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Trauma & PTSD

Definition - Emotional response to an event such as; accident, abuse, rape, disaster or tragedy.  Immediately following the event shock or denial may occur.  Long term reactions can persist and these may be several years later.

Alternative Definitions - Compromised bodily health by sudden injury, whether or not life threatening.  It is important to note that trauma can occur as a result of childbirth, miscarriage, difficult operations and much more.  Frequently alluding to war, this can cause much confusion.

A traumatic event is an emotional shock. It is not easy to take in what has happened and to come to terms with it. After a trauma, it is quite normal to experience all kinds of unpleasant feelings, emotions, and body sensations. These may take some time to die down. In the meantime, memories and images of the trauma, and thoughts about it, come into your mind even if you try to shut them out. These experiences may be confusing and even frightening. You may wonder if you will ever get over the trauma, if you are losing control of yourself, or even if you are going mad. These worries are entirely understandable.

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Fear& Anxiety

Changes to view of the world

Reminders of the trauma out of the blue, changes to view of the world and safety in it.  Continually re-experiencing trauma.  Feeling physically alert.  Particular triggers may remind you, causing you to respond with fear.  Some triggers obvious and some not.

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Guilt & Shame 

Feelings about what you did or didn't do

Feeling you should have or could have done more or less, that you are weak, inadequate or to blame

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Self Image

Negative thoughts, previously safe & rewarding now dangerous

Feel it is hard not to trust anyone due to constant reminders of the past.  Physical aspects of the trauma give similar meaning.

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Physical Arousal

Physical results of fight or flight

Feeling jittery, agitated, over alert, trembling, trouble sleeping, snappy.  As a result of fear we are aroused to fight or flight, body prepared to run or freeze. Constant alert, prepared for instant action which you no longer need.  Forces you to realise danger in world and prepares you to deal with it.  Your body does not realise that trauma is passed.  Reacts as if under threat and might need to react.

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Feeling Low

Feeling life a struggle to live

Feelings of sadness, down, depression.  Frequently tearful and feelings of self harm or suicide

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Loss of Control

Powerless to trauma

The threat of the trauma to yourself and those around you leaves you feeling a sense of powerlessness 

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Anger

Taking personal responsibility

Feeling personally responsible, easy to loose temper, high arousal, poor sleep and feeling that nobody understands.  Often triggered by subtle reminders

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Re experiencing

Flashbacks, nightmares, emotional thoughts

Flashbacks laid down in memory, stored as raw and unfinished form and not fully processed and closed as other memories have been.  Appear in the here and now.

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Avoidance

Avoiding feelings triggering a reminder

Protection from things that feel dangerous and feelings which are overwhelming.  Desire to avoid may be so intense that you forget aspects.  Blanking out, switching off, emotional numbness.  This reduces distress in the short term, but long term does not as difficult to avoid thoughts and feelings effectively.  They return more frequent and persistent.  Feelings overwhelm

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Concentration

Constantly re-living trauma 

Feeling going crazy, intrusive and depressive thoughts.  Constantly re living.  Less mental space means difficulty concentrating on other things.

Thought journalling download

Affirmations

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Recommended Reading

Trauma & Recovery

Trauma & Recovery

Judith Herman

The PTSD Workbook

The PTSD Workbook

Beth Williams & Soili Poijula

Dynamic Strategies that work

Dynamic Strategies that work

Michele Rosenthal

Compassionate Strategies to begin healing from Childhood Trauma

Compassionate Strategies to begin healing from Childhood Trauma

Arielle Schwartz

Powerful practices to Reclaim your identity

Powerful practices to Reclaim your identity

Michele Rosenthal

Life after Trauma

Life after Trauma

Dena Rosenbloom & Mary Beth Williams

Where to get additional support 

 

For Professional Support on Trauma contact the following Charities/ Support Groups (this is merely for information not recommendation or advisory)

www.ptsduk.org

www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk - Support to all women who have had a traumatic birth experience

www.firstpersonplural.org.uk - The UK survivor led association for Dissociative Survivors of Abuse and Trauma

www.helpguide.org – put Trauma in search engine at top of homepage

www.rcpsych.ac.uk - Information and advice on how to cope after a traumatic event

www.ukpts.co.uk - includes details of trauma services in the UK
www.assisttraumacare.org.uk Emotional and practical support to individuals, families and anyone affected by trauma
www.disasteraction.org.uk Support and information for the bereaved and survivors of major disaster and other events.