Everyone will experience frightening or disturbing events at some point in time in their lives. But how do you know you’ve suffered a trauma?
Trauma is defined as follows: any disturbing experience, either experienced or witnessed, that results in significant fear, helplessness, dissociation, confusion, or other disruptive feelings. These feelings must be intense enough to have a long-lasting negative impact on a person’s attitudes, behavior, and other aspects of functioning.
The experience of being traumatized is subjective. Two people can experience the same or a similar event, or series of events and one may exhibit symptoms of trauma and one may not. Whether one becomes traumatized depends on many factors but one important factor is called “dosing” and this literally refers to the frequency, intensity and duration of trauma experienced.
Are you suffering from any of the following symptoms?
- Do you find that you experience recurrent, involuntary and distressing memories or dreams of the traumatic event(s)?
- Is it difficult for you to fall asleep or stay asleep?
- Do you have dissociative symptoms, where you feel as if the traumatic event is reoccuring, even though it isn’t?
- Do you have angry or rageful outbursts where you go from “0-100”?
- Do you jump or startle easily?
- Do you make efforts to avoid thoughts, memories, feelings, people, places, situations or topics of conversation associated with the trauma?
- Do you ever find yourself clenching your muscles or do you suffer from achy, tired muscles?
- Are you unable to remember important aspects of the traumatic event? Or are you not sure if a traumatic event has happened at all?
- Do you have negative beliefs about yourself, others or the world? (e.g. – “I am bad or stupid” “The world is unsafe”.)
- Do you often experience feelings of fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame? Are you too often irritable, anxious or depressed, but are not sure why?
- Do you engage in reckless or self destructive behavior (e.g. – driving 120 mph on a highway or cutting)
- Have you suffered from an addiction or an eating disorder?
- Do you suffer from hypervigilance (a constant state of being extremely alert, always on the lookout for potential danger)?
Living with trauma can sap you of all of life’s joy and leave you feeling depleted, exhausted, scared and miserable. As a certified trauma specialist, I can help you resolve your traumatic memories and experiences.