The second part of this blog continues to explore the ways in which trauma could be affecting you or friends and relatives.
Here are five more signs to look out for and suggested steps to tackle them:
1. Diminished Creativity
Art is a beautiful expression of life and can manifest in so many ways but lately have you found yourself lacking in creative energy? Gradually the thing that brought so much joy takes more effort than ever, you find yourself making excuses and avoiding creativity. You're too drained at the end of the day to do anything more than scroll on your phone for hours.
Firstly, recognising how much you're not doing the thing you love can really help. You might limit how long you're on social media, maybe even keep a log of the amount of time you spend. And then slowly adjust your behaviour, start the thing you love doing just for 10 minutes and keep a log, as the weeks go by trade your time on social media for your time on creativity. 🖌️🎨
Are other peoples' problems never as bad as yours? Do you find yourself comparing and not being able to empathise with people who haven't suffered "as much as you"? On the one hand it's an understandable reaction, you're trying to find reasons as to why you have been given such a bad hand. But minimizing limits your empathy and connection to others.
Next time you find yourself comparing, maybe take a moment to realise what's happening for you and why you've suddenly jumped to a conclusion. You could try taking some time to write about how you feel or try some mindfulness exercises to explore your thoughts further. There's some great advice on this website if you want to find out more.
3. Deliberate Avoidance/Inability to Listen
Your friend is upset about something and you just haven't got the time or energy to talk to them. You avoid their calls and make excuses. You think, surely they'll just "get over it, and stop wasting your time"?
At times we can all be a little guilty of this, but if it starts to become a regular occurrence it maybe time to stop what you're doing and contact your friend instead. Sometimes challenging a behaviour head-on can be a great way to change your own perspective on it.
4. Sense of Persecution
Do you feel like you've lost all sense of agency, that all things are turned against you and there is no way out no matter how hard you try?
The trouble with this mindset is that you're are choosing to let life dictate your actions instead of you dictating them. Is it really a case of something you can't change, or more a fear that if you were to change it you can't be sure of the outcome? Despite the common human trait to pretend we're all knowing, we never really can be sure of anything. Nothing is ever certain and there can be confidence in this perspective: often things go much better than we plan and not the other way around.
5. Grandiosity: Inflated Sense of Importance Attached to Your Work
Have you ever had an unrealistic sense of importance within your job, perhaps even viewed yourself as better than everyone else?
If you find yourself often feeling like this, it could be that your mental health is suffering. If work is your whole identity and consumes who you are, maybe it's time to take a step back. Over time this can be an insidious part of trauma, it eats away at you without realising, and the worst part is you think you're doing great. If you feel like you're better than everyone else than how can you connect to others? The website Psychology Today has tips on how to recognise and help yourself.
Often these symptoms can be mixed up together and it can be hard to separate one from another. The best advice if you are struggling is to seek out professional help. It's ok to admit that life is sometimes too hard, no matter what's affecting you, try and remember that you are not alone and you can get through it. 💪🏿💪🏼
The book Trauma Stewardship explains these issues in much more detail and we highly recommend it. More information and resources can be found on their website.