It is one of the most difficult things which we experience in life, but unfortunately it always happens too often: loss of loved ones. Sometimes the loss can be so difficult to process that we are traumatized by the loss. Trauma can also develop due to other events, thought. Examples could be very stressful situations, rape, abuse, ... Both loss and trauma are difficult to deal with. They can follow you around for years. But how do we know whether we have a trauma and what a 'normal' experience of loss is?

Trauma: recognizing symptoms

A trauma is a moment/even which causes a lot of stress and which makes it so that our mind and body store this stress. You cannot let go of the memory which you have of this event. It returns to you in nightmares, flashbacks, ... This often happens at times where you do not choose to think of it. You cannot stop it. Furthermore, a trauma will make it so that certain things which used to go automatically, are now difficult. An example would be a robbery, after which a person still is afraid of going outside alone a year later.

Loss: symptoms of depression

Everyone experiences a different period of grief. Even how you grief can differ from person to person. It is difficult to put a time span on the period in which someone is allowed to grieve. The DSM, manual for diagnosis, even says that a depression cannot be diagnosed if the somber feeling is caused by a loss. So how do you know if it is time to treat the way you feel? Loss has a large impact on your life, but it becomes dangerous if you start to neglect basic needs, and do so months at a time. Examples could be hardly eating, and similar things. Does this means that you have a depression or that your loss is out of control? No, but it does mean that you should pay attention to further deterioration. It is difficult to see where the limit goes, but it is useful to listen to people close to you in such a situation. They can often be more objective than you are when it comes to the situation in which you are living or how you take care of yourself.

Loss and trauma: what can I do now?

You can look for help in treating stress, which can keep the trauma going, depression and eventual anxiety, which can keep somber feelings in place. This can be done with the help of the online self-help program which is offered by 15Minutes4Me. The program teaches you what you can do to once again enjoy life and what you can do to improve your scores in stress, depression, and anxiety.

How do I test for stress?

You can test your personal stress level at the hand of our free online stress test. After filling out 21 short questions, you get your personal scores right away.