What does scarred for life mean?
The idiom “scarred for life” may be used figuratively to describe an emotional wound or a trauma that doesn’t fully heal. In the literal sense, however, it means someone or something is disfigured by permanent scars received in an accident or mishap, or it means a person has had a traumatic event that they will suffer from or otherwise be changed negatively for the rest of their lives. Usually, the phrase “scarred for life” is used in a metaphorical manner that may describe mental difficulties for the rest of a person’s life. However, it is being compared with the way a physical injury will leave a scar on the body. For example
- Literal meaning/example: A person who has a third-degree burn is physically scarred for life.
- Metaphorical meaning/example: Someone who has suffered a severe psychological trauma may also be “scarred for life” if the said trauma becomes a permanent aspect of their personality.
- A simple example is that a child is in a car with their parents and their car is suddenly hit. The event could be so traumatic that the child, even as an adult, would refuse to ever get in a car again.
- Psychological trauma such as the loss of family members (or dear ones), accusations of illegal conduct, heartbreaks, criminal degradation and irreversible addictions may usually be expressed as “scarred for life.”
How can I come out of a severe psychological trauma?
A sudden and serious illness, an accident or assault or natural/personal disasters in life are all traumatic experiences that can upset and distress us psychologically. They arouse powerful and disturbing feelings in us that may usually settle in time or require professional help. Below are some of the effective ways to come out of severe psychological trauma
- An individual may need to grieve for what (or who) they have lost, depending upon their age and mental strength. It takes time, weeks or months to accept what has happened and learn to live with it. They should give themselves some time to recover from the psychological trauma.
- It is better to face the reality of what has happened rather than wonder about what might have happened. Facing the reality may give an individual mental strength to come out of the psychological trauma.
- Try to take help from other survivors who may have been through a similar phase. This may help an individual to come to terms with what has happened and adopt coping mechanisms.
- Accept help from your family and friends. It can give a sense of relief to talk about what has happened. At times, an individual may want to be alone or be with someone they are close to. Think about the cause of trauma and talk about it with others. Don't worry if you cry when you talk. It's natural and usually helpful because tears ease the pain. Take things at a pace that is comfortable for you. Sometimes, you would want to be with other people but not talk about what had happened. This can also be part of the healing process.
- Even if you don't feel like eating, try to eat regular meals and a balanced diet. Doing some exercises can help, but start gently.
- After a trauma, people are more likely to have further accidents. Be careful around the home and when you are driving or traveling alone.
An individual may need professional help or a psychiatrist when
- They have no one to share their feelings with.
- They can't handle their feelings and feel overwhelmed by sadness, anxiety or nervousness.
- They feel that they are not returning to normal after six weeks.
- They have nightmares and cannot sleep.
- They are getting along badly with those close to them.
- They stay away from other people more and more.
- Work, studies or personal life is suffering.
- They are drinking or smoking too much or using drugs to cope with their feelings.
A doctor may prescribe
- Tranquilizers: These drugs may reduce anxiety. They can also help the person sleep. Common ones include valium (diazepam), ativan (lorazepam) and temazepam.
- Antidepressants: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants that include celexa (citalopram), lexapro (escitalopram), luvox (fluvoxamine), paxil (paroxetine), prozac (fluoxetine) and zoloft (sertraline).
It should be noted that the above drugs can have side effects and doctors may not suggest them for long term.
Other treatments may include
- Psychotherapy: Most mental health problems can be addressed with one or other psychotherapeutic approaches. Most psychotherapies can be performed one-on-one or in groups. Some can now also be performed online.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This can help the way an individual thinks (cognitive) and behaves (behavior). These changes can help them feel better. It looks for ways to improve ones state of mind.
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