How to Heal and Find Hope after Trauma

When I was a young adult, I would have defined trauma differently than I do now. I used to think a trauma involved an abuse victim, a soldier who experienced combat or a victim of a severe accident or violent crime. But Psychology Today defines Trauma as a person’s emotional response to a distressing situation.

Regarding the above definition, everyone has experienced some form of trauma. Trauma probably could be put on a scale from 1-10 ranking from mild to severe, however everyone experiences trauma differently. I feel that my first traumatic experience took place when I was 8 when my parents divorced. Then that same year I was hit by a car and hospitalized for 3 weeks. That was not a fun year.

I remember going to a few counseling sessions with a child therapist when my parents were going through the divorce. I don’t recall what the therapist told me. I found my own ways to cope with the trauma. I prayed to God about it, would write in my diary and I would find things to occupy my time such as watching TV, playing outside and spending time with friends.

I felt a lot of shame about my parents’ divorce. None of my friends’ parents were divorced. I tended to not talk to people because of the shame. This limited the amount of friends I had and also prevented me from sharing my feelings. I did eventually connect with another girl whose parents were also divorced. We became best friends. Even though we rarely talked about our experiences, we were there for each other. This helped me heal from the trauma and removed the shame I felt.

These past 2 years, all of us have experienced the trauma of Covid 19. When the pandemic first hit the US in 2020, at first I just responded with a “Que Sera, Sera” attitude, whatever will be, will be. The schools closed, I was told to work from home, so we made the best of it.

But then, my husband, daughters and I contracted Covid. My daughters had mild symptoms but my husband and I had a moderate case. We struggled with chest tightness, coughing, shortness of breath and heart rate fluctuations. One night I didn’t sleep well because I had to remind my body to breathe. I felt myself exhaling but I wasn’t naturally inhaling. I was scared to fall asleep in fear that I wouldn’t wake up.

I would like to say that I wasn’t afraid of dying, knowing that I’ll be going to heaven. But I have teenagers still living at home. It scared me to know that I’d be leaving them before they were ready to be without me.

Going through Covid was a traumatic experience for both me and my husband. Since that time we have healed, both physically and emotionally. I’m thankful to God that we were healed.

Now that I’ve explained some examples of trauma, here are the ways to heal and find hope.

1. Seek God. God is the creator of earth and us (See Genesis 1 & 2 in the Bible). Therefore since He is our creator, He can comfort us. Pray to God for comfort, healing and peace. He may not heal in the way we expect, but He does comfort us in times of difficulty.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:4‬ ‭

2. Go to a good counselor. There are many licensed counselors and Biblical counselors. Now with the internet and Zoom meetings, you are even able to speak to a counselor online from the comfort of your own home. I say find a good counselor, because not all counselors are trained to handle every form of situation or trauma. And some may not use techniques that you agree with or work for you. I have been to a few different counselors and some were very good, while others didn’t seem to help at all. The purpose of counseling is to improve your life and how you handle difficult situations. It’s not going to prevent bad things, because we live in a fallen world, but it can help you cope in a healthy way and learn to endure and heal.

3. Develop healthy friendships. When traumatic situations happen, we can tend to isolate ourselves due to shame or protection from further harm. But we as humans need each other. “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I say “healthy” friendships because not all people are good for us (see my prior post on dangerous people). I don’t mean that you need to avoid “dangerous people” altogether. They need help from others as well. (See Galatians 6:1). But when you are in need of encouragement and support, it will help you to have strong, kind people around you.

4. Keep improving/growing. When we have something to look towards to, we feel hopeful. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” When we set goals and accomplish them, this makes us feel good. I remember when I graduated from college. It improved my confidence.

The well known scripture often displayed on graduation gifts in Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” But read Jeremiah chapters 1-29 and find out the despair Jeremiah had experienced. God was speaking life into Jeremiah and giving him hope, not only out of prophecy, but in encouragement.

We often need to have hope before we experience the victories. This is what can lead us to the successes.

5. Help others. Paul wrote in Romans 15: 1-2 : “We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this (referring to Romans 14 and personal convictions). We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.”

I have found encouragement when helping others. This was one of the main reasons why I started this blog. God and people have taught me a lot of things over the years and I have wanted to share those things with you. I was once at a place where I felt lonely and isolated. I wish I would have had people around me to encourage me. I did have God and the Bible, but sometimes I’d get lost in my own thoughts. God also uses people to bless and motivate others.

So if God has healed you, do the same and share that message to others so that they can also be healed.
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