The recent hurricanes that took place reeking havoc on Texas and Florida had me a hormonal mess. I’m located in Texas and have family and friends located all across Houston. Some of my friends lost everything, some got away with minimal loss, and others are just fine. I so badly wanted to run down there and help after it was all said and done, but being pregnant it was not and is not safe for me to do so. Ultimately however the entire event has got me thinking and meditating on how I can help to fix my self and my own personal problems. My family has been through a lot in just a few short years: we had a baby; my husband lost his mother; I suffered severe postpartum depression; we had a roommate issue (actually we had a few of these) that nearly broke us mentally and financially; honestly the list goes on and on. While I have done well in terms of fixing and managing my husband and I’s relationship there are still ongoing issues that I will never be able to fix if I do not first fix myself.
What is trauma?
Trauma comes in many forms a complicated birth, a natural disaster, emotional abuse, a terrible car accident, or the loss of a loved one. No matter what type of trauma experienced a road to recovery is needed. Trauma always constitutes a type of loss, whether its the loss of time, emotional security, physical capabilities, or a person, that loss hurts. When you have a family and you are experiencing this hurt whether its something directly effecting one person or every person its important to not only know how to properly care for yourself, but others as well.
For the person currently suffering because of trauma?
Maybe you are one of the many people who’s lives have been devastated by Harvey and Irma, or a mom suffering from postpartum depression and healing after a very traumatic birth experience. Perhaps your someone who just lost their best friend. Life does not always give us a silver spoon, a ray of sunshine, or a silver lining. However, that does not mean we give up. If you are currently suffering and have tried everything you can on your own to make yourself happy then perhaps it is time to seek out extra help.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline (United States)
National Domestic Violence Hotline
LGBTQ Crisis Hotline and Services
Financial Assistance, Medical Affordability, Local Help Resources
Call 2-11 in the U.S if you have any questions for financial assistance regarding food, paying bills, childcare, social services, and/or medical expenses.
If you are not sure where to begin in terms of trying to make yourself better and are too scared to reach out for help try some of these tips below.
- Make sure you are taking time for yourself.
- If you need to cry, then cry.
- If you need to sleep, sleep.
- If you just need some time to be alone, do it.
- Get outside, you need 20 minutes of sunshine minimum everyday.
- If you can see a Doctor and discuss with them about having your vitamin levels checked.
- Take a multi-vitamin, it will help if you are lacking anything in your diet. Discuss with your Doctor on what the best multi-vitamin might be for you.
- Drink water
- Do your best to maintain a well balanced diet.
- Try to workout at least 3 times a week for 20 minutes, even if its just walking around your office building or apartment complex.
- Set a goal or goals, write down all the steps need to achieve that goal.
- Start working towards your goal.
If you Know someone who has recently experienced trauma?:
Perhaps you are not currently suffering as a result of trauma, but know someone who is. Maybe your spouse lost a parent or your best friend is getting out of an abusive relationship. Whether they are blatantly asking for your help or you are simply reading their story via Facebook updates, there are ways you can help even if you are not there next to them or capable of visiting in person.
Listen to what they tell you. Ask questions if you don’t understand.
- What do they need?
- What hurts?
- Why does it hurt?
- How does it hurt?
- Where does it hurt?
- When did it start?
- Who caused it?
- How was it caused?
- What was the cause?
Be a shining light or a positive place for them. Build them up.
Help them problem solve.
Ask them about their goals, keep them on track to reaching them.
When someone is healing as a result of trauma they may try and gloss over the problem by saying everything is okay. They may hide behind good things or excuses. Don’t be afraid to show your failing points or troubles and how you fixed them or are working to fix them. If you feel someone is hiding their true emotions ask them about their goals, share with them about yours. Check in with them often to see how they are doing with their goals and give them an update on your own.
You and someone close are dealing with trauma simultaneously?:
Whether your family lost everything to the hurricanes or just experienced a traumatic car accident there are times in all of our lives when we are forced to not only care for our own mental well being, but the well being of others as well. Some are good at this. Others just freeze. It is okay to show emotion. It is okay to cry, it is okay to be mad. However, its important to also know where the balance is.
Have open discussions about every ones feelings.
- What is everyone feeling?
- What does everyone fear?
- How can those feelings be properly expressed?
- What can we do to fix those fears or bad feelings?
Give everyone their individual time to heal and move forward.
- Maybe counseling with a third party is needed.
- Maybe mom needs 20 minutes everyday to just take a breath and relax without anyone touching her or asking for something.
- Maybe the children need time with their friends.
- Perhaps dad needs mom to listen to and hold him for a little while while he cries a few times a week.
- What are the goals for the family?
- How can you prevent future trauma?
- What is everyone’s individual plan/goal for the future?
When you work through trauma individually it can be overwhelming, however we all must do things to care for ourselves otherwise we will not be able to care for others. When we are caring for others we must first listen to them in order to provide them with what they really need. If our entire household is experiencing trauma we need to not only listen to ourselves and voice our needs, but also listen to the needs being voiced by our spouse and our children. If we are not capable of doing exactly what someone needs, we must then find a compromise or something that is mutually beneficial to both parties.
The beautiful thing about Houston and really most of South East Texas is that despite the political, religious, and racial differences expressed, debated, and argued they will always help their neighbor in need. The entire country watched as the people came together to rescue and evacuate thousands who were stuck. The part you won’t see is how they will also come together to clean it up and rebuild. Social class, religion, race, politics, and gender will have no place to stand as neighbors will come together to exchange labor, goods, shoulders, and ears to help one another move forward. The hurricane was a trauma shared, for some it was more devastating than others, but that doesn’t mean those who are doing better move forward unscathed, instead they take their time to heal and they heal themselves, by helping to heal each other.