How to Respond When the Trauma Tide Threatens

by Sandra Allen Lovelace  @SandraALovelace  #WallflowerWomen  #TimetobeYOU!

Trauma, like grief, is neither followed nor relieved by an automatic, one-and-done process. Neither do we or our lives spring back on their own to a previous, peaceful stage. Incidents or episodes, phases or seasons that threaten and overwhelm our physical, mental and spiritual well-being sweep us away, much like a rip current. (Video at the bottom)

Rip currents occur along shorelines. These surprise tidal phenomena can engulf swimmers and knock waders off their feet. Shock and disorientation turn to fear and panic as the current sweeps them out toward the open sea. True danger strikes when they look back and try to swim to shore. No amount of human energy or effort is a match for the tide’s power.

Trauma echoes these effects. The impact of a single or series of events we thought we had under control catches us off guard. Details demand attention, spin out of control, and throw us off-kilter. We do our best to make headway until we realize we’re drowning in the swirling consequences. Panic sets in and we lose any sense of direction.

Rip current survival techniques offer tips to trauma targets. #1 Panic is a deadweight that can kill. Share on X
  1. Accept we’re no match for trauma’s force.
  2. Admit we need a different route back to safety.
  3. Stop fighting against the concentrated pressure.
  4. Notice trauma’s impact on our mind, body, spirit.
  5. Cut across the effects with intentional self-care.
  6. Persevere by God’s grace toward His secure landing.
  7. Drag ourselves onto the beach and rest in worship.

And, if you’re like me, practicing these steps until they become basic skills is essential for healing and transformation. Because trauma and its triggers are part of life in a fallen world.

Have you ever been caught in a real or virtual riptide?
Share the strategies you found helped to get back to safety.

Let me know if I can pray for you in confidence.


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  1. Sharing this Sandra. I recently read an article that listed neglect and witness of abuse as sources of trauma. As I write my first book, I am leaning far into His truth and comfort as my brain identifies some things in my past as traumatic. May God draw those caught in the current of trauma to His opem arms.

    1. You’re so right, Julie. And may I add … May God cause each one affected to fall into His ever-present, all-compassionate and omnipotent open arms. Amen

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