Trauma looks different for everybody.
Waves of trauma can come and go, or be a constant companion. Trauma can leave you feeling numb, out of control, afraid, confused and ashamed. Your body and mind can feel unsafe and overwhelming, or just plain numb. A sense of stability and calm can feel out of reach.
Trauma can leave you feeling alone, hopeless and helpless.
You’re not alone though. We get it and we’re here to help. We understand how hard it can be to take that first step.
Let’s get started together today.
What is trauma?
Broadly speaking, there are two types of trauma: complex trauma and single incident trauma.
Complex trauma involves multiple traumas experienced across an extended period of time. Most often the traumatic events involve another person (or people). For example, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect, community violence or war.
Single incident trauma involves witnessing or experiencing a “one-off” event such as a car accident, a natural disaster or a sexual assault.
When people experience or witness a traumatic event or repeated events, they can sometimes develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress or meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Acute Stress Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Complex PTSD. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress may also arise when there is a threat that these events will happen, even if they do not actually end up happening.
You don’t have to have directly witnessed the event to have a post-traumatic stress response; it can also be through learning that a close family member or friend was exposed to trauma. Repeated or extreme indirect exposure to trauma can also lead to post-traumatic stress symptoms, for example, paramedics and other medical staff repeatedly witnessing horrific injury or death.
What are the signs and symptoms of trauma?
- Intrusive memories
- Distressing nightmares
- Flashbacks to the trauma
- Feeling intense distress and extreme physical anxiety when exposed to anything that reminds you of the trauma (such as sounds, smells or particular people)
- Trying to avoid any thoughts or feelings about the trauma
- Avoiding any external reminders of the trauma (for example, places, people, activities or conversations about what happened)
Changes in thinking
- A shift in thinking about yourself, other people, the world around your or the future. For example, “I cannot trust anybody at all” or “I am never going to feel the same again” or “I’m a bad person”
- An inability to recall key details of the trauma
- Blaming yourself or others for causing the traumatic event or not preventing it in some way
- Having a sense of a foreshortened future
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
Difficulties in relationships
- Finding it hard to trust others and to ask for help
- Feeling disconnected from yourself and others
- Withdrawing from other people or feeling detached or alienated when you are with them
- Feeling confused in relationships
- Feeling empty and alone
- Feeling like your emotions are overwhelming or confusing
- Feeling detached from your emotions
- Feel intense guilt, shame, anger, depression or anxiety
- Finding it hard to feel positive emotions
- Coping with emotions through behaviours such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, eating, sex and shopping
- Aggressive behaviour
- Easily startled
- Panic attacks
- Feeling restless or on edge
- Sleep problems
- Problems concentrating and remembering
- Changes in weight or appetite
- Feeling detached from your body
- Physical health issues
Explore trauma therapy and counselling in Melbourne
We get how hard it can be to live with trauma, and we also understand how difficult it can be to reach out for help.
You’re not alone though. Our experienced psychologists are here to support you with healing from trauma through therapy and counselling.