Whether you’ve been hurt in a domestic violence situation, attacked by a stranger on the street, or harmed by someone you thought was a friend, physical assault can leave you with a tumultuous combination of emotions and difficulties to deal with. The trauma of the assault can even, if left unresolved, lead to a condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. In order to avoid emotional complications like this in the future, it’s important to treat your recovery seriously. Use this guide to help you recover fully after this upsetting experience.
- Get legal support. It’s often important to take legal action quickly if you want the person who assaulted you to be held legally responsible and receive consequences for their actions. This means calling the police soon after the attack, speaking to a specialist legal service like Matthew Glossop & Associates about your rights, and possibly appearing in court to speak as a witness against the person who harmed you. Though this can be very difficult, taking these steps can help ensure that you receive proper compensation for your injuries, and the assailant is held accountable for what they’ve done.
- Understand the normality of your feelings. When you’ve gone through a traumatic experience, there’s a range of feelings you could experience that would be completely normal. In the immediate aftermath of the assault you may feel numb from the shock of the event. In the following days you may experience feelings of denial, followed by a range of different emotions. Every person reacts differently to trauma, so there’s no set of feelings that are ‘normal’ to experience. You might feel angry, afraid, helpless, ashamed, depressed, or even guilty. All of these emotions are understandable.
- Understand the physical symptoms. Aside from the physical injuries you’ve suffered, you might find yourself experiencing other seemingly unusual physical symptoms because of the trauma of the assault. You might feel uncharacteristically tired and like you want to sleep more than usual, while others may have the opposite reaction and have difficulty getting any sleep at all. Your head may feel foggy and unclear, and you could find it more difficult to concentrate than usual. Some people react to trauma by losing their appetite or having unexplained aches and pains in their body. If you feel uncomfortable or like these symptoms are interrupting your attempts to carry on with your life as normal, speak to a counsellor or doctor for support.
- Give yourself a break. You’ve experienced something very difficult, so it’s natural to need some time for yourself at this stage. Take time to look after yourself by practicing self-care, speaking to your friends about how you’re feeling and about what happened, and gradually getting back into your normal routine.
- Get professional help. The best thing you can do for yourself if you’ve been a victim of violence that’s causing emotional or physical symptoms for months or even years following the event is to speak to someone trained in the psychology of trauma. A GP can usually refer you to a specialist, and they can support you as you work through your difficulties over time. This may not be a quick process, but with the right help you will be able to come through it and recover.