Healing from Trauma: A Journey for Patients and Caregivers ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’ช
Healing from Trauma

Healing from Trauma: A Journey for Patients and Caregivers ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’ช

“Welcome to my journey. Life was sailing along just fine until one day, a proverbial bombshell dropped – I was diagnosed with cancer. Everything blurred into a surreal, frightening whirlwind. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve had a similar bombshell drop in your life, or you know someone who has. It’s a journey filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, and no two paths are exactly the same. Yet, there are some experiences that seem to bind us together. ๐ŸŒช๏ธ

Navigating this journey, I’ve realized cancer isn’t just a physical battle – it’s an emotional one, too. It brings along a suitcase of traumas, each different yet connected. ย And here’s something else I’ve come to understand – it’s not just the patients who are impacted by this trauma. Our caregivers, the ones who stand beside us, holding our hands through the storm, they’re fighting their own battles. They bear witness to our struggle, share in our pain, and often carry a heavy emotional burden themselves. ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’ช

In this blog, I’ll be sharing my own personal experiences with you, shedding light on these shadows of trauma that can loom large during the cancer journey. It’s a conversation, a shared space to understand, learn and, hopefully, heal. So let’s walk this path together, acknowledging the challenges, embracing the strength within us, and knowing why releasing trauma from the body is important. Here’s to our resilience, and here’s to our journey.” ๐Ÿšถโ€โ™€๏ธ๐ŸŒˆ

Does this sound familiar?

So, let’s say you’re just living your life, doing your thing – work, family, hobbies – when out of the blue, you get the news. You’ve got cancer.

Imagine that moment as if you’ve just walked into a surprise party you never wanted. Everyone’s looking at you, expecting a reaction, but all you can feel is shock, fear, maybe even disbelief. That’s the beginning of this unexpected journey. ๐ŸŽ‰

This diagnosis, it’s like a gut punch. You reel from the impact. The life you knew, your plans, your dreams, they suddenly seem shaken up. You might find yourself asking, “Why me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” These thoughts, they’re all part of the initial trauma. It’s like standing at the edge of a high cliff, peering into the unknown, your heart racing with fear. ๐Ÿ˜ข

And then, the treatment begins. Maybe it’s surgery, maybe chemotherapy or radiation. Regardless, it’s like being in an intense boot camp you never signed up for. The side effects can feel like you’re fighting a two-front war, against the cancer and the very thing that’s supposed to help you get better. Hair loss, nausea, fatigue – they’re the physical reminders of what you’re going through, and they can mess with your mind, make you feel less like yourself. That’s another face of trauma, feeling alienated from your own body. ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’Š

All the while, you’re juggling doctor’s appointments, bills, maybe even work and family responsibilities. It’s like spinning plates while walking a tightrope, one misstep and everything can come crashing down. The constant stress, the worry about the future, they add more layers to the trauma. ๐Ÿ˜“

You make it through, you’re in remission. It’s fantastic news, a reason to celebrate. But it’s also like standing in the aftermath of a tornado. You’re grateful to be alive, but you’re left staring at the damage, unsure of where to start rebuilding. You may be dealing with lingering physical side effects, or the constant fear of recurrence, like an unwanted guest that’s always lurking around the corner. This is the trauma of survivorship. ๐ŸŒช๏ธ๐ŸŽ‰

Through all of this, you’ve changed. Your relationships have changed. You’ve been through a war and come out the other side, but the echoes of the battle still ring in your ears. It’s like carrying an invisible scar. You go back to work, to social events, but sometimes, you feel like you’re playing a part, pretending everything’s back to normal when it’s not. This is another aspect of the trauma. ๐Ÿ˜”

So, from that shocking surprise party at the beginning, all the way to the invisible scar you carry after, the journey of cancer can leave marks on your psyche in different ways. Just remember, you’re not alone. There are professionals and support systems to help you navigate this storm, so you don’t have to weather it all by yourself. ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿค

“Below, I’ll outline several approaches I employed to overcome and recover from the trauma I experienced during my cancer journey. These strategies helped me navigate the challenges, process my emotions, and work towards healing. ๐Ÿ’ชโœจ”

Ways to recover from trauma

Explore Somatic Therapies:

As patients and caregivers, we can explore various somatic therapies and body-based practices on the road to recover from trauma. From yoga to dance, martial arts to meditation, there’s a wide array of modalities to choose from. Let your body express the unspoken emotions and tap into the healing power of movement. For me, meditation has been a game changer in my journey to recover from trauma. I started meditating 5 minutes a day and have gradually built my practice to about 30 to 40 minutes a day now. I can totally tell the days I skip my meditation in the morning, my mood and mindset just aren’t as calm on those days. ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™€๏ธโœจ

Body Therapies for Trauma:

As patients and caregivers, our bodies hold the memories of trauma, but they also hold the key to liberation. Engaging in body-centered therapies like massage, acupuncture, or breathwork can help. Through conscious movement and intentional breathing, we can allow the energy of healing to flow freely within us. In the last few years, Iโ€™ve learned to use breathwork to calm my nervous system.ย  To come back to my body on days when anxiety wants to get the best of me.ย  One of my favorite breathing techniques is box breathing: breath in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 4 seconds, breath out for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 4 seconds. ย After a few cycles I can feel my body calm down. ๐ŸŒฌ๏ธ๐ŸŒฟ

