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Emotional help after an assault

By 1337Hax0r - 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.

What’s Your opinion?

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53 Responses to
Emotional help after an assault
Conan of Cooma 2:45 pm 12 Dec 12

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”…


Thumper 2:14 pm 12 Dec 12

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

LSWCHP 2:09 pm 12 Dec 12

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.

Postalgeek 1:30 pm 12 Dec 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.

troll-sniffer 1:24 pm 12 Dec 12

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…

Diggety 1:09 pm 12 Dec 12

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

NoAddedMSG 12:59 pm 12 Dec 12

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.

Paul0075 12:57 pm 12 Dec 12

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.

DrKoresh 12:44 pm 12 Dec 12

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.

crappicker 11:48 am 12 Dec 12

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

breda 11:11 am 12 Dec 12

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.

steveu 11:03 am 12 Dec 12

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.

downindowner 9:55 am 12 Dec 12

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.

eatthatfrog 9:37 am 12 Dec 12


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 ( 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.

Rollersk8r 9:32 am 12 Dec 12

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.

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