Normal, but sometimes scary, responses to trauma

You have learned that the mind and body react to trauma in the moment in order to survive – fight, flight or freeze. Okay, so now you’ve survived, but are left scarred. How do your mind and body respond now?

In several ways – and some may not feel so great, but the reason is that your mind and your body are trying to heal the best way that they can.

You may feel like you are obsessing on the event – having to tell everyone about it, or constantly replaying it in your head. This is your way of trying to make sense of it, to manage it and to lessen it’s control over you. It’s totally normal!

You may have nightmares – your brain is trying to process things too. Your nightmares may not seem to have anything to do with the traumatic event, but small themes do play out, like being chased or feeling trapped. It’s totally normal!

You may have flashbacks – when a powerful emotional reaction is triggered by a new event that reminds you of the traumatic event. These can be very scary and even out of your control. It’s totally normal!

You will likely experience a range of emotional responses – these emotions may, at times, feel like you are trapped. For example, anxiety, anger, fear, guilt, depression and helplessness are all common feelings stemming from the traumatic event. Making the link between the trauma and these feelings can be challenging, especially during the teen years when emotions are running high as it is. But when you make the connection, you can ease the burden of the emotion just by putting it in its place: It’s just a candle burning. I don’t have to feel fear because the candle is safe and my fear is about a different event. I am safe.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek help. While you begin that process, read the next posts for some tips to help you find a more productive ad peaceful space.

Post Question:

Have you ever had an experience that caused you nightmares?

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