“It gets better with time,” is such a nice sentiment, but why does it get better? That sinking, powerful feeling in my chest, racing thoughts, not wanting to be out in public, I don’t want to speak to people I know, I can’t sleep because nightmares are waiting for me…those feelings can’t possibly go away because time passes by.

Let’s think about what can occur when that time passes:

Progress in treatment. Connecting with a therapist and beginning to process what you’ve gone through. Sessions go by, and you may notice yourself moving towards the goals you and your therapist have for yourself.

Create new meaning. Trauma is an unexpected event that rocks you to your core. As time goes on, you can fill in the gaps of information that caused so much distress. Maybe the blame shifts away from you, there’s recognition there was only so much you could do, and maybe more.

The intense thoughts and emotions become familiar. How is that possible? Beyond the science, the re-experiencing that occurs can be a cue for to use your coping skills. You may be able to realize that these thoughts and feelings are temporary, and you can weather the storm.

Safety returns. Time can create space from the event. With help of therapy and treatment, you may be able to return to those familiar places that trigger memories. Triggers can move from impossible obstacles to opportunities for practice of working through it.

The list can go on and on. Whatever progress you observe, remember it’s a sign you are healing.

So trauma does not go away, there’s no sugar coating it. The thoughts, the feelings, the everything latches on and affects the way we show up in the world. With time and intention, my hope is you can loosen its grip even just a little bit.