I hope that part 1 and part 2 have given you some insight into what a trauma response might look and feel like. This last post is about healing unresolved trauma and what can be involved in that process.
First thing I want to share is that – You Can Heal From Trauma!
I know that can be hard to believe for some who may have been battling trauma symptoms for many years and those who have worked on their “stuff” for years. Especially if you have lived your life in a trauma response and everything you have tried hasn’t really made too much of a difference.
It’s hard to take if you find that you are still having to deal with things you thought you had dealt with. Let’s reframe that!
REFRAME: All the work you have done on yourself up until now has been exactly what you needed at the time. None of it is wasted. Trust that whatever is showing up now is the next step in your healing.
For me being recovered from trauma means that I can see the trigger, recognise where it comes from and I can leave it in the past. I can do this because the old neural pathway has been replaced with a new neural pathway. That has come about by lots of practice!
Can you imagine being free from your reactive way of being?
At one point in my life I felt resigned to the fact that this is how it would always be and I wasn’t overly happy with that idea, I can tell you!
I want to share some of the basics of recovering from trauma.
- To do the trauma recovery work it is important to be able to regulate yourself. Focus on strengthening your own resources…yes you do have them even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. Build your regulation muscle up so than when you are triggered into a trauma response, you can come back quite easily.
- Understand what is happening to you. You are not crazy, you have unresolved trauma and your body feels as if the trauma is still happening. It really feels like it is under threat.
- Help your body to know that it is not in danger right here, right now (if that is the truth). Build up your places where you feel safe. When you are hypervigilant all the time it is exhausting. Establishing and recognising additional places you feel safe, allows the body to relax a little.
- Build your awareness muscle. This is where you get to practice noticing your reactions and begin to recognise the patterns of your reactions.
- Work to uncover and stretch out your response process so you can see where the trigger actually starts. The trigger is what causes the response. There will be warning sensations in the body way before you are in the response.
- None of this can happen without support. I deeply believe it is not possible to recover from trauma on your own. It certainly was true for me and my clients who have done tons of work on themselves already. The reason it was impossible is because when I was in my “stuff” I couldn’t see it. I needed someone skilled to help me see what was out of my own awareness.
Trauma recovery is about seeing how your past is in your present, then having the tools and skills to do something different.
It’s also about starting to be compassionate and gentle with yourself. As human beings we seek what is familiar even if it doesn’t serve us very well. If you do slip back to the old pattern it doesn’t mean you have failed. As soon as you catch yourself you have a choice of what to do next. Each piece of work you do even if it feels like a step backwards is important. Even if it feels like you have gone back….we can never go back to exactly where we were. When you feel like you have gone backwards just take a moment to think back to 6 months ago and ask yourself, “how far have I come in the last 6 months”. Celebrate this!
Leave me a comment and let me know how are have found this 3 part mini series on trauma.
May you be well and may you be happy