Coping with Trauma: Hello, I've joined this... - Changing Faces

Changing Faces
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Coping with Trauma



I've joined this group in the hope that I may get some support from others that are living with disfigurement.

In November I was attacked by my best friends dog a German shepherd. I guess I should be thankful I'm still here but I can't cope with my injuries. I now have facial scaring, a head injury on the left of my head which went down to my skull and severe tissue loss at the front and the top of my head. I had to have three operations in three weeks. I had to have a skin graft to close the wound ... another scar and now have lost my hair at the front. I have always been very girlie and now I can't cope with my injuries.

It's been the worst time of my life and I'm still traumatized and angry that this has happened to me. I can't sleep as I see the dog and relive the attack every night. I can't get any support with my mental health as the waiting list is months long and have to wait six months for plastic surgery.

Any advice on how to cope with changes like this may help me to try and be normal again.

10 Replies
AlwaysSmilingCommunity Ambassador

Hello Di197 and welcome! It sounds like you have been through a really difficult time but you have come to the right place. This forum has really helped me through my tough times.

I think the best way to start living life 'normally' again is to surround yourself with people you love that make you happy. Also to get a hobby to keep you busy. I find that these things really help because it stops your life from revolving around your scars.

Hope this helps, best wishes😊

Hi Di. I understand completely what you are feeling. A dog bite it’s a terrible trauma... I used to dream about it very night. With time as scars tend to heal a bit, our mind becomes more at peace. But marks stay to remember us what happened... I won’t say I don’t think about it everyday. I’d be lying. But I am better mentally now. Everything you decide to do just think if it isn’t better to let scars heal with time. I regret accepting a dermatologist advice to do laser. It worsened a lot my scars... but I trusted. Be informed as much as you can for the pros and cons before you make any major decision. If you need to talk you can chat with me if you want. All the best for you

in reply to MTTA

Thank you for your kind words, I'm trying really hard to cope with what has happened. I just need to be able to control my emotions, really tough.

PB58Community Ambassador

Firstly, welcome to our group!

I am so sorry to hear of the awful trauma you have experienced & am not surprised that you are finding it difficult to cope. I think the initial stage of moving on, is to address how you feel about what happened to you. If you can’t get any help via the mental health route, then talk to anyone you feel would be able to offer you help, whether that be family, friends or support groups such as ours. Don’t keep it all bottled up inside as that can only be detrimental for your health & subsequent recovery from this terrifying ordeal. The anger you feel is understandable, but by its very nature is a negative emotion, which will just make you feel worse about everything else in your life. As you say, you are realistic about how much worse it could have been & that you are extremely lucky to be alive. That’s inspiring for you to be able to realise that you have been through this ordeal & have survived. I believe & hope that you will be able to move on with your life, please reach out to get some support to enable you to do this.


Hi Di197, it's really great to have you here.

It can be so difficult to adjust to the shock of a suddenly altered appearance, especially given the trauma of the accident that caused it. It's understandable you feel angry and are finding it hard to cope.

You mentioned that you're looking for support with your mental health, but are struggling as the waiting list is so long. Are you aware of our one-to-one sessions? If you're based in the UK and looking for support, you might like to get in touch with us to talk about accessing counselling sessions with a Wellbeing Practitioner. We do have a waiting list, but it's no longer than 12 weeks. You can find out more information by going to and call or email us if you're interested.

You might also like to take a look at some of the resources we have on our website. There are articles about mental health, self-esteem, and navigating feelings of loss you might be experiencing in the wake of your accident.

Thank you for posting - we hope you find this a good space to share your feelings with people who understand and care.

- Ellie

Thank you, I will definitely check this out.

I understand because the same thing happened to me 5 years ago. I’m not going to pretend it’s easy. I still struggle at times, especially when I’m feeling down and as a result, at my most vulnerable. I had one to one counselling with CF and one piece of advice that stuck is ‘feel the feeling and it will pass quicker than if you try to fight it.’ What happened to us is desperately unfair and we are grieving a loss. My particular struggle is with photos. I used to be the first one to get involved when a camera would come out and would always (as we all do) get pictured from my ‘best side.’ That was my left side and, you guessed it, the side the dog’s teeth went through. One thing I have noticed is that my scars don’t bother me when I’m make-up free as I know everyone has imperfections when bare-faced. Before the attack, I’d spend ages each day putting on make-up, obsessing about every last detail. Most days now, I go without it, which saves me time and energy! It’s when I’m going out somewhere and I want to put on my make-up my scars bother me most because I can no longer achieve the ‘perfect canvas’ I used to. I’m not sure how to like something I plainly don’t but I am hoping acceptance comes one day. Also, we definitely scrutinise, analyse and focus on our scars more than anyone else would ever do so try to keep that in mind. The best thing anyone can do when we are struggling is just be there in silence with a big hug at the ready. When we are in that frame of mind, platitudes like ‘Honestly, it’s not noticeable’ are at best, irritable and at worst, infuriating. Hang on in there, the worst has happened and you’re reaching out. It will all get better in time ❤️

in reply to KeepPushingOn

Great words of wisdom and empathy KeepPushingOn! Welcome to the group.

Thank you ❤️

youniqueCommunity Ambassador

Hi Di97, welcome! So glad you've found this forum. I understand your post to mean you want help navigating your emotional response to this sudden change in your life, is that right? You seem like a very practical person of sound mind and it's completely natural for you to have an emotional response, and what sounds like ptsd, from the attack. So please be patient with yourself. Despite the trauma, you are still you. It helps to ground yourself in that awareness. To get back to your center when you're feeling anxious or out of control. You can take control. You can have your life back. It's going to be hard at times but the important thing to remember is that you survived. Keep fighting for your health and wellbeing no matter how challenging it is to find and receive proper care. It's out there. There are tons of programs and resources that can get you the support you feel you need. This forum is a good first step. So keep looking and being open to whatever help you need to feel whole again. You may have to be your own advocate at times so be prepared for that. Hopefully you have friends and family who can help take the burden off of you so that you can just focus on getting better. 🤗 Happy you are here please keep us posted and let us know how your treatment is progressing and if we can do anything for you.

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