TRAUMA: Getting through its lingering effects


Trauma I have discovered, is not only an exceedingly difficult thing to endure but recovery from its lingering effects is a long process.

I sit here wondering if I will ever be recovered from it. Will there be a time when its effects will no longer have this stronghold?

This is twice now that I have been side-swiped by the traumatic response rearing its twisted head.

how I manage it

It takes all my effort to remind me of the helpful things I can do, in the situation. Firstly, I need to regulate my breathing – ensuring I take slow, deep breaths. Secondly, I use mindfulness techniques to bring me back to the moment.

I have noticed that when I am having an ‘episode’ that I am grieving for a part of me that is no longer here. I am wanting to be the way I was before the trauma, so I can do the things I did back then. Of course, this is not possible. I am forever changed.

This unfolding scenario of comparison propels me forth into a state of negative feelings. Inadequacy, fragility, inferiority, incapable and worthlessness compete for centre stage. This is an arena though, that I do not wish to be in.

It is a challenge to quell these feelings. All management strategies are required to bring me to a place of calm. Tears sting my heart and soul as well as my eyes.

Trauma - tears stinging eyes

Photo by Luis Galvez

What I must Do

Accepting that I have had a response or episode once again is hard. Resistance comes into play. I do not want these to be happening in the first place. Let alone accepting that this is an ongoing part of my life now.

Each time, it has been a different circumstance that has triggered the episode. However, it is the flashbacks and pangs that have been present each time that heightened the reaction.

I must remind myself that I traversed the trauma and weeks afterwards. I survived it although I felt like it was sucking the life out of me, and that I would not get through it.

It takes almost all my strength to reach a state of functioning calm once more. I am left exhausted on every level.

Wondering if I will ever attain the state of capacity and resilience I seek, often then invades my thoughts.

My ideal of who I wish and hope to be once again tends to lend itself to comparison with how I perceive others to be. I see them as functioning, capable, got-it-together, strong, resilient, sturdy, not easily thrown by life.

The act of comparison is proving to be quite unhelpful. Does it ever really serve a useful purpose?

Trauma - exhaustion on all levels

Photo by Volkan Olmez

what i find helpful

A search for the things I have been able to do, in the now, is an absolute must-do. It slowly erodes the negative feelings and thoughts. Minute by minute, I can see that I still have a purpose and am able to help. It is simply not how I did it before.

That reminds me that I am still very much in a grieving pattern. Sometimes the grief is sleeping quietly, and other times, like this, it is a roaring menace.

In the absence of someone to hold and comfort me, I wrap myself in a blanket of kindness. I am gentle with myself and seek out one of my top five things that bring me joy and happiness. This allows me to transcend the bridge from exhausted mess to a semblance of myself of now.

Deep breaths are once again helpful. During this time, I tell myself that I will be okay. I have been through far worse. This is not going to be what brings me lower than my knees.


Further reading

Another piece I wrote about trauma – You Just Never Know When You Will Feel Alone


  1. Hello dear Sue,

    Prayers and love are being sent through cyberspace to wrap you in comfort. Life is a wickedly hard road to travel at times and those hidden pot holes are painful. Like you, I wonder how others keep their footing so much better than some of us. One day at a time is not just words, it is the only way that I know how to keep moving through life. Stay well and know that your post made a difference in my travels. God Bless. Shirl

    1. Hello beautiful Shirl,

      Thank you so very much for your message of kind words. Your comforting warmth is received with appreciation and gratitude. It is lovely to hear that I am not the only one who wonders how others stay resilient and upright more than some of us. That is so true, one day at a time is a great way to approach things. At times that were most difficult, I have managed by one hour at a time. Thank you, I hope there was some positive way my post impacted you lovely lady.

      With a thankful heart,

      Mumma Sue

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