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Emotional help after an assault

By 12 December 2012 53

The other day I was assaulted in broad daylight in the Canberra region. One moment I’m minding my own business, the next I was running for my life. It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and looking at the wrong young man who took offense. I didn’t do anything to precipitate the event. Before I really grasped what was happening the guy attacked me, pushing and shoving me, threatening me, and then as I ran off, he chased me up the street with his mates in tow. I did consider hitting back but this guy was bigger than me, young, full of anger and rage and I figured I’d come off worse if I escalated the fight. I manged to get to my friend’s car and get in then drive off, with the young man punching at the car as I went.

It was scarey as hell. Even though I reported it to the police straight afterwards, I’m all shook up. Over the past week I have felt scared to leave the house and have been reliving the incident over and over in my mind. I’m having huge problems sleeping and holding it together.I’m worried that this might cause long term issues such as loss of my job if I’m too afraid to leave home.

Is there any service to assist with this sort of thing? I can see this is beyond my capabilities to deal with.

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53 Responses to
Emotional help after an assault
Rollersk8r 9:32 am
12 Dec 12
#1

If you’re with an APS agency they all have free counselling available, as far as I’m aware. I’m sure there are plenty of other free services available.

A similar thing happened to me in Civic about 10 years ago. Completely minding my own business at lunchtime – and a guy bumps into me, then goes crazy, pushing me and yelling about tripping him over. Part of me still wishes I’d fought back – but I think the right thing to do with irrational people is just to get out there.

I just figure – had anything like this ever happened to be me before or since? No. It’s upsetting but just have to try and forget about it.

eatthatfrog 9:37 am
12 Dec 12
#2

Hi

I’ve been a similar situation before. Here’s my advice to you

I think you need to cut yourself a break. It’s been a week, and going through an incredibly scary experience means your mind and body will have a reaction. You’re not going crazy. You are having a sane and normal reaction to being placed in a scary situation. I hope knowing that you’re not going crazy can put your mind at ease a bit – trying to work out if you’re normal can add lots of unnecessary stressors.

While I’m saying there’s nothing wrong with you, I’m not saying you can’t do without help to get back on the right track earlier than you would otherwise.

You can contact the Victim Support Centre (http://www.victimsupport.act.gov.au/) or the Victims of Crime Assistance League on 6295 9600 who might be able to direct you to the free counselling available from 9 – 5 on weekdays according to the website.

I can personally recommend the ANU Psychology Clinic. The counselling service is open to the public and only $20 a session or free for concession card holders. Call them on (02) 6125 8498.

Otherwise your GP should be able to offer other treatment and refer you for up to 6 free sessions with a registered psychologist under Medicare.

I hope you are able to get through this time knowing that you’re normal, you don’t need to “hold it together” and there’s nothing wrong with you or seeking help to recover quicker.

downindowner 9:55 am
12 Dec 12
#3

I was attacked while riding my pushbike through Ainslie – some young blokes just leaned out of their car and whacked me as they drove past. Completely unprovoked and quite traumatic. The police came and had a chat with me about it, and I was referred to the Victim Support Unit, who set up counselling and therapeutic massage. Hope they can offer a similar service. Wishing you a speedy recovery – I know how unsettling it is to be on the receiving end of something like that.

steveu 11:03 am
12 Dec 12
#4

Great words from eathatfrog. Excellent advice.

To the OP, I’m sorry this happened.

Surround yourself with your friends and consider all options for help that have been suggested.

breda 11:11 am
12 Dec 12
#5

I have been punched in the face (totally unprovoked) and held up with a sawn-off shotgun at work. OP, believe me, your reaction is perfectly normal and sane.

Some good suggestions upthread. Can you stay with a friend or relative for a little while? Being on your own is probably not good just now.

It will pass. And here’s hoping the cops bust the lowlifes who did this to you.

crappicker 11:48 am
12 Dec 12
#6

Very well put eatthatfrog. Great to have people around willing to extend a helping hand to a stranger in need.

DrKoresh 12:44 pm
12 Dec 12
#7

I made the mistake of taking a shortcut through an alleyway between the suicide-flats on Ainslie Avenue after finishing a performance I was still in costume for. Despite being only 13 I got part of my costume torn off and called a ‘faggot’ by some junkie P.o.S. Left me terrified. Not to mention how badly I got harassed by the criminal element of the year below in my final year of high-school. I have to agree that the worst part of it is the feeling of fear you’re forced to experience and then getting angry about being essentially powerless to stop them.

I’m glad you managed to run away, there’s no shame in it because there’s no honour in a group of young thugs gang-bashing one person. I can’t run ever since breaking my leg, so I always take care to make sure I have a box-cutter or a big pair of scissors on me, which poses a problem in and of itself because it requires breaking the law. But I know that it just takes being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong kind of face to end up in a very violent and dangerous situation. I think I might try my hand at making a sort of pepper-spray instead though, weapons are only good if they don’t end up used against you, and I know I’m no Bruce Lee.

