We often assume that once a traumatic experience is over, we can simply move on with our lives without having to ever give it a second thought…
Nope. In truth that is when the trauma ripple effects from the event start to truly hit us.
Experiencing trauma is like an earthquake, there is the initial shake and then the aftershocks, however, with trauma those aftershocks can last lifetimes and can continue to cause damage.
Trauma can be an overwhelming experience for anyone. It doesn’t matter if the trauma occurred years ago or was just last week, the effects can persist and impact your life. It’s no secret that trauma can lead to anxiety, or if you’ve experienced past trauma, your anxiety may be exacerbated. In the same way, a person might develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being in a car accident or witnessing an act of violence, they could also develop generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
PTSD and GAD share many symptoms, including a high level of chronic stress which leads to feelings of dread and fear when faced with certain situations. Both disorders are often misunderstood as being “overly anxious” or “needing to relax”, but these labels don’t account for the root causes of anxiety disorders—which range from past traumas to genetic predisposition. It’s good to understand that trauma can lead to anxiety and even anxiety disorders so you can better understand how your moods may be affected by such traumatic events.
If so, these may be signs that you have an anxiety disorder related to past trauma.
The more severe and traumatic the past trauma, the greater its impact on your mental health. Past traumas can also be triggers for future anxieties – when something reminds us of something we’ve been through before or reminds us of someone else’s experience (for example, even seeing someone on TV being threatened). This can make it harder for you to deal with anxiety because you’re dealing with other issues at the same time. It’s also possible that one of your coping strategies for dealing with anxiety has caused further problems in your life. For example, if you find that alcohol helps calm down nerves, but later develop a drinking problem as a result, this is an example of how past trauma can exacerbate current anxieties.
It’s important to note that not all trauma is a once-off event, it could be loss, or even something like being bullied can lead to a wide range of emotional and physical outcomes. In addition to anxiety and depression, it can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is an extreme form of anxiety that usually develops after exposure to a traumatic event. This indicates that it’s not limited to only terrifying events or sudden loss, but could also happen at school, at work, or at home when you’re being bullied or abused.
Anxiety disorders can make it harder for those with a history of abuse or neglect to cope with current stressors. For example, if your childhood was characterized by abuse or neglect—physical or emotional—then having panic attacks when going through stressful situations as an adult might seem like the worst possible outcome; however, this response is actually quite natural in many people who have had similar experiences growing up (and even in those without such backgrounds). Having feelings like these does not mean that there’s something wrong with them; rather, they’re simply part of what makes each person unique!
If you’ve experienced past trauma and are dealing with anxiety, it’s important to know what there are steps you can take to manage your symptoms and reduce the impact past trauma has on your life. One of the most important things you can do if you have a trauma history is to find support. You don’t have to deal with this alone. You can get help from friends, family, and professionals. You can also find support online, in your community, through support groups and specialised programs.