Understanding Your Response to Trauma (Part 1 of 8)

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The following is from an article I read about stress, anxiety, and trauma.  I am sharing it with you all in the event that you, or someone close to you has suffered a trauma, or multiple traumas.  I was reading about this to help me understand my own confusing responses to the severe trauma of the last year and a half of my life.  I will divide the article up into EIGHT posts (1 per day), so that it will be easier to read.

With that said, I will begin.

What is a traumatic event?

Among the many stressful events of living, we can be faced with extraordinary circumstances that leave us feeling terrified, powerless, and/or horrified in the face of threatened or actual injury or death. Examples of traumatic events may include:

  • natural disaster
  • catastrophe caused by human error
  • catastrophe caused by failed equipment
  • physical or sexual assault; rape
  • robbery/mugging
  • serious motor vehicle accident
  • witnessed violence, injury or death
  • combat, torture or imprisonment
  • threats of harm to self or loved ones; stalkings
  • domestic violence and physical abuse
  • fire and burn survivors
  • destruction of one’s home
  • life-threatening illnesses and treatments

How do we usually respond to a traumatic event?

Sometimes immediately, and sometimes after brief or even extended delay, most of us will experience intense feelings and symptoms related to the traumatic event. Not every person experiences the same aftermath to the same trauma. However, you are likely to bounce back and forth between periods during which you relive the trauma and other periods during which you are benumbed of feeling and avoidant of any thought or reminder of the traumatic event. This is entirely normal. This normal, acute response to trauma is not called “post-traumatic stress disorder” unless it is persistent over time and does not gradually heal.  (cont….on page 2 of 8)

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