Many people who experience stress after trauma have been exposed to multiple traumas. Sometimes the strain of several traumatic events can feel like pressure building, causing new symptoms to suddenly arise or past symptoms to become worse.
Some people suddenly feel overwhelmed by one event, even if they previously coped with similar challenges or experiences in the past. Others find that experiencing multiple traumas adds up over time, making them feel burnt out and deflated. And for others, the trauma may be ongoing.
Multiple traumatic experiences can occur in many ways:
· A refugee fleeing a war-torn country
· A survivor of sexual and domestic abuse
· An emergency service worker responding to serious accidents
The effects of multiple traumatic experiences can vary and sometimes go unnoticed. They may look like:
· Nightmares, memories, flashbacks or constantly being reminded of the traumatic event
· Continuous and strong emotions i.e. fear, shame, anger, sadness or emotions may feel numbed
· Difficulty with important roles in your life (e.g. relationship, work, caring for others)
· Thinking more negatively about the world, yourself and others
· Difficulty sleeping or physical symptoms (e.g. headaches)
· Unhelpful coping with drugs or alcohol
· Avoiding experiences that are trauma reminders.