Coping with trauma – how to recognise the signs

Coping with trauma – how to recognise the signs

If we were to define trauma, what would it be?

According to Beyond Blue – “​Trauma touches our lives in many different ways; a serious accident, a physical assault, war, a natural disaster, sexual assault or abuse. It might affect you or those you love. These events can be traumatic as they cause a threat to your safety and/or the safety of others.

As individuals, we all react differently to certain situations in our lives, and in turn we all have to cope with different symptoms and feelings associated with trauma. We wanted to discuss some of the key signs to be aware of before they can affect you on a deeper level.

What are the key signs of the body and mind dealing with trauma?

Physical Symptoms

We sometimes assume that trauma can only affect us mentally, but there are many ways the effects can physically manifest themselves:

  • Exhaustion
  • Constant tiredness – even after you have had a rest
  • Headaches and general pain in your body
  • Difficulty in falling asleep
  • Finding yourself over-sleeping constantly
  • Battling colds and illnesses, especially when you have a holiday or rest from work  

Emotional Changes

  • Finding yourself being hypersensitive to emotional content (movies, songs, books etc.)
  • Feeling disconnected from your emotions and/or your body
  • Feeling like no matter how much you give, it will never be enough
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless about the future
  • Being constantly angry or irritated at people and their actions
  • Finding yourself being constantly cynical or jumping to conclusions
  • Intrusive thoughts and imagery related to the traumatic material you have seen or heard

Different Behaviours

  • Avoiding going to work or planned events
  • Dreading of activities which used to give you joy (like sports or other hobbies)
  • Changes to your personal relationships, like people avoiding you or you are avoiding others
  • No separation of personal and professional time
  • Difficulty relating to others’ day-to-day experiences without comparing them to yourself
  • Being overly cautious about the health and well-being of others
  • Isolating yourself completely from others or only interacting with people who are in your same field or can relate to your experiences
  • Feeling as though your body is no longer connected to you
  • Disconnecting from thoughts, feelings, memories or your sense of self
  • Loss of sense of time, or loss of time and memory
  • Differences in your regular routine when losing sense of self or time, such as purchasing clothing that doesn’t match your usual style or size, or finding yourself with speech, actions or identity that differs from your regular patterns

If you have any concerns about any of these signs and feel like they may relate to you, it might be time to seek experienced help to support you managing your journey.

At Haven Psychology we provide expert care during this process and one of the key methods we use to support you is called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

What is Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy?

Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an interactive technique which we use to help process the severity and intensity of the trauma.

During EMDR sessions, we help you process the event or experience in a managed environment while our trained clinicians directs your eye movements. This is done by tracking your eye movements, similar to that of REM sleep. As each set is completed, the memory tends to reduce in intensity until it becomes a neutral memory, rather than a relived experience.

This form of treatment can be very effective because recalling distressing events is often less emotionally upsetting when staying in the present time frame rather than the time of the experience. This allows you to process the memories or thoughts whilst reducing the strong body sensations and psychological response.

Over time, we have found this technique can minimise the impact that the memories or thoughts have on you, so that they are no longer as intrusive, as intense, or as unbearable.

If you feel we might be able to help you, contact us today for more information or to book in a session with one of our EMDR therapists

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