Trauma happens when we experience a threat (real or perceived) and we don’t have the resources to escape or fight off the threat. Our bodies collapse, we feel helpless, and we feel stuck there even after it’s over. These threats can happen to us directly or to someone we love.
Commonly recognized traumatic experiences include, but are not limited to, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, accidents that cause major injury, and lack of a safe caregiver. This can leave people unable to function in even simple daily tasks.
Some common symptoms of post-traumatic stress are*:
- Body responses, such as a rise in heart rate, feeling on edge, or wanting to run, when we are reminded of the event.
- Feeling on edge or like we are constantly bracing for “the punch.”
- Difficulties with concentration.
- Avoiding reminders of what happened.
- Changes in sleep or appetite
- Nightmares or flashbacks