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Overcoming the trauma of a home invasion.

answered 12:32 PM EST, Wed January 28, 2015
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Tommy Deer Tommy Deer Montreal
Exactly a week ago, I experienced a home invasion. The intruder ended up being a male living in the building and was so high/drunk that he believed he was getting into his home and instead broke into my apartment. I awoke to banging on the door, the guy had lost his keys and decided he was going to break his door to get in. When i opened the door, there was this guy stating that he owned everything in my apartment and that i should get out and then he barged his way in and started walking around. I ran for my cell phone and called 911 the whole time the guys yelling at me "this isn't your place, I don't care if you call the police I'm not going anywhere".

The intruder at that point went into my bed room while i was on the phone with 911 and for what ever reason zoned out and started fussing with his cell phone.

It took the police about 10-15 mins to get here and get the guy out of my room. Finally they took him away and it seems that was that.

However, I've been a mess since this happened. I had to take this past week off work because of the anxiety I feel. I didn't get out of bed or shower for 3 days. And only just now having the strength to talk about it. I feel very angry and nervous. But most of all I feel embarrassed that I needed to take this amount of time to get back on my feet. Is this normal. I did go see doctor a few days after the incident and they told me to take up to a month off work. What is the appropriate amount of time to get over a home invasion anxiety?

Evan Jarschauer Says...

Thank you for the courage to reach out after that traumatic event. Just by sharing your experience and reaching out for help, you are accelerating the healing process. Although many people experience the same symptoms of trauma after a home invasion, each person inevitably goes through their own personal journey, at their own individual pace to recover from the incident. Without question your sense of security and your personal space has been violated. Although you want things to go back to normal again, there should be no rush to recover. Take the time to work through your feelings as thoroughly as you can with a therapist.

So rather than focusing on an "appropriate amount of time to get over" the anxiety and all of the symptoms of the traumatic event at once, perhaps it might be best to work with your therapist to break the experience and subsequent symptoms down into more manageable treatment objectives or goals to achieve, ultimately getting you back to work and living your life with the greatest amount of resolved trauma possible. Unlike the veteran soldier returning home after a series of traumatic events on the battlefield, your trauma occurred right at home. However, similar to the veteran soldier experiencing symptoms of PTSD, you will be able to work through your anxiety with plenty of support and some professional counseling; you just have to give it time and stay optimistic.

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Page last updated Jan 28, 2015

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