Techniques for coping with traumatic/harrowing experiences

3 replies
A friend shared with me an experience she had when she was five. Thirty years after, this experience is still impacting her life negatively! She was on the verge of tears.

All I could tell her was ''you need to transcend the experience''! Please, how do you cope with (or transcend) harrowing experiences? Thank you.
#coping #experiences #techniques #traumatic or harrowing
  • Profile picture of the author Clara H
    Everyone is different and there isn't one straight forward answer. I use to have severe PTSD (as a result of a traumatic experience) and was able to overcome it by doing the following:

    * Talk about it with those who are willing to listen. Getting it off your chest helps bottled up emotions and helps with the process of desensitizing yourself to the experience. I *highly* reccomend that your friend sees a therapist. Not only will this give her a non-judging environment to talk (that in itself is a reason worth going) but the therapist can help her with her own individual plan to overcoming it. If she has been putting up with this thing for 30 years, she needs to see a professional who can help!

    * I collect quotes that inspire me and put them above my computer where I can see them. What these quotes are will rely heavily on her individual situation. Whenever I felt down, I immediately read the quotes and focused on them. Eventually, my subconscious has taken hold of them and they are now healthy beliefs that come naturally. This has been the biggest thing that changed me.

    Some of my own helpful quotes are:
    "In 5 years will this matter?"
    "Make your choices for you, not for anyone else. In the end, you have to live with it, not them."
    "Every person has a story, every one could have been significant to you in another life."
    "If there is anything making me unhappy, remove it NOW. Bring in the things that will make me happy."
    "I dare you to move like today never happened before."
    "Pay no heed to those who would silence or quell the dream living in your heart."
    "Life is too important to take seriously."
    "Today when I wake up, I can choose to be happy, or choose to let things affect me."
    "Don't stress the small stuff (and it's all small stuff)."

    * If she is spiraling into a bad place emotionally, she should distract herself to bring herself out of it before it leads to a panic attack or similar. This may involve getting up and doing something else, listening to inspiring music (I've conditioned myself so that as soon as I hear "Dare you to move" by Switchfoot I immediately calm down), watching a comedy show, smiling, etc.

    * If this experience has made her fearful of certain situations, she should take it slowly. Forcing her into a terrifying situation with the assumption that she will "get over it" can actually make things worse. She should take little steps towards her goal. Not too small though, enough for her to dip one foot in and feel a little out of her comfort zone. Slowly move forward from there.

    Doing these things helped *completely* pull me out of PTSD and other anxieties. Hope that helps.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnWiz
      Hi Michael,

      I agree with what Clara said.

      (And Clara, thanks for sharing your first-hand experience with us)

      How about getting your friend to seek professional help?

      25 years on and she's still suffering deeply from the experience, must be a really traumatic incident that will take time and support to heal from.
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  • Profile picture of the author deenohddar1
    You will see your answer on my website
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