Seek Professional Help

Don’t hesitate to reach out to trauma-informed therapists or counselors who specialize in trauma recovery. They can provide guidance and support, helping patients and caregivers navigate the healing journey with expertise and care. ๐Ÿค

Make New Friends:

Building a support network of understanding and empathetic individuals can be invaluable during the healing process. Connect with support groups, join communities, or attend therapy groups where you can share experiences, find encouragement, and foster meaningful connections. ๐Ÿค—๐ŸŒฑ

Journal Your Experience:

Writing can be a powerful tool for healing. Start a journal to document your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Explore journaling prompts for mental health, journal prompts for depression, and more. Allow your words to flow freely, giving yourself space to process emotions and gain clarity. Journaling can bring a sense of release, understanding, and empowerment. ย Check out this blog post we wrote filled with prompt ideas for patients and caregivers ๐Ÿ“โœจ

Understand the Triggers:

Identify the triggers that activate feelings of trauma. By recognizing these triggers, patients and caregivers can develop coping strategies, practice self-care, and create boundaries. Understanding triggers empowers individuals to take control of their healing journey. ย To identify my triggers, my therapist had me write down anytime I felt anxious.ย  And write a short description about what was happening in that moment (the situation, my thoughts, the conversations taking place, the people I was with).ย  After two weeks of doing this exercise, I was able to go back and identify patterns — my triggers.ย  And together we created strategies I used whenever I felt triggered.ย  This is a practice I continue to implement as part of my journaling practice today.๐Ÿšฆ๐Ÿ”

Engage in Creativity:

Embrace your creative side as a form of self-expression and healing. Engaging in activities like painting, writing, dancing, or playing music allows patients and caregivers to channel emotions, release tension, and tap into their inner strength and resilience, aiding to recover from trauma. ๐ŸŽจ๐ŸŽญ

Practice Mindfulness and Meditation:

Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine can help ground and center yourself. These practices promote self-awareness, acceptance, and a sense of calm. Take a few moments each day to be present, breathe deeply, and cultivate inner peace. If meditation is not your thing, there are other practices you can use to become grounded, to come back into your body.ย  A simple one to start with is the 5-4-3-2-1 practice: ๐Ÿง˜โ€โ™€๏ธ๐ŸŒฟ

5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. …

4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. …

3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. …

2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. …

1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste.

Take Breaks:

Recognize the importance of self-care and rest. Healing from trauma is a journey that requires patience and energy. Take breaks when needed, engage in activities that bring joy, and prioritize self-care to recharge and rejuvenate. ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŒบ

Work with Your Feelings:

Allow yourself to fully experience and process your emotions. Validate your feelings and give yourself permission to grieve, express anger, or feel sadness. ย Read quotes for healing and strength, seek therapy or counseling to navigate the complexities of your emotions and gain tools to cope with them effectively. Remember, working through emotions in a healthy way supports healing and growth ๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ’”

Accept Support:

Open your heart to the support and love offered by friends, family, and professional caregivers. Accepting support from others can provide comfort, strength, and encouragement along the healing journey. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’–

Conclusion: Unleash Your Inner Phoenix

Healing from trauma is a courageous act of self-love. Embrace the power within you, for it holds the key to your transformation.

Together, we can create a world filled with resilient, wholehearted beings who embody the beauty of vulnerability and triumph over adversity. Trust the process and soar high like the phoenix rising from the ashes of trauma. You are worthy of a life filled with joy, love, and unshakable inner peace.

My carecrew, making lifeโ€™s most difficult moments a little easier for patients and caregivers!

We know first hand how hard it is to care for a loved one dealing with an illness! Thatโ€™s why we created the My CareCrew mobile app. Our free Android and Apple app connect patients and caregivers with their โ€œCareCrewโ€, to streamline day-to-day challenges experienced during illness. The app makes it easy to ask for help, manage the inflow of help offers from loved ones, share updates, create wishlists, and more!

Now you can download our free mobile app for patients in the Apple and Android stores. Its free, zero ads!

apple storeDownload on Play Store

And we recently launched our mindfulness collection, including everyday products (like sweat shirts, journals, totesโ€ฆ) designed with reminders to breathe, to focus on the here & now, and with words of encouragement โ€“ right when you need it the most. They are a big hug for your soul, designed by patients whoโ€™ve been through the same challenges as you and found mindfulness techniques to be super effective! We also offer affiliate products curated to meet the needs of patients and caregivers including cancer care packages and gifts for cancer patients.

Disclaimer: My CareCrew is not a licensed medical care provider. Please consult your medical team before following any suggestion mentioned in our blog or using a featured product or service to treat any medical condition.

Please note that some of the products and services featured are from third-party and affiliate partners. My CareCrew receives compensation when you click on the links and purchase those products or services. Your purchase helps fund the free My CareCrew app for patients and caregivers!

Anand Tiwari
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