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Trauma from Being Attacked

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From a teen in the UK: 5 months ago I was attacked in town one night and a group of people (around my age) beat me up and tried to hurt my friends. Since then there hasn’t been a single day where I haven’t thought about that night and often worry about it happening again, it causes me to get very upset if people start shouting at me or anything like that because I get scared that they’ll hit me, even if it’s someone close to me and I know really that they won’t hurt me. It’s also caused me to be very paranoid when I go out and the other day when there was a man behind me on the canal I started crying and may have had a panic attack and had to call my friend to calm me down. I know it’s probably nothing as serious as PTSD but it’s really starting to interfere with my life and I don’t know what to do anymore.

I need help but don’t feel comfortable telling my family about this, only one of my friends know and they do try and help me when I need it but it#s only partially worked. What should I do? Is there a possibility that it is a form of PTSD?

Yes, it is possible that you are suffering from PTSD. Everything you report supports the possibility of that diagnosis. Your daily anxiety tells me that you need to confer with a professional. There is no shame in responding as you have to such a traumatic event. You are having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

You’ve already tried unsuccessfully to handle it on your own. In spite of trying their best, your friends haven’t been able to help you either. Your symptoms are serious enough to take more seriously. That means making an appointment to see a therapist who specializes in trauma work.

Please don’t hesitate to talk to your parents about what happened and how you have been feeling since. Show them this response if it would be helpful. A few sessions now can help prevent your current level of anxiety from growing into something more intractable.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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