Repression is a defense mechanism designed to protect us from painful events and emotions. It involves blocking those events and their associated feelings out of our consciousness.
This is meant to be temporary. When the mind represses trauma, though, the distressing event will remain out of our minds until a trigger comes along. These triggers force the emotions to reappear.
There’s no simple way of letting go of repressed memories, though. They need to be confronted head-on to be fully processed and dealt with.
So in this article, we will talk about the signs of repressing a traumatic event.
1. Feeling Numb and Disconnected
People with this symptom usually feel disconnected from their thoughts, emotions, and actions. It often feels like they are watching their life from the outside and feel that nothing matters.
They also may feel like they are living in a bubble, and they may feel isolated and separate from the outside world. This numbness and dissociation can lead to people feeling empty and alone.
They may also struggle with decision-making and can float through the day-to-day. This is because they may feel disconnected from their own experiences and unable to relate to others.
2. Unexplained Aches and Pains
When painful memories are in the subconscious, the body can start to send physical pain as a signal. This pain might manifest in different parts of the body with no medical explanation. The muscles may tense up, resulting in aching and soreness, particularly in areas associated with the trauma.
People may feel exhaustion, tightness, discomfort in the chest and stomach, or chronic headaches. This combination of body aches and persistent fatigue can often lead to anxiety and depression. So it’s important to check out rehabs for women before it all gets worse.
3. Inability to Manage Stress and Emotions
People with repressed trauma may be overwhelmed by things that wouldn’t usually cause stress and anxiety. Small issues can often feel insurmountable, and there may be an instinctual flight or fight response to certain triggers. This leaves them feeling powerless and isolated.
4. Trouble Sleeping
If you consistently struggle to fall asleep, wake early and often in the night, or have nightmares, then this can be childhood trauma. Even if you cannot understand what is troubling you, the body is aware of the unspoken emotions and physical distress you are repressing.
5. Substance Misuse or Abuse
Substance misuse or abuse can emerge when someone is trying to block out the intense feelings associated with trauma. They turn to substances to prevent aching memories from surfacing.
So there is a high risk of these individuals developing a physical dependence on a substance to cope. Those with repressed trauma may seek to drown out difficult emotions with alcohol or drugs. They may even engage in risky behavior to help numb out intense emotions.
A Repressed Traumatic Event Needs to Be Addressed
The negative impacts of repressing a traumatic event can be very damaging. So it’s important to be aware of signs that you may be repressing a traumatic event.
If you recognize any of these signs, reach out for help and get professional support. Don’t struggle alone. Seek help for a healthier, stronger, and happier life.
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