Potentially traumatic events happen on a regular basis. Whether or not they have a lasting impact on a person is highly individual and can fluctuate. Any of us can get traumatized at any time. It is not a sign of weakness or defect.
Trauma responses that don’t go away are what we call PTSD (for one time or limited events) or Complex PTSD (for situations that went on for too long of a time).
If these events are too overwhelming for the nervous system, it goes into defensive mode saying, “I don’t want this to happen again so I am going to wire you to never forget and always be on high alert.” Also, the part of our brain which is responsible for critical thinking, problem-solving, planning, decision making and emotion regulation goes into low power mode.
So, if you find yourself:
· avoiding people, places or things that resonate with the event
· feeling more numb than alive
· losing sleep or having nightmares
· no longer feel safe in places that you used to
· having intrusive thoughts
· getting increasingly irritable over even simple things
· having flashbacks
If you lived through a situation that was regularly stressful day after day, you may have the above symptoms with some additions:
· difficulty controlling your emotions
· feeling hostile or distrustful towards the world
· feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
· feeling as if you are permanently damaged or worthless
· avoiding friendships and relationships, or finding them very difficult
· experiencing dissociative symptoms such as de-personalization or de-realization
· regular passive suicidal feelings
You would do well to obtain some trauma informed therapy.
The good news is that this does not have to feel like this forever.