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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Feeling life a struggle to live
Feelings of sadness, down, depression. Frequently tearful and feelings of self harm or suicide
Loss of Control
Powerless to trauma
The threat of the trauma to yourself and those around you leaves you feeling a sense of powerlessness
Taking personal responsibility
Feeling personally responsible, easy to loose temper, high arousal, poor sleep and feeling that nobody understands. Often triggered by subtle reminders
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.
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
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
Trauma & Recovery
The PTSD Workbook
Beth Williams & Soili Poijula
Dynamic Strategies that work
Compassionate Strategies to begin healing from Childhood Trauma
Powerful practices to Reclaim your identity
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.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.