The effects of trauma can persist even after a traumatic event is long past.
This latent trauma can manifest in various ways. One person might experience night terrors and panic attacks. Another might have intense anxiety and a serious mistrust of others.
For many people, trauma results in long-standing fear. And it’s completely understandable. After all, if you’ve been through something that left you with lasting scars, you will naturally be hesitant to put yourself in a position where you could experience it again.
Hence, you may be scared to reach out for help, to try new things, to take small risks—or scared to simply be yourself.
Trauma can make you feel like you have to shrink yourself in order to hide from the world. But these attempts at keeping out of harm’s way can hold you back. Sure, this protective instinct serves an important purpose, but you can’t live in fear forever.
It may feel like you’ve been silenced by trauma, but there is a way to find your voice again. How?
Maybe you find it difficult to voice your honest opinions in conversation, or to ask for what you need without apology. But when it’s just you and the blank pages of your journal, you don’t have to worry about defending yourself against negative judgment. You can write down your uncensored thoughts and feelings—there’s no need to hold back or edit yourself.
Of course, journaling alone won’t facilitate the entire healing process. But it’s a step in the right direction. Journaling is a method for finding clarity and letting your voice out.
Sometimes, taking a few moments each day to process your thoughts can help you clear your head and learn to express yourself again. And getting your worries down on paper can feel like you’re setting down a physical burden.
2. Creative Expression
Any form of creative expression is a great step on the road to finding your voice after trauma. You don’t need to specifically seek out an art therapist, either. You can create in your own time, in whichever medium you choose. And you’re not going to get graded on it, so you can go wild.
Dancing, drawing, painting, playing guitar, photography, even filmmaking—find a creative hobby that suits you and make it part of your usual routine.
Sometimes, different art forms allow us to say things that words can’t quite express. Many people who struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions benefit from finding a creative outlet.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to speak up and embrace who you are and live the life you want, something in your past stops you. If you feel like you’ve hit a wall, and you’re not sure if you can make any more progress by yourself, working with a therapist is probably the best next step for you.
Accepting yourself again may not happen overnight. But, over time, you might notice yourself becoming a little bit bolder. Maybe you find that you can finally say “No” to the things you don’t want to do or “Yes” to the things you’ve always wanted to but have been too scared to try. And you may even be more comfortable going beyond small talk with new people or asking for what you need.
You don’t have to work through your trauma all on your own. And if you’ve experienced serious trauma, you would almost definitely benefit from connecting with a therapist. Therapy doesn’t have to mean reliving traumatic events over and over. A therapist will help you implement strategies to process your experience in a safe environment, and over time, you will find your voice again.
Have you been struggling to speak up after experiencing trauma, and you’re wondering how to work through those mental blocks? Contact me today to see how therapy can help you reconnect with your authentic self and heal from trauma.