Many people will experience or witness at least one traumatic event in their life, for example, serious injury, violent interactions, natural disasters or other life-threatening situations. We may also be close to others who experience a traumatic event, and require our support.
In the days and weeks following, most people involved experience strong feelings such as helplessness, shock, fear, sadness, numbness, guilt and anger. These experiences may also shatter previously held beliefs and core values about one’s self, how one thought one would respond in a traumatic situation. A survivor may feel they have lost a sense of meaning and purpose, experience feelings of abandonment, and a loss of trust in their personal security, community and environment. There may be painful soul searching as they try to piece together what actually happened, and whether they, or others, could have done anything differently.
Most people exposed to a traumatic event recover with the support of family and close friends, and do not require professional assistance. Survivors move through the recovery process in their own individual ways. Their age, coping capacities, previous life experiences and the availability of culturally appropriate support and understanding all play a role as they try to make sense of what has happened to them. One can also benefit from seeking support from professional services such as Counselling and Psychological Services.