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Strategies For Feeling Connected Again When You’re Feeling Isolated In Trauma Recovery

In our previous Alumni Blog, we discussed the ways that surviving trauma can cause us to feel isolated and separated from the rest of the world and other people. We also discussed the ways that trauma treatment can help us connect to others, a miracle which starts to occur the very second we open ourselves to the possibility of healing from trauma and being helped by other people. Here, we will discuss the ways isolation and separation creep into our recovery and strategies for breaking down our walls when they do.

Progress Not Perfection

Living in trauma recovery is an amazing way of living once we do the handwork of processing our past, identifying the ways that our past interrupts our present, and learning the skills we need to protect our futures. Having been humbled by the experience of trauma, we discern the difference between progress and perfection, realizing that we will never be perfect in our lives because perfect doesn’t exist. Instead, we opt to fully and radically embrace the idea of progression. Accepting progression means accepting that there will be good times and less than good times, times of accelerated growth and times of feeling like we’re growing so slowly we might be backtracking.

Getting over the idea of backtracking in recovery is monumental, especially for those of us in recovery from trauma and various manifestations of trauma. Trauma lives in our minds, bodies, and spirits, impacting the way we see and react to life. Taking over the way our nervous system functions, all of our anxious responses are changed by trauma. When we are triggered, we might respond in a number of ways, including flashbacks or feeling like we’ve transported in time. Though our trauma isn’t happening to us, whatever has triggered us causes us to feel as though that trauma is happening again, right now, for the very first time, even though it feels like a repeat. Totally realizing that everything in life happens in a forward motion changes our perception when our mind plays tricks of the past. No matter what we are going through in response to our trauma, we can know that we aren’t in the past, we are in the present.

Staying Present

Staying present during moments of difficulty in our trauma recovery is really hard to do, without question. The greatest challenge of our lives will be mitigating and coping with our responses to trauma in a way that doesn’t perpetuate our feelings of shame or separation. Every time our triggers arise, we can start to feel a little more isolated, a little more separated, and a little more challenged in our recovery. Despite our deepest knowledge and the lessons we have learned through trauma treatment, we can start to fall for old beliefs, allowing our trauma to tell us that nothing has changed.

Strategy For Coping With Isolation #1: Reflect On How Much You’ve Grown

Yes, it is true that you have been dealt some especially challenging cards in your life. Yes, it is true that you have gone to treatment and worked incredibly hard to do something extremely brave- recover from trauma. Yes, it is true, that you have committed to living a life of recovery which ensures that you are constantly growing forward and healing as a holistic person.

Now, imagine if you changed the perspective of those statements. Imagine if you chose only to see how far you still have to go, or worse, how different you believe you are from how you interpret other people. We too commonly fall for the fear of how our insides, that is, how we feel, versus other people’s outsides, that is, how we perceive other people to feel or be.

Reflecting on how much we have grown helps us to realize that we have worked hard and come along way. Our reflection helps us to have empathy and compassion for ourselves as well as others. The more we reflect on our journey the more we realize that everyone is on a journey and we start to feel less alone.

Strategy For Coping With Isolation #2: Reach Out To Others

If there is one thing we learn above all else in recovery from trauma, addictions, and other manifestations of trauma, its that action reigns over inaction. No matter what we struggle with in regards to our mental health, getting stuck in our own head and listening to the confusions of our own mind paralyzes us from taking real action. We can sit silently and listen to the panic of our anxiety for hours and days on end without taking any action toward talking to someone else, writing it down, meditation, exercising, doing art therapy, reaching out, asking for help, or hanging out with a group of people. The more we sit in silence inside of ourselves in the moments when sitting in silence inside of ourselves isn’t a helpful activity, the more isolated and separated we feel.

Reaching out to others is an instantaneous break in the wall of separation we build when we’re feeling isolated from the world. We burst through the idea that nobody will understand us, nobody can help us, and nobody would even want to care. The very act of taking power enough to reach out to someone else is a monumental moment and ends our feelings of isolation. As we talk it through, get out of our house, get out of our heads, and interact with other people in an open, honest, and authentic way, we realize once more that the ideas of isolation and separation are delusions of the drama caused by trauma in our lives.

When you graduate trauma treatment, the rubber meets the road, as it is said. To live successfully in recovery from trauma, addictions, or related mental health issues, we need the care and professionalism of an experienced, specialized staff who provide us excellence in treatment. Our alumni learn how to thrive in their lives not in spite of trauma, but because of it. We’re always here to welcome those in need of help at The Guest House Ocala. Call us today for information and resources: 1-855-483-7800