When you are healing from a physical illness, you may experience emotional trauma coming up to be healed. Stuff from the past that you pushed aside because it was too painful to deal with. Stuff you didn’t even realize was traumatic. But then there it is in your face, coming up to be seen and felt. The actual process of trying to find a diagnosis for your symptoms can be traumatic in itself. Sometimes this can be even more difficult to deal with than the physical symptoms. Here are some ways I have dealt with emotional trauma:
1) Feeling and acknowledging the emotions. I’ve learned that as uncomfortable as this can be, the emotions won’t go away until you acknowledge them. Pushing them aside might temporarily help, but they will come back eventually. I allow myself to feel the fear, anger, sadness. I allow myself to grieve. I let myself cry, scream, shake- whatever I need to do to help release them, without judgment. Once I feel these emotions, they are easier to release. During this process I found it’s important to listen to my body- Do I need to take a nap? Lie in bed crying? Call a friend? Take a bath? I find it vital to care for myself the way I would care for someone else going through something similar.
2) Journaling. Writing down whatever thoughts I have helps me to release some of the emotions. I don’t overthink it- I just allow myself to jot down whatever comes to mind. I try not to get in my head too much or try to make sense of it. Writing a letter to a specific person (that is associated with the trauma) can be helpful too (I don’t actually send the letters- I write them in my journal and sometimes burn them or rip them up after.)
3) Therapy. If you have access to one, it can be very helpful to talk things through with an experienced professional. Therapy helped me get in touch with emotions that I had been suppressing for a long time, and provided another perspective on what I was going through.
4) Meditation. Meditation helps me to get out of my head for a while and pay more attention to my breath and the sensations in my body. It helps me to break the cycle of negative thoughts racing through my head. I sometimes still have trouble quieting my thoughts, but I am getting better and can see a difference. I really like Tara Brach , David Ji, and Madeline Rinehart (which you can find on youtube.) I know a lot of people like the apps Headspace and Calm. You can find a list of meditation apps here.
5) Reiki. Reiki is great for many things, and I found it extremely useful in helping me become aware of and helping me release emotional trauma. Reiki is a form of energy healing, where the practitioner puts his/her hands on or over the different energy centers in your body to help clear and balance your energy. Reiki sessions helped me to become aware of where I was storing emotions that needed to be released, and then gave me more clarity on how to proceed. It also helps with physical symptoms. I actually ended up getting my reiki certification so I can practice reiki on myself- it has greatly helped me to manage my physical and emotional symptoms.