After a traumatic event, people normally experience a variety of physical and emotional sensations. Although it does feel like you are going crazy, it is important to remember that this is a very normal response to an abnormal experience.
Symptoms of trauma
Some of the psychological symptoms of trauma include:
- shock, denial, and/or disbelief.
- intense anger, irritability and mood swings.
- In some cases, feelings of guilt, shame or self-blame are present.
- Sadness and hopelessness.
- Panic reactions to certain noises and smells.
- Avoidance of places and sounds that remind you of the event.
- Withdrawal from others.
- Feeling disconnected or numb
- Reliving the experience (flashbacks and nightmares)
These symptoms can last for a few days or even a few months but tend to fade as you process the trauma. Even after recovery it is normal to still be troubled at times by painful and emotional memories. Whether death has been part of the trauma, feelings of grief are often present due to your need to come to terms with the loss you have suffered of your sense of safety and security.
When to seek professional help
As stated above there are many responses and consequences to trauma that are a normal reaction to an abnormal event. Although support from family and friends can help recovery, we all heal at our own pace. If after a couple of months, the symptoms that have been described above have not started easing up, it is probably a good time to start seeking help.
Healthy recovery is defined by an acknowledgement that that the event was terrible while not allowing the consequences to interfere with your day to day life.
Healing involves the following:
- Processing and dealing with the trauma-related memories and feelings.
- Discharging cooped up fight-or-flight energy.
- Developing the ability to accept strong emotions, no longer allowing them to overwhelm you.
- Rebuilding the ability to trust others.