It can be hard to move on when you have experienced abuse. Especially if you have get thoughts or feelings that overwhelm you. These might be flashbacks, uncontrollable feelings, or overwhelming worry. It can be a very frightening experience and can affect how you live your day to day life.
You could be living with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is something that people who have witnessed or been involved in a traumatic event can experience. Trauma can be caused by many things - accident, rape or personal violent assault, ongoing emotional abuse, war or combat, or natural disasters. Here's a really helpful article from Teen Vogue going into further detail about PTSD.
PTSD feels different for everyone, as it relates to your personal experiences. You might feel like you are reliving a particular event, you can have nightmares, or find yourself thinking continuously about the experience.
These survivors explains how it felt for them:
“There were two major ‘incidents’ when he shouted so loudly and physically threatened me that I became paralyzed. The paralysis lasted for a few hours each time because I was literally incapacitated from fright. Although I never experienced this after I left him, I still physically cannot process loud male voices. The terror manifests less physically but more emotionally now. I ‘shut down’ and cannot process anything for a while. I cannot distinguish between men who are loud because they are angry or because they just happen to be yelling. I stay clear of well-built men because I can’t stand even the faintest whiff of aggression; muscles are so not attractive—they’re terrifying to me.” - (India, 2018)
“After I fled my abusive partner I was on high-alert for sometime. I would panic every time my phone or the doorbell rang, even at my new place of work. I still struggle to answer either of them now, more than 2 years on. If someone raises their voice around me, or I see violence on the television, I have to remove myself from the situation as I find it too overwhelming. My ex partner still haunts my days in flashbacks and my nights in nightmares.” - (UK, 20s, 2019)
PTSD and its symptoms are different for everyone. However, there are some common things that you might experience. The different types of PTSD are grouped in the following categories:
These are symptoms that many people experience.
You do not have to tackle this all by yourself, if you wish for help. Feel free to give yourself permission to ask for support! If you would like to know more about how to get help, continue with the second part of the guide.
Disclaimer: This guide has not been put together by mental health professionals. It is not intended to be medical advice. It has been crowdsourced by survivors and volunteers of Chayn. Care has been taken in reflecting the experiences and knowledge of people around the world, including therapists but information in this guide should be taken instead of certified medical advice. Please seek professional support.
Getting better & moving on: A guide for mental healing after abuse and trauma by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.