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Recovery from Trauma

What happens when we are thrown an experience, or an event, which can completely knock us sideways or stops us dead in our tracks? 

With any luck, or with a bit of time, we can hopefully dust ourselves off and bounce back.

Other times however, that experience may have the power - or potential - to send our body and mind spiralling into a state of stress. 

This state of stress is known as trauma. It’s our body’s response when reacting to an overwhelming negative incident – or ongoing event. 

If you are going through - or have experienced - trauma, you may recognise these symptoms. 

  • Becoming hypervigilant to your surroundings including sensitivity to loud noises  

  • Reexperiencing your trauma through nightmares or flashbacks  

  • Fear and anxiety including feeling unsafe 

  • Avoiding people, places, things or memories  

  • Suffering from depression and low mood  

  • Being prone to shame, guilt or self-blaming  

  • Disassociation and feeling completely numb 

  • Relying on unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol or avoidance 

The experience and symptoms of trauma can vary from person to person and, in turn, so does a person’s route to healing. 

If you feel like your life has been affected by trauma then a crucial first step is recognising the signs that you’re unwell and acknowledging that you could benefit from professional help. 

Asking for help may be difficult for a trauma survivor for a number of reasons. For many avoiding or burying their trauma might feel crucial for everyday survival. For others there may be an overriding or underlying feeling of stigma, guilt and shame. Some may feel unworthy of any care or support, or worry that if they do reach out they won’t be heard or understood. 

This is where it is important to practice self – compassion. Self – compassion is a challenge – but it is also an opportunity. It’s the chance to recognise and realise how we treat ourselves when something bad happens – and finding the compassion to treat ourselves with a greater care, understanding and respect. 

After all, it is so very human to feel distressed, depressed and despondent after any kind of traumatic experience - so you must remember you are worthy of support from the recovery options out there to help you. 

Although talking about trauma may seem troubling or triggering, it can be hugely helpful in making sense out of what happened.  

Therefore, therapy is widely recommended for trauma as it can provide a safe, nurturing space to start processing what happened and to begin healing.

Helping debunk any deep-rooted mistake beliefs or distorted thoughts which may hinder and hold you back. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is considered one of the most beneficial types of therapy for trauma, helping you challenge any thoughts and feelings that can trap you in a negative cycle. 

There is also Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE) that works by helping you confront your feelings through gradual and gentle exposure to your trigger in a controlled environment. 

Additionally – or alternatively – you may want to talk to your GP about what medication might be appropriate and suitable for you. 

Dependent of the GP’s assessment and advice, a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be recommended.  

This medication works by raising the level of the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates mood, appetite and sleep. This helps to improve communication between nerve cells, leading to improved mood and decreased anxiety. 

Alongside therapy and medication there is also holistic approaches that can enhance coping skills among survivors. 

Techniques such as breathwork, meditation, yoga and creative outlets are all beneficial in aiding the nervous system and finding mental clarity. A holistic approach can be tailored to your own individual set of strengths, vulnerabilities and preferences, so it is really a pick and choose way to self – care. 

Trying out new therapeutic approaches offered by local services can help you tap and tune in to what your mind and body is carrying. Your GP or a mental health professional can help you source classes local to you. 

Remember, healing is a journey and, with the right care and support, you can find your own path to recovery. 

Trauma Support Lines 


Victim Support  

Free and confidential advice line supporting victims of crime and traumatic incidents  

Website – 

Tel – 08 08 16 89 111 


National Domestic Abuse Helpline  

A free 24-hour helpline for women who have experienced domestic abuse and violence with all female advisors. 

Tel – 0808 2000 247 


ASSIST Trauma Care  

Information and specialist help for people who’ve experienced trauma or are supporting someone who has 


Freedom From Torture  

Support and practical advice and treatment for survivors of torture. 


Rape Crisis 

Support site and helpline for survivors of rape and sexual assault. 

Tel – 0808 802 9999 

(Helpline open 12 noon – 2.30pm and 7pm – 9.30pm daily.) 


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