These reactions can be severe and are at their worst in the first week after the event, however, in most cases, they fade over a month. If a person's day-to-day functioning is seriously affected for more than one month after the event, it's important to discuss it with a GP or mental health professional. These reactions include:
- feeling overwhelmed
- feeling numb and detached
- inability to focus
- inability to plan ahead
- constant tearfulness
- intrusive memories or bad dreams related to the event
- sleep disturbances
- constant questioning – "What if I had done x, y or z, instead?"
- 'replaying' the event and inventing different outcomes in order to be prepared should it happen again.
It is also important to understand that a friend, loved one or work colleague may see these reactions in you, often when you do not. They may see you are detached, unfocused, anxious, or tearful without provocation. Listen to the opinions of people that you trust. It is a sign of respect to friends and family to act on their advice and discuss these issues with a GP or mental health professional.