Trauma is characterized by feelings of intense fear, helplessness, loss of control, and threat of annihilation. Traumatic events often produce profound and lasting changes in physiological arousal, emotion, cognition, and memory. Traumatic reactions are normal responses to abnormal situations.
What you may be feeling...
Shock and Numbness: feeling overwhelmed and confused.
Loss of Control/Helpless: feel as though your whole life has been turned upside down. Your thoughts and feelings may seem out of control.
Fear: You may be afraid of being assaulted again, fear of being alone, or fear other people and/or certain situations that may remind you of the trauma.
Self-Blame/Shame: You may feel like you could have done something to prevent the assault.
Vulnerability/Distrust: You may feel like you are at the mercy of your emotions of the actions of others. You may feel like you can't trust others, including yourself.
Anger: You may be angry with your assailant. You may be angry at the world since you no longer feel safe.
Disruption of Activities: You may feel preoccupied with intrusive thoughts about the assault . You may experience difficulty concentrating, nightmares, have a change in appetite, and/or experience anxiety and depression.
Trauma and the brain
Trauma changes the structure of the brain. Pathways in the brain can be disrupted by exposure to trauma, which causes some survivors' brain to be altered forever. When the experience of trauma, which causes some trauma is chronic, the brain continuously responds as if it is under stress by preparing body for fight, flight, or freeze even thought the actual traumatic event has ended.
Fight: The person fights back in the face of a traumatic event. fighting back may take the form of physical or verbal resistance.
Flight: In the face of trauma, the person's reaction is to flee the situation, The body mobilizes to leave the traumatic experience.
Freeze: The traumatic response involves shutting down physical reaction to the traumatic event.
Survivors might feel shocked or ashamed at their reaction to a traumatic event, and some survivors might blame the,selves if they "froze" during the traumatic event. However, it is important to understand that survivors do not consciously choose their fight, flight, or freeze response.
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