Traumatic events can create significant emotional impact. There are many common, and normal, reactions to traumatic events. These include:
• Difficulty focusing and concentrating
• Irritable behavior with angry outbursts (which are unprovoked)
• Crying a lot
• Being fearful
• Sleep disturbances
• Exaggerated startle response
• Recurrent, involuntary and intrusive memories
• Inability to remember parts of the traumatic event
• Self-destructive or reckless behaviors
At some point these reactions begin to dissipate, or go away altogether. But sometimes long term and often less intense reactions continue to impair our ability to function at our normal level. Basically, we feel like we just can’t get back to our old selves again. In these situations we may require treatment for trauma.
For example, take a moment and hold your hands a few inches in front of your face, fingers pointed towards each other. Now spread your fingers apart, and look through them. This is a very simplified analogy of how trauma lives in us. In the beginning trying to function with large parts of our visual field blocked could be extremely distressing. After a while we would adjust and the distress would be reduced, but those blind spots would still be there. We might get frustrated, depressed and angry because we don’t understand why we can’t get back to normal not even realizing that the effects of the trauma (or in this scenario our fingers) are still there.
Treatment for someone who has experienced a traumatic event is vital in allowing healing to occur. Whether the traumatic event happened recently, or a long time ago, its effects can be the cause of many disorders including depression, anxiety, psychotic episodes and behavioral problems.