October, 2014

Shock and numbness

Immediately after suffering a traumatic event, or a bereavement or  loss, it is common to find that the shock to your psyche is so great that your mind tries to shut it out. People talk about ‘going on automatic pilot’ and may have little recollection of several hours or days after experiencing the trauma or hearing the worst news.  It is often too difficult to take it all in at once, and you may have periods of disbelief for several days or weeks.

This numbness is a normal defence against the pain of the trauma, or of learning that a loved one has died or is dying, or that a major loss has occurred.  When the numbness wears off – when you accept what has happened – you may experience many strong and contradictory emotions. This is one of those times in life when talking it through with a trained listener really helps.