Response to trauma can vary widely, and may include any of the following:
- Fear and/or anxiety
- Outbursts of anger or rage
- Sadness and/or depression
- Hypervigilance (excessive alertness or watchfulness)
- Worrying or ruminating
- Intrusive thoughts of the trauma
- Tendency to isolate oneself
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
- Feelings of panic or feeling out of control
- Increased need to control everyday experiences (parenting, cleaning, dieting)
- Difficulty trusting or feelings of betrayal
- Feelings of self-blame or responsibility
- Flooding of feelings and/or emotional numbness
- Feelings of helplessness
- Minimizing the experience
- Feelings of detachment
- Concern over burdening others with problems
- Under- or overeating (weight loss or weight gain)
- Shock and disbelief
- Diminished interest in everyday activities
- Preoccupation with body image
Another tool to work through trauma is to focus on “self-care.” Self-care involves finding helpful coping strategies that assist in nurturing oneself at a very difficult time of life. Some examples might include:
- Connecting and talking with others, especially with those who share similar stressful experiences.
- Allowing yourself to feel and express emotions such as anger, sadness, hurt, and fear, which are all common emotions at a time of crisis.
- Engaging in physical movement and/or exercise to deal with the stresses of the trauma.
- Participating in relaxation activities like yoga, meditation, stretching, or massage.
- Seeking plenty of rest. Often sleep is disrupted and as much as possible it is important to maintain a normal sleep cycle.
- Writing about the experience in order to begin the process of sorting through the details and emotions of the events.
- Maintaining spiritual practices such as praying, meditating, and attending religious meetings or gatherings.
- Taking relaxing baths or showers
- Listening to calming and uplifting music.
LifeStar of Murray, Utah
Dorothy Maryon, CMHC, is a licensed clinical mental health counselor who specializes in partners’ issues associated with sexual addiction in marriage. She has worked as a counselor in the LifeSTAR program since 1994, focusing on addiction and sexual compulsivity. She is in private practice and has presented at several conferences on addiction, codependency, creating safety for partners, and grief and trauma issues. She has written articles and training materials on sexual addiction and recovery.