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What is Trauma?

  Have you had a moment when it seemed to jar you? It was like all of your senses heightened, you felt a panic, maybe even a wave of shame seemed to come over you and you couldn’t shake it. It doesn’t make sense to you what has happened as it came out of nowhere and somehow you felt stuck in your past. If you have experienced this and probably more than once, there could be a possibility that something you have experienced has been traumatizing. Trauma is a stressful or unsafe event outside of a common daily experience, which causes disruption to development, daily functioning, trust in relationships, or negative self-perception of self. Here are some types of traumas that can be developed:
  • Event Trauma: a singular incident like experiencing a natural disaster, car accident, injury, seeing a death
  • Developmental Trauma: experiencing repeated or continuous traumatic experiences during childhood, affected differently depending on age and stage of development
  1.  Withholding: trauma relating to a child not getting needs meet (nurture, feeding, care, attention)
  2. Aggressive: trauma relating to a child getting what they don’t need ( physical or sexual abuse, extreme punishments, or shaming) 
  • Betrayal: acts of intention to harm an individual, can involve an abuse of power or person of trust
  • Sustained Duress: experience continual stressor ( health issues, bullying, caring for a loved one, unhealthy relationship)
  • Complex Trauma: multiple types of trauma 
Trauma is developed when the body can’t process the event that happened, it is too much and too difficult to process at that time. To protect you from this overload your body stores this experience in your memory, senses, and emotions. However, this doesn’t just go away. A traumatic experience can shape how you view the world-unsafe, mistrusting, and yourself--shameful, incapable. Trauma then resurfaces through those stored areas (memory, senses, emotions)producing a triggered event that interrupts your day.  Signs of Trauma:
  • Intrusive thoughts: regarding the event or negative towards yourself
  • Loss of memory, confusion, or concentration
  • Nightmares
  • Avoidance of places or activities due to fear
  • Lack of interests in things passionate about previously
  • Panic attacks
  • Muscle pain patterns
  • Overwhelming fear
  • Extreme Irritability 
  • Strong feelings of shame, “It’s all my fault” “I’m not good enough” 
  • Negative perception of self and world which hinders personal growth
  • Emotional numbing or lack of emotional expression
  • Very distrusting or over-trusting of others
  • Over involved or very detached from relationships
As trauma has been developed, trauma can be healed. Our bodies are designed to be healed and whole. There are various techniques that can help in this healing process, one to start is having a compassionate counselor in your life to walk through this trauma with you. Other techniques, like EMDR, can help your body to reprocess and unstuck the trauma you have experienced but now in a safe and compassionate environment.  It was enough for you to experience the trauma you did, don’t continue to relive it. You deserve freedom from this past with less fear, shame, and pain. You deserve to feel safe, confident and connected to those you care for. If this sounds like the support you need. Reach out today!