The Effects of Trauma
Psychological studies have shown that individuals differ in their response to the same traumatic event. While one person may become fearful and anxious, another might react with anger, and a third could develop physical symptoms such as body aches and fatigue. While individual experiences differ, some of the common responses to trauma include:
Disbelief, depression, fear, anger, agitation, nervousness, anxiety about the future, guilt, and shame.
Invasive, recurring thoughts about the traumatic event, poor concentration, inability to make decisions. These thoughts can be triggered by seemingly unrelated events such as something you see, smell, or hear.
Insomnia and nightmares, loss or increase in appetite, tearfulness, difficulty working or following a routine. Some people become unusually argumentative, aggressive or may abuse alcohol, drugs or nicotine.
Unusual physical symptoms
Headache, backache, stomach aches, cold or flu-like symptoms, rashes, nausea, dizziness, and/or fatigue. Depending on the severity of the trauma, these reactions usually fade over time. But it can take several weeks or months, and even years, to regain balance and feel in control – and this is true even when trauma has been experienced indirectly
Resilience’ is defined as the ability to withstand difficult conditions and recover quickly from adversity. If there is one word that sums up South Africans, it’s resilience – no matter how tough it gets we somehow manage to bounce back and rebuild.
But being resilient doesn’t mean that people aren’t experiencing stress or trauma. When left untreated, trauma can have negative long-term effects on your mental and physical health.
Signs That You Need Help
If you have suicidal or homicidal thoughts, immediately ask for help
Sometimes experiencing a traumatic event can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is classified as an anxiety disorder. People with PTSD continue to relive the event in their mind; can have frequent nightmares, flashbacks, or hallucinations. Sudden movement or noise can trigger PTSD and you may have an extremely hard time concentrating. This level of trauma can be detrimental to relationships with loved ones and colleagues.
There is help available:
24-hour helpline 0861 435 787 for mental health emergencies, crises, issues, and queries.
KZN ADVISORY CENTRE
Contact 067 761 4909 for an appointment for a free 30-minute trauma and anxiety online counseling session for all those affected by Covid-29 and/or the civil unrest that took place throughout KZN.
The Road To Recovery
In addition to trauma many people face daily challenges such as job loss, being made redundant, dealing with the destruction of property and possessions as well as simpler things, like being separated from loved ones over the COVID-19 pandemic. It can feel overwhelming.
There are positive steps you can take to care for your physical and mental health that will ultimately help you to heal from trauma:
Look after your physical body
Aside from seeking medical help for injuries you may have sustained during the traumatic event; you need to take care of your physical health. If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes of high blood pressure, ensure that you keep taking your medication at regular times. Also be sure to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, get enough sleep, exercise and eat healthy foods. Your body needs all the nourishment and support it can get to heal.
Limit the news and refrain from engaging on social media
When dealing with a traumatic event, it’s only natural to want to stay updated with what’s happening. But trawling the internet for news updates and speculating on social media will only feed into the trauma. Continuous exposure can make you feel more vulnerable and overwhelmed. Limit your screen time and exposure to news.
Talk to someone you can trust
It’s normal to feel disconnected when you’ve experienced a trauma, but regardless of how you feel it’s important to talk about your experience. You can talk to a spouse, family member or friend, but sometimes it helps to speak to someone who is a bit more impartial, like your doctor, a religious leader, or a trauma counsellor
Nourish your body
Menu: Day 1
Overnight peanut butter oats (raw oats, powdered milk, peanut butter, and water)
Banana Lunch: Baked potato and cooked beans
Roast butternut or carrot frittata (omelette or crustless quiche)
Nourish your body
Menu: Day 2
Overnight apple oats (raw oats, grated apple, powdered milk, water)
Banana smoothie (blend oats, banana, cinnamon and powdered milk with water)
Vegetarian cottage pie (beans, vegetable stock and cooked carrots or butternut, top with mash potato and blend-in powdered milk)
Butternut or carrot, apple and macaroni soup (carrot or butternut and cubed apple boiled in water and chicken or vegetable stock, add macaroni within the last 10 minutes)
Nourish your body
Menu: Day 3
Oat flapjacks (blend oats, egg and banana, fry in a non-stick pan)
Leftover butternut or carrot soup
Crustless carrot or butternut quiche
Curried beans served on potato rosti (boil beans and add curry powder, to make the rosti combine grated potato with egg and fry)
Nourish your body
Menu: Day 4
Curried bean shakshuka (warm leftover beans in a pan, break eggs into the beans and cook for 8 minutes)
Banana and oats biscuits (mix banana pulp, oats and eggs together, place dollops on a baking sheet and bake)
Vegetable and bean soup (boil beans and vegetables in water and chicken or vegetable stock)
Butternut macaroni (boil butternut until soft in chicken stock and blend, then combine with boiled macaroni)
Milk (if available)
Emergency bread with no yeast
- 500 g Flour (plain, regular cake or all-purpose flour, not bread or wholewheat)
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 310 ml Milk (or 300 ml water with 1 Tbsp oil or melted butter, if available)
1. Mix the dry ingredients. Stir in the milk and combine until the milk is mixed with the flour and forms a dough.
2. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and knead briefly until it has a uniform consistency.
3. Shape the dough into a round disc about 3 cm thick. Score the top deeply with an X – this is important! Don’t make a round ball of dough as it won’t cook in the middle.
4. Bake on a hot stone or baking sheet for about 35 minutes until pale brown. When ready it should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Two-ingredients bread rolls
- 1 cup Self-rising flour
- 1 cup Mayonnaise
1. Flour your work surface well.
2. Knead ingredients together until the dough is not sticky anymore and smooth.
3. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a roll.
4. Place each rolled-up and separately into an oiled muffin tin and bake them in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 25 minutes until golden brown.