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    The anniversary of one of my most major traumas is coming up. It happened a while ago and I have worked through most of it however I am worried about getting through the day and the emotions it will bring up. An additional difficult piece is that my therapist won’t be there to support me through this as she is on leave right now. I created a cope ahead plan, which I went over with my therapist before she went on leave; I guess I am just worried how I will get through this difficult time. Wondering what others do during trauma anniversary times and how do you get through it?

    Thank you for reaching out. It sounds like you really did a wonderful job at due diligence in an effort to stay strong throughout this anniversary that is coming up.

    I hope you are proud of yourself for not only having the awareness that there is a trauma anniversary but that you need a plan for how to cope and even add an additional layer to this plan since your therapist is currently on leave. That is a lot of insight and action tied together, which reflects a tremendous amount of strength on your part. Kudos.

    A few reminders/tips to help you through this:

    1. Stick to your plan but allow for really painful feelings to be present. Meaning, don’t assume that the feelings won’t surface just because you are prepared. They likely will surface and your plan will help you ride this out and take the edge off but it OK and normal if you still struggle greatly. Realistic expectations.
    2. Identify a person you can reach out to should you need or want a human contact for support. Ask this person in advance if they can be your “go to” during this time period. Like this, you give them a heads up to prepare an emotional container for you and you also know ahead of time that you have a somebody to lean on.
    3. As part of your plan I recommend creating a schedule that keeps you occupied and preferably with things that are fulfilled aka bring you joy. Can you go paint with a friend, watch a show, go to a mall, etc. See if and how you can turn this anniversary into somewhat of a celebratory time for yourself. A time where although you acknowledge the pain, you also celebrate the tremendous amount of healing and health you’ve achieved.
    4. Love yourself. Accept yourself. Trust yourself.
    5. Also, of course you can check in here and let us know how it is going…
    6. You got this and I am rooting for you.


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    Remember what you have gained during the year. Access your inner resilience by reminding yourself that you survived and in many ways thrived. Good luck.

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