Coping with Trauma

Trauma means that you have experienced a life changing event. This event may continue to invade your sense of well-being.  You may feel very anxious or very angry or possibly depressed. Shock is usually your first response.  Shock helps you accept this unbelievable event slowly so you can take in what you can handle.  Your life is thrown into extreme disorganization and your normal coping skills are overwhelmed.  Your orderly world is gone; your sense of control is shaken or missing.  Everyone’s response is different.

  • Your emotions may shut down and you begin doing the tasks that need to be done as a way of regaining control and not feeling how your life may be different. 
  • Some people experience the impact of their emotions immediately and focus on their feelings and how they have no control and cannot do anything. 

These responses are normal and eventually you begin to feel some control in your life and allow yourself to feel the full impact or you are now able to attend to the tasks that need to be done.

The handouts in this series may help you understand your different responses to a traumatic event. 

After you have responded to the traumatic event, you may begin to experience grief reactions and start the process of grieving. 

Check out the information on these areas in the “Coping Series.”  When the event interferes with your sleeping and your ability to concentrate, you may want to contact the Employee Assistance Program at 815-753-9191.


For more information on this and other topics, please visit the WebMD website at

Please note that Northern Illinois University is not affiliated with WebMD and provides this link and any information contained within on an as is basis.