A trauma is a deeply distressing or disbursing experience that happens to us. Oftentimes, it produces an emotional response that, without understanding and treatment, can be long lasting.
When traumatic experiences are happening to us, our bodies can suspend our feelings in order for us to survive the event. If the feelings aren’t later ‘processed (validated, shared, expressed and felt) then the event will still feel ‘alive’ – like it just happened or is continuing to happen. This will probably produce certain symptoms like:
- Having Intrusive memories of the event or feeling like you are reliving it
- Avoiding people, things or places that remind you of the event
- Feeling disconnected from people and things that were important to you
- Having conflicting feelings of numbness and intensity.
- Being easily startled, frightened. Feeling on edge, paranoid and lacking a sense of safety.
Symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. They can cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships and your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.
Living with the symptoms of an untreated trauma can lead to suicidal thoughts, particularly if you haven’t made the connection between your symptoms and the trauma. If your suicidal thoughts are trauma related, then having your experience validated and learning ways to mange the effects will reduce both suicidal thoughts and symptoms.
Clicking here ‘What can I do to help myself cope with intense feelings’ will bring you to resources on managing trauma symptoms.
There are agencies that specialise in the treatment of trauma, and you can find them by clicking here: https://www.victimsservice.org/types-of-support/