5 Ways to Navigate Medical Trauma
Going to the doctor might seem fairly straightforward. But it isn’t always. Procedures that are meant to heal us sometimes end up causing us harm. Medical trauma comes from a negative experience with a doctor or treatment. Trauma is harmful, but medical trauma can lead us to avoid seeking medical help in the future, even if we really need it.
Navigating trauma is complex, and there is no one true way of doing so. We all have different needs and different coping mechanisms that work for us, but even with all our differences, there are some common grounds we can start on. Here are five ways we can begin navigating our medical trauma and healing from it.
1. Acknowledge Your Trauma
It’s easy for us to dismiss our pain and trauma, particularly when the trauma occurred in a medical setting. But ignoring and diminishing our trauma doesn’t help us heal from it. In fact, it does the opposite. In order to truly heal from our medical trauma, we need to take a moment to sit down and truly acknowledge what happened to us. We had a terrible experience, and this has left us with problems and fears we didn’t have before. It’s okay to say so. We can’t begin to heal if we don’t admit there was something that harmed us in the first place.
2. Be Patient
Navigating trauma isn’t easy. We might feel emotions that make us uncomfortable. We might be angry at ourselves for feeling that way or for not healing as fast as we’d like. But trauma isn’t something that goes away quickly. It takes time to overcome what we’ve gone through.
Patience might not be something that comes easy to us, especially as far as healing from trauma goes. It’s not linear, and bad days can and will follow our good days, making us think we’ve lost the progress we made. But that’s not how healing works. We never lose our progress. We’re always moving towards healing, step by step. Despite our ups and downs, we are healing and moving forward. All we need to do is take our time. Recovery will happen.
3. Change Your Habits
If we need to go to the doctor again, for whatever reason, our first step should be to communicate with our doctor. If we talk things through with them and ask them to explain every procedure or treatment in detail, we might feel better and more in control of the situation. And if our doctor dismisses our concerns, then there’s nothing wrong with repeating our concerns or looking for a different doctor.
We can also ask a friend or family member to come with us to appointments. A supportive presence on its own is more helpful than we’d think, but they can also help us in other ways. They can distract us from our worries. At the appointment, they might remember questions we forgot to ask or help us remember what our doctor tells us. We don’t have to go through any of this alone.
4. Talk About It
Talking about our trauma with people we trust is invaluable. Whether we talk to friends or family members or both, discussing what happened to us and how we feel helps us. Keeping everything to ourselves makes it harder for us to navigate our trauma. Most importantly, keeping quiet just makes us feel worse. Being able to talk to someone is more freeing than we’d initially think. All we need to do is trust those around us to be supportive and talk to them.
5. Reach Out for Help
There’s nothing wrong with needing professional help. Talking to people who’ve gone through similar experiences as us can make us feel much less alone. This might be in support groups, where we can find a community of people who’ve also experienced medical trauma.
Another good option is counseling. If the medical trauma becomes too much, then feel free to make an appointment. We can help you navigate your trauma and help you on your road to recovery. You don’t have to do this alone.