Many people will experience trauma in their lives. It is a deep emotional pain that affects your health, well being and ability to cope with everyday life. Traumatic events like abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or even verbal) can stay with people for decades. Your mind and body will try to deal and process trauma but often you are going to need help to work through the consequences of what you have experienced. One of the most severe consequences of experiencing trauma is a condition called posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is when your mind and body have been unable to put a traumatic experience into the past. Instead, you persistently experience a heightened sense of danger, no matter how safe you might be in the present. If you have been diagnosed with PTSD then you will usually affect your ability to work, to maintain relationships, socialise or live what you would have previously considered your ‘normal’ life.
Many of our Peer Counselors have first hand experience of trauma - and some have overcome PTSD. With a condition that varies so greatly from person to person it can be really helpful to understand it from someone else’s perspective. PTSD can take a long time to work through and receiving empathy from a caring person is one of the best ways to regulate intense emotions. Ask a peer counselor about their experiences with trauma and PTSD, and they will be able to tell you their story, how they have managed and what tools, techniques or therapies worked for them as they were recovering. Regardless of the stage you are at in your recovery, a compassionate peer counselor who is trained to listen to you and share their experiences of trauma and PTSD can help you enormously.