Have you been exposed to a life-threatening situation or event? Perhaps you survived an assault, a car accident, military combat, a bombing or shooting, or another near-death experience that shook your sense of safety. Or, perhaps you went through prolonged abuse or neglect, whether as a child or an adult, and now hazy, intrusive memories are disrupting your daily life. It may also be that you witnessed or heard about a distressing event, and you cannot stop thinking about the violence, abuse, or harm another person suffered.
Trauma can happen to anyone and can present in many ways. Deeply distressing, dangerous events can have a long-lasting impact on mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Whether days, months, or years have passed, you might be struggling with a lingering sense of fear, unease, and shame that you cannot quite describe. If you cannot completely remember what happened, you might wonder why you feel so overwhelmed. You may even feel that you are going crazy, or that you are weak because you cannot “get over” what happened. Perhaps you fear that something within you is flawed or broken.
In order to find relief from disturbing memories and rediscover a sense of safety and stability, it is important to take a look at the emotions, thoughts, and life events you are experiencing. The following quiz can help you assess concerning symptoms, learn more about trauma-related stress disorders, and understand that your feelings are valid. Most importantly, you can find relief.
Unresolved trauma often leads to the development of mental health issues that require professional treatment, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Developing this kind of disorder does not mean you are weak or broken. Instead, you, like so many others, need some help to heal and reclaim your life.
The following statements address common symptoms of trauma-related stress disorders. Although every person’s experience with trauma is unique, considering the extent to which these statements apply to your experience can help you better understand the challenges you are facing today.
This quiz is not meant to serve as a diagnostic tool. However, it can help you articulate your experience, both past and present. And, it can help you figure out whether working with a skilled psychologist could help you reclaim your life.
Simply read each statement and assign a corresponding score. Then, add up your numbers and read on to learn more about what your score means.
Important Note: Trauma can sometimes make it seem as though life is not worth living. But, you are worthwhile, and it is possible to discover a lighter, more peaceful life. If you are having thoughts about ending your life, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (in the U.S.) at 1-800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK).
1. Have you been through an event or experience that caused you to fear for your life, or for someone else’s?No I think so Yes
2. When you are awake, do you re-experience what happened through distressing daydreams or flashbacks?Never Sometimes Always
3. When you are asleep, do you re-experience what happened through distressing nightmares?Never Sometimes Always
4. Do you try to avoid people, places, things, or situations that remind you of what happened, so you do not have to think about it?Never Sometimes Always
5. Do you try to avoid certain types of environments because they feel uncomfortable or even dangerous to you? (e.g., crowded shopping centers)Never Sometimes Always
6. Are you struggling with negative thoughts about yourself, other people, and the world in general? (e.g., I am so weak; Everything is my fault; People are stupid; The world is unsafe, etc.)Never Sometimes Always
7. Are you struggling with negative emotions? (e.g., guilt, shame, anger, irritability, sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, loss of interest)Never Sometimes Always
8. Are you struggling with unwanted behaviors? (e.g., isolating yourself, lashing out at others)Never Sometimes Always
9. Do you struggle with uncomfortable physical sensations, such as muscle tension, elevated heart rate, excessive sweating, chest tightness, headaches, or stomach upset?Never Sometimes Always
10. Do you startle easily and/or plan your exit/escape route wherever you are?Never Sometimes Always