Trauma symptoms: are you struggling with the after-effects of a trauma?
Even if you are not responsible for traumatic events you have experienced and survived, you may be left with having to deal with challenges in the wake of the experience (s).
Many people associate trauma with the diagnosis PTSD and therefore associates this type of experience with more classic trauma symptoms such as: flashbacks, nightmares, heightened alertness, restlessness, avoidance of external triggers as well as thoughts and feelings that remind one of the traumatic event.
Underlying effects on body and mind
However, a trauma can affect our body and psyche in several different ways and to varying degrees. Not everyone develops PTSD, but can still experience major limitations in life development and functioning.
Many will also be able to develop a picture of the condition in which they themselves and perhaps the surrounding system see and understand the symptoms under a different diagnostic umbrella: for example recurrent depression.
The treatment will then not necessarily hit the sustaining factors for the underlying problem: which means that one or more unprocessed wounds and traumas may be exerting their effect in the background of life.
Effects that can persist over weeks, months, years or throughout life.
Symptoms are about trying to survive: must be understood in a context
Because we humans are shaped by a complex combination of heredity and genes, environment, society and culture, it is important to have breadth and depth in our understanding of challenges and symptoms: a narrative or context that existentially makes sense for the person concerned.
Symptoms are often about attempts to survive: and if you are reading this, you have survived.
The hidden or unconscious effects
For many, trauma will create physical and psychological challenges and symptoms they may not immediately recognize as trauma-related.
This can complicate the picture of the condition and make it more difficult to create a coherent understanding of oneself and one's difficulties.
It can also make it challenging to be involved in a therapeutic project where they choose to go in and through the discomfort instead of avoiding it.
In the list below, some of the painful phenomena are mentioned as can follow traumatic experiences and attempts at adjustment:
- Periods of depression
- Decreased concentration and memory
- Distance (distance from experience and life)
- Loss of interest
- Experience of helplessness or hopelessness
- Scomb and guilt (for their trauma experiences, current symptoms or challenges)
- Negative self-image
- Thoughts about worthlessness
- Few or no memories
- Nightmares and flashbacks
- Difficult to experience joy or meaning
- Challenges in close relationships and around intimacy
- Feeling of standing on the "outside" without belonging to others or the world
- Chronic feeling of loneliness
- Increased preparedness and mistrust
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Dizziness or nausea
- Foggy or blurred vision
- Wheezing in the ears
- Problems with gastrointestinal function
- Chronic pain in body and head
- Loss of self-experience (who I am)
- Feeling of unreality / loss of contact with the body / dissociation
- Self-destructive behavior