Trauma occurs when you have witnessed or experienced deeply distressing events and your mind and body struggle to cope. The events might completely overwhelm you at the time, leaving you in a state of shock. This is the body's way of coping, by allowing the mind to shut down and focus on the most important functions. Your mind gets you through the initial period, and it is often only afterwards that the gravity of what has happened can start to be processed.
This is when the damage might start to show. Imagine a huge storm, with thunder, lightning, a hurricane... the damage left by the storm would take some time to assess. It can be the same with traumatic events.
By the way, what constitutes traumatic is different for different people. Of course, there are things that all human beings are afraid of. However, events which would be categorised as traumatic by some people, would not be by others.
What constitutes a traumatic event, depends on the snapshot taken by the mind at the time. Trauma is the effect which is left on a person after the event.
In some circumstances, we can have a shared trauma, like a loss in the family, or a distressing event shared across a community. Other times, trauma is deeply personal, and can make people feel very isolated in their pain.
PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
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