The Difficulty of Trauma Anniversaries

Anniversaries usually bring us lots of joy because they help us remember something wonderful that happened in the past. Weddings, relationships, and even moving into a new house are all things celebrated with an anniversary.

Unlike regular anniversaries, trauma anniversaries can be extremely difficult.

Instead of helping commemorate a past event that brought you joy, they can be a reminder of the pain that you once went through, and that can be just as painful.

In some cases, it can feel like you’re reliving the moment of your trauma. Other symptoms that typically occur on trauma anniversaries are panic attacks, anxiety attacks, and hyperactivity.

Why Do Trauma Anniversaries Hold So Much Weight?

To better deal with the feelings a trauma anniversary can bring, it’s necessary to understand why they affect us so much. One reason trauma anniversaries might be particularly upsetting is due to the way traumatic memories save themselves in our brains.

Memories around trauma contain information on the danger of the event. This helps us decide how to feel and act, and it’s your brain’s way of helping you stay safe. So, if you feel particularly agitated on a trauma anniversary, it might be because your brain is associating that specific date with danger.

Another reason trauma anniversaries can be painful is the meaningfulness that society associates with anniversaries. Due to decades of social programming, our brains view them as something that needs to be acknowledged. In positive cases, that can be a good thing, but in cases of trauma, it can make it impossible to view an anniversary as any other day.

How To Deal With A Trauma Anniversary

Use Your Support System
Your support system can include your family, friends, and even your therapist. Chances are, the people closest to you will understand and empathize with what you’re going through, even if you haven’t shared the specifics with them. Instead of isolating yourself, reach out to them.

Do Things That Make You Happy
Try to distract yourself from your thoughts by doing activities that you like. Go to the bowling alley with friends, play a sport you enjoy, or read a book. Try to avoid heavy drinking or drug use as that might worsen things. Instead, focus on thoughtful, mind-nurturing activities.

Try To Do Some Introspection
Reflect on your feelings and try to understand them. Sometimes a distraction is necessary and can help, but you also need introspection. Those self-reflecting periods are crucial, even though it might seem better and easier to ignore your feelings.

Introspection will help with recovery and lessen the unpleasant feelings associated with your trauma. Know that whatever you feel is completely valid and justified.

Final Thoughts

Trauma anniversaries can be hard to deal with. Unfortunately for us, though, the calendar repeats itself every 365 days, and we have to face them frequently. Knowing how to deal with them is the key to getting through that difficult period.

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