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As with anyone who has gone through a traumatic experience, you are likely to feel strong emotions. Fear, anxiety and emotional numbness are normal ways of reacting in this situation. It is also common to experience difficulty sleeping, to have nightmares, muscle tension, and to feel agitated or withdrawn. You may be in a state of constant alert for more danger. People often describe their sense of safety and security as being severely shaken.

It may be difficult at first to work out what is a reaction to the traumatic event, and what is a symptom of your mental illness or even a side effect of medication, making it especially important to discuss how you feel with your doctor. A stressful event is more likely to be traumatic if:

it happened unexpectedly you felt powerless to prevent it the event was intentionally cruel it happened in childhood. When a traumatic event happens after other upsetting events (such as the death of a family member or friend, for example), or when there are already high stress levels, it is likely to be especially distressing.