Now you have read the information about ‘what is trauma’ and the ‘differing types of trauma’, this page is for you as adults to understand your individual responses to the trauma you have experienced. Trauma can impact in many differing ways, it is normal to feel frightened, to have difficulty sleeping, having bad dreams, experiencing flashbacks to the event or that you feel anxious and jumpy a lot of the time. This page will outline how you ‘may’ respond to trauma, and how differing strategies and techniques may help you. This is not a list that fits all, please use this page to determine what your responses are, and what strategies or techniques you find helpful.
SeeYou may see a person who resembles a person from your past HearA song may remind you of the past, or a noise inside or outside of the home such as a car horn, a siren, a trigger could also be a T.V. programme or social media clip SmellA smell associated with the past will create a reminder, such as the smell of smoke, or a deodorant spray TasteA drink may remind you of the past TouchThe feel of a texture could be a reminder, clothes, sand, or if petting your dog
The way you feel after the event will be different for each person, there is not right or wrong way. The feelings and thoughts you may have could be confusing and upsetting which is normal.
We have described later on in this page, emotional regulation techniques which can help you ground yourself and bring yourself back to the here and now.
Music to aid sleep:
Fight, Flight, Freeze
The fight-or-flight response (also called hyperarousal or the acute stress response) is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.
Walter Bradford Cannon (1932)
Watch this video to help you understand our survival response:
The Fight Flight Freeze Response (Video by Braive.com)
When we encounter a trigger from our past and the trauma we experienced, it can activate our survival response. It is important for you to be able to notice your stress responses, the potential triggers and what happens to you physically and emotionally.
These will be your first steps during your path to recovery.
Your challenge will be to learn to regulate yourself and remain in the best emotional place whereby you feel safe, happy, and calm. Dr. Dan Siegel describes a zone from which we can fluctuate dependent on our levels of stress. He describes this as the window of tolerance which identifies the zones in which we are able to function and deal with day-to-day stress or how the impact of severe anxiety or trauma can fluctuate between the differing zones. Your awareness of how you move between zones and how to manage your movement will be a huge step forward.
Window of Tolerance
Hyperarousal – fight, flight response
This means you will experience excess energy; anxiety levels will escalate, and you have heightened senses. You may feel:
Hypoarousal – freeze response
This is when you experience a sense of lethargy and is a result of a freeze response.
Use the wheel to link your emotions to how your body responds (click to download). As well as different feelings, your body will also seem different to you which can feel really tough for you to deal with. You can share this with a parent, a friend, or a teacher to help them understand what you are going through.
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