If we're lucky, we will go through this life without facing some sort of traumatic experience. But most of us won't be able to escape that fate. Experts estimate that 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women will experience at least one trauma within their lifetimes [source: U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs]. No one can anticipate tragic events like almost losing your life when a speeding SUV t-bones your car while driving through an intersection or being held up at gunpoint during your nightly jog in New York City's Central Park.
No matter how, when or where it occurs, a traumatic experience is something that can stay with a person throughout his or her entire life. It shapes the essence of their very being and changes them in ways indescribable. But one thing's for certain: There is life after trauma. What kind of life depends on the person and what she's willing to do to make sure that the event becomes something that happened to her, rather than something that defines her. Read on to learn more about what trauma is and some ways to get through it.