Trauma & Anxiety

Trauma

If you have experienced a particular event, significantly a life-threatening event time that has affected your life you may be suffering from the after effects of trauma (commonly known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD). You may similarly experience trauma symptoms if you have had a string of emotional injuries, which you might not even recall individually, but which have an accumulative, significant effect. Typical experiences that can lead to trauma & anxiety disorders may develop following exposure to any one of a variety of traumatic events that involve actual or threatened death, or serious injury, for example abuse, bullying, rape, shooting, or car accident. Witnessing an event rather than directly experiencing it or even just learning about it can be enough for a person to be traumatised, especially if it involves family members or somebody you are close to. This may result in you experiencing a combination of the reactions listed below. I understand that after such an incident it may feel difficult to function for some time and as I specialise in trauma and anxiety counselling, I am able to help you to explore ways to facilitate healing and recovery.

The following are often symptoms of trauma:

  • Anxiety, fear
  • Feeling edgy and hypervigilant (feeling that your brain and body are constantly on high alert)
  • Flashbacks of an incident or fear of repetition of the traumatic events
  • Disturbed sleep including nightmares or recurring dreams
  • Feeling you are somehow bad or to blame
  • Mood swings, anger or depression
  • Violence or self-harm
  • Difficulties in relating to others or sexual problems
  • Troubling use of drugs or alcohol or other substances to numb the feeling
  • Becoming more reclusive or isolated
  • Feeling numb or disconnected
  • Feeling confused and difficulty concentrating
  • Aches and pains in the body, or unexplained bodily sensations

Traumatic events

Trauma can result from one single event or from ongoing, relentless stresses. Potentially traumatic events are defined as events that are both powerful and upsetting that intrude into the daily life of the person. The impact on that person will vary depending on the mental and physical health of the person, past traumatic experiences, presence of coping skills, and level of social and emotional support at the time of the potentially traumatic event. This means that each of us experiences trauma in our own individual way depending on our life experiences. Though generally traumatic experiences are more likely to cause uncomfortable symptoms of trauma if:

  • The individual was unprepared for the event
  • The event occurred out of the blue
  • The person felt powerless to prevent the event
  • The event occurred repeatedly
  • If the event involved extreme cruelty
  • If the event occurred during the childhood years

Examples of events and situations that can lead to the development of psychological trauma may include:

  • Natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes
  • Interpersonal violence like rape, child abuse, or the suicide of a loved one or friend
  • Involvement in a serious car accident or workplace accident
  • Acts of violence such as an armed robbery, war, or terrorism

Commonly overlooked causes of potential emotional and psychological trauma can also include:

  • Breakup or divorce in a significant relationship
  • Significantly humiliating experienced
  • Surgery/Illness
  • Falls or injuries due to sports
  • Sudden, unexpected death of a loved one
  • Diagnosis of a life-threatening or disabling condition

Anxiety

I often think of anxiety as the worry condition and it is thoroughly unpleasant. At worst a build-up of anxiety can lead to panic attacks and/or Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Anxiety generally arises from a combination of things that that may include the following:

  • Childhood experiences
  • Current unpleasant experiences
  • Stress
  • Thinking style
  • Lifestyle (habits/diet)
  • Drugs or medication
  • Mental health (if you are depressed you are more prone to anxiety)
  • Physical health (long term illness and/or ongoing pain may make you more prone to anxiety)

Feelings that you might have if you are over anxious:

  • Feeling of unease or worry all the time
  • Unable to focus or get everyday things done
  • Irritability
  • Tearfulness
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Too much or too little appetite
  • Feeling sick
  • Heart palpitations

If you recognise any of the above symptoms for trauma and anxiety in yourself rather than ignore your symptoms or hope they will go away the best thing to do is acknowledge and tackle them.

Immediate things you could do:

  • Tackle your sleeping habits
  • Start a healthy eating plan
  • Take a brisk walk for at least half an hour a day
  • Take time out to relax
  • Take up mindfulness or yoga

Support for your trauma & anxiety

I am able to support you towards finding a way to treat and alleviate the symptoms you are facing within a confidential and supportive environment. By talking through your issues with a trauma & anxiety specialist like myself, who is both qualified and independent of the events, you may find a different and more supportive perspective on what you have experienced. I aim to guide you toward an internal resolution and reprocessing of what occurred as well as empower you to carry the experience in a more tolerable way that has less of a negative impact on your future life. I would work with you within one or more of the following approaches: talking therapy, CBT, EMDR.