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    How to Cope When Current Events Bring Up Past Trauma

    When your partner raised their voice at you, it scared you. Why is that? After all, all couples go through rough patches. In your case, it could be because your previous relationship was an abusive one. The same can happen if the ongoing pandemic brings you back to an unpredictable time in your life that brought you emotional turmoil.

    Traumatic events can make us feel stuck. Just when you think you have moved on, a current event brings you back. If a recent event like the pandemic keeps coming up on the news, you feel tempted to watch but feel distressed while doing so. Common reactions to traumatic events may include-

    • Feeling sad, frustrated, helpless, or angry
    • A spike in PTSD, anxiety, depression, or other mental health symptoms
    • Poor sleep
    • Alcohol or drug use
    • Avoiding triggers
    • Flashbacks or nightmares
    • Feeling overprotective or constantly on edge

    Here are ways you can cope when current events bring up past trauma.

    Engage in Positive Activities

    Living in a depressing time does not have to make you feel depressed all the time. After all, there are so many wonderful things that the world has to offer you.

    Find activities around your area that can be meaningful, like volunteer opportunities. Cleaning up a beach or helping your place of worship can make a difference to many people. You can also see if fun events are happening in your area that you do not want to miss. Dedicate yourself every day to activities that will make you happy to show you a brighter side to life.

    Stay Connected

    Traumatic events can make you lose sight of the people in your life. You may think no one understands what you are going through, so it is best to be isolated. The truth is that your loved ones are great people to help cheer you up when you need it.

    Stay connected to people who make you feel safe, calm, or happy. Find things to do that will take your mind off your distressing thoughts. You can also reach out to support groups to speak to people who better understand your situation. Even just listening to others tell their stories can be reassuring.

    Self-Soothing Activities

    Life can wear you down when you least expect it. Instead of letting these traumatic triggers ruin your day, try incorporating at least one self-soothing activity that is good for your soul.

    Listen to music that makes you want to dance or tells a story through the poetry of the lyrics. Exercising will bring you feel-good endorphins while you get your body moving. Pet your dog, cat, or stroke your bird, so you feel comforted. Write in a journal or read a page-turning book. Everyone should dedicate time to do something for themselves where they can end their day on a high note.

    Limit News Exposure

    It can be hard to stay away from the news or your social media feed when it is a habit. You want to be caught up on what is going on in the world, but this news can damage your mental health. If you want to stay tuned to the news, tell yourself to only look for an hour. Find a news app that only shows you a preview of the news story so that you can decide if it is an appropriate story for you to click on. No news story is worth increasing your distress over.

    If you are still struggling with coping after a current event triggers a traumatic event, it is best to speak to a mental health specialist right away. No matter what occurs in the present day, you have the power to keep the past out and focus only on today.