If you have been involved in or affected by a traumatic event, than it is likely that you will suffer short-term effects. The following shares information on how you may expect to feel in the days and months ahead, and to help you understand and have more control over your experience.
Some emotions people may experience include:
- Increased alertness for danger
- Intrusive thoughts or images of the event
- Avoidance of places that may remind you of the event
- Memories of previous traumatic events
It is important to recognise that these are normal responses to making sense of traumatic events. While these feelings can be distressing, they will likely reduce over time. A variety of practical, emotional and social support from family and friends can be very powerful in helping to manage these difficult but normal experiences.
Some things that might help include:
- share your feelings with someone you feel comfortable with (friends, family, co-workers)
- talk at your own pace and as much as you feel it’s useful
- be willing to listen to others who may need to talk about how they feel
- take time to cry if you need to – letting feelings out is helpful in the long run
- ask for emotional and practical support from friends, family members, your community or religious centre
- try to spend some time doing something that feels good and that you enjoy
- try to return to everyday routines and habits. They can be comforting and help you feel less out of sorts. Look after yourself: eat and sleep well, exercise and relax
Most people go on to recover, but some people’s distress may last longer and is more incapacitating. If experiences and feelings persist beyond 2-4 weeks then you should consider seeking further advice from your GP or local services.
Here are some resources to offer further support and advice:
- Leaflet on coping with stress following a major incident
- Support and advice on dealing with trauma (NHS website)
- About post traumatic stress disorder (NHS website)
- Coping after a traumatic event from the Royal College of Psychiatrists
- A guide to NHS mental health services
- Find children and adolescent mental health services