Normal Reactions To Trauma
Traumatic events are usually something that’s happened instantly, with no prior warning. With no prior warning all you can do it kick into reaction mode and shock. During this time there isn’t time for logic. Everything will just feel surreal.
Once the shock has worn off there are other normal reactions to trauma that may be ongoing, until you’ve come to terms with the traumatic experience.
It’s the symptoms you need to be aware that are stopping you from living your daily life that you need to acknowledge. If symptoms persist for 3 months or more then you need to consider the possibility of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the need for treatment.
There is much concern from loved ones about what are normal reactions to trauma and what reactions or symptoms could be leading to post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other types of anxiety disorders. It’s good to know what is normal and what can be expected.
Keep in mind though, everyone will experience a traumatic event in their own unique way and likewise they will work their way through the symptoms on their own time and pace.
After a traumatic event it’s normal for your mind to be active and to over analyse the details of the event. Your unconscious mind will try and search for all the missing pieces so that you can make sense of a situation that probably doesn’t really make any sense.
With no lead up to the event the first reaction is usually shock.
It can almost feel like you’re detached and watching the situation from the outside. Time distortion is a normal reaction. It can feel like the experience was slowed down or it was over very quickly.
Surviving a traumatic event can cause feelings of anxiety, guilt, anger, depression and even shame. The intensity of your feelings can also range from mild to moderate to extreme. It can feel like your on an emotional roller-coaster and you don’t know how to get off. These emotions are considered normal reactions to trauma.
Reliving the event in your mind and questioning everything to find a deeper level of acceptance is also considered normal reactions to trauma.
There are many Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Triggers that have the ability to create flashbacks of the event. Having flashbacks straight after the event are to be expected as your mind is filtering through and generalising, deleting or distorting parts or the whole event. This is the process your unconscious undertakes to filter through all the information you absorb in a day.
If you’re wondering if you’re susceptible to symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it depends on how you’re filtering through the information and details of the traumatic event.
It depends on how you’re unconsciously recording the event in your mind that determines if you’re likely to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the future.
This is why getting busy and avoid the trauma or the feelings, flashback or thoughts about it won’t help you to cope. Eventually, you will need to work through it so you can get closure and peace.
Everyone’s experience, coping mechanisms and filtering systems are different. If your unconscious mind isn’t ready to deal with the situation it will repress it.
Repressing the event means you keep yourself busy with distractions. You avoiding talking about it, believing “I’ll be right”. Ignoring how you feel is the worst thing you can do however avoiding feelings or talking about the event are normal reactions to trauma. However they are not the ideal.
Normal Reactions To Trauma Include:
- Flashbacks of the event
- Being startled easily and feeling jumpy
- Emotional roller-coaster of feelings
- Mood swings
- Feeling irritable with less patience
- Bad dreams and sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Avoiding people who remind you of the event
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling more anxious, heart palpitations
- Preoccupied with solving “what if” scenarios to prevent accidents
If you need help getting through a traumatic event or think you may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder you can book an appointment online for Trauma counselling. We can help you change the symptoms of your experience and relieve the emotions you’ve been feeling.