Redefining Trauma 3 Traumatic Situations That You May Not Realize Are Traumatic

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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress or PTSD, are the most common class of mental health disorders among the general population. Unfortunately, many people who live with mental health disorders don’t seek treatment for a number of reasons. Often times people are simply unaware that they have anxiety or another mental health disorder, and therefore see no need to seek treatment.

Times are changing however, and anxiety, depression, and mental health in general is finally receiving the attention and awareness it deserves. In fact many public figures, including celebrities such as Kristen Bell, have begun to publicly share their struggles with anxiety and depression, which helps to empower others living with these disorders to seek treatment. For example, actress Carrie Fisher was a longtime advocate of mental health awareness, and encouraged fans to seek help by openly sharing her journey with bipolar disorder.

Despite growing awareness, many people aren’t aware of the impact trauma can have on their mental health and may even be unaware of what trauma really is. In fact many people face traumatic situations without realizing the level of trauma they just experienced and the affect it had on their mental health. Often times, people make the mistake of assuming that trauma only exists in war zones, but trauma can several, often subtle forms that are no less impactful than combat.

Looking back, can you think of any past experiences that you now realize were traumatic situations? Being able to define trauma can help you manage it in a healthy way. Here are a few examples of common traumatic situations that many people don’t realize are traumatic.

Job loss

Most people can understand that job loss can stressful, but it many cases the circumstances leading up to job loss and the resulting fallout can be down devastating. Whether someone is fired, laid off, or is forced to leave a job for other reason, job loss can take a major emotional toll and can be a traumatic situation. In addition to financial compensation, people often rely on their job for a sense of identity, and job loss can cause someone to question their personal value or identity.

Emotional or verbal abuse

Unlike physical abuse, emotional and verbal abuse can be difficult to identify, yet the impact is no less traumatic. One thing that all forms of abuse have in common is the forceful assert of power, and verbal abuse is no different. Over time and after experiencing a pattern of emotional trauma, a victim of verbal abuse can develop low feelings of self worth and may find it difficult to identify their own emotions. Furthermore, they may even begin to normalize the emotional trauma they’ve experienced and may have a hard time identifying verbal abuse in their other relationships.


Violence and graphic imagery seen in television shows, social media, or the news can be considered traumatic, even though they’re so prevalent in today’s media. The human brain doesn’t necessarily distinguish between graphic imagery that has been personally experienced and something that has been viewed via a secondary means, such as graphic video. Constantly engaging with this kind of media can cause feelings of anxiety and shock.

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