The word “trauma” describes a variety of stressful situations that can involve high levels of fear, helplessness, horror, or danger that can have a negative impact on an individual’s day to day living. It may impact one’s ability to go to class, work, maintain relationships , coping skills, and quality of life.

Examples of traumatic events can include:

  • Emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse or neglect
  • Physical attacks or assaults
  • Car accident
  • Torture, war combat
  • Natural disasters – hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and fires
  • Witnessing or hearing about something horrible that has happened to another person
  • Death of a loved one

Symptoms can look like this:

  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hyper-vigilance or overprotective behavior
  • Exaggerated fight, flight, or freeze response
  • Shock, fear, confusion, and/or helplessness
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Change of appetite and/or sleep patterns
  • Avoidance of people, places, situations
  • Susceptible to illnesses

What you can do?

  • Talk about it
  • Know you are not alone
  • Remind yourself that healing takes time
  • Educate yourself on Trauma (i.e.: self help groups, books, internet)
  • Develop a wellness plan (you can do this with your counsellor):
  • Physical self-care (exercise, nutrition, sleep)
    • Lifestyle habits (Routines, goals, stress reduction, relaxation)
    • Emotional self-care (feel your feelings, self-forgiveness, seeing a counsellor)
    • Social Support (friends, family, colleagues)
    • Spiritual connection (prayer, meditation, community, finding purpose/meaning)