Trauma isn’t always what you think it is! – Part 3 of 3

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

Linda

Blog

Trauma isn’t always what you think it is! – Part 2 of 3

In this second part of this series on trauma, I want to share with you what the symptoms of trauma might look like as a physical manifestation. In part 1 we talked about how trauma could show up in relationships and as blocks in your life. We also explored the notion that most of us are living our lives with unresolved trauma and don’t even know it. My hope for this mini series is to shed some light on the effects trauma can have and that recovery is possible.

Let’s start with a list of what I see as some symptoms of unresolved trauma. See how many you tick.

·     Anxiety

·     Panic attacks

·     Depression

·     Numb feeling

·     Sleep issues

·     Overwhelm

·     Mistrust

·     Nightmares/Flashbacks

·     Sense of hopelessness

·     Shame

·     Chronic pain

·     Addictions

·     Self-destructive behaviour

·     Risky behaviour

·     Headaches

·     Eating disorders

·     Very little or no memory

·     Difficulty concentrating

·     Lack of interest

·     Not feeling right – not in your body – out of body

·     You isolate yourself

·     Feeling of no purpose

How did you go? Did you tick very many of these? If you have resonated with any of these then maybe you would benefit from making a time to speak with either myself or someone who specialises in trauma recovery. If I can give you one message to take away from this post, it is – You don’t have to do this alone, in fact you can’t do this on your own. The reason for that is that when we are in our pattern of being we are not able to see how we are continually reinforcing that pattern. It takes someone else to help us see what is out of our awareness.

I have written an e-book ‘7 Ways to Reduce Your Stress in 7 Days’ that may also help with some ideas and strategies to bring into your daily life.

What I know about myself and those I have worked with to recover from trauma, is that isolation is one of the main things that we do. We can be embarrassed or ashamed that we are in the state we are. We have become very good at doing things for ourselves mainly because we don’t trust others to be there. We learned very early in our lives that we can rely on ourselves and we stop seeking support yet deeply desire it. If we are lucky we may have one person in our life that could support us, and mostly, we feel on our own.

Have you ever had the feeling of isolation in a group of people/friends. You know that feeling of being social yet there is this knowing that these people don’t know the real you. That part of yourself who has the dead-ness inside. The one who is empty beyond words. The one who lost their spirit while surviving their life circumstances. No-one would know by the outward expression we have, often appearing happy and helpful.

If you are ready to move out of isolation and to be seen and heard fully, then I’d love to sit with you. If you are not ready yet that’s ok too. It can be a scary place to think about really facing yourself. Trying to image who you would be without what you carry now, holy cow, what would that look like?

Just know there is no right or wrong way to move yourself along your healing path. Little seeds are planted every day, with every interaction you make either in person or with what you read or listen to. It is usually the feeling of being at the end of one’s tether, that feeling that you really have to do something now that moves people into action. Don’t wait! If you feel you need to talk because you can see yourself in what I have written here, make a time to come and talk to me…..NO CHARGE……for 30 minutes. This may be the next seed to be planted or it may be the beginning of recovering from trauma, I never know and I trust that whatever you need for now, whether it’s working with me or not, will be the right next step for you.

To book your 30 minute Free Insight Session with me click the link.

In Part 3 of this mini series we will be exploring the how of recovering from trauma.

May you be well and may you be happy

Linda

Blog

Trauma isn’t always what you think it is! – Part 1 of 3

“There are people who have gone through worse than I have.”

“I just got on with it.”

“No use worrying about it.”

“It wasn’t that bad.”

“They did the best they could.”

Have you said these words? I know I’ve used some of them in the past!

Most people think of trauma as a catastrophic event such as cyclones, tidal waves, earthquakes, murders, suicide, terrible traffic accidents, wars and the like.

They don’t consider surviving their family, living with avoidant parents, violent family life (unless someone is being physically abused), death of a parent, addictions of parents or depression in parents as traumatic. This is not about blaming parents…I am one….I am a grandmother…and I get it. I am the product of a violent home and didn’t realise until my late 40’s that I had unresolved trauma.

Then what about our school or religious experiences!!!! How many people do you know that still have issues around learning and don’t consider themselves intelligent? Speaking as a former Catholic, how many years does it take to free oneself from feelings of ingrained guilt and poor relationship to your body from religious teachings?

I see it and hear it all the time….minimising of our experience. An example of what that means is:

A child may have suffered the loss of a father at a young age, their mother is unavailable to them because of her own deep and unexpressed grief. The child then has not only lost the father, they have also lost the mother and has no idea their experience is traumatic and unresolved. It becomes normalised. They adjust to survive their circumstances.

An example of how quickly little ones can start to feel destabilised is shown in the Still face experiment. It is difficult to watch and it really gets across how important it is to child development to have sound attachment and engagement to the mother or significant carer.

How might this unresolved trauma look in adult life?

It might show up in your relationships as:

  • an inability to trust a man will stay;
  • inability to stay in a relationship;
  • unavailable to your own children;
  • feeling disconnected from yourself and others;
  • not feeling like you really belong anywhere;
  • lack of purpose and meaning in your life; or
  • all of the above plus more!

What do I mean by unavailable?

It doesn’t mean that your aren’t there doing things for the children. It means that you are unable to truly connect with them. It’s like a part of you is not available to anyone including yourself. It died at the same time as the trauma.

Great, so the dead-ness inside has been highlighted, now what?

The good news is that you can heal and recover from these unresolved traumatic experiences. Peter Levine says it so beautifully, “Trauma is a fact of life, it does not, however, have to be a life sentence.”

If you or someone you know fits these descriptions please share this article with them. Help them to know there is hope.

In part 2, I will discuss how unresolved trauma might manifest physically. If you would like to explore the possibility of your own unresolved trauma you can apply for a FREE 30 minute Insight Session with me.

Blog