Moving On and ReBuildingYou
OK, we’re ready to move on.
What do we do first?
If necessary find a buddy – a counsellor, friend, nurse, social worker – and start by attending to all parts of what makes us human each day: Physical, Emotional, Financial, Cognitive and Fun.
Every day find something from each category to work on and slowly your health will build. Some first suggestions are below:
Nutrition, Vitamins and Supplements (Physical)
Whatever the trauma, physical or emotional, the first thing we notice after the initial surges of adrenalin is that we are exhausted. After trauma a diet high in proteins and vegetables and low in simple carbohydrates is important as is a good general multi-vitamin.
We may not want to talk about our trauma at first but it is definitely helpful, whatever it is, to talk about what has happened. This is a very important step to take before you can move on: say goodbye to the past. In hospital there is always a hospital chaplain and/or a social worker who will sit and talk with you. It is a good idea not to over-burden friends and family, who may be taking on extra duties to help out anyway, with too much conversation about your trauma. If you can, find a counsellor or peer counsellor and try and keep talk about your trauma ‘compartmentalized’ to a certain part of your day. Emotional recovery is imperative, even for a simple physical injury.
Emotions are all valuable – whether it be anger or kindness. Whether your trauma is physical or emotional, all recovery includes emotional work to regain your sparkle.
Maybe the ‘good reason’ that stimulated a certain behaviour in the past is no longer such a good idea now? Maybe you could better enjoy life without it? I invite you to come and explore those patterns of behaviour with me on this trauma counselling services website. You will find tools here to support you to find those patterns in yourself and more tools and ideas to help you work with them, should you choose.
Every part of you, every characteristic, developed for a ‘good reason’, often following trauma. These characteristics grew, controlled by your ‘survivor’ (more about that later), in order that the whole of you, as an ‘organism’, could survive. It must have worked because here you are?!
Exercise – as Best We Can
Exercise in the fresh air is essential. Sometimes a few steps are all you can do to get out on to your balcony and sit there for a little while. Even sitting on a chair can be quite tiring after being in bed. If possible, go for a walk, preferably in nature. Ultimately work out at the gym or take yoga, pilates, dancing, aerobics /jazzercise / zumba, play catch with your kids, have a rebounder (small trampoline) in your house, walk on the beach… Any exercise is good!
Clean Water and Air
Mostly in the west we take clean air and water for granted but we should ensure a good supply of both is available. I found an excellent air purifier and a simple water filter helped. Remember, the body has been sucker-punched and if it is to rebuild then the more we can get out of its way, the better.
Sleep, Rest and Meditation
Rest is incredibly important. One of the first things my body did in order to survive physical trauma was shut down every activity that wasn’t ‘essential’ – including just being awake – so that it concentrate on surviving. I was in a coma for several weeks.
After traumatic emotional news, too, there is an immediate wakefulness and inability to rest while the body searches for any chance of resolving the trauma. This is followed by a period of exhaustion and a need to rest, eat well, exercise, plenty of fresh water and ensure clean air. Meditation is fabulous and does not always have to be ‘monastic’…
Social Healing / Fun / Laughter
Finding a little time each day to visit with a friend, laugh at a daily joke, take laughter yoga, watch a favourite TV show, take a bath with lovely smelling bath salts and candles, enjoy supper with a loved one… Many activities can include a little socializing, particularly dance. Schedule pleasure into your day, whatever your trauma.
Online or in books, learn about your trauma. Try and understand what has happened to you and what your options are. The more you can learn and read, the better. Reading, looking at books, playing cards – and dancing where you have to remember the steps – are great exercise for the brain too.
Take advantage of your hospital social worker, a financial planner, your account manager at the local bank, your social welfare officer or just a details-oriented friend to help you list out your assets and obligations and ascertain that you have sufficient income to carry you through this healing period. Allow for longer than you think you may need.
There are 5 parts to healing: Physical, Emotional, Cognitive, Joy and Financial. These parts are important to all healing, both purely emotional and physical. Trauma is trauma. There is an important emotional component in all trauma, which is well covered by NVC and the use of ConnectionCue™ cards.
Trauma is trauma. Our losses are personal to each of us and need to be addressed – in all 5 areas of our humanity.
If you find you need some help to chart out and plan your recovery, please email me or ask your social worker for help.
Never give up!
Best wishes and good luck!