24 Hour Helpline: (888) 450-2701

How Can I Heal My Unresolved Trauma?

a young lady sitting on the stairs with unresolved trauma

If you’ve experienced trauma, you’re not alone. Most of us, or at least 70%, will go through a traumatic event at some point in our lives, and often that means taking time to heal. The longer you leave that, the longer it can take to resolve it – and you may be at risk of developing PTSD or Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Taking steps to recover from trauma in a healthy way is important for your long-term mental health. That’s also true if your trauma is old and you never dealt with it properly. If you still struggle with side-effects of a traumatic event, it’s important to reach out, to get help, and to start your journey of recovery.

Talk to Your Doctor

Trauma is something that impacts your long-term mental and physical health. If you’ve experienced trauma, you’re at an increased risk of stress, heart-related health problems, gastrointestinal health problems, sleeplessness, and complications like PTSD. More importantly, your doctor can help you to gauge what kind of support you need so you can get start getting that help. That means discussing:

  • Your trauma and what happened
  • How you feel about it
  • What side-effects or long-term impacts it has had on you
  • What you feel about it on a daily basis or on average

From there, your doctor can help you decide if you need counseling, therapy, or simple help with taking care of yourself and giving yourself space to heal. Your doctor is not a psychologist and they won’t have the last word, but they can start you off on making the right steps and they can help you decide what you might need. In addition, they can write a referal and request preapproval for your insurance, so that mental healthcare and help is actually covered by your insurance provider.

Get Your Questions Answered Now

Take Care of Yourself

Building a healthy structure and schedule for yourself is important for giving yourself a baseline for recovery. For most people that means creating a broad life structure that you follow more days than not. However, you don’t have to be perfect all the time and letting go of your schedule for weekends or special occasions is generally healthy. What does a good schedule look like?

  • Wake up and go to bed at around the same time every night. That means going to bed at something like 10 or 11 PM and getting out of bed about 8.5-9 hours later, giving yourself time to wake up and fall asleep while still getting enough rest.
  • Have a night time ritual so you can unwind for bed and actually fall asleep when you go to bed. E.g., turning off all your devices an hour before bed and reading or practicing meditation before bed can be a great way to unwind and make sure you actually sleep.
  • Dedicating 15-20 minutes of your day, every day, to cleaning up your space and keeping things tidy. Having a clean space means you’ll experience less stress in your own space, which means it will be safer for you and a better space to heal in.
  • Eat healthy meals, following the guidelines of something like MyPlate.gov for about 80% of your meals. That generally means making half your plate unprocessed fruits and vegetables, about a quarter of your plate grains, and about a quarter of your plate proteins, and varying your sources of each.
a young woman doing some stretching on the bed
  • Spend 30-60 minutes per day engaging in light exercise like walking, swimming, or biking. Exercise classes like yoga and Pilates are also good. Here, the idea is to get in movement rather than to try to grow muscle, so you don’t have to push yourself to exhaustion.
  • Spend time outside. Usually, 30-60 minutes or more in a park or outdoor area will help you feel better and will help improve your mood, which will give you more space to heal.

Essentially, if you’re investing in your mental and physical health, you’re working to ensure that you’re in the best possible place for recovery. That means you’ll, in turn, be in the best possible condition to take the steps necessary for that recovery.

Talk to Your Friends and Family

Chances are, you have support networks. Those are typically your friends and family but potentially also a therapist or counselor. It’s important that you use those networks. Talking to friends and family about how you’re feeling, about what happened, about how you’re dealing with things, and about how it’s affecting you, your mood, and your future is important. The people in your life care and it’s important that you give them opportunities to listen and to support you.

However, you don’t have to start there. If you don’t know what to say about things, you can start out by talking to a counselor or even by journaling. Writing things down, figuring out how to put how you feel in words, and actually acknowledging how you feel are good steps, even if you’re the only person who ever sees those first steps. However, talking to friends and family can be important for figuring out how you feel as well, so don’t think that you have to get things perfect before you share about them.

Go to a Support Group

Most areas have custom support groups for individuals who have experienced or gone through trauma. Often, you can find references to these groups from your doctor, at the police station, at the city hall, or from a recommendation via your counselor or psychologist. However, many will just have open web pages where you can look them up online. Support groups include:

  • Mutual support groups, where people get together to talk and share but with no structure around the group
  • 12-step groups, which have structure and goals but are primarily about sharing with a group of peers
  • Therapy groups that are led by a psychologist and will often have someone checking up on you and offering guidance and research material. These can be online or offline.

In each case, getting to talk to someone who has had similar experiences to you and who is coming from the same places you are can be immensely helpful in figuring out how trauma has affected you. It can also be easier to share with your peers rather than friends or family who might not understand what you’ve gone through or why you are reacting in the way you are. However, these groups are not a replacement for therapy.

Go to Treatment

a mother inquiring about drug and alcohol rehab for her son

If you’re struggling with your mental health, it’s important to talk to your doctor and to work towards treatment and therapy no matter what the cause. If you’re struggling after trauma, it’s important to get help and someone to guide you through acknowledging trauma, resolving it for yourself, re-exposing yourself to triggers in a healthy way, and learning behaviors and coping mechanisms that help you to deal with those emotions in as healthy of a way as possible.

Eventually, if you’re not doing well with mental health, therapy and treatment is a valid and an important step. Here, you can opt for in-person or virtual therapy depending on your time and needs. In addition, you can always get help with therapy from your insurance. If you want to now more, start by talking to your doctor and then work towards enrolling in a therapy or counseling program.

Ready to Get Started on Your Journey to Long-Term Recovery?

Learn More About Our Admissions Process or Call Now to Speak With a Treatment Expert

Our Accreditations

Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken in place of medical advice. Before making any decisions regarding your health, please consult your doctor. The staff at Stairway Resource Center develops a custom treatment plan for each of our patients. Specific medical advice will be provided to our patients by our professional providers while in our care.