Firstly, may we say how sorry we are that you are going through such a challenging situation. You undoubtedly have your reasons for visiting this site and may even be hoping to find answers to your questions. However unfortunate the circumstances of your search for support may be, we are pleased that you have found our offer and hope to be able to support you on your journey.
“What consequences have the events had for me?"
The consequences of crime can be very varied and affect quite diverse aspects of our lives. On the one hand, there is the physical damage or damage to property. While this may involve an experience of loss, it can generally be easily repaired or replaced. The situation is more difficult when injuries are involved. We can differentiate between physical injuries and emotional injuries. In both cases, healing can take time, patience and outside help. Further effects can ensue as a result of social consequences, so that you can feel abandoned. Nor should we underestimate the personal effort you have to expend relating to the investigation of the event, for example making a police report, appearing as a witness in the criminal proceedings or other dealings with authorities.
The perfidious thing is that all these consequences may occur at the same time, or build on each other, or be mutually dependent. This can wear you down and you may reach a point at which you ask yourself:
“I think I am going crazy – what exactly is happening to me?“
You have had an experience which is by no means commonplace and for which, as a rule, it is not possible to prepare specifically. That’s why the guiding principle always applies:
"You are not crazy; you are reacting normally to crazy events."
It might be necessary to let this sentence sink in, as it covers a lot. Here we use the term reaction to mean the entirety of all physical and emotional processes which you may notice occurring with unusual intensity in your current situation. And for this very reason, you may possible reach the conclusion that the above sentence can’t possibly be right because your reaction and what you are experiencing feels so crazy. Even so, we would like to use this opportunity to assure you that your body and your psyche are reacting normally to extraordinary events.
You may have heard that body and psyche are closely linked. This is a point on which doctors, psychologists and the legal profession are, exceptionally, in agreement. But this also means that what you have experienced can affect both your body and your mind. This can be very confusing so it is perfectly understandable that finding the right words to describe what has happened to you can be difficult. It can be helpful to initially name the elements that are easier to describe.
These include all the perceivable (physical) changes, such as, for example insomnia, excessive trembling or perspiring and palpitations (overall physical tension). You may also be well able to describe changes in your behaviour. This may include, for example avoiding visiting certain places because they remind you of where the crime occurred. Or perhaps you are avoiding doing certain things such as carrying out certain activities like your job or avoiding contact with certain people. Managing to name your feelings is an important first step. It is perfectly normal for victims of crime to experience a range of emotions which, in particular, may include fear and anger (which most frequently expresses itself in increased irritability) but such complicated feelings as guilt and shame may also be experienced. Sometimes, victims of crime may experience full-blown depressive moods, a whole range of major emotional sensations, the feeling of ongoing helplessness, the loss of zest for life and social withdrawal. Described as particularly stressful are what are known as intrusions. This term is used to mean that what has been experienced “flows back into the body”. You have the feeling of being back in the situation (= reliving) or are constantly haunted by memories of the situation (= re-remembrance).
In order to provide you with an overview, we would like to give you a concise list of the possible consequences of crimes mentioned above:
- Damage to property
- Physical injury
- Emotional injury
- Social consequences
- Effort relating to investigation of the event, for example making a statement in court, dealings with authorities
- Panic attacks
- Reliving the event (images, dreams, thoughts)
- Avoiding places, situations, activities or people which or who remind one of the event
- Feelings of guilt
- Depression, moodiness, anxiety, rage
- Physical complaints
Please bear in mind that the list only offers an overview and makes no claims to completeness. The important thing to remember is that everything you experience as stressful as a consequence of a crime is quite legitimate! Your body and your psyche are simply trying to process and resist what you have experienced.