I want to preface this by saying that I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I am a mental health advocate and that means I share my lived experiences, stories and struggles. I also do my best to raise awareness about what mental illness looks like. Many people do not have access to mental health resources or do not learn what trauma looks like. I am a big advocate of therapy (and affordable and accessible mental health care for Everyone!) This information is for informational purposes only.
So let’s talk about trauma examples.
Trauma is defined as “experiencing an incident or series of events that is emotionally distressing or life-threatening with lasting negative effects on an individual’s functioning and/or mental, physical, social, emotional and/or spiritual well-being.” Trauma care
Although the definition of trauma has changed, I have noticed that many of us still tell ourselves that what we went through was not bad enough to count.
“Oh, it wasn’t that bad. So-and-so was worse and they are fine.” And even if it didn’t *seem* that bad, or wasn’t as bad as what someone else experienced, that doesn’t invalidate it. Two people can experience the same traumatic event and have different reactions to it.
Often, one of the first steps in getting help is to admit that you’ve been through a certain situation and that you’re not feeling well. Then we go from there. We look at triggers, look at our coping skills, and then figure out where the damage from our trauma affects our lives (because it is) and get help.
The trauma you have suffered is valid even if it is not as bad as someone else’s injury. The trauma you experienced is valid even if you initially thought you were fine. The trauma is valid even if the bad thing didn’t necessarily happen to you, but you witnessed it and it had a profound effect on how you feel safe/safe. The trauma you experience is valid if another person has experienced the same trauma, or the same trauma, and they are ‘okay’.
I wanted to share some examples of things that can be traumatic or may/can be painful.
This list is by no means complete or representative of every experience.
Sexual or physical assault or abuse
Child abuse, neglect and abandonment
life threatening events
Community violence (school shootings, gang violence, fights, or feeling unsafe in your area or community)
Racial and minority traumas (among them racism, homophobia, fat phobia, and stamina)
Medical shock (medical shock is a response to pain, injury, serious [or chronic] Disease, Medical Procedures, and Fearful Treatment Experiences – Source)
System-induced trauma (situations where organized systems create trauma, including those designed to mitigate trauma – foster care, rape victim interviews, law enforcement, court procedures, juvenile detention facilities, etc. – Source)
violence and crime
Peer bullying or abuse
Sudden death or trauma of a loved one
Prolonged assault incidents
Forced displacement (generally referring to refugees and asylum seekers)
Generational/Family Trauma (Trauma is transmitted from those who have directly experienced an accident to subsequent generations – Source)
Natural disasters or mass shocks
war and terror
I think it’s important to raise awareness about what trauma looks like.
If you have been in shock – please contact a medical professional. They can find the right treatment for you and help you learn how to cope.