Trauma Does Not Discriminate


“We must stay busy – let’s not slow down or quit. Because if we do, we won’t be able to handle the silence. We won’t be able to keep our minds off the incident that follows us. Remaining distracted keeps the demons away. The more we can keep away the intruding thoughts and repetitive flashbacks, the more we feel normal.”   

Many who have experienced some form of trauma feel this way, while others will begin to isolate, withdraw from social interactions, experience depression, or even fear leaving their home. Trauma’s residue knows no bounds.

After a person has experienced trauma, daily functioning is disrupted and a new normal invades. Trauma is not a respecter of persons; it is not quantified by size — whether a big or a small event. Trauma leaves residue when not processed or healed. It leaves a path of torment behind us and a path of uncertainty in front of us.  

From events as trivial as embarrassment while public speaking to a car accident or something as serious as rape or combat, trauma does not care who, where, what, or why – it just does its damage. 

Every single one of us has experienced some form of a traumatic event in our lifetime.  

Some have resilience, while others endure torment for months or even years. Even though repressing the traumatic memory is the norm for some, eventually, the residue will take its toll on the body. Physical, mental, and emotional symptoms begin at any time, from depressed mood, anxiety, panic attacks, irritation or agitation, negative fault-finding thought patterns, or negative beliefs of self rise to the surface.

Every day, professionals in the medical field, nurses, doctors, and first responders face traumatic experiences. Some, if not all, will experience vicarious trauma. Vicarious trauma develops when one is exposed to another’s trauma over an extended period. Medical professionals experience vicarious trauma in the midst of caring for others as they witness their patients experience fear, violence, abuse, pain, illness, mental health issues, and death. The service provided to those in their care takes an emotional toll, not just mental and physical.

It is critical for medical professionals to manage how these experiences affect them emotionally and mentally. Being proactive in protecting their mental and emotional well-being is crucial in providing continuity of care to their patients. If the impact is neglected, it can result in the following symptoms, in addition to dissatisfaction with their careers and compromised care for their patients.

When one begins to experience the following symptoms, it is time to seek professional help in navigating healing.

  • Negative changes in cognition or mood
  • Avoidance of people, places, talking or thinking about the experience(s)
  • Dissociation symptoms such as depersonalization or derealization
  • Difficulty sleeping, trouble focusing, and short temper
  • Overcritical of self and others
  • Intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks

In conjunction with seeking professional help, these suggestions in self-care can help manage trauma symptoms.

Mindfulness and Grounding Techniques:

  • Start a gratitude journal.
  • Use a daily meditation app.
  • Learn deep-breathing techniques.
  • Reconnect with nature.

Physical Self-Care:

  • Get walking, ride a bike, take a hike.
  • Create a healthy sleep hygiene routine and get adequate sleep.
  • Eat healthy meals and drink plenty of water.

Mental Self-Care:

  • Manage stress through exercise and time spent with friends and family.
  • Talk to a professional licensed therapist trained in treating trauma.
  • Use a mental health app to aid in redirecting thought patterns.

Again, trauma respects no one, and the symptoms may lay dormant for some time but sneak up when we least expect it. In high-demand professions, trauma management is crucial to carrying on the role of caring for others.  

Remember: You must take care of yourself to be a healing resource for someone else.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Goodson, MA, LMHC, is a licensed clinical mental health counselor who is trained in EMDR trauma therapy with an office in Winter Haven, FL. She holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. For more information, visit

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