WHAT IS TRAUMA?
When a person experiences Trauma, life sometimes is separated into a “before and after”. Often, by the time a client picks up the phone to make a therapy appointment, they are in a place they feel stuck and just need help to “cope with it”. I love giving them the news that change is possible and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
When you first think of trauma, you may think of the veteran soldier struggling with PTSD symptoms, a child or domestic parter who has endured physical abuse, or possibly a college student whose working through the aftermath of a sexual assault. These events are definitely traumatic. BUT, have you considered these? An individual whose parents recently divorced, the teenager that was in a car wreck, the mother who had a miscarriage, or the sudden breakup of a loved one. Here’s one I bet you definitely haven’t considered; The child that needed a parent to comfort them and got the message that “emotions weren’t okay” so now they feel lost and shut down in their relationships as an adult. Do these people experience trauma?
Yes! Trauma is defined as, “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience” that has a lasting emotional impact. The individual’s life history, level of support, current coping skills all factor in to if an event becomes traumatic for one person and not another.
WHAT ARE SIGNS OF TRAUMA?
- Feeling helpless and out of control
- Anxiety in all areas or specific areas of life
- Depression symptoms
- Difficult memories resurfacing throughout the day/night
- Difficult emotions resurfacing throughout the day
- Feeling disconnected, isolated
- Difficulty in trusting others
Trauma causes physical symptoms as well:
- Sleeping patterns are thrown off. Inability to fall asleep and/or nightmares
- Difficulty focusing
- Body aches, Fatigue
- Inability to make decisions
- Fast heartbeat
All of these things give us negative beliefs about ourselves that we may not realize we are still carrying around today. They are having a huge impact on the way we view ourselves, approach life and our relationships with others.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE A TRAUMATIC EVENT?
Remember any event that is deeply distressing and disturbing can be traumatic. Here are some helpful tips to aide in finding symptom relief:
- Exercise: This is great way to get your mind and body connected and processing! Take your dog for a walk, find a You Tube Video to exercise with or try a Trauma Sensitive Yoga Session!
- Be Social: Even if you don’t want to, spend time with family and friends. It’s good for you, as research tells us that it’s important not to isolate ourselves.
- Self Care: Take care of yourself. Sleep. Eat well. Find ways to relax.
- Be Mindful: Breathe. Experience what you are sensing. Don’t judge yourself.
- Seek a Professional: If you are feeling extreme symptoms or you’ve tried these tips and they aren’t helping – get help. Contact me!
Check out the videos below for an in-depth conversation I have with Dr Chris Motely about trauma, the brain and the body!