By definition, an experience is traumatic when it defines the way people organise their subsequent perceptions. This means that emotions related to traumatic experiences keep returning and do not fade with time, thus giving the sufferer the despairing feeling that they will never recover.
Emotional consequences from involvement in a traumatic event can include frequent nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety and panic attacks.
These reactions may be experienced by those involved in the trauma but also those who witnessed the trauma, heard about it from others or watched it on the television. Your reaction depends on many factors and some reactions you might experience may appear unrelated to the trauma.
All of these reactions are NORMAL reactions to what is an ABNORMAL event.
For most people these normal reactions to an abnormal event in their lives will slowly fade over a period of approximately 4 weeks. People need this time to cope with the trauma itself, to think about it, talk with others, cry, try to understand and then adapt to moving on with life.
There are also complex neurobiological alterations in both the central and autonomic nervous systems and psychophysiological changes evident in those suffering with PTSD, which makes a ‘pull yourself together’ response not only unhelpful but completely inappropriate for sufferers.