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What is trauma?

Sometimes in life we may face very difficult situations which we can find very overwhelming and distressful. It may be a situation where something is directly happening to you or an incident you witness. For example, being physically harmed by someone or seeing a road traffic accident. When the feelings after an event continue to impact our thoughts and sensations, we call it trauma.
Trauma involves re-living an event long after it happened, as though it is still happening and could have a significant impact on your day to day life.

How do I know if I am traumatised?

The feelings of distress may not occur right after the traumatic event. After the incident you may feel absolutely fine and it may take a while before you feel impacted by what you experienced or witnessed. It may take months or even years later before you develop any noticeable emotional and/or physical reactions. Some of the signs are:

  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Problems in concentration
  • Nightmares connected to the trauma
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Always being prepared for something negative to happen / feeling a tense and anxious dread (hyper vigilance)
  • No longer feeling pleasure doing activities you used to enjoy
  • Feeling low of energy and demotivated.
  • Feeling that you are to blame for the traumatic incident.


Trauma can be caused by a number of incidents including:

  • Receiving bad or shocking news
  • A near death experience
  • A natural disaster such as flooding or fires
  • Difficult experiences in early childhood
  • Physical or sexual violence
  • Witnessing a violent incident or assault
  • Seeing someone die

Trauma varies from person to person therefore not everyone who experiences or witnesses these incidents are affected the same way.

We are here to listen to you

Recognising a situation has traumatised you can be difficult to go through alone. Even though it might be difficult to see a counsellor and talk about the trauma, it is likely to help you to make sense of the difficult experience and help you build coping strategies so that you can limit the impact on your day to day life.

Download our trauma information sheet here

Download our multilingual trauma information sheet here

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General enquiries info@talkofftherecord.org