My advice is to accept how you’re feeling as a normal reaction that will ease greatly with time. By the same token, try not to dwell on it too much. If you can, crash at a mates or a rellie’s for a week and try to enjoy yourself. Post traumatic stress is a bitch, I’ve got it from the broken leg I mentioned earlier. But it does ease. Please don’t feel ashamed or like a coward, because what occurred makes you neither of those things.

Again, hang in there, mate and I’m glad you got away without injury.

Paul0075 12:57 pm
12 Dec 12
#8

I’m glad you managed to get away, and what you’re experiencing now is perfectly normal.

Like the others have said, there’s a few options for some support, and definitely spend some time with your friends and family doing things you enjoy. This will help you feel a bit happier and hopefully you will also feel safer with other people when out.

Also don’t forget there’s all of us here on forum as well. Some of us might be a bit fickle, but you can guarantee there’s plenty of people here who have gone through some trauma in their lives and can offer advice. After dealing with anxiety issues, I can tell you with the right advice, help of your peers and a good attitude about not playing the role of the victim, you will move on and things will eventually feel as they should again.

NoAddedMSG 12:59 pm
12 Dec 12
#9

Yup, totally agree with with other posts that what you are describing is a normal, expected physical reaction, and note also that reliving the event/flashbacks is a common scenario.

According to my Mental Health First Aid book, when dealing with a traumatic event the following is recommended:
*Recognise that the stress reactions you are experiencing are normal, and may take a little while to subside. If you have previously experienced depression or anxiety, it may also take a little longer for the stress reaction to subside.
*Definitely seek professional help if the stress reaction goes on for more than a month.
*Reach out to people (e.g. friends, family) to share what happened and how you are feeling (ie repression is not a good strategy)
*Do not use alcohol and drugs to cope. This includes sedatives like valium.

I would also add to the drugs and alcohol, being a little careful with the old sugar binges. They do not help either, but so often form part of our self-comforting routines.

Diggety 1:09 pm
12 Dec 12
#10

Try pistol shooting at the range. There are introductory sessions, it’s very relaxing. Popping caps always calmed me down.

troll-sniffer 1:24 pm
12 Dec 12
#11

Diggety said :

Try pistol shooting at the range. There are introductory sessions, it’s very relaxing. Popping caps always calmed me down.

Whip down to the post office and buy a roll of bubble wrap. Same result, much cheaper. No money? Raid the bins at Hardly Normal, endless supplies…

Postalgeek 1:30 pm
12 Dec 12
#12

Sorry to hear it happened. Without dismissing counselling and support, I might suggest exploring the martial arts as well. Find the right discipline and dojo for you, and commit to it, not just go for a couple of months, and it may help address any loss of self-esteem you might have suffered and help restore confidence. It’s never to late to start and it’s a pro-active form of therapy. You’ll meet normal people participating in a sport, not a bootcamp, and everyone works to help everyone else.

Challenging yourself, both physically and mentally, is often a good way to train your confidence. Good luck with it.

LSWCHP 2:09 pm
12 Dec 12
#13

Diggety said :

Try pistol shooting at the range. There are introductory sessions, it’s very relaxing. Popping caps always calmed me down.

I’m all in favour of pistol shooting as a safe, interesting and family friendly sport, and I do a lot of it. However, it’s not something I’d recommend to someone suffering emotional problems after an experience like this.

And my sympathy to the OP. It sounds like a terrible experience.

Thumper 2:14 pm
12 Dec 12
#14

PTSD is a strange beast so I would suggest having a chat to a GP about it and then see where it takes you.

Conan of Cooma 2:45 pm
12 Dec 12
#15

I guess you’re hacking skillz didn’t come into play? Perhaps you could have taken a photo and reported them to the powers that be on /b/ and had their smart phone home pages hacked with “WE STOLEDEZ YOUR NUMBERZ”…

No?

Grimm 2:52 pm
12 Dec 12
#16

Hardening up and acting like a man is too much to ask these days? You require a support group for almost getting into a fight, but instead running like a little girl?

I’d probably need a support group for the embarrassment if I’d done the same.

Conan of Cooma 2:52 pm
12 Dec 12
#17

Conan of Cooma said :

I guess you’re hacking skillz didn’t come into play? Perhaps you could have taken a photo and reported them to the powers that be on /b/ and had their smart phone home pages hacked with “WE STOLEDEZ YOUR NUMBERZ”…

No?

Wow, fudged that spelling. It’s ok kids, I had a coke at lunch. The sugar, THE SUGAR!

Postalgeek 3:23 pm
12 Dec 12
#18

Grimm said :

Hardening up and acting like a man is too much to ask these days? You require a support group for almost getting into a fight, but instead running like a little girl?

I’d probably need a support group for the embarrassment if I’d done the same.

You’re so hard.

Masquara 3:35 pm
12 Dec 12
#19

Reliving the trauma and fearing to leave the house is quite a normal response to an assault. Get a mental health plan from your GP, and get some PTSD counselling assistance. Northside Psychology has PTSD experts on staff. Individual resilience varies – there’s no shame in having a heavy reaction and just ignore any “man up, toughen up” advice. Good luck with your healing. PTSD experts can really lift the damage from you, but they do need to be expert in the field. Standard workplace type counselling is unlikely to help.

