Am I Really Suffering from Trauma?
Did something happen that you can’t get over? Was it the loss of a loved one? Abuse? Divorce? An accident? Maybe you haven’t thought of what you went through as a trauma. Trauma is just a way of saying something happened to you that was so difficult and upsetting you can’t get over it. Trauma can be a single event, like being the victim of an assault or surviving a serious accident. But trauma can also be something repeated, like being verbally or physically abused by a partner or being picked on and bullied throughout your childhood. Regardless of the situation, trauma changes the trajectory of your life and stops you from being the person you used to be or the person you want to be.
How Does Trauma Affect You?
Do you find the most intense emotions coming right to the surface at the most inappropriate time? Do you become upset when things remind you of the past? Trauma can come out in many ways. We worry more and are always focusing on what’s going to go wrong next instead of living life now. We lose confidence in ourselves and feel insecure. Emotions that were easy to control because harder to reign in: we become irritable, easily stressed out, depressed. We find ourselves crying and sometimes for no apparent reason. We look at the future and see this difficult journey ahead and we don’t know how we’re going to do it. We feel alone and overwhelmed. If you recognized these signs, maybe you’ve tried to share it with others.
Is This Something You're Holding in?
If you’ve shared your experiences with a partner or close friend, they may not have fully grasped how you’ve been affected. Sometimes, those close to you want to help but offer advice that really isn’t helpful: “just try to forget about it” or “just stop thinking about it.” Other times, those close to you are very supportive but they don’t know what to do.
You might be worried about putting too much on the shoulders of friends and family, so you hold things in. Or you might feel that what you went through is too personal, embarrassing, or upsetting to share. You don’t know if others are going to be able to handle it, so you don’t say anything at all.
It’s not your fault for trying to deal with this on your own. It’s hard to know what to do or who to turn to, but if you’ve been bearing this alone, you don’t have to anymore.
You Don't Have To Do This Alone
My name is Jason Drwal. I’m a clinical psychologist and a trauma therapist. I understand how difficult it is to have something happen that changes your life forever. Over the past 15 years, I’ve helped hundreds of trauma and PTSD survivors learn to live life again and feel happy. I’ve learned the challenges of living with trauma and I understand what you’re going through, whether you think the trauma is big or small – I can help you.
Can Therapy Help Me?
Maybe you’re afraid you won’t ever get over this. Or that therapy won’t help. But it does! I’ve seen it over and over and heard from my clients themselves. But beyond my observations, there are hundreds of research studies which have found that therapy significantly improves trauma and PTSD symptoms, reduces depression, and improves relationships with partners. If you’ve thought about getting help, don’t wait. Contact me using the form on this page and we can discuss how I can help you.
You may feel alone and different, but know that trauma affects millions of people. What you’re going through is probably very similar to what other trauma survivors have gone through. In fact, I’ve probably helped someone very similar to you. With support, encouragement, and guidance from an experienced and skilled therapist, you can learn to face your past so you can start living in the present. You can start to rebuild your self-esteem, feel safe again, and become close with children, partners, and other who care about you. I know it’s hard to ask for help but you don’t have to do this alone. I understanding and I’m here to help you.
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How Will I Help You?
There are many therapies available to help trauma and PTSD survivors. It can confusing to decide which one is best for you. The good news is that it really doesn’t matter, as long as the treatment seems to make sense to you and you have a good working relationship with your therapist. I was trained in two of the most researched trauma treatments: cognitive-processing therapy and prolonged exposure therapy. I also draw on mindfulness techniques – mindfulness is a way to bring self-compassion and nonjudgmental awareness to your experiences. What is more important than techniques is the overall process of therapy, which I break down into three steps:
1. Building a safe place for you to talk about anything you want, no matter how upsetting, embarrassing, or traumatic. Your comfort and trust is my first priority and it is absolutely essential to creating a healing environment in which to share your experiences.
2. Creating a plan of change that is uniquely tailored to your specific experiences, your hopes, and your vision of how you want life to be.
3. Guiding and supporting you every step of the way as we work together to help you build the kind of life you want to live.
Do I Have PTSD?
Sometimes the trauma reaches a point where you constantly relive the experience(s). When this happens, it’s called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. PTSD is a type of reaction to trauma. It involves experiencing things that are life threatening, like being in a serious car accident, or seeing things that are terrifying, being assaulted, or seeing someone die. It could be something that wasn’t life threatening but made you feel completely helpless, like being physically, verbally, or sexually abused when you were a child or an adult. Sometime even being exposed to disturbing situations, like a nurses who works in an emergency room or doctors who deal with injured child, could bring about PTSD. Ultimately, going through these traumas can cause you to fall into a “survival mode.” You relive the trauma in you mind, you have nightmares about it, you feel fearful and afraid. You are constantly over-aroused and on edge.
But not all traumas lead to PTSD. Sometimes you experience things that are traumatic but don’t cause you to fall into that survival mode. Sometimes, the circumstances are traumatic, like a divorce, but not life-threatening or horrific. Still, these things are traumatic and can seriously affect you. I can evaluate you to determine if you have PTSD, but, whether you have PTSD or not, if a trauma is affecting you and you don’t know how to deal with, reach out to me.