If trauma is left undealt with, individuals can fall into patterns of overestimating danger in the world around them.
This makes sense because a traumatic event affects our life experience and introduces the perspective that the world is a dangerous place!
Over time, as we experience more of life and accept the “good” in the world around us, our beliefs tend to balance out and shift toward the middle, understanding that the world can be both dangerous and safe.
However, if an individual doesn’t take steps to heal from that traumatic event, their fearful perspective can cloud their judgment and negatively impact their quality of life.
Most people I know live by the motto trust until someone proves they can't be trusted. I do not live by that. My motto on trust is don't trust anyone until they can prove they can be trusted. I'm not saying that's right or something I'm proud of. That is just the aftermath of some of the experiences I've gone through in my life.
Do You Feel Guilt?
It’s common to feel guilty after something terrible happens to you, as though you’re to blame for the situation or episode in the first place. These thoughts might sound something like:
“If I’d only waited a few more minutes to leave the house.”
“If I’d only called them back.”
“I shouldn’t have been out at that hour.”
“Why wasn’t I more careful?”
“I should have just stayed home.”
“I should have seen this coming.”
Of course, everything is more apparent in hindsight, but replaying these thoughts in our minds and focusing on unnecessary guilt creates negativity that impacts our quality of life.
The last two sayings are the most common for me.
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Stress And Your Nervous System
Do you feel like you’re always on guard? When the nervous system has had a terrifying shock, it takes a while to settle back down and stays alert for the possibility of further danger. This is me to a tee during social situations.
This might mean you’re checking your rearview mirror more often than usual when you’re driving after a car accident. This might mean that you’re always looking over your shoulder or scanning your surroundings after being in a threatening situation alone.
All this means is that your brain is doing its job to protect you by staying on edge. However, all this energy expenditure can be draining.
If you’re interested in learning ways to calm your stress and regulate your stress response, let’s talk.