The effects of trauma can be influenced by many different internal and external factors, so what you may be feeling will vary significantly from another person.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can develop following a traumatic event and is diagnosed by a physician. The symptoms of PTSD can be categorized physically and psychologically.
- Food (higher or lower appetite)
- Gynecological/menstrual pain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Higher risk of contracting HIV & STBBI
- Fear, anxiety, social anxiety disorder
- Psychological distress, depression
- Hyperarousal: always on alert and hypervigilant even when there is no danger, may cause insomnia
- Avoidance: avoid consciously or subconsciously thoughts, feelings, or situations that could be reminders of the experience
Kristen R. Choi, PhD, a registered nurse and researcher at UCLA who studies trauma explains that trauma is different for everyone, but two of the more common reactions are feeling very strong emotions or feeling little.
You might have overwhelming negative emotions or not be able to stop crying. On the other hand, you might feel numb and unable to experience pleasure or pain.
It is also not uncommon to feel guilty or ashamed after trauma has sunk in. For example, you might think you didn’t react the way you should’ve. That’s normal, but if those feelings linger for more than a few weeks, you should look for help.
On the other hand, you might behave in unexpected ways after trauma. For example, some people engage in more risk-taking behaviours, which might seem unusual, especially if you’ve just survived a situation where your life was in danger, but it’s a normal reaction.
A first step you can take is to acknowledge that you’ve gone through trauma and accept that your emotions might be affected. After that, you can consider reaching out to a healthcare professional. They may be able to provide resources to help you feel better.
Here are some resources you can reach out to for help:
National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673)
Crisis Resources https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/crisis-resources