If you have ever experienced a traumatic event of any kind then you might have times when unwanted images or, more severely, “flashbacks” invade your mind. These are alarming and upsetting, to say the least. Not an uncommon symptom of trauma, flashbacks can be powerful and it can feel just like the event is happening again. Flashbacks are a symptom of PTSD along with insomnia, panic attacks, depression, anxiety and other conditions. If you’ve experienced these – get help.
Trauma is the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel a full range of emotions and experiences. It does not discriminate. What is traumatic for one person may not be so for another. It’s exceedingly subjective and depends on many factors.
One of the things that often goes unspoken is you can suffer from trauma (and PTSD if you meet the criteria) from not only victimization but from being a perpetrator. What you may have done, or not done, can be as traumatizing as being a victim. This isn’t often spoken of because we associate trauma with being a victim – not being a villain. If you have been a villain in your own story, or see yourself in this way, and deal with trauma symptoms it’s very possible you are dealing with trauma. Forgiving ourselves and facing our emotions around being a villain, it turns out, is awfully challenging.