The recent suicides by Parkland shooting survivors and the record number of suicides by veterans are tragic reminders of the devastating impact that trauma can inflict on individuals, families, and communities. While it is often easy to see the physical effects of trauma, the emotional impact is often hidden. As a result, a survivor may appear to be healed on the outside, while suffering from episodes of anxiety, depression, grief, and despair on the inside. These “hidden wounds” can begin to take a toll over time and for some people can lead to thoughts of suicide. For this reason, it is important to recognize that trauma can have lasting effects and that help and support may be needed long after the tragic event occurs.
Some of the most common emotional issues that trauma survivors must cope with are:
- Unresolved Grief – Trauma often brings losses. Whether it is a loss of a friend, coworker, fellow soldier, parent, child, or other loved one, the impact can be devastating. Grieving is difficult in normal circumstances, but when the loss occurs because of a traumatic event, it gets complicated by the extreme experiences and emotions that a person must cope with during the tragedy.
- Survivors Guilt – Many survivors struggle with survivor’s guilt. They may think “Why am I alive and they aren’t?” or “I should have done something to keep them safe.” If left to fester, this guilt can begin to destroy a person’s sense of worth and well-being.
- Severe Depression and Anxiety – Many trauma survivors struggle with anxiety and depression. These feelings may be relentless or may come in waves. If left untreated, these feelings can lead to thoughts of suicide.
- PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs when a person experiences a traumatic event that is so severe that it gets “frozen in time”. As a result, a person may have nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, and moments of reliving the event as though it just occurred.
Many survivors of trauma hide their emotional struggles from others. They may think that “no one will understand” or they may feel embarrassed or “weak” for asking for help. They may also begin to isolate themselves from others and withdraw from activities that used to bring them pleasure. Some survivors begin to sink into despair and begin to obsess over death and dying. It is important to realize that there is help for trauma survivors and that thoughts of suicide are a symptom of the pain. If someone you know has experienced trauma and is having thoughts of suicide, get them help. Trauma does not have to define their life. Suicidal thoughts are a symptom, not a solution. With help and support, trauma survivors can heal and live a healthier happier life
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.