Experiencing or witnessing some events can have A HUGE effect on us. We all experience reactions to these events but sometimes we might get stuck thinking and acting differently as a result of these events and that can be labelled ‘Post-traumatic stress'. Things like car accidents, sexual or physical attacks, witnessing a death or an accident, or a suicide attempt by a friend or family member or sudden or significant loss are some events that can lead to reactions that can be labelled 'Post-traumatic stress'.
It is normal to react to these traumatic events. Some we reactions we experience are;
• Body reactions – Sleep disturbances, nightmares, tiredness, headaches, loss of appetite.
• Thinking reactions - Difficulty with concentration and making decisions, memory loss, and flashbacks.
• Emotional reactions – feeling nothing, fear, guilt, sadness, self-blame, irritability, anxiety, depression, helplessness.
• Behavioural reactions - Changes in activity levels, withdrawing from friends, inability to relax, increased use of drugs and alcohol, harming oneself, risky behaviours.
We can experience these effects at any time including months - or even years - after the incident. Sometimes in order to avoid these reactions that remind us of the event we may try using alcohol or drugs to help us “get over it” This is a temporary solution or quick fix.
What can help?
• Recognise that you've experienced a traumatic event and it's normal to be affected by it in some way.
• Tell friends and family. If you feel shaky, have someone with you for some of the day.
• Keep up contact with mates.
• Keep up your daily routine as much as possible.
• Be kind to yourself. Avoid stress if possible.
• Do some physical activity.
• Take time to rest.
• Eat meals each day.
• Avoid excessive use of alcohol and drugs.
• Talk to a counsellor.
• Web pages with interesting ideas for help
Some websites that may be useful