Being attacked can leave many scars, both physical and mental. Everyone deals with the aftermath in different ways. After being attacked and the perpetrators thinking they left me for dead, was just the start of my trauma. I don’t know how anyone can be in control again, however I try all the time. The pattern of what happened to me happens to men, women, and children all over the world. Race, sexual orientation, social economic status, and even in a group setting don’t matter when a person is attacked.
The real concern I have is what happens after the fact. For me I would check all the windows, doors, under the bed, in the closet, and so on. I was so worried that the two me would show up again. I began to have panic attacks, that moved into PTSD, anxiety, and depression. As the progression continued my mood continued to swing. I acted out in very negative ways and became self-destructive. How is it that some people can move on and some people fall apart?
I have many years later have found my way through a counselor, doctors, and allowing myself to open up to my family and friends. It will never leave me, it has made my senses heightened with my children, probably overprotective but I just never want my kids to be beaten the way I was. I would never forgive myself as a parent and more than likely want to kill the person who would try and hurt them.
I wonder if I will always carry these feelings, if I will always be scared, and if I will ever get over my fear and PTSD. On PsychologyToday.com Some of the triggers after an attack:
Replaying the Memory. Many people find that the mind returns over and over to the upsetting memory, almost as if on a loop.
Nightmares. While the actual experience probably felt like a nightmare, it’s common for real nightmares to haunt our dreams in the aftermath of a trauma.
Flashbacks. A flashback occurs when the trauma memory gets cued and makes it feel as if the trauma is happening all over again.
Fear and Anxiety. Perhaps the most common emotional reaction to a trauma is feeling fearful and anxious.
Anger. In addition to fear and anxiety, anger is a very common reaction to trauma. We might feel anger at the person or situation responsible for our trauma.
Sadness. We often will feel sad and cry after a highly traumatic event.
Guilt. If the trauma involved someone close to us being injured or killed, we may blame ourselves and feel guilty that we didn’t somehow prevent it.
Feeling Numb. Sometimes rather than feeling strong emotions, we feel shut down emotionally, as though we’re made of wood.
Trying Not to Think About the Event. By definition, a traumatic event is not a pleasant memory, so it makes sense that we would want to avoid thinking about it.
Avoiding Things Related to the Event. Sometimes we avoid people, places, or things related to our trauma because they trigger the painful memory.
Difficulty Trusting People. When we’ve been attacked by another person, it can be hard to know whom we can trust—especially if we were caught off guard.
Believing the World Is Extremely Dangerous. Immediately after a trauma, the mind is likely to see the world as very dangerous. Whereas we might have underestimated the danger in the world before the trauma.
Blaming Yourself for the Trauma. It’s common to feel guilty after something terrible happens to you, as though you’re to blame that it happened.
It’s easy to use the advantage of hindsight to see the “mistakes” we made. In reality we almost certainly overstate our own responsibility for the traumatic event, and as a result feel unnecessary guilt.
Thinking You Should Have Handled the Trauma Differently. So many trauma survivors I’ve treated have talked about how they “should have” had a different response to the trauma,
Seeing Yourself as Weak or Inadequate. It’s not uncommon after a trauma to start to see ourselves as being “less than” in some way.
Criticizing Yourself for Reactions to the Trauma. In addition to beating ourselves up for having experienced the trauma, we might also be upset with ourselves for being upset.
Feeling Constantly On Guard. When the nervous system has had a terrifying shock, it doesn’t immediately settle down.
Seeing Danger Everywhere. When your nervous system is highly attuned for danger, it’s going to be set to detect any possible threat, which probably means you’ll have a lot of false alarms.
Being Easily Startled. A nervous system temporarily stuck in the “high” setting is going to be easily startled by things like a slamming door.
Difficulty Sleeping. Sleep is a vulnerable state, and when the brain and body are revved up, we’re likely to have a hard time sleeping.
Loss of Interest in Sex. As with sleep, the brain may be inclined to avoid sexual activity following a trauma.
Cigna gives ways a person can support their natural resilience to help the healing process, even if a person can’t forget the pain, mental and physical, you can help work through some of the trauma a person sustains:
Allow your feelings. Don’t try to ignore or deny them. You may feel grief, anger, anxiety, exhaustion, or something else. You may just feel numb. These are all normal reactions.
Balance your thoughts. When feeling overwhelmed by tragic events, it’s easy to forget the good in the world.
Minimize your exposure to news media. Once you have the facts, it’s a good idea to limit watching replays of the events.
Focus on what you do have control over. The images we see, the stories we hear, and our own thoughts about what happened can increase our anxiety.
Turn to others for support. Being alone with your thoughts and emotions means there is no other voice in the conversation. Others offer different perspectives, while giving you a chance to talk about how you feel.
Tap into your compassion. Reaching out and supporting others can shift your mental and emotional focus.
Understand what is being done to protect your community. The more you know about what has happened, the more effective steps you can take to minimize your risk and increase your sense of safety.
Move from fear to awareness. Being constantly fearful is not helpful. It can limit awareness. Awareness – paying attention to your surroundings and noticing anything unusual about people and their behavior – is helpful.
Maintain a normal routine and lifestyle as much as possible. When an attack occurs, life can feel chaotic in many ways.
Feeling physically strong can help you feel emotionally strong. Make sure you get enough sleep to feel well rested. Eat a healthy diet. Exercise and being physically active can reduce stress. Avoid overuse of alcohol and/or substances.
Give yourself a break. It may be hard to focus and concentrate at times after a traumatic event. Your energy level may be low.
Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation, when emotions run high. Even taking a short time-out to bring your thoughts to the here and now can help.