Trauma happens in both big and little moments in life that are so overwhelming that you struggle to cope or makes sense of what has happened. Often when people think about trauma they think about people that have been exposed to war, natural disasters or catastrophic events, however a trauma can also be a build-up of less pronounced events that take its toll over time.
Trauma therefore can come in many forms and so each person’s experience should not be compared to another’s. Everyone has different ways of responding or reacting to an event and so what one person might not find distressing, another person may find traumatic. There is no right or wrong!
When someone reacts after a traumatic event this is a normal response to a ‘not normal’ situation. It is very common to experience distress after a traumatic incident and often people can experience a wide range of intense emotions such as shame, anger, fear and anxiety, guilt, sadness, helplessness or even embarrassment.
Sometimes people might not ‘feel’ anything at all and instead describe being numb, disconnected or stunned. Trauma can affect the way we think too and we can feel out of control of what is happening in our minds, including constantly thinking about the event, having images of what happened come into our minds, having nightmares, and trying to problem solve future events or situations to keep ourselves safe.
We also might start to behave differently such as withdrawing from things we used to enjoy, not wanting to talk to anyone, feeling overly alert or ‘on edge’ and so being more watchful or attentive to other people or our surroundings, or changes in sleep and appetite. Concentrating on tasks or conversations can also be difficult.
What can help?
Most people however find that gradually over time they start to feel better. It is important to look after yourself and allow yourself time to come to terms with what has happened. Here are some ideas of what you can do to try and help:-
- Get support from people that you trust. This might be a family member, friend or teacher.
- When you feel ready you might want to try talking your experience and feelings through with someone you feel safe with. This can be helpful so you feel supported and listened to, but can also help your brain try and make sense of things.
- Try to get back to your normal routine including doing things you enjoy even if you don’t feel like it. Getting your sleeping and eating routines back on track is really important too.
- You might want to find out more details about what happened, from a trusted source/person. Before doing this however you might want to think about what is going to be beneficial for you to know and how you might be able to cope with further information on the event.
- Learn some new skills, or build on ones you already have.
When difficulties persist for long periods of time, are causing you lots of distress and interfering in your day to day life a lot it could be a sign that you need more help. If you feel like this is the case for you, talk to an adult who could support you to access more specialised help. If trauma symptoms are left untreated they can have a significant impact on your life and may develop into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) so getting help early is important.
I need more help
Have you tried the advice and self-help information on this page? AND/OR Have you sought support from somewhere else (e.g school) but feel you need more help?
If so, you can visit your GP / School/ Social Worker to discuss a referral to our CAMHS services.
You can also now speak to a emotional wellbeing/ mental health practitioner and self-refer to our services by contacting our
Lincolnshire Here4You Line
Monday- Friday 09.30- 16.30
Please visit our Self referral page for more information about this process, including when this may/may not be appropriate.