A terrible thing happened

My family went through something horrible. I know it is over and I want to feel better, but I am on edge. The terrible memories of what happened are interfering with my life. Others in my family seem to be less distressed than I am, even though we went through the same thing. Am I handling it wrong? What’s wrong with me?

A quick look at the news or your social media and it seems like terrible things are happening every where, every day. And yet, when something horrible happens to you, or within your family, it may seem like you’re the only one experiencing pain, distress, or fear.

Nothing is wrong with you! Everyone reacts differently to traumatic events and no reaction to trauma is wrong. Common experiences include numbness, avoidance of reminders, anger, confusion, sadness, frequent thoughts about what happened, dreams and nightmares, physical ailments, difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite…All of these things are natural responses to terrible situations, and there is no “right” way to feel.

Your reaction may be different from others based on your life experiences and context. The meaning of this event may change in relation to other traumas you have experienced, what role you had during the trauma, and how you were cared for before and after what happened. The way you manage the normal emotions that come with trauma may differ from others based on your age, gender, access to resources you need, and other stressors in your life. There is also no set time for you heal from what happened to you. It’s important to take as long as you need to come to a new sense of calm and trust.

You are allowed to be different from the people around you because you ARE different from them! Your experience is not wrong, and neither is theirs.

But you don’t have to suffer alone. Relief from the distressing effects of trauma is possible! Individual therapy, especially when you work with a Certified Trauma Professional, can help the healing process along and aid you in identifying your barriers to feeling the way you prefer. Family therapy, especially when you work with a Certified Trauma Professional, can also help each person process the terrible event and build a common understanding of what happened, how each person is coping, and how you can help one another build a healthy future.

Call the experienced therapists at Emily Cook Therapy today. We can help.

This post was written by Anna White, an experienced trauma therapist for individuals, children, adolescents, and families at Emily Cook Therapy in Bethesda, MD.