Dear Therapist: ‘A past trauma is still haunting me’

Making sense of the world we inhabit

By Prateeksha Shetty

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Published: Thu 28 Apr 2022, 8:44 PM

A particular traumatic event that occurred in my life keeps playing over and over in my head. Whenever I’m sitting idle, those thoughts intrude my mind. How do I process them and get rid of these thoughts? — Name Withheld

Dear Writer, the only way to process these intrusive thoughts is by recovering from trauma. The ruminations that you have described here could be one of the many signs of avoidance of addressing the larger difficulties related to the event. You cannot get rid of them until you acknowledge what has happened and the impact it has had on you. Often individuals with traumatic past do not wish to talk about it or even think of it, which leads to intrusive thoughts. Journaling would be a great start to trace what has transpired in your past and the ways it impacts your present. In your case, therapy would be recommended in the long run as I believe that the ruminations or obsessions you currently have, could be the only sign of distress that you are aware of and that there might be more subtle forms of trauma responses, which a professional can help you recognise and work through.

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