Am I Normal?

Reactions to Overwhelming Stressfull Events

Most people have reactions to traumatic events or other overwhelming situations. These experiences may affect your ability to function and take care of yourself. Everyone reacts differently, based on personal experiences. Sometimes it appears that there is no reaction at all, sometimes the reaction is immediate, and sometimes reactions are delayed.

Common Reactions to a death, near death or overwhelming event are:

  • Thoughts:
    Re-enacting the event over and over in your mind
  • Emotional reactions:
    Feeling stressed
    Feeling anxious
    Feeling overwhelmed
    Feeling numb
    Irritability
    Nightmares
    Sadness
    Anger
    Apprehension
  • Physical reactions:
    Fatigue
    Headaches
    Trouble concentrating
  • Changes in Behaviors
    Withdrawal
    Increase in use of alcohol or drugs
    Sleep problems
    Increase in risk-taking
    Change in appetite

What Can I Do to Feel Better?

  • Get involved in activities that you can start and finish in one day
  • Eat healthy foods and get physical exercise
  • Talk openly with a friend or person you trust about your feelings
  • Spend time doing things you enjoy, even if this is hard
  • Support a friend – this is remarkably healing
  • Listen to music that makes you feel better

When Do I Need to Get Additional Help?

  • If you continue to have trouble functioning normally, weeks or months after the events
  • When you have a friend who has these reactions and is not getting better
  • When you have thoughts of harming or killing yourself or someone else
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed or out of control
  • When you are not taking care of yourself

Where Can I get help?

  • Parent, Friend (who is not overwhelmed), or Relative
  • School Guidance Counselor or nurse
  • Pastor or another adult you trust
  • Counseling Services
  • Maine Statewide Crisis Hotline: 1-888-568-1112