Trauma can be in the past or present:
The sudden death of a loved one
Witnessing an event you could not change
Being a survivor of abuse
Childhood experiences that were unhealthy for you
A situation where you felt threatened
It is not only the event itself which is important, but how you experienced it. Many sufferers describe feeling impotent in an intense situation that was happening to them or bearing witness to an event they could not change. They report feeling “flooded” by the experience.
Intense trauma can leave people stuck in a cycle of reliving the experience over and over again. This is the psyche’s natural attempt to assimilate what has happened, but the intensity of what happened has short-circuited the process and interrupted it. The result is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Treating PTSD too soon after the trauma can be counter-productive and most clinicians believe there needs to be a delay to allow for the body’s natural processes to kick in. You may need to undergo an initial period of monitoring, or “watchful waiting.” If the symptoms persist then you would possibly benefit from a combination of medication and therapy to alleviate the symptoms.
Specific treatments for reducing the symptoms of PTSD include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Once your symptoms are more manageable you may still want to talk in a more exploratory way with a therapist.