By Chaplain (Capt.) Meade Adams
2nd Bomb WIng Chapel
We have all experienced some level of trauma in our lives. It may vary in degrees and intensity but we have all experienced it. It could be as minor as the first realization that you had as a kid that your parents weren't perfect, or as major as abuse at the hands of a parent or guardian. It could be as minor as your first break up or as major as a divorce. It could be a car accident, a combat deployment, the unexpected loss of a loved one or a spiritual crisis. Whatever it may be, we have all experienced trauma. The question we want to address today is how do we deal with it?
First, we have to acknowledge the trauma. There’s a popular saying that “knowing is half the battle”. One of the stages of trauma and grief is of course denial. However, the faster we move past the denial phase and move to acknowledgment that trauma has happened, the faster we can begin to heal. There are some instances of trauma where there are cases of suppression. We all process trauma in different ways. Some deal with it through avoidance or suppression. The problem with avoidance and suppression, however, is that they push the trauma further in forcing it to fester. It will then manifest in worse and more extreme ways later. Whatever the trauma is, acknowledge it. Fess up to it. That is the first step in finding healing.
Second, seek support. Once you have owned up to the trauma that you have experienced, now it’s time to tackle it. There are a variety of support systems out there to help you through these times. AFRC, Family Advocacy, Military One-Source, Chaplains and Mental Health. Whatever flavor you prefer, the most important thing is that you seek help. Human beings are creatures of community. We are not designed to go through things on our own.