Ever experience something so terrible that it seems to take over your every thought and cause unpredictable and explainable emotional reactions? Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event.
Trauma can be caused by one-time events or ongoing stress. One-time events could include an injury, accident, rape, natural disaster, or a violent attack. Events that cause ongoing stress can also result in unresolved distress. Such events include living in a crime-ridden neighborhood, battling an illness, or experiencing reoccurring events such as bullying, abuse, domestic violence, or emotional neglect. Commonly missed causes could be surgery, the unexpected loss of someone, humiliation, the loss of home by the fire, or the breakup of a significant other.
Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer-term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.
Once trauma presents itself in such a way where it starts to affect your ability to cope, function daily, and/or regulate emotions effectively, it’s time that you reach out for help.
To determine the severity of your symptoms, it is important to understand what type of trauma you may be presenting. There are three main types of trauma are acute, chronic, or complex:
- Acute trauma: a single incident
- Chronic trauma: repeated and prolonged incidents
- Complex trauma: exposure to varied and multiple traumatic events
Childhood trauma often results in severe and long-lasting effects. When left unresolved, a sense of fear and helplessness carries over into adulthood and as a result, leaving you easily exposable to future traumas, but it can be treated. Learning how to identify your triggers and understand your past behaviors, will help you learn how to manage your current emotional reactions and decision-making process.
What are the First Warning Signs:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Shock, denial, or disbelief
- Anger and irritability
- Guilt, shame, self-blame
- Anxiety and fear
- Feeling disconnected or numb
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Intrusive thoughts of the event that may occur unexpected
- Mood swings
- Insomnia or nightmares
- Flashbacks- Visual images of the event(s)
- Racing heartbeat
- Edginess and agitation
- Aches and pains
- Muscle tension
- Isolation; Withdrawing from others
- Being startled easily