Nervousness/hyperactivity

After experiencing a severe trauma or being exposed prolonged or repeatedly to traumatic events, it’s very common to be more restless or nervous and to display more tantrums or defiant behavior. Re-experiencing the traumatic events and repeatedly trying to avoid things that trigger this re-experiencing is upsetting. Also, it’s common to have difficulties sleeping and poor concentration, or to be easily startled.

Difficulties to fall asleep and to sleep through

  • Sleeping rituals are very important (e.g. reading, listen to an audio book, podcast or music, etc.).
  • If necessary, try to find new rituals that help you to fall asleep.
  • Self-calming rituals such as a simple breathing exercise (counting to 3 while breathing in, counting to 5 while breathing out; repeat 10-20 times) can help if you wake up in the middle of the night.
  • Try to ensure that you have no excitement one hour before bedtime (video games, TV, etc.)
  • Ensure that you have enough regular physical exercises during the day.

Excessive worries

  • Try to talk to your friends and family about worries and fears. Talking about it feels often liberating and thus helps.
  • Try to pursue your leisure-time activities and to meet your friends.
  • Try not to avoid activities or places that you liked before the event.┬á
  • It’s helpful to install a daily structure.

Getting startled easily

  • Try to talk to your friends and family about worries and fears. Talking about it often feels liberating and thus helps.
  • Agree with your friends and parents on a specific sign by which you can let them know that you are frightened and need support.
  • Try to face fearful situations and reward yourself if you succeeded in doing so (e.g. going to the movies, meeting friends, etc.).

Irritability

  • Different feelings like tiredness or (trauma-related) worries can lead to anger or irritable behavior.
  • Try to talk to your friends and family about (trauma-related) worries and fears. Talking about it often feels liberating and thus helps.
  • Try to pursue your leisure-time activities and physical activities as an outlet for your emotions and frustrations.
  • Due to irritability, you can show disturbing behavior in school. In this case you might want to inform your teacher about the situation.

 Concentration problems

  • Try to understand what happens when you find it difficult to concentrate. Try to find out with if such difficulties occur in specific situations (trauma-related?).
  • In any case it’s advisable to inform your teacher about the situation. If the teacher requires further information, you could also refer them to this website.

 Hyperactivity

  • Try to understand what happens when you find it difficult to sit still. Try to find out with if such difficulties occur in specific situations (trauma-related?).
  • Due to hyperactivity, you might disrupt class in school. You might want to inform the teacher about the situation. If the teacher requires further information, you could also refer them to this website.

Tantrums, aggressiveness

  • After traumatic events, it’s common to be more irritable and sensitive and thus more frustrated and aggressive.
  • Try to understand what you`re feeling: Are you frightened, angry or bored?
  • Try to talk to your friends and family about worries and fears. Talking about it feels often liberating and thus helps.
  • Agree with your parents on what you can do when you get angry (such as biting a pillow, using a punching bag, leaving the room for a couple of minutes to calm down, etc.).