it becomes a loss as well as insecurity. Justine was sexually assaulted and no action was done to this. As they say, once bitten twice shy. Justine might never feel secure anymore while he comes across the scene of the act. All the discussed above are forms of insecurity which can cause trauma in people’s lives.
There are lots of incidences that causes trauma but of now the discussed few will definitely shade some light to the things that can cause trauma.
Effects of Trauma
Trauma, as any other thing we come across in our day to day events has got its effects. The effects of trauma are hostile to our health more than you can imagine. These effects of trauma are generally categorized to post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). This is quite a wide and a very interesting part though not everyone gets to this point, at least 25% of people involved in trauma belongs here. After being traumatized, quite a good number of people gets to a point where they find difficulties to sleep. Sleep is healthy to any living person and as recommended one should have at least 6 hours of sleep per day. Your body needs sleep, just the same way it needs food and air to have the best functionality. Sleeping makes our minds and body feel relaxed and with such a healthy state of mind and body, our daily activities are enhanced. Excessive sleepiness, yawning, irritability and daytime fatigue are the obvious signs that one is not experiencing enough sleep. Lack of sleep can interfere with the central nervous system, immune system, respiratory system and even digestive system etc.
Lack of sleep also referred to as sleep deprivation could make a person get into hallucination. Hallucination is a situation whereby one sees or hears things that do not really exist. This is also an effect caused by trauma especially in incidences of loss of life. After losing someone we really loved a times we even fear being left alone since we might start experiencing time ‘with them’ and this might make someone’s performance to get low.
Trauma can make someone to loose appetite. Having appetite is a good sign of being healthy as it makes someone to find food to eat. These food gives our bodies nutrients needed to enhance our growth and well-being. If we do not eat we generally get weak and become less functional due to lack of energy needed with our bodies so as to carry out our day to day activities. Lack food can eventually lead to death.
Lethargy is also as a result of trauma. Lethargy is a state of losing energy and enthusiasm. This can lead one to depression, decreased motivation or apathy. It can be overcome by leading a stress free life, having enough sleep, having good nutrition and doing physical exercises. Lethargy can cause poor performance if not well dealt with.
Dealing with Trauma
PTSD is generally caused by traumatic events. Some people get to PTSD as a result of genetic factors. This explains why some individuals develop PTSD as a result of trauma exposure while others are resilient. Even though genetics are associated to PTSD, it only occupies but a small number of percentage in that case. Most people develop PTSD as a result of the situation. Here the situation at hand may be a factor. As we discussed earlier, as a result of loss we tend to get into a state of denial; this state may be the situation at hand which most probably might lead to PTSD. How we deal with trauma is the most important part that will define our way forward. We can deal with trauma in the following ways.
When we sense a situation that would most likely traumatize us, we can always find a way to keep off from that situation. Flight is a way of preventing something to happen to you, by fleeing we’ll most definitely keep ourselves from the trauma that could befall us.
The second way is by fighting back. This is also a way that can help us deal with trauma though not that much efficient as it may lead to more complications. While engaging in a physical fights, conflicts and confrontations, we stand a risk of being hurt even more. Though not all fights are physical, even the non-physical fights might also lead us into serious problems. Engaging in fights must be done in a more civilized way in that even after these fights we can always find a proper way of resolving the disputes associated with such.
Freezing is another appropriate way of dealing with trauma. Freezing is a situation by which one physically exists but does not engage in a conversation that might lead them in trauma thereafter. Freezing can be helpful especially when one is freshly provoked with a certain occurrence. It is most likely that one might respond in a much crueler manner which would make the situation even worse.
Reasoning is another way of dealing with trauma. While reasoning you get to dialogue and analyze the cause of the trauma. You can negotiate with the one responsible and find an appropriate solution to the situation. This is the most appropriate and civilized way to handle things that are likely to cause trauma.
The first three ways (fleeing, fighting and freezing) are both applicable to animals and human while the fourth way (reasoning) of dealing with trauma is only applicable to human since only humans have the capacity to reason and analyze a situation. We must always do something that will help us cope with trauma.
After having a traumatic experience, we tend to get knowledge with which we can be liable in helping other people in trauma. When it gets to a point that one can be trusted to offer advice to someone in trauma, it is necessary to listen to the story of the one in trauma. This helps one to be well informed about the situation at hand and find a proper way to handle the situation. It is also good to find out the most appropriate way of approaching the one traumatized. This will make them feel that you care for them and it will definitely make them open up to you. While listening to their story try to challenge or reframing their take of the story. By looking at their story from a different angle, you will help them have a different view of their situation. And this might help them see the importance of living a healthy life even after being traumatized. You might also try solving the situation in a more spiritual way, that is, if the affected is spiritual. Doing this will make them look at the situation positively and realize that everything transpires purposely. All the steps above will help them have hope and regain the energy lost while in trauma.