Do you always feel you’re absolutely exhausted, devastated, broke? Do you always question life – “Why does it always happen to me?” or simply “Why me?” These all can be a sign of an emotional wound.
Life is a struggle and full of difficulties. Life’s taught lessons are not always positive ones. No matter how hard you try to ignore the negativity, the past always has some impact on your present and future.
Family, friends, and even the doctors/psychologists/psychiatrists who treat the victims often intentionally/unintentionally ignore the emotional wounds/traumas. Sometimes the victims also disregard the emotional traumas and keep on living a life with damaged mind, body, and soul.
Every individual lives a life completely different from any other. So, every other person has completely unique life experiences. Some of them are too harsh to let go that they leave us suffering with emotional wounds invisible to eyes for a long time.
Symptoms of emotional wounds:
Below are some basic symptoms that can point towards your emotional/psychological wounds. If you are suffering from some or all of these, then you need to stop overlooking your emotional wellbeing.
1. You often get flashbacks of the past:
Memories of a traumatic past never really leave us. If you had experienced traumatic events in the past, it is normal to get flashbacks, even years later.
Emotional flashbacks are associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in which repetitive or significantly intrusive thoughts, dreams, or mental images of a traumatic event make a person mentally distressed. Through these flashbacks, a person relives that traumatic past on a loop, and which deteriorates their emotional health. These disturbing memories are re-experienced involuntarily, vividly. Flashbacks can last for a few seconds to a few hours, and they can be in any form, visual, auditory, somatic, or emotional.
A person, while having flashbacks, may sometimes feel overwhelmed by intense emotion. At other times, they feel lonely, humiliated, embarrassed, and ashamed while reliving those flashbacks of the past.
2. You spend too much time on your phone:
You check your phone every few minutes and spend hours after hours on your phone, surfing through social media. In other words, you’re addicted to your phone and the internet world that you start completely ignoring your real life. The life on your phone screen seems more realistic to you than the real one.
3. You suffer from lack of concentration:
If you’re having trouble concentrating on your day-to-day activities, then you might be suffering from emotional pain. A person lacks motivation and focus while suffering from excessive stress and depression or unknown anger. This is a symptom for PTSD or emotional trauma.
4. You experience mood swings:
You often have mood swings. Now you’re coping with your daily life just fine, and the next moment, you feel anxious and numb and don’t anymore have the energy to move on. You suddenly go from feeling a lot of emotions to feeling absolutely nothing at all. This might be a sign that you have an unexpressed emotional wound.
5. You are indecisive and confused most of the time:
Emotional wounds can make you feel confused, and you have difficulty in making decisions. You feel lost. It’s like you have nowhere to go and nobody can understand your inner pain. You feel like no one can heal your wounds. And no medicine can cure you. You talk to yourself with all those negative thoughts and feel entangled in confusion and misery.
6. You eat emotionally:
Have you ever felt peace while munching on comfort food mindlessly? Have you ever felt the sudden need to eat cheeseburgers when you’re sad? Chances are you’re trying to cope with your emotional wound with comfort foods. Emotional eating is common while stressed and feeling discomfort. Good and tasty food releases a feel-good hormone called dopamine and we immediately feel a burst of happy emotions. Therefore, people often overeat while going through an emotional trauma. Food works as a distraction from their difficult memories, and they fall into an eating disorder and gain weight inappropriately.
7. You have an unhealthy sleeping habit:
Do you go to sleep at 4 in the morning? Do you sleep too much? Have trouble falling asleep? And wake up randomly at night? All of this could be a sign that you’re affected by an emotional wound. Emotional trauma affects sleep in so many negative ways. Experiencing nightmares in your sleep often is one of them. You have a lot of anxiety at night that you cannot help but stay alert and awake at night.
8. You always suffer from a heavy heart:
If you’re having an emotional wound, you might find yourself inexplicably sad throughout the day. You might find yourself crying over every small and insignificant thing. Your heart always feels heavy and in extreme cases, you feel numb inside.
9. Your emotions are always overwhelming:
You get angry over small things and get aggressive unexpectedly. Your mind is always busy with endless negative chatter inside that you can’t even calm it down at night. These are signs of a possible emotional wound. Emotional wounds make it hard for a victim to regain control over their emotions that have been damaged. Fear, anxiety, anger and all sorts of negative emotions are felt manifold than normal if you have a hidden emotional wound.
10. You’re tended to social withdrawal:
You mostly find yourself safe and peaceful while being alone. Maybe you have suffered a heartbreak in the past. You were hurt and betrayed by someone so deeply that you find yourself distancing from people. Most of the time, the person who has hurt you belong to your close group, like a family member, or friend, or someone that you had once trusted blindly. That is why, with emotional wounds, trust issues also come hand in hand. Then, you’re likely to avoid social events and outings with your family and friends. You prefer to be alone to feel secure. If you tend to isolate yourself, it can mean some past events have damaged your emotional wellbeing.
11. You have vague pains throughout the body and unexplainable headaches:
Problems like headaches, an upset stomach, and chronic pain- especially backaches might be the signs that you have a suppressed emotional wound. You read that right. Because of your emotional wounds, you can feel physical pains like headaches, backaches and/or stomach-aches. It happens because of mental stress that you keep suppressed for a long time.
Causes of emotional wounds
There are numbers of different causes that affect our psychological health. Everyone suffers emotional stress from time to time, but when this feeling is more intense and persistent than normal, it can hamper a person’s regular activities.
Extreme sadness sometimes may lead one to an untreatable depression. Sadness is a common feeling for human beings. When we are disappointed in something, or we suffer a significant loss, we feel sad. However, if this feeling exceeds for a longer period of time, it can affect our mental as well as psychological health. Without treatment, depression can wreck your career, relationships, and physical health.
When to know if your sadness is severe?
- If you constantly feel sad, irritated and fatigued.
- If you oversleep or don’t sleep at all, and you don’t have healthy and hygienic eating habits.
- You have a sudden loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities.
- If you are facing difficulty in concentration and often are suffering from headaches.
- If you are often having suicidal thoughts.
Feeling anger is normal. It can even motivate us to move forward if we use it positively. But anger can become a problem, when you cannot control it and act in such a harsh way that affects your daily life and your relationships in a negative way. When anger is overwhelming and extreme, a person might even hurt themselves or the others.
When to know if your anger is severe?
- If you feel overwhelmed when being angry and cannot control your feelings or the words that you are saying, then it’s a sign that your anger can be problematic.
- When you feel the need to use alcohol and drugs to subdue your anger.
- If you prefer to withdraw yourself rather than facing the people, you’re angry with.
- If you regret your actions and words which you had expressed aggressively or violently at a later time, then you need to seek help from outside.
Just like anger, anxiety and fear also help release adrenaline. A person with excessive anxiety gets startled easily, has inability to relax. People suffering from anxiety disorder find themselves stuck or stagnant in a situation for a long time. Some people tend to alcohol and drugs to cope with their fear and anxiety, and that affects their physical health along with their emotional one.
When to know if your anxiety is severe?
- If you’re worrying too much about your future that it’s literally affecting your daily life and hygiene. You’re finding it hard to focus on your work due to excessive worrying.
- You are always restless and this feeling is consistent for over a few months, then you might want to visit a doctor. Because it’s a major sign of anxiety disorder.
- You have trouble falling/staying asleep and waking up on time. Insomnia is an obvious sign of anxiety disorder.
- If you often suffer from panic attacks and irrational fears that you’ll get judged by people wrongly. You worry about feeling embarrassed in front of others, so you avoid social events and meeting new people.
- You’re often having suicidal thoughts, or the thoughts of death in general.
Both guilt and shame are self-critical emotions. You feel guilty while judging your actions negatively, or you always feel you’ve done wrong. Shame, on the other hand, is a strong sense of distress and humiliation for doing something stupid. If you always regret your past deeds or wish it shouldn’t have happened, then you might have a guilt complex.
When to know if your guilt is severe?
- You always feel paranoid and because of that, you work overtime and overstressed to make yourself believe you’re perfecting what you did wrong.
- You overreact to every minor issue. When you’re guilty of something, you’re already sensitive and punishing yourself internally. So, whenever any minor issue triggers your sensitive spot, you can’t help but overreact.
- Often always, you blame yourself for anything that goes wrong. Emotions like guilt, shame and regret always cloud your mind.
How to heal your emotional wounds?
The first step to healing emotional wounds is to be aware of your situation. It might be hard for you to express your situation to others, and you feel broken and numb inside, but that’s all you need to know to begin your healing process. You might discover distractions that can separate your consciousness from your wounds temporarily, but as time goes by, you’ll realize all of your emotional wounds cannot be healed overnight. The first step to healing your emotional wounds is to acknowledge and admit your situation.
2. Prioritize self-care:
If you treat your negative emotions neutrally, they will not affect you excessively, and only keep existing as indifferent emotions. If your emotions are overwhelming, just tear up and let them out. Sometimes bottled up emotions can come out only through tears. Spend time on yourself. I know it’s hard, but try to forgive yourself.
3. Practice mindfulness:
Mindfulness can actually help you deal with your emotional wounds. Breathing based meditation is the key to calm your mind. Start with a daily five minutes breathing exercise in the morning. Choose a quiet corner in your house and cut yourself from the outside noise. Then sit cross-legged and close your eyes. All you have to do to begin mindfulness is to concentrate on your breathing. Slowly breathe in and breathe out. You can follow the 7/11 breathing technique. On the count of 7, breathe in and with the count of 11 slowly breath out. This breathing technique helps calm the mind. Also, there are various apps you can download in your phone and practice guided meditation from there.
It has been proven that physical activity helps boost the mood. So, exercising for a few minutes every day can help you with emotional wounds. Working out uplifts your energy, which blocks the negative emotions. Take an evening stroll at the park or go for a run in the morning – whichever it is that helps.
5. Learn to let go:
Most of the healers say, forgiveness is one of the key contributors in healing your emotional wounds. But sometimes you cannot forgive everyone who has hurt you in the past, including yourself, and that’s okay too. Perhaps they have done some unforgivable acts towards you, and no matter what you just cannot bring yourself to forgive them. And that’s okay. Just make sure you don’t give these memories the remote control of your wellbeing. In other words, how you feel good about yourself should not have something to do with these people. Treat them as nobody, and your emotions towards them will turn indifferent.
6. Take a break:
It’s absolutely okay to take your time. Just like your physical wounds, your emotional wounds also need time to heal. Give them some time to get better. In the meantime, find new or old hobbies to cope with your situation. Be creative. Travel, paint, take photos, write poetries, do some gardening, or simply take some rest. Your emotional pain may not completely heal after your break, but you’ll be in a much better position to deal with them.
7. Seek professional help:
If nothing above helps, you need to take psychotherapy sessions. Talking to someone helps in dealing with emotional wound/trauma. All you need do is talk openly to someone. You can talk to some of your close friends as well, if you trust them, but expressing your feelings is important. Otherwise, medication is there as the last resort.
Just reach out for help. In the end, no matter how deep and traumatic your wounds are, you will heal eventually. Just believe you’ll be okay.
If you want to further know about your emotional wellbeing, you can read these articles below: