Overcoming Traumatic Stress
When a person experiences a traumatic event their brain and body’s alarm and alert response, the Traumatic Stress and the Stress Response, is triggered.

Trauma can result from childhood abuse or neglect, war and other forms of violence, grief and loss, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, witnessing violence, and historical trauma. Domestic violence, like other types of trauma can have serious mental health consequences.
What makes an event traumatic? A traumatic event involves a threat, real or perceived, to an individual’s physical or emotional well-being. It is overwhelming and can result in intense feelings of fear, lack of control, and can leave a person feeling helpless. The event essentially changes the way a person sees and understands the world, themselves, and others.
Overcoming trauma calls for self-care and resilience. Self-care is what people do for themselves to create and maintain their physical, mental, and emotional health. According to the World Health Organization, self-care includes hygiene, nutrition, lifestyle, environmental factors, socio-economic factors, and self-medication. Recovering from trauma is a gradual and ongoing process; healing does not happen overnight. It requires resilience. Resilience means “bouncing back” from a difficult experience. It is the way in which we process and adapt in the face of adversity, trauma, and other sources of stress.
There are many steps you can take to cope with the residual symptoms of trauma and reduce your anxiety and fear. Remind yourself you have strength and coping skills necessary to get you through tough times. Relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, which has been shown to help manage a range of disorders; Engaging in outdoor activities and physical activity can help reduce levels of stress; or confiding in someone you trust and spending time with positive people are just a few ways one can cope with traumatic events. Some people also find that adopting a pet that is specially trained to recognize signs of depression and anxiety symptoms helpful. Most importantly, be proud of yourself for the progress you have made thus far, and think about how great it will feel when you succeed in the future. You can overcome the pain, feel safe again, and move on with your life.
If you or someone you know has experienced intimate partner violence, Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. Please contact us locally at 256.574.5826, on our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000, or at our website www.csna.org. Advocates provide free, confidential support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

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