Traumatic experiences impact our lives well after the events take place. If you have experienced a serious event such as abuse, assault, or the unexpected death of a loved one, it is normal to have a wide range of reactions like feeling tense, numb, shocked, fearful, angry, irritable, sad, guilty or unmotivated.
For many people, given time and understanding, their emotional reactions to a trauma settle to manageable levels, over time and they gradually find ways to come to terms with what happened and are able to carry on with their lives. For others, however, strong reactions to a trauma persist.
If you experience any of the following, you may want to seek help from a psycotherapist:
- Experiencing unwanted intrusive thoughts and memories of the trauma, nightmares, flashbacks, and feelings of physically or emotionally re-experiencing the event.
- Avoiding people, places, activities, or conversations that remind you of the trauma.
- Experiencing heightened arousal, such as feeling constantly on alert for danger, being easily startled, being irritable, or having difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
- Losing interest in your daily activities, feeling emotionally numb or feeling detached from others.
- Finding it difficult to envision a normal future for yourself.
- Sometimes these appear shortly after the trauma, and sometimes they appear after a delay, up to months or years later.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, psychotherapy can help you to understand your reactions, and to process the trauma in such a way that it intrudes less on your day-to-day experience, so that you are able to go on with your life.