If you experience a traumatic event (where you're really scared or think that you or someone around you might be seriously injured or die), it can have a big effect on your life.
You might experience emotional or physical reactions, like feeling the need to cry or struggling to sleep - these are all perfectly normal.
Sometimes these feelings might come on straight away or you might start to have them a while after the event. If they last for more than a few weeks or they're severe, you might be experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD can be very stressful but it can be treated with the right help and support.
How it can feel
Symptoms of PTSD vary but the following are most common:
Reliving the traumatic event(s): This might take the form of flashbacks, nightmares, repetitive and distressing images or physical sensations – such as pain, sweating, nausea or trembling;
Avoidance: You might find yourself avoiding certain people or places that remind you of the trauma, or unable to talk to anyone about your experience. Another form of avoidance is distracting yourself with work or hobbies so you can block any memories or emotions about the event;
Feeling ‘on edge’: Sometimes people with PTSD say they feel constantly nervous as though something bad is going to happen. This could be the case for you or you might find yourself getting irritated easily, having angry outbursts, not being able to sleep or having difficulty concentrating.
When to seek help
The symptoms of PTSD can be extremely difficult to live with but there are ways to overcome them. If you've experienced a traumatic event and are struggling with difficult feelings, then help is available.
What support is available
If something bad has happened and you need someone to talk to, our friendly team based at our drop-in centre Pause, can lend a listening ear. We also offer a number of treatments and therapies for PTSD at our community hubs.
If you're not sure what support is right for you, please call our Access Centre on 0300 300 0099 or speak to your GP.