Trauma is a surreal aspect of life that comes in varying degrees. The average person should expect to experience at least one thing that leaves a permanent scar. Radical events such as death, abuse or neglect can change a persons perception of reality.

Surviving the tragedy is a journey within itself. Confusion, resentment, stress and hopelessness are a few emotions that plague the mind and body in the time afterward. The incident must be handled ‘properly’ and within a reasonable amount of time because resurfacing at another point in life is imminent. Post-traumatic stress disorder is the most immediate response to an event and it varies in severity and the length of time it is experienced. Repression and suppression are also common ways to deal with trauma.

Eventually these defense mechanisms fail. When your feelings begin to have a direct impact on your life it is time to put it behind you. Here are some things to keep in mind when beginning your journey:

1.Know That You Are Not Alone

It is easy to believe that you are the only person dealing with this type of situation. That is 100% never the case. There is someone, somewhere who can relate to your issues and has felt the same feelings you have, even in the same order. Go online or get a self help book pertaining to your issue and see what is out there. Do not isolate yourself.

2. Be Honest About Your Feelings

Identifying exactly how you feel is how you start the healing process. Whether you are angry, sad, horrified or completely avoiding the situation; it is important to be able to feel it. Talking about these feelings is the easiest way to figure this out. Finding a trustworthy person to talk to  is essential. This may include a professional or someone in your life that you know will listen without judging.

3. Accept What Has Happened

Denial is dangerous. After being honest about your feelings, acceptance is key. It is almost instinctual to want to protect ourselves from things that are painful. Starting the journey to  finding out why it happened or letting your mind begin to process the events is progressive no matter how painful.

4. Confrontation

Treading carefully with this step is very important. For some, sealing the deal with closure means confronting the person or thing responsible for their pain. If you are going with the confrontation route, know that it will most likely blow the trauma wide open (so be prepared). It is important to remember that the person themselves probably will not provide closure for the event; the confrontation itself can provide closure.

5. Making What You Have Work For You

Depending on the circumstances for your event this may be the beginning to the last step. Some may be able to do all of the above and move on, others are not so lucky. If you are unable to get closure from another person or thing surrounding the event or are still having trouble coping- seek further measures. These are precisely what support groups, counseling and forums are for. Keep working at it and take your time. Leave your heart and mind open to finding new avenues that work for you.

The end goal when dealing with any trauma is to find peace within. It requires a great deal of patience and being honest with yourself and others around you. Allowing yourself to fall into a pit of despair is tolerable but only for a certain amount of time. Get control. It is possible to move forward and to live a fruitful life. When you are armed with the tools to combat these events, progress is undeniable. Trauma does not have to turn your life into a battlefield and it definitely does not have define you.