You feel overwhelmed. You feel an intense sense of fear, even horror. You can be left feeling numb, detached, perhaps angry or depressed.
There are a number of factors which may determine how affected an individual person might be as a result of something traumatic. One effect may be in changes to the natural functioning of the brain as you struggle to make sense of what happened. There could be a number of physical effects because of the way the body ‘remembers’ and seeks to avoid repetition. Of course there can also be emotional, social and psychological effects which make life hard to cope with. It’s generally referred to as Post Traumatic Stress (I don’t like adding the word ‘disorder’, because it isn’t a disorder).
All this might come about as a result of a single incident – maybe a road traffic accident for example – or as a result of things happening on a number of occasions, for example being physically or mentally abused over a period of time.
What is important to remember is that the incident itself is the thing which is out of the ordinary. Whether you witnessed it or were directly involved in it, your responses are quite normal.
Taking some time – and it could take quite a bit of time – to talk through what it is that you experienced may be the first few steps on the path towards understanding and wholeness.