Trauma changes a person

Jun 27, 2018 | 30 Years

It can make you feel isolated, afraid and angry years after the event. Anger can take over and cause a breakdown in your relationships.

Around 12% of Australians are likely to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in their lifetime.

Trauma symptoms

Symptoms include upsetting memories or flashbacks, irritability, persistently feeling negative, angry outbursts, feeling guilty or ashamed, difficulty sleeping,
nightmares and feeling overly alert or emotionally numb. Many people with PTSD ‘act out’, with reckless or self-destructive behaviour.

The condition occurs when people have been through a traumatic event which threatened their life or safety, or have experienced long term exposure to trauma.
It may be a car accident, a natural disaster, abuse, war or any number of traumatic events. Refugees, abuse survivors and people in professions such
as the military, firefighters, paramedics, emergency workers, police officers and psychologists are particularly vulnerable to the debilitating condition.

PTSD is not about how tough you are

Many people think they just ‘need to toughen up’. However, PTSD is not about how tough you are. PTSD is a trauma to the most primitive part of the brain:
the fear, memory and sensory areas. It has nothing to do with strength of character, skills or knowledge. It is literally a trauma to the brain, just
as much as a serious trauma to the body after physical impact. If you broke your arm, you wouldn’t expect to be able to use it without support.

The first step in overcoming PTSD is to recognise it

Symptoms can manifest slowly and often people can’t quite put their finger on what’s different. Signs can develop into behaviours that are out of character.
We may notice that our once happy friend or family member begins to isolate themselves, becomes more anxious or irritable or loses interest in activities
they once loved.

Just like our bodies, our brains can heal

You are not your brain. You have a brain. If yours has been traumatised then you can learn about healing your brain. Research into PTSD suggests the brain
can be healed through education and then by conscious choice in implementing strategies, skills and healthy lifestyle habits. Healing involves re-engaging
people with PTSD with their higher functioning neo-cortex, which deals with logic, perspective, reasoning and intelligence, among other things.

What helps

Yoga, mindfulness, relaxation and meditation are among the many evidence-based therapies that promote wellbeing and healing. At Quest for Life, participants
are taught how to manage symptoms as well as learning about how trauma impacts the brain, and how healing is made possible. With regular practice of
easy to implement life skills learnt on the Moving Beyond Trauma program, the intensity of PTSD symptoms can be managed and significantly reduced, restoring
quality of life.

Post-traumatic growth is possible when people are able to manage their brain more effectively. Being with others who experience PTSD also helps. There
is power in being with people who share the experience of trauma – we need to be with people who ‘get’ us, plus a team of highly skilled professionals
who provide holistic treatment.

Participants quickly realise that the cause of trauma is irrelevant. Whether you’re a veteran, a victim of childhood sexual abuse/sexual assault/domestic
violence/crime, or you’re a police officer, first responder, doctor, from Defence, witness of crime … everyone is experiencing the same symptoms.
It’s a revelation for people to so clearly see that trauma unites them rather than the event/s which caused the trauma.

How Quest for Life can help

It takes strength and resilience to work through PTSD, and Quest for Life can help through our residential programs and 1-day workshops and online support.

  • Our 5-day residential Moving Beyond Trauma program offers an effective and holistic approach
    to managing and healing post-trauma suffering in a confidential and safe environment.
  • Our 1-day workshop Living Mindfully with Post-Trauma Symptoms outlines the
    exciting developments in understanding how trauma impacts the brain and body and the evidence-based therapies and practices that promote healing.

Quest for Life knows how to help: participants experience a 32% increase in quantified mental wellbeing (Kessler 10 and PTSD 6) 4 weeks after attending
the Moving Beyond Trauma program. This figure continues to rise as participants continue to implement their learnings. Many past participants have
returned to work and/or fulfilling lives.


Some of these practices can help you to calm your mind and improve your wellbeing and can be found on our Toolkit page:

  • Keys to help you sleep better
  • Meditation practices
  • Trauma recovery workbook
  • Recovering from Trauma video series

Some of Petrea King’s Podcasts may be helpful and can be found on our Podcast page:

  • Sarah Macdonald Nightlife – Petrea King on Post Traumatic Stress
  • Tony Delroy Nightlife – Dealing with Trauma

Find out more about Quest for Life’s Moving Beyond Trauma program