Facing problems important

All too often when something upsetting or traumatic happens to us we just want to hide it away and pretend it never happened. We tell ourselves it’s just too painful to face and that dwelling on it will not make us feel any better.

Instead, we attempt to get on with our lives and we have this painful secret festering away unattended in a corner of our minds.

Today I’d like to talk about why this is not a good way to deal with upsetting experiences. Even in instances where no real action can be taken to make the trauma go away, simply facing it can make a very big difference and can facilitate the healing process.

Although the goal in denying the emotional effects of a traumatic experience is often to have the feelings disappear, the opposite is what can often occur. Burying the event can lead to the development of serious consequences.

Take the example of one person I know. After experiencing a sexual assault, she didn’t tell anyone. Instead of talking about the attack with the authorities and her family, she coped by drinking and eventually became an alcoholic as a result. Her attacker was given more power as she ended up out of work, suicidal and suffering with an addiction.

After years of living this way, she eventually got some help and talked about the assault she experienced. Today she is a recovering alcoholic and has her life back again.

Other circumstances can lead to similar consequences if the original event is not dealt with. Perhaps a near death or frightening experience because of an accident leads to an irrational phobia or an avoidance of once enjoyed activities. Facing the experience in its immediate aftermath very often makes it easier to resume normal living sooner.

I hope you will take this lesson away from today’s column. As painful as an experience might be, it is always best to discuss it with someone you trust so that you can process your feelings, experience them and then move on.

Unfortunately, the old saying is not true and time heals nothing. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with your friends or family about your specific experience, find a professional who can offer an objective ear. Sometimes, just giving your feelings and fear a voice will be enough to put you on a road to recovery.

If you are the victim of a crime – consider reporting it. When people remain silent after violent crimes, the criminals can continue to commit these acts on other people and the cycle continues. Many people find closure after a violent crime when they know the authorities are looking into it and that others may be spared a similar trauma.


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