Several days ago, a crash occurred on the Aurora bridge in Seattle, causing the death of several area college students. The students were passengers on a Ride the Ducks tour vehicle that reportedly may have undergone a mechanical failure and veered into the path of an oncoming bus.
Technological disasters are just one of many sources of trauma.
Other sources can include experiencing or witnessing violence or abuse, natural disasters, neglect or abandonment, medical procedures, or any experience that overwhelms the brain’s ability to cope and makes an individual feel enormous threat or fear, to themselves or others.
What feelings and emotions often follow trauma and how can trauma survivors move forward?
Avoidance. People may be reluctant to talk about what happened or to revisit the location. This is normal. Talking about the event can bring up negative emotions, but it can also validate that something very bad happened to the survivor. This is good.
Talking about the trauma does not create new trauma–it gives the survivor the opportunity to
confront what happened and helps them realize that “That was then and this is now.”
Re-experiencing. People who’ve been traumatized experience flashbacks, nightmares, triggers, and anxiety, along with other symptoms. Talking about trauma does not cause someone to re-experience their event. Instead, talking about a traumatic event can help people understand that an event is over and in the past. It can also help people begin to gain back control over the event.
Depression and release of emotions. It’s normal for people who’ve been through traumatic events to cry more or feel depressed. Therapist Robin Shapiro, who specializes in trauma and PTSD, offers the following suggestions:
Allow yourself to grieve.
Remind yourself that it will take longer than you think it should.
Remind yourself that it will hurt more than you think it should.
Be kind to yourself while you’re going through the process.