Even months or years after a traumatic event, survivors still feel the effects in their daily lives. Now that most of the world has been through a mass traumatic event, the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to understand how trauma can affect daily life.
Trauma Alters People’s Perceptions of Reality
A traumatic event can change the very way that people think and perceive the world. Many survivors suffer from flashbacks or repeated memories or dreams that bring them back to their traumatic event. Others have trouble remembering certain parts of their life, including details about their trauma.
Trauma does more than affect people’s memories. It can also affect how they perceive the present. Many survivors have trouble connecting to reality because of constant flashbacks and dissociation.
Trauma Intensifies or Dulls People’s Emotions
Even after a traumatic event has passed, many survivors have a hard time feeling happiness or other emotions they should be experiencing in the present because of dissociation, or repeated flashbacks to the traumatic event. Other survivors experience intense emotions to seemingly minor triggers and have panic attacks or violent outbursts.
Trauma Isolates Survivors
Many survivors develop behavioral responses after trauma to help them avoid triggers. They avoid certain events, refuse to discuss what happened, and practice hypervigilance. They have outbursts when their boundaries are crossed.
Trauma responses make it difficult for survivors to connect with others. People who are not dealing with the consequences of trauma may not understand why they are setting the boundaries that they do and distance themselves from the person.
Trauma Has Physical Effects
Trauma is a mental condition, but it affects the physical health of survivors. Survivors who are hypervigilant as a trauma response have a higher heart rate and blood pressure, which can cause lasting health damage. Many have trouble sleeping and are lethargic during their daily lives.
Consequences of trauma do not go away once the event is over. Being mindful of the lasting effects of trauma in someone’s daily life can help everyone support their loved ones recovering from trauma.