Resilience, Trauma, and Stress  

Most people living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) also suffer from complex post-traumatic stress disorder. That is why I have found this article to apply to this blog.

 

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) is a condition that causes life-altering problems for those who experience it. The symptoms of CPTSD occur due to complex trauma, and building resilience is vital.

 

In this article, we shall explore how to build resilience despite trauma and stress.

 

 

What is Resilience?

 

 

The American Psychological Association (APA) gives the following definition of resilience:

 

“Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.”

 

They explain that numerous factors contribute to a person’s ability to adapt in the face of adversity. The APA lists three:

 

  • The ways that a person views and engages with their world
  • Forming specific coping strategies
  • The quality and availability of social contacts

 

Resiliency means being capable of bouncing back when something challenging happens in life. Being resilient also means picking oneself up and continuing even after being struck down.

 

Resilience in the Face of Overwhelming Circumstances

 

Resilience is a trait most people have; however, this trait is a glowing in most who have survived childhood trauma. Despite what was happening to these children, they can have a forward-looking attitude and keep going.

 

Research shows that people who have a higher level of resilience hold significantly more positive thought processes that allow them to move forward (Mak et al., 2011).

 

When faced with some of the worst adversity, any child could experience, somehow, these children were able to bounce back enough to keep going. The resilience that abused children has shown in their ability to adapt following a traumatic event is astonishing. Some children use dissociation to adapt, and others use people-pleasing.

 

While these adaptations work to a point, they are not healthy and can become cumbersome later in life.

 

However, children aren’t the only people who need to be resilient, as all humans need to build their resistance when encountering traumatic events at any time in their lives.

 

Building Resiliency

 

 

 

It is hard to remain positive and find balance during a stressful event. However, resiliency can enable people to protect themselves from becoming overwhelmed by stress and protect them from the development of mental health challenges (Mak et al., 2011).

 

When one develops a mental health crisis or disorder, learning to build resilience can enormously enhance the healing process. There are many ways to build resilience after a stressful event that can change one’s life, including the following.

 

Recognize that you are affected by trauma. Don’t simply stuff the emotions and feelings that result from experiencing trauma; your body will rebel and let you know anyway. There are physical signals that you are stressed: cold hands, difficulty concentrating, tight muscles, headaches, upset or nervous stomach, feeling edgy, irritable, or withdrawn.

 

If you recognize yourself in the above paragraph, you can try things such as practicing deep breathing, going for walks, and writing down your thoughts. Practicing methods to recognize the trauma you experienced in childhood

 

Building resilience and defeating trauma is to take time for yourself in your busy day. Keep in mind that taking time out for yourself is not selfish, and it may require you to say no to some activities and prioritize your responsibilities.

The best way to begin taking time for yourself is to start with small changes to your routine. Add to your schedule time to exercise, eat right, sleep, and participate in relaxing activities. Make sure to notice when you feel good and repeat whatever you are doing. This gives your mind and body a break and builds your ability to be resilient. Read, listen to music, or do other things that shift your attention away from harmful things in your life.

 

Look at problems through a different lens. Reframe how you see your problems to reduce anger and build resilience. View annoying inconveniences in your day, such as waiting in your car for someone, as opportunities to gain experience to enjoy yourself when stuck in your car waiting for someone enjoy some music or listen to a podcast.

 

Resiliency promotes physical health, better immunity, and quality sleep and facilitates healthy behavior. Becoming more resilient can support healthy practices such as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.

 

Ending Our Time Together

 

Resiliency, although inborn for some, can be built to help resist the stressors of life. There is hope if you have experienced childhood trauma and developed complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

By practicing the resiliency-building exercises mentioned in this article or finding other ways to redirect your mind to mitigate the effects trauma has on your life, you can find peace in your life.

 

No matter what, remember how brave you are to have gotten this far. Many people would fold up under the pressure you were under and the subsequent effects of CPTSD.

 

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving; we get stronger and more resilient.”
― Steve Maraboli

 

“The oak fought the wind and was broken; the willow bent when it must and survived.”
― Robert Jordan

 

“If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces.”
― Shane Koyczan

 

References

 

Mak, W. W. S., Ng, I. S. W., & Wong, C. C. Y. (2011). Resilience: Enhancing well-being through the positive cognitive triad. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58(4), 610-617.

 

Growing and Fostering a Resilient Brain

From Crisis to Thriving

 

 

 

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