March 06, 2019
Coping with traumaversary
Depression Mental Health
While experiencing a traumatic incident can be emotionally draining it itself, it is equally difficult to deal with feelings of grief when the anniversary of the past traumatic event comes around every year. This anniversary actually transforms into a ‘traumaversary’ for a lot of people. A traumaversary can range from environmental disasters, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, deaths of leaders and celebrities, incidents of sexual violence, family rejection, self-harm, police brutality, extreme sports injuries, overdose, and deaths of loved ones.
Unlike anniversaries which are filled with feelings of joy, a traumaversary is filled with fury, rage, melancholy, heartache, and resentment. Here is some information on what typically happens during a traumaversary and tips on how to deal with it.
Tips to deal with traumaversary
- Staying mindful of an upcoming traumaversary: According to Jasmine Banks, M.S. community counseling and licensed associate counselor, irrespective of the type of trauma one has been through, it is very important to think ahead and stay mindful of the upcoming traumaversary, instead of brushing it aside. This is important because experts feel that having an unresolved trauma can often backfire in the form of aggravated symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD). These may include nightmares, sleep issues, flashbacks, and difficulty in concentration.
- Using positive affirmations: In order to effectively deal with traumaversaries, Banks recommends using positive self-talk in the form of affirmations. When positive affirmations or phrases are used, over time, they help to replace the negative self-talk. One of the simple ways of practicing this is prepare a list of negative sentences or phrases such as: “I am feeling insecure”, “I am feeling helpless”, and so on. The next step of this exercise is to prepare practical positive sentences or phrases, negating the negative sentences, in order to replace them with the negative phrases. Repeating them regularly would help replace them at a subconscious level.
- Preparing for a traumaversary: According to Genevieve Liu, founder of the online teen community grieving the loss of their parents, SLAP’D, it entirely depends on an individual how they choose to spend the traumaversary. For instance, if one intends to erase the memory, then they need to consciously take their mind off the event. On the other hand, if one wishes to consider the day as just any other normal day, they need to plan the day well in advance, so that the traumaversary does not pop-up in an unexpected manner. Sharing her experience as a counselor, Banks said that she had several clients seeking help to deal with a traumaversary. For such clients, she created plans for their well-being, by mapping their needs and establishing the kind of support they needed to elicit out of themselves as well as their loved ones.
- Learning healthy ways of coping with grief: Liu said that even though the feeling of anguish may not go away completely, an individual can definitely evolve and learn alternative ways of coping with the grief. People can resort to healthy grief coping strategies, like indulging in family events or community activities. One should find at least one other individual going through similar circumstances, so that they can discuss common issues and challenges. In other words, resiliency can be easily built in the context of a community. Banks suggests that people must seek experiences that are reminiscent of being connected to something that is magnanimous than themselves.
Seeking help for depression
However, many a times, self-help methods may not work to ease the symptoms of depression in the wake of the traumaversary. In such cases, it is always advisable to seek professional help from certified mental health therapists. Such professionals can create a customized plan suitable for the patient and guide them appropriately through their tough time.
If you or a loved one is battling depressive thoughts, feel free to contact the Invictus Health Group. Call our 24/7 depression treatment helpline 866-548-0190 to learn more about our certified depression treatment centers in California. You can also chat online with our representatives to understand what kind of depression treatment programs are offered and to get a depression treatment program tailored to suit your needs.