How trauma affects us
Trauma is an emotional and psychological response to a distressing event or experience that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope or process the experience. Traumatic events can include physical or sexual assault, natural disasters, accidents, witnessing violence or death, or ongoing abuse or neglect.
Trauma can affect individuals of all ages, genders, races, and backgrounds, and it’s important to seek support from a trained professional if you are struggling with the aftermath of a traumatic experience.
Lisa Mathurin is a Trauma-Informed Therapist and Counselling Tutor at Mindspace. This month we caught up with her to find out more about trauma and the impact it can have on our lives.
The trauma response
“Trauma responses are a normal and natural reaction to an abnormal or unnatural event, and they are often a way for the individual to protect themselves from further harm. A trauma response is an instinctual reaction that provides the best chance of survival”. Lisa Mathurin – Trauma-Informed Therapist
When an individual experiences a traumatic event, their body and mind respond with intense emotional and physical reactions. These reactions can include feelings of fear, anxiety, helplessness, and horror. The individual may also experience physical symptoms such as sweating, racing heartbeat, or trembling.
Trauma responses are often automatic and can be triggered by a variety of stimuli that are associated with the traumatic event.
Trauma responses can vary from person to person, but they often include:
- Hyperarousal: feeling on edge, jittery, and easily startled
- Avoidance: avoiding places, people, or activities that may remind them of the trauma
- Intrusive thoughts or memories: re-experiencing the traumatic event through flashbacks or nightmares
- Emotional numbing: feeling disconnected or detached from their emotions or relationships
- Hypervigilance: being hyper-aware of their surroundings and constantly scanning for danger
- Physical symptoms: such as sweating, rapid heartbeat, and shallow breathing.
The lasting impact of trauma
Trauma can have lasting effects on an individual’s mental, emotional, and physical health. It can lead to a range of symptoms such as:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Depression and low mood
- Flashbacks and nightmares
- Hypervigilance and a constant feeling of being on guard
- Avoidance behaviours, such as avoiding places or people that remind them of the trauma
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Irritability or angry outbursts
- Self-harm or suicidal thoughts
These symptoms can interfere with an individual’s daily life, making it difficult for them to work, maintain relationships, and engage in activities they once enjoyed. They may also struggle with feelings of shame, guilt, and isolation.
Low cost, affordable counselling for all
At Mindspace we believe that healing is possible, and we are here to guide you on your journey. Through compassionate listening and a non-judgmental approach, we can help you process your emotions, overcome your fears, and find a sense of peace and empowerment.
Whether you are looking for short-term support or long-term therapy, we are here to provide a safe, confidential space where you can explore your feelings and work towards healing.