A traumatic event is defined as a situation which causes fear, distress or panic, and often has long-lasting effects. As well as potential physical injuries, there can be a significant toll on your mental health.
One way to come to terms with your experience is through talking. Talking can be invaluable whether it is an informal chat with a friend or a therapy session with a professional.
How will I feel after a traumatic event?
Traumatic events affect everyone in different ways. What one person experiences does not mean that everyone will. The nature of the event can have a part to play. For example, if you were injured in a car accident you may find yourself dreaming of the collision. Similarly, war veterans can struggle with flashbacks to their traumatic experiences.
Avoidance is a common reaction to trauma. In the short term, it can allow you to focus on your immediate priorities such as finances, healthcare and recovery. In the long term, however, avoiding thinking about the incident or acknowledging your feelings can prevent healing and create fear and anxiety disorders.
What should I do after I have experienced a traumatic event?
If you have been injured in a traumatic event, your health and recovery should be a priority. Make sure you have regular appointments with any specialists, your GP and physiotherapist. To keep organised use a calendar – the one on your phone is great as you can easily access it.
Traumatic events can often result in time off work, so you will need to think about your finances eventually. You may be entitled to a personal injury claim, so contact a firm of specialist lawyers who can fight for you and guide you through the process.
You will need to keep your mental health in mind as well. If you are struggling, talk to your family doctor. Alternatively, you can self-refer to a private professional.
What sort of professional help is available?
If you speak to your GP, they will be able to recommend local professionals who can help. The main downside is that the waiting lists can be quite long, meaning you won’t get seen straight away. In the meantime, your GP may be able to suggest some medication to help you to cope whilst you wait.
If your trauma is a result of a criminal act, Victim Support will be able to point you in the right direction for advice. You may find there are dedicated charities that specialise in the type of trauma you are working through, such as The Survivors Trust.
A therapist will be able to work with you and break down your trauma to make sense of it. Sometimes, it may feel as though you don’t understand why you are feeling a certain way but changing your association will help you work through it. It may take multiple sessions and even multiple types of therapists but it is important not to be discouraged if it doesn’t feel immediately better.