Trauma comes in many different forms, and there’s no right or wrong way of coping with challenging times.
Through our #MyStory series, we hope to help you deal with the difficulties and health problems you might be experiencing.
Here our senior sub-editor, Jenna Grenfell, shares how she coped with her miscarriage:
We spoke to Sian Williams, author of Rise: Surviving and Thriving after Trauma, about her 5 pieces of advice for getting through traumatic times:
Protect your sleep
Insomnia is a common reaction to trauma because of high levels of stress hormones. One way to alter your stress levels is to actively think about positive things, not negatives, when you’re falling asleep.
Remember to breathe
When I was having difficult procedures – like radioactive dye injected into my breasts – I focused on breathing slowly and evenly. It sounds so simple, but it makes a big difference to your stress levels.
Take your thoughts in hand
When something traumatic happens, it’s easy to ‘catastrophise’ and fear the worst. Cognitive behavioural therapy helped me so I could try to stop. And mindfulness techniques helped me stave off fear and panic. I found the Headspace app (free for iOS/Apple and Android) helpful.
Find the positives
When I was in hospital, I forced myself to find the positives, even when that was as simple as thinking, “You could put your pyjamas on instead of the hospital gown”, or “You were able to walk to the bathroom – even if it took you an hour”
Don’t forget to laugh
You have to look at the absurdity of life when things are tough, and it really helps to laugh. My friend Dixi took me out for coffee and produced two woollen breasts that her grannie had knitted for me. We just hooted with laughter, and I felt so much better.
- Rise: Surviving and Thriving after Trauma (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) by Sian Williams is available here