"Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm."
Recent or old traumatic events can leave people feeling overwhelmed, anxious, edgy, tearful, fearful, confused, or numb. Whether an event happened days or years ago, residual reactions to these events can leave people feeling raw and unsettled.
People carry residual trauma in their central nervous systems. Even if someone is not focusing on the past event/s, they may have numerous symptoms such as: feeling tense, unhappy, re-experiencing intrusive images, having nightmares, feeling depressed or jumpy. On a more subtle level, sometimes old traumas may not be experienced in a daily, agitated way. In many instances, old traumas may leave a person feeling numb or dull about life.
Healing begins when people gently explore the feelings and memories and process the memories in a healthy way. Some people process memories quickly and others need significant time to do this. Patience, coping skills, and gentle curiosity are very important.
Trauma therapy is a step-by-step process. First, it is important for the therapeutic relationship to feel safe, supportive, and confidential. Second, it becomes essential to find new soothing coping tools such as a healthy combination of relaxation, visualization, meditation, self-talk, social support, exercise, and recreation. Once a person has the skills necessary to calm and comfort themselves, they can begin to uncover and explore difficult memories.
EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) is one therapeutic technique found in research studies to improve symptoms of trauma. EMDR allows the brain to 'reprocess' traumatic events in a healthier way by reducing reactivity. Other tools can help the body system to cope with trauma such as tapping on acupuncture points (or energy meridians). This is a more alternative approach that, in conjunction with other tools, can prove beneficial.
Meditation and visualization are other tools help individuals gently sit with their feelings and cultivate an inner experience of compassion and comfort.
In sum, working through trauma can greatly improve one's self worth, outlook on life, and relationships! People can feel peace and serenity about past events and move forward in a new, confident, calm state of mind.
Forgiving does not erase the bitter past.
A healed memory is not a deleted memory.
Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember.
We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.
-- Lewis B. Smedes