What is a traumatic event?

A traumatic event is one that is unexpected and which causes deep distress (for example, a house fire). It is not the size of the event that affects you. It is your interpretation of the event.   A traumatic experience can lead to re-playing the trauma in your mind. You may also avoid things that remind you of the traumatic event and you may feel more tense, irritable or alert than usual.

Unfortunately, some of us also experience multiple traumas, over long periods of time. Often these can start in childhood. They can include: physical, sexual or emotional abuse, child neglect and domestic abuse.  We call this type of trauma a Complex Trauma.

How to cope after a traumatic event.

There is no right or wrong way to feel after a traumatic event. However, keeping up your normal routine as much as possible may help.   Furthermore, thinking and talking about the event and accepting support will help you work through it. This will help you to come to terms with what has happened.   It is important to give yourself time to deal with what has happened and to look after yourself by eating and sleeping properly and by taking time to relax and enjoy yourself.

What Can I do?

For more information about trauma, treatment and things that you can do to help yourself see Self Help documents, Related sections and External resources

PTSD Help Guide

Understanding Complex Trauma
Coping with trauma
Childhood trauma - Towards Recovery

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder