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Why Is It Hard to Seek Help After Trauma?

Trauma can impact your life in a variety of ways. Whether you experienced abuse or neglect as a child or went through a traumatic experience later in life, being able to “get over it” isn’t easy. 

What often makes it worse is that so many people are hesitant to seek help after trauma. To someone who hasn’t experienced a traumatic situation, that might seem silly. After all, why wouldn’t you want help and support when it comes to taking your life back? 

But, it’s not that simple. There are so many reasons why it’s hard to seek help after trauma, no matter what you’ve been through. Understanding the “why” behind some of those reasons can help to empower you. When you have a better grasp on your roadblocks, you can take more active steps to overcome them. 

So, why is it hard to seek help after trauma? 

There Is Still a Stigma

man with hands on his faceUnfortunately, there are still some underlying mental health stigmas in this country. Some people don’t get help for trauma because they’ve been told that trauma responses are a sign of weakness. This can be especially problematic in men. 

Even if you don’t fall into the trap of societal stigma, you might be embarrassed about your trauma. It’s not uncommon for trauma survivors to struggle with guilt and shame, even if they had absolutely no control over what happened to them. Things like victim-blaming from an abuser can leave lasting emotional scars that make it difficult for a trauma survivor to move forward. 

Fearing Judgment

Some trauma survivors also worry that no one else could possibly understand what they’re feeling. You might worry that no one will “get” you, even in your close circle of friends or family. So, you keep your trauma to yourself. 

Or, maybe you have tried to open up in the past but people have judged you for it. That can feel nearly just as traumatic, and add fuel to the fire of guilt lingering within. 

Your fear of being judged could even be a trauma response, especially if your trauma began in childhood. If you were neglected, especially emotionally, you might feel like your feelings aren’t valid and no one really wants to hear them. 

Emotional Regulation

No matter how much you try to push down the effects of trauma, they’re often lingering just beneath the surface. You might feel like seeking help or even talking about your trauma will allow those feelings to rise to the top, and you’re worried about how you might react. 

It’s not uncommon for certain things to trigger trauma responses. Sometimes, those responses can make you feel out of control, like you can’t hold back your feelings. That can lead to anxiety, and create a sort of vicious cycle that’s hard to escape. 

So, for a while, it might seem easier to avoid opening up and getting the help you deserve. But, those emotions will eventually come forward no matter what. Keeping them inside only creates a pressure cooker situation that’s bound to explode sooner or later. 

What Can You Do?

Recognizing that you’re having a hard time with your trauma is a great first step. You’re likely reading this because you know it’s important to seek help, even if you’re having a hard time with it. 

Take small steps. Recognize that your feelings are valid, and you deserve to be heard. Working with a mental health professional is one of the best ways to work through your trauma, no matter the cause. You’ll be in a safe, neutral setting that’s free of judgment, and you’ll be able to learn how to manage your symptoms and eventually overcome the trauma that has defined you for too long. 

If you’re interested in learning more about trauma therapy and you’re ready to tackle your trauma for good, feel free to reach out for information or to set up an appointment.