A traumatic experience can have long-lasting effects
Distressing experiences can cause emotional and psychological trauma. The experience might be a terrible one-off event or an ongoing series of stressful events. Either way, the effect can be deeply harmful.
What is trauma?Emotional and psychological trauma can be caused by both one-off and ongoing events. A one-off event would be something like an accident, natural disaster, or an attack. On-going trauma can result from relentless stressful events, such as childhood sexual, emotional or physical abuse or living in a crime-ridden neighbourhood where you never feel safe. Whether you are personally involved in or witness, a traumatic incident, have whānau or friends who are injured or killed, are a rescue worker, or even if you learn about the event through the news, you might experience some sort of emotional response. Responses can include:
changing emotions such as shock, denial, guilt or self-blame
extreme sadness and crying
mood changes such as irritability, anxiety, tension, negativity, gloom and disinterest
repeating memories or bad dreams about the event
distress when something reminds you of the event
not socialising, staying away from people, strained personal relationships
physical symptoms such as unexplained aches and pains, nausea, extreme tiredness or loss of energy
changes in eating or sleeping
increased use of alcohol or drugs.
Many of these feelings are a normal part of grieving and recovering from any trauma, but sometimes these feelings go on for a long time (more than a few weeks). They can begin to get in the way of your daily life, and may lead to depression or anxiety.