Be not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our response to a terrible event like a bad accident, natural disaster, war, or sexual violation is often seen as an individual matter. But, of course, the people who suffer are sons and daughters, parents, and marital partners. As you think about yourself and your partner, you may, or may not, be aware that one or both of you suffer from trauma. Here are a few of the symptoms that can be associated with it –
Reliving the terrible event and feeling the physical and emotional distress associated with it.
Avoidance of anything associated with the terrible event.
Withdrawal and lack of interest in pleasurable activities.
Trauma can be treated. It would be advisable to see a therapist if you think that you or a loved one is suffering from a traumatic event. The Veteran’s Administration has programs focused on treating veterans and psychiatric offices like ours can be helpful. A hospital should be used if suicide or homicide is a possibility.
The Mayo Clinic has additional information at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20022540
Here are some trauma researchers and their websites. I found them helpful:
Bessel van der Kolk
Trauma Center At Justice Resource Institute
Focus: Post-traumatic stress.
His latest book is: The Body Keeps the Score. Some of my patients have found it helpful.
The Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy Training and Education
Focus: Letting go of self-destructive behaviors
The Family Institute at Northwestern University
Focus: “Internal Family Systems” – dealing with parts of oneself.
Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute
Focus: Healing stress and trauma.
Mary Jo Barrett
Director: The Center for Contextual Change
Faculty: University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration
The Chicago Center for Family Health
Family Institute of Northwestern University
Focus: Transform the lives of those impacted by abuse and trauma
Focus: Understanding and treating trauma.
I hope these resources will be helpful to you if you or a loved has experienced a terrible event. Always keep in mind that medication and therapy can be helpful in letting the mind know that the terrible event is completely over. The goal is to safely put the terrible event in the past so that one can fully live in the present.