Conan of Cooma 3:39 pm
12 Dec 12
#20

Grimm said :

Hardening up and acting like a man is too much to ask these days? You require a support group for almost getting into a fight, but instead running like a little girl?

I’d probably need a support group for the embarrassment if I’d done the same.

Now, now. 1337Hax0rs don’t have combat skillz, no matter how 1337 they are.

Diggety 3:45 pm
12 Dec 12
#21

LSWCHP said :

Diggety said :

Try pistol shooting at the range. There are introductory sessions, it’s very relaxing. Popping caps always calmed me down.

I’m all in favour of pistol shooting as a safe, interesting and family friendly sport, and I do a lot of it. However, it’s not something I’d recommend to someone suffering emotional problems after an experience like this.

Well, yes. Depends on the type of emotion though, OP just sounds stressed- and no doubt it could spiral down into something worse.

I highly recommend shooting at a range to release tension, relax and focus. Like that lady in American Beauty.

(But, definitely have a session on the couch sooner rather than later whatever you do).

Jim Jones 3:45 pm
12 Dec 12
#22

Grimm said :

Hardening up and acting like a man is too much to ask these days? You require a support group for almost getting into a fight, but instead running like a little girl?

I’d probably need a support group for the embarrassment if I’d done the same.

Well you’ve obviously been punched in the head a fair bit, haven’t you?

LSWCHP 4:03 pm
12 Dec 12
#23

Grimm said :

Hardening up and acting like a man is too much to ask these days? You require a support group for almost getting into a fight, but instead running like a little girl?

I’d probably need a support group for the embarrassment if I’d done the same.

Very poor form.

I was involved in a few street brawls when I was young and stupid, and on one occasion my two mates and I were outnumbered about four to one. It was never pretty or manly or glamorous, and I’ve always wished those events had never happened, or that I’d been able to run away.

LH did the right thing by legging it rather than copping a flogging at the hands of a pack of dogs. It isn’t like the movies. People are permanently damaged or killed under these circumstances, and it ain’t worth it.

bundah 4:11 pm
12 Dec 12
#24

What’s really pathetic is that i have witnessed this type of animalistic behaviour for the past four decades and it is bleedin obvious that those responsible for dealing with low life behaviour have fundamentally done nothing of any substance to tackle this problem whether it be the legislators or judiciary.

There clearly is an expectation and awareness from the authorities that this mindless violence is a normal part of life and that it’s all in the too hard basket.I openly admit that I detest the authorities with a passion for they are little more than limp wristed gutless imbeciles who are not prepared to take the necessary measures to effectively stamp out or at the very least make a substantial dent in preventing and tackling this mindless violence.

Conan of Cooma 4:13 pm
12 Dec 12
#25

LSWCHP said :

Grimm said :

Hardening up and acting like a man is too much to ask these days? You require a support group for almost getting into a fight, but instead running like a little girl?

I’d probably need a support group for the embarrassment if I’d done the same.

Very poor form.

I was involved in a few street brawls when I was young and stupid, and on one occasion my two mates and I were outnumbered about four to one. It was never pretty or manly or glamorous, and I’ve always wished those events had never happened, or that I’d been able to run away.

LH did the right thing by legging it rather than copping a flogging at the hands of a pack of dogs. It isn’t like the movies. People are permanently damaged or killed under these circumstances, and it ain’t worth it.

Undoubtably. But the OP is someone called 1337Hax0r. Complaining on the internet with such a faux tough name is an open invitation for mockery. It’s the incredibly entertaining reverse of an intenet hero stating he’s coming for your blood when posting in a forum.

thebrownstreak69 4:34 pm
12 Dec 12
#26

Grimm said :

Hardening up and acting like a man is too much to ask these days? You require a support group for almost getting into a fight, but instead running like a little girl?

I’d probably need a support group for the embarrassment if I’d done the same.

What would you have done differently? Other than taking these punks out with a spinning heel kick, elbow to the face, jumping front kick and then levitating up onto the roof of a bus shelter to survey your martial magic, that is?

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 4:36 pm
12 Dec 12
#27

Dumb ass try hard keyboard warrior trolls go away. You would not say that stuff in person so don’t say it online.

I’d also plus one for some form of martial arts or self defence training. It’s going to give you more confidence after this but also calm you nerves.

As for mental anxiety or stuff I’m not sure but it sounds like others have suggested some good advice.

bigfeet 6:32 pm
12 Dec 12
#28

The AFP have a Victim Support/Liaison office and the police who took your complaint should have given you their contact details.

Search on the AFP website. They have links to other support services and will also keep you updated about your complaint.

1337Hax0r 8:23 pm
12 Dec 12
#29

Thanks for the advice that many have given here. I appreciate the useful advice.
As for the unuseful advice. Really Grimm and Conan, have you read my past posts? I have a son who is gay, I’ve attended an equal marriage rally. Questioning my masculinity really isn’t going to bother me is it? Nor is questioning me elite ability with the hacksaw.

Woody Mann-Caruso 9:01 pm
12 Dec 12
#30

Hardening up and acting like a man is too much to ask these days?

Cool Tapout shirt, bro. You must be in the special forces